The New York Mets as a whole went 77-85 in 2011. As suggested by the sub-par record, there were a fair share of ups and downs throughout the season. “2011 Season in Review,” which will be an on-going series, will analysis every single Mets player that picked up a ball or glove in 2011, for better or worse. This particular “2011 Season in Review” will take a look at catcher Ronny Paulino.
After being non-tendered by the Florida Marlins post-2010, Ronny Paulino faced a career-threatening disposition. The right-handed hitter was no longer viewed as a potential starting catcher, and had posted just a .259/.311/.354 line in 344 plate appearances in 2010. In addition, the former Pittsburgh Pirates prospect had also tested positive for performance-enhancing substances–knocking him out for 50 games. Needless to say, the 30 year-old was facing an uphill battle.
Luckily for Paulino, not everyone in baseball was so closed-minded. Sandy Alderson saw value in the righty as a backup to youngster Josh Thole, but also as a potential platoon partner versus left-handed pitching. The thought wasn’t crazy, as Paulino had bashed a .358/.380/.516 line against southpaws in 2010 (and owns a .330/.385/.475 career line to-date). The Mets inked the catcher to a one-year, $1.35 million contract (with various performance bonuses). Considering Paulino would still be under team control at the conclusion of the 2011 season, it seemed like an all-around smart signing.
Paulino made his Mets debut on April 29, missing almost the entire first month due to suspension and a strange blood test abnormality. In his first full month (May), the backup did not disappoint, smacking a .333/.396/.354 line in 53 plate appearances. June was even more prolific for the Santo Domingo-native, posting a .364/.386/.527 line. However, from that point on, Paulino struggled mightily, owning a collective .202/.250/.274 line in 136 plate appearances. On the season, the righty collected a .268/.312/.351 line with 2 homeruns, 19 RBI, and 19 runs.
Ronny Paulino’s 2011 season was more or less a “success”–depending on what you expect out of a backup catcher. He hit well–as advertised–against left-handed pitching (.289/.363/.389 line), but also posted his highest career contact rate (85.3%), and a superb 73.3% O-Contact% (contact rate for pitches outside the zone), which was 11.5% above his 2010 rate. However, Paulino’s defense was a little suspect. Among catchers with at least 200 innings, Paulino posted the eleventh worst caught-stealing percentage, throwing out just 20.3% of runners. He also had 6 pass balls, which ties him with Yadier Molina–but in 639 less innings than Cardinals’ defensive-wiz.
It’s a safe assumption that the Mets will not tender Paulino a contact, and might look for a better defensive upgrade for their backup catcher in 2012 (i.e. Kelly Shoppach). Given Josh Thole‘s struggles behind the dish, it might make more sense to have a more defensive-minded backup than a pure platoon partner like Paulino.
Topics: 2011 Season In Review, 2011 Season In Review Paulino, 2011 Season In Review Ronny Paulino, Ben Berkon, Catchers, Josh Thole, Kelly Shoppach, Mets, Mets Paulino, Mets Ronny Paulino, New York, New York Mets, New York Mets Paulino, New York Mets Ronny Paulino, NL Catchers, Paulino, Rising Apple, Ronny Paulino, Yadier Molina