In less than two months, the 2014 baseball season will begin. The Texas Rangers are poised to return to the postseason, but there are a good amount of questions surrounding the season.
Question: Will Geovany Soto and J.P. Arencibia be able to produce at the plate?
Over the years, the Rangers have seen a gradual decline in offensive production from their catchers. Will 2014 continue that trend or buck it? It will be up to former backup, turned starter Geovany Soto and power-hitting/one-trick pony J.P. Arencibia to see to it.
In 2011, the Rangers got production from their catcher they hadn't seen since the days of Pudge Rodriguez when Mike Napoli exploded to a torrid second half. In 2012, Napoli regressed back to what he's been his entire career and then was let go following the year. In 2013, the Rangers took a chance on veteran A.J. Pierzynski. Pierzynski gave the Rangers an uptick from 2012, hitting .272 with 17 homers and 70 RBIs while Soto served in a backup role.
This year, Soto has been elevated to a starting gig for the first time since he was with the Chicago Cubs, for whom he won NL Rookie of the Year honors in 2008 before seeing his numbers nose-dive, particularly his batting average, which went from .285 in 2008 to sub-.200 in 2012, which was split between the Cubs and Rangers.
Arencibia has averaged 20 home runs over the last three seasons in a catching timeshare, which will also be the case in 2013, so if he can provide that kind of power in Globe Life Park, it would go a long way in ramping up offensive production from the position, as well.