Welcome to this years 2019 Hot Theory for the Dongers Club. This is a theory that we have introduced in the past but feel is going to be consistent and very productive in 2019 based on a few key factors. Last year was peak LiC as we saw the Lefties in Cleveland really take rake with guys like Eddie Rosario and Shohei Ohtani have some huge games in Cleveland. Fear not, LiC will still be around in 2019 as well but there is a special theory that I am double down on this year.
When Zach Greinke left the Dodgers it presented a unique opportunity for his former teammates to beat up on him, but nobody more than Yasmani Grandal. Someone who had caught Greinke during his time while in Los Angeles. Grandal has gone 10 for 38 with 3 HR and 2 doubles against Greinke since they have split up. If you are believer in BvP then you believe in the core theory that a player has good success against a pitcher (or in a ballpark for that matter) because of their comfort in seeing the pitches. Who has more history and success against a former pitcher than his former catcher?
Beyond Grandal we can point to other cases like Wilson Ramos with Tampa last year homering off his former Nationals pitching or Jason Castro against his former Astros. But then there is the ultimate catcher and pitcher combination of Tyler Flowers and Chris Sale. There has been no more concrete theory than Tyler Flowers & Chris Sale over the past three seasons. They have met twice and both times Flowers got the better of Sale. But Flowers and Sale are a unique combination with their bond as tight friends to the point where my Chris Sale theory has transitioned with him to Boston and that is he makes it so easy for his catchers that they produce when he is pitching.
We’re going to go to the max this year with catchers and their former pitchers because we have a TON of off-season movement at the backstop position.
Below are a list of notable catchers who have changed teams this off-season.
- Mike Zunino – Tampa Bay (Formerly Seattle) … Zunino isn’t a good hitter with a .210 career batting average. But he will not only get to go back to Seattle to feast on Mariner pitching but being in the AL East he also will face James Paxton multiple times. Load up some Zunino when in Yankee Stadium against Paxton.
- Kurt Suzuki – Washington (Formerly Atlanta) … Kurt is the ultimate day game hitter and the Nats/Braves should most definitely have some day games this year. The entire NL East is loaded with catchers against their former teams and Suzuki is the day game guy among the bunch.
- Robinson Chirinos – Houston (Formerly Texas) … Cherrios might be my favorite one of the bunch. Going from Texas to Houston he’ll see the Rangers arms in great hitting environments.
JT Realmuto – Philadelphia (Formerly Florida) … Realmuto spent just over 4 seasons in Miami and while the Marlins have lots of rookies this year, he should still feast against their bullpen arms.
Jorge Alfaro – Miami (Formerly Philadelphia) … If you don’t think Alfarro is going to homer off Nick Pivetta then I can’t help you.
MID RANGE OPTIONS:
- Yasmani Grandal – Milwaukee (Formerly Dodgers) … Grandal spent the last 4 years in LA after time in San Diego. He’ll do just fine against the Dodgers when they meet.
- Wilson Ramos – NY Mets (Formerly Nationals / Rays) … Ramos will have to do his best to draw a matchup with Strasburg as Gio and Roark are now gone. That said, when Ramos travels to Cincy and does face Roark load up for a double dong day. Please, God, let this be a Monday.
- Jonathan Lucroy – LA Angels (Formerly Oakland) … Lucroy isn’t that good anymore but something tells me he might be in for a nice bounce back season. He has the benefit of facing not only Oakland but also Texas pitchers he might be comfortable with.
THE GARBAGE (Guys who prove the theory)
- Nick Hundley (SF/SD) … Hundley took Lucroys spot in Oakland, he’ll be a spot starter at best but if we get lucky with him vs SF, load em up.
- Jeff Mathis … No wait. He sucks.
- Yan Gomes (Indians) … Gomes went to Washington to back up Suzuki (split time) and while he has a great opportunity to feast on the Indians arms, he won’t see them until the final series of the year.