Diamondbacks Catcher Earns Award

Yesterday I lamented about how the voters glossed over Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds accomplishments when handing out the National League Silver Slugger award. It was not so much that Reynolds didn’t win, it was the fact that the baseball community seemed to completely ignore what he did during the 2009 season.

This would be the perfect time to poetically ramble about how there is a eastern bias towards any sports award. The last thing I need is to stand on that soapbox. I’ll leave it up to the local talk radio hacks to beat that dead horse.

Instead I’ll focus on a more positive subject. The Topps baseball card company announced their selections for their Triple-A All-Star Team. To be quite honest I didn’t expect much exposure for the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system.

Astros Diamondbacks BaseballBy all accounts it is relatively depleted at the Triple-A level. This is due to the fact that just two years ago Arizona promoted most of their major-league ready prospects and those that we’re promoted were part of the Dan Haren deal with the Oakland Athletics.

At the lower levels of the minor leagues the Diamondbacks are grooming several players that should have an impact in Arizona but they are probably a year or two away. For this reason I only haphazardly paid attention to the Topps announcement.

I was therefore caught by surprise to see John Hester’s name listed as a recipient of this award. Hester had a very good yet quiet year in Reno. He hit .328 with nine home runs and 66 RBIs while in Reno. He also threw out an impressive 30 percent of base runners attempting to steal.

With the injury to Chris Snyder, Hester was given a chance at the major leagues and hit a home run in his first at bat, becoming the 101st player to do that. While Diamondbacks fans did not have an opportunity to see Hester play on a regular basis, his talent is legitimate.

The emergence of Hester along with the maturation of Miguel Montero is what is fueling the trade talks for Snyder. If Arizona can find a suitor for Snyder, look for Hester to break camp with the Diamondbacks next spring.

If the Diamondbacks cannot find a deal to their liking for Snyder, Hester will be back in Reno biding his time. It should not be too long before Hester is a regular in a Diamondbacks uniform. At first as Montero’s backup but ultimately he could challenge for the starting catcher’s job.


2 Comments

  1. It’s nice that John Hester was recognized, but to say that his talent is legitimate may be overstating things a bit. Yes, he had a good year, but who doesn’t hit well in Reno? I don’t think hitting .328/.375/.535 at age 25 in Reno is something to be THAT optimistic about. For comparison’s sake, Miguel Montero is only 2 months older and hit .321/.396/.515 at age 22 in Tucson (Tripe A). Also, Chris Snyder never played in Triple A except for this year and hit .301/.389/.520 at age 23 in El Paso (Double A). It seems like John Hester is better behind the plate than Montero, but I would be concerned if his bat is in the lineup every day and would be very surprised if he ever developed into a major league level starting catcher. That being said, I’d be fine with him being the backup and was disappointed that the Blue Jays called off trade talks concerning Snyder for Overbay.

    • A discussion very similar to this occurred when Miguel Montero came up. Few saw him as an everyday catcher. Most had him as a back-up at best to Chris Snyder. Now the same is being said about Hester. I believe Hester will ultimately be a better all-around catcher than Montero. His offensive numbers may not be as strong but his defensive skills are far superior.

      While the Pacific Coast League is notorious as a hitter’s paradise I do think the numbers hold some merit on their own. I am more impressed with the 30 percent base runners he threw out. That is one aspect of Montero’s game that is seriously lacking.

      As to the question of who doesn’t hit well in Reno? I’d probably point to Eric Byrnes, Abraham Nunez, and Tony Clark as three players who do not share your enthusiasm for Aces Ballpark or the PCL.

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