Baltimore Orioles catching duo leading the American League
In the month of August and after the All-Star Break, the Baltimore Orioles catchers have been moving up together in the American League ranks.
In fact, both Baltimore Orioles catchers are ranked in the Top 10 of all American League catchers in post-All-Star-Break numbers.
Let’s take a good look at what they’ve been doing and why they’ve been so successful lately.
When the Orioles come the plate, the catchers are usually not the names that opposing pitchers are concerned with. Instead, the worries tend to come from the top of the line up with Jonathan Schoop, Manny Machado, Trey Mancini, and Tim Beckham.
But, Caleb Joseph and Welington Castillo have quietly been contributing from the bottom of the lineup.
Since the All-Star Break, Castillo actually ranks #1 in batting average with American League catchers who have played in 14 or more games. Since July 14, he is batting .390 with an OPS of 1.057. He has four home runs and three doubles. In his 14 games, he has only had one hit-less game. And, in 7 of the 16 games, he has had two or more hits.
Joseph is currently ranked fourth in catchers who have 14 or more games played after the All-Star Break. His batting average is .298. His OPS Is .936. He also has four home runs, like Castillo. He has fewer hits that Castillo since returning from the All-Star Break and he has more hit-less games with three.
The Castillo-Joseph catching platoon is the best in the American League. Only Gary Sanchez with the New York Yankees and Mike Zunino have more home runs with five each. Sanchez and Yan Gomes have more RBIs than Castillo has; they have 13 and 12 to Castillo’s 11. Considering that Sanchez has played in 24 games since the All-Star Break, he should have some higher numbers.
No other team in the American League has a pair of platoon catchers who perform as well as Castillo and Joseph do as they switch each day. Prior to the All-Star Break, they were also the only pair from one team that ranked in the top 10 of catchers with 50 or more games. While there were individual catchers with better batting stats, no other team had a pair with such good numbers.
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The Baltimore Orioles are respected by other teams for their dangerous bullpen; but, the men who receive those pitches are just as dangerous. Both men have positive WAR numbers. Joseph has a 1.8 WAR and Castillo has a 1.1 WAR. Castillo has turned more double plays as a catcher than any other in the AL in 2017. He has eight, while the men in second place have only five. Castillo has committed four errors in 2017 and has a fielding percentage of .992. Castillo is ranked third in the numbers of runners he has caught attempting to steal. The number one spot belongs to Yan Gomes with 23; Castillo has 18.
Joseph’s defensive numbers are also notable. He has fewer errors – only two. This gives him a fielding percentage of .996. There are some catchers with perfect fielding percentages, but none of them have started in as many games as Castillo or Joseph have.
Next: Three O's with outstanding numbers in August
These two catchers defy the position. Not only do they call good games from behind the dish, but they perform well from their right-handed batting spots. Orioles’ fans are fortunate that the team has two platoon catchers who have the ability to lead the league together.