Arlington, Tex – The Texas Rangers need to put the catching controversy between J.P. Arencibia and Robinson Chirinos to rest. If Geovany Soto wasn’t on the disabled list, it is unlikely that Robinson Chirinos would have had a chance to make the roster. But now that he has, it appears now that once Soto returns, the Texas Rangers will need to strongly consider keeping Chirinos.
Immediate reaction: Geovany Soto will not return until about the beginning of June and everyone should expect him to resume the primary catching duties. While Chirinos has done well holding down the backstop position, he’s not going to replace Soto. But from everything that Chirinos has shown so far, he should be the primary catcher for now. Let’s take a look at the two Ranger catchers.
Comparing Chirinos and Arencibia
- Record 6-2 when catching
- 4 caught stealing on 6 attempts
- .233 batting average
- 2 home runs
- 5 RBI
- 0.3 WAR (wins above replacement)
- Record 4-5 when catching
- 1 caught stealing on 5 attempts
- .071 batting average
- 2 hits – last hit was on April 6th against the Houston Astros
- Last multi-hit game was on Aug 28
- 3 RBI
- 2 errors
- -0.6 WAR
It’s in the numbers: Comparing the numbers between Chirinos and Arencibia shows that the Rangers have a better chance of winning when using Chirinos. He’s clearly doing better at both parts of the game and the record reflects that. Also, some have argued that Arencibia isn’t doing well because he isn’t getting to play ever day. Then why is Chirinos doing so well? He has played less than Arencibia and is able to field and bat better. Last year when Arencibia played full-time, his stats were not much different. Back in August he only batted .179 and even worse in September with a batting average of 0.079. The one thing that Arencibia is known for is the long ball. Last year he hit 21 home runs, which tells me he’s swinging the bat hard, missing a lot and when he gets a hold of one it’s gone.
Robinson Chirinos hasn’t had much time in the majors, his most games in a single season was 20 games in 2011 when he was with the Tampa Bay Rays. If he continues to play at the rate he is playing, he’ll likely stay on the Rangers roster and easily beat that. Granted Soto will get a majority of the starts once he comes back, meaning Chirinos might get one or two starts a week. Over the long haul of the season, Chirinos could turn out to be now better than Arencibia, but right now the Rangers need someone who is able field behind the plate, pick off base runners and hit the ball. Right now the option is clear, Washington needs to give more starts to Robinson Chirinos.