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2013 Houston Astros Season Preview: Carlos Corporan

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Reviewing Astros backup catcher Carlos Corporan and what he offers the team.

Scott Cunningham

I've never been a big fan of Carlos Corporan but I think I may be coming around to the idea of him being a good backup catcher for the Astros. He doesn't hit; he doesn't field; he doesn't seem to even frame pitches very well; but there's just something about him.

2012 Season

Corporan split time between the Oklahoma City Redhawks and the Astros. A majority of his time was spent in Oklahoma City where he hit for a .286 average, .349 on-base percentage and a .447 slugging percentage in 229 plate appearances (PA). After being called up to the majors he posted similar numbers, .269/.310/.449 in 85 more PA. Which is a big improvement over his 2011 season in which he hit .188/.253/.253 in 173 PA.

Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) rates him as slightly above average defensively and his caught stealing numbers had a 16% increase from 2011 to 2012.

2013 Season Outlook

The projection systems predict Corporan to be a replacement level player or better. Offensively Oliver is the most positive with a .294 wOBA and all expect him to have a better walk rate and slightly worse strikeout rate than last year.

Personally I see a trend that makes him an intriguing player going forward. Every year since 2010, particularly in the minors, he's improved offensively. In 2010 he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks system and posted a .870 OPS which should be taken with a grain of salt because it came in Reno a notoriously hitter friendly park. Still in 2011 and 2012 at Oklahoma City he posted back to back 700+ OPS seasons which was something he had yet to do in the minors. He is an older fellow, 29 this season, so there's not much to get excited about but the Astros could do worse at backup catcher.

Conclusion

There's also something about the way Corporan handles the pitching staff and receives the ball that I like. I'm not exactly sure what it is yet but all the studies I have found on pitching framing show a similar positive trend in his ability to frame pitches.

Corporan has never gotten 390 plate appearance in a season indicating that he's always been viewed as a backup catcher by organizations and that's okay. A backup catcher that provides replacement level value or better and has shown improvement the last few years is not something to be overlooked.