Sunday Insider: Central Intelligence

  • Updated: August 2, 2014 - 7:49 PM

In signing All-Star Kurt Suzuki to a contract extension this week, the Twins were hoping to keep up with the rest of the American League Central, which might have the best set of catchers, top to bottom, of any division in the majors. A look at the division’s other catchers:

Indians: Yan Gomes has been so good behind the plate — he just turned 27, he has 14 home runs and he’s fourth on the team in RBI — that Cleveland moved Carlos Santana out from behind the plate. Gomes’ weakness is his throwing arm, yet he managed to nab 41 percent last year.

Royals: A two-time All-Star, Salvador Perez is the biggest success story among Kansas City’s crop of highly regarded prospects. He’s a lifetime .293 hitter who bats cleanup, and at age 24, he is signed to a long-term contract that won’t pay him as much as Suzuki’s $6 million salary until 2019.

Tigers: Alex Avila hasn’t approached the 19 home run level that made him an All-Star in 2011, and he had slumped to .215 with seven homers this season. But he walks enough to raise his OBP to .328, getting on for the run-producers, and he’s one of the best defensive catchers in the game, throwing out 36 percent of base stealers this year.

White Sox: Tyler Flowers, who nearly lost his job before saving it by batting .354 in April, is the weakest of the Central group. But that’s OK, because Chicago believes its longterm solution is at Class AAA Charlotte, where former first-round pick Josh Phegley had 17 home runs, 24 doubles, and a career 48 percent caught-stealing rate.

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