Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Meet Craig Tatum

Orioles MLB.com Beat Reporter Britt Ghiroli is full of information this morning. She has now reported that, in a mild upset, that Craig Tatum has won the backup catcher spot from Chad Moeller.

So who is Craig Tatum?

The Reds drafted Tatum out of Mississippi State with their 3rd round pick in 2004. Tatum's bat never came around like the Reds hoped it would and they placed him on waivers this offseason. Tatum has a career minor league batting line of .253/.318/.385 and hit .239/.300/.338 last year for AAA Louisville. According to MinorLeagueSplits.com, that a Major League Equivalent of .203/.253/.276. That's a .529 OPS and that's offensive futility on a Paul Bako level, even lower than Chad Moeller's career line.

So how's his arm? For his minor league career, Tatum has thrown out 32% of opposing base runners which is pretty damn good these days. However, he only threw out 21% of base runners last season in AAA. Chad Moeller has thrown out 24% over the course of his career but you can make the argument that Tatum will be at least marginally better in this regard.

So the question comes down to this: Is Tatum's defense good enough to offset his potentially horrible bat? I don't know. I have seen Moeller play and he looks like a pretty good defensive catcher. I haven't seen Tatum, so outside of throwing out opposing base runners, I have nothing to base that on. But he had better be unbelievable behind the plate if he's not going to break the .600 OPS mark or somebody on the AAA roster's going to get a crack this summer.

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