Watching Willson Contreras grab his right hamstring in pain while hopping to first on one leg wrecked many a Saturday, but the Cubs fortunately have the depth to handle Contreras’ absence. While Victor Caratini may not be the same offensive force, he has produced 14% more runs than an average hitter this season and his defensive value alone offers comfort.
According to Baseball Prospectus’s framing runs metric, Caratini ranks 26th of 100 qualified catchers. In other words, Caratini has saved more runs than essentially 75% of the league. Baseball Savant’s catch framing metrics also speaks fairly well of Caratini, putting him ahead of 66% of catchers. By comparison, Contreras ranks third to last in pitch framing by Baseball Prospectus and league average by Baseball Savant.
Trading Martín Maldonado just before Contreras injured his hamstring makes for pretty awful timing, but Caratini is more than capable of handling starting duties behind the dish. All things considered, he’s actually far more valuable than Maldonado. Plus, Taylor Davis is a pretty decent defensive catcher.
At least for the near future, Caratini is the Cubs’ starting catcher and he deserves it.