Catcher: Buck vs Barajas

So, we've signed a new catcher to replace our old one. Some people will tell you it's an upgrade, let's have a closer look:

Name: John Buck

Pos: Catcher

Height: 6'3"

Weight: 220lbs

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

Born: 07-July-1980, in Kemerer, Wyoming

College: None

Drafted: 1998 - 7th Round by the Houston Astros

2010 Salary: $2 Million

Batting Stats (Three Year Average)

G - 94

AB - 301

R - 35

H - 69

2B - 18

3B - 2

HR - 12

RBI - 44

BB - 29

K - 81

SB - 1

CS - 1

AVG - .231

OBP - .304

SLG - .426

OPS - .730

Fielding Stats (Three Year Average)

Innings Played - 747

Errors - 8

Fielding % - .985

Past Balls - 3

% Thrown Out - 18%

While in the minors John Buck made a name for himself for being a defensive minded catcher who was known for handling a pitching staff well. But, since he's reached the majors, his defense has steadily declined, specifically his throwing. He threw out 33% of potential base stealers his first three years but then tanked the next three throwing out only 20%. Offensively he has some decent pop, and is a hitter who can work the count. He does swing at bad pitches from time to time, and his average will never be more than .250.

Name: Rod Barajas

Pos: Catcher

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 250lbs

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

Born: 05-September-1975, in Ontario, California

College: Cerritos (CA) Junior College

Drafted: Undrafted

2009 Salary: $2.5 Million

Batting Stats (Three Year Average)

G - 92

AB - 300

R - 34

H - 71

2B - 17

3B - 0

HR - 11

RBI - 43

BB - 19

K - 53

SB - 0

CS - 0

AVG - .235

OBP - .301

SLG - .402

OPS - .703

Fielding Stats (Three Year Average)

Innings Played - 687

Errors - 3

Fielding % - .994

Past Balls - 3

% Thrown Out - 35%

Rod Barajas was an undrafted free agent signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks, and was on the team that won a World Series in 2001. He has decent pop, hits for a low average due to his abnormally long swing and supremely slow running speed. He is able to produce with runners on, but his swing is too long to continuously produce when he is down in the count. He has an inconsistent approach at the plate, often going into prolonged slumps. Defensively he handles the pitching staff well, has a good arm and is a smart catcher.

The Upgrade?

So where exactly is the upgrade here? We just sent $6 Million to the Phillies, so saving $500,000 on an everyday catcher probably isn't the issue. Is it age? Buck is 5 years younger than Barajas. Offensively they look identical, except for the fact that Buck both walks and strikes out more than Barajas. Defensively though is probably where the difference is. Going from a catcher who throws out 35% of runners trying to steal to 18% is a big jump. Especially on a team that is trying to rebuild with young pitchers. Buck signed a one year deal, leading me to believe that he's just a fill in for the rebuilding Jays until any of the long list of catchers of the future are ready. With Barajas wanting a multi-year deal and the Jays firmly in the "bed shitting" mode, John Buck fills the gap nicely. He's gonna be playing for a long term contract as well. He wants to show the other 29 teams that he can be a steady contributor. So I guess it's all part of the master plan of new GM Alex Anthopoulos. Sign a major league tested free agent catcher to get the team over the hump until (insert catcher of the future's name here) is ready.


  1. The 18% thrown out percentage worries me, but it probably made sense to let Barajas walk. The OPS is at least respectably over .700. Barajas flirts way too close with it. I think AA knew he was going to get a top-flight catching prospect back in return for Doc, so wanted a stop-gap. Barajas, after driving in that many runs last season, was looking for a longer-term deal, and more money.

  2. That's exactly what I think. I believe that if Barajas was open to signing a one year deal, AA would have signed him. But with the 2-3 decent catching prospects they have in the system, Buck is a nice bridge to them