ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 08: Robinson Chirinos #61 of the Texas Rangers celebrates with closing pitcher Joakim Soria #28 of the Texas Rangers after the Rangers beat the Colorado Rockies 5-0 at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 8, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Back before spring training, the Texas Rangers saw Geovany Soto as their starting catcher and newly signed J.P. Arencibia as a guy who might benefit from a change of scenery with a big-time power bat who could work his way into a possible platoon or even a starting gig.
Robinson Chirinos was also on the roster after a little swim through for the Rangers in 2013 as someone who showed a little promise in his limited time last year.
As the spring went on, there were hints Chirinos could be improving his stock within the organization, especially after Soto was sidelined with knee surgery that has him on the shelf until some time in July. Of course, during that time, Arencibia proved why he was let go by Toronto as he couldn't hit his way out of a wet paper sack if his life depended on it.
That left Chirinos as the lone man standing, and so far he's lived up to the pressure and has more than adequately served the Rangers behind the plate as the everyday catcher, getting a day off from time to time to rest while Arencibia stinks up the joint.
Chirinos has had some big hits, including a walkoff hit earlier this season, but he's really made an impact behind the plate, specifically in limiting opponents' running games.
So far this year, Chirinos has cut down nine of the 20 poor folks who tried to run on him, including two in Monday night's win over Houston. That's good for a 45 percent caught-stealing rate. Both numbers put him second in the American League behind Alex Avila (caught stealings) and Ryan Hanigan (caught stealing %).
The Rangers haven't had a catcher throwing out runners at this rate since the days of Pudge Rodriguez. We're not comparing the two by any means, but it's been nice to have an intimidating force behind the plate, even if it is just a good stretch for an otherwise average player.