Looking Ahead: Catcher

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In what will be a daily post, we'll talk about the upcoming season for the Texas Rangers and where guys fit in on the roster. It's almost baseball time!

Yorvit Torrealba gave the Texas Rangers and their fans quite a bit to be happy about over the first half of 2011. On the season, he hit .273 and carried more than his own weight behind the plate and in his handling of the Rangers' young pitching staff.

But what he did paled in comparison to what his position mate did over the second half of the season when Mike Napoli suddenly turned into one of baseball's best hitters and flashed defense that no one knew he had.

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Napoli went from hitting in the low- to mid-.200s over the first half of the season as a part-time player to hitting .380 over the second half while wrestling away the starting catching job from Torrealba. Napoli finished the season with career highs in doubles (25), home runs (30), RBIs (75) and batting average (.320) when his previous high was in the .270s.

If you had to make a smart bet for the 2012 season, it would be that Napoli doesn't repeat his performance from last season. It's just what the statistics tell us. The Rangers would love if it happened again, but don't count on it.

That means there will be a bigger split at catcher between the two in 2012 than many Rangers fans might think.

“I have two quality catchers and they are both going to get time,” Washington told Sporting News. “I plan on using Napoli the same way I used him last year. He may get a few more games behind the plate, but he will play first and he will DH a few times."

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