Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Your Texas Rangers relayed some pretty bad news about their catching situation on March 24th: regular catcher Geovany Soto had torn the meniscus in his left knee, an injury that would require surgery and 10-12 weeks of recovery time.
And so…the Rangers catching tandem became JP Arencibia, whom the team brought aboard in the offseason, and Robinson Chirinos, whom, despite a strong Spring Training, was going to be sent to the minors for more development.
Let’s fast forward now to April 15th. Happy Jackie Robinson Day, by the way!
Three weeks have passed since Soto’s injury and your Texas Rangers have now played 13 games in the regular season. Arencibia has started the majority of the games; with Chirinos only starting 5 games thus far.
How have they fared?
Well…let’s start by saying that neither of these guys has been stellar at the plate. Chirinos is currently hitting .150 through 20 at bats; but he has shown some power with one home run and a double. He’s also walked a couple of times and been hit by a pitch; not that we can congratulate him on the HBP, but his OBP is .261.
Arencibia meanwhile is hitting .083 in 24 at bats. (Ouch! Is there a line below the Mendoza Line?) To make matters worse, if possible, he’s only walked once. That would bring his OBP to .120. (Ouch again)
Of course, the Texas Rangers’ offense as a whole has left much to be desired. The team is hitting a whopping .251 after last night’s game. Shades of 2013 for sure. But the discussion on offense will be had another day. Today we’re putting Arencibia and Chirinos head-to-head.
To start, let’s give the slight edge to Chirinos on offense.
What about behind the mask?
I was about to write that Arencibia has been fine, nothing to write home about, but fine. And then I remembered that he’s already made 2 errors on the young season. 2 errors in 8 games. Oh and his caught stealing percentage? 20%. He has thrown out 20% of would-be base stealers. So….what about Chirinos?
Robinson Chirinos has thrown out 100% of would be base stealers for the Texas Rangers.
Considering Posey has played in twice as many games as Chirinos at catcher, I’d say that’s darn impressive. In case you’re wondering his CS%, it’s 100%.
If you haven’t yet pieced this one together, I really like Chirinos. Here’s my last bit of supporting evidence:
After Anthony Andro tweeted that, I had to look up who Chirinos has caught for; because, is he just lucking out and getting the “good” pitchers? The answer: He’s caught Martin Perez 3 times, Nick Martinez and Robbie Ross once each. So is he getting the “good” pitchers?
Kind of. But maybe they are pitching well because of Chirinos’ pitch calling and demeanor. Chicken or the egg, right? In case you’re wondering, the Rangers ERA when Arencibia is catching is 4.97. And that’s with two YUUU starts.
So why aren’t the Rangers ready to make Chirinos the full-time starter in Soto’s absence? For one big reason, I think:
What if Chirinos does a great job starting; where does he go once Soto is ready to come back in June or July? Do they make Soto the back-up? Or do they put him back in his normal role, with Chirinos being relegated to the bench despite some success? And then how will he get regular at bats? Do they send him back to the minors?
This problem doesn’t really exist with Arencibia as he was signed to be the backup. It may exist though if they let Chirinos start.
If you watched last night’s game you know that this is just one of several questions your Texas Rangers have left to figure out. Luckily, there’s lots of baseball left.
13 down, 149 to go.
Your Texas Rangers are 6-7.