There is no controversy in regards to who will be the starting catcher for the Washington Nationals to open up the 2014 season. In his short time in the league, Wilson Ramos has proven to be a power hitting catcher with a strong arm, and barring injury, he will be the Nationals’ every day catcher throughout the upcoming season.
The situation concerning Ramos’ backup is not nearly as simple. The Nationals traded Kurt Suzuki during the 2013 season, and used a combination of Sandy Leon and Jhonatan Solano to back up Ramos. These two candidates are in contention to make the 25-man roster again this season, but the Nationals do not seem to be completely sold on either’s ability to swing the bat at the major league level.
Solano is a .217 career hitter in the big leagues, showing limited power as well, with 2 home runs in 87 at bats. He has obviously had limited opportunities in the MLB, and therefore will be given an opportunity to win the job in the spring training. However, to do so, he must beat out Leon and veteran Chris Snyder.
Leon has had even less major league experience than Solano. Leon has 37 career at bats, with only one coming in 2013, accounting for a .258 career batting average. Leon appears to lack power as well as he has never hit a MLB home run. Leon does not appear to be a viable candidate for the 25-man roster currently, but a strong spring training could change his standing with the organization.
31 year old Chris Snyder is the player I believe will be the Nationals backup catcher in 2014. Snyder has experience in the MLB, playing in 6 different organizations. Snyder is .224 hitter with 77 home runs, and made his major league debut in 2004 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Snyder provides the experience a solid backup often possesses, and could be a good addition to an already strong locker room. Look for Snyder to begin the 2014 season on the 25-man roster, beating out Leon and Solano for the final spot on the roster.
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