Most analysts/fans seem to think that the 2022 starting Mets catcher will be incumbent James McCann, who just completed the first year of his four-year contract. McCann will be playing in his age 32 season this year. His 2021 year was not inspiring, and he is at an age where players tend to decline, particularly catchers.

Last year his slash line was .232/.294/.349. That’s not very good at all, but those are figures that could be lived with if he put up good defense at the premium catching position. However, he did not accomplish that last year. On attempted steals, he had a 27% success rate, which is decent. His overall DRS, however, was in negative territory at -5 which obviously is bad. There is another catcher on the Mets roster who should be considered for the starting role.

That of course is Tomas Nido, the backup receiver for the Mets for the past few seasons. In 2021 Nido was subpar as a hitter, putting up a .222/.261/.327 line, even worse than McCann. However, there were some extenuating circumstances. Nido was plagued by injuries to both his thumb and wrist, obviously those body components are critical to a batting swing. When he was relatively healthy, in May, he slashed .292/.340/.583 in 50 PA; the rest of the year, not so much. Nido had retooled his swing prior to 2020, however that year was already a shortened season and Nido missed time due to the Covid virus. He only had 50 PA, but he hit .282/.340/.583 in that small sample.

Defense, however, is where Nido really shined last year. Nido logged 365 innings behind the plate in 2021, due to his being the backup with lost time to injuries. In that time he posted a very impressive CS rate of 57%, nine bases were stolen against him but 12 prospective base stealers were thrown out. Apparently, he really improved his pitch framing as well. Statcast actually had him as the top pitch framer among catchers in 2021. His overall defensive ability was at +10 as measured by DRS. These are the kind of numbers that are at Gold Glove caliber if projected across a full season.

Some might say is it reasonable to expect that a career backup like Nido could morph into a good starting catcher at his age? Well, we do have a good example that occurred just last season. Jacob Stallings had basically been a career backup catcher for the Pirates, that is until last year when he won the starting job. He was not only the starting backstop, but he also hauled home some hardware, specifically the 2021 catching Gold Glove for the National league. He did it, I might add, in his age-31 season.

Lurking in the Mets’ farm system is highly-rated catching prospect Francisco Alvarez. He may not make the big club this year but he is expected to be a strong contender for the starting catching position on the Mets sooner rather than later.

Normally, you might expect the battle for the 2022 starting catching spot to be fought out during ST, but of course this year we can expect a much-shorter spring training period than usual, and in the worst case no ST and no season. But if there is to be a season, new skipper Buck Showalter would be wise to have an open mind about who will be donning the catching gear for the Mets for the opening pitch.

7 comments on “Tomas Nido could shake up the Mets catching corps

  • JimmyP

    If Nido produces, he’ll find his name in the lineup more often.

    In the hundreds of games I managed at a variety of levels, I said the same thing: managers don’t “decide” who plays when and where; the players reveal it.

  • Metsense

    Tomas Nido has a career OPS+ of 54 and when he had PA more than 90 , which had in 3 seasons, he had OPS+ was 23, 45 and 61. Career-wise he has 431 PA. Yes, he had 26 wonderful PA in 2020 and strong 50 PA in May 2021 but what about the other 355 PA that make up the majority of his career? His defense, career-wise, is average and he has a 23% CS. He is appealing as a backup catcher because he is 28 with 3 years of control and the major league back up catcher position is thin.
    McCann worst year was a 57 OPS+ which is better than Nido’s career OPS+ of 54. McCann also has a career 35% CS. Nido is not better than McCann and should not start in front of McCann.

  • TexasGusCC

    John, I’m with you. Not saying that Nido will be able to lay claim to the job, but certainly should be given a chance if he is producing and McCann can’t.

    • Foxdenizen

      Thanks Gus I definitely think there is some up;side to Nido

  • NYM6986

    Let’s face it McCann will be the starter and if he rebounds half way to his big offensive season that will blow away what can Nido do at the plate. It is only up hill for him. Happy to have Nido as a great backup and thrilled to have him push McCann for more playing time.

  • Wobbit

    No one can say for certain what Nido can do at the plate. His PAs are so minimal and sporadic, that he remains a mystery. McCann on the other hand has a fairly low ceiling. I think Nido should get a legit shot.

    • JimmyP

      We can say for certain, but up to now he’s a guy who swings at everything.

      Career 116 Ks and only 18 walks. Career SLG is .322.

      Maybe it all gets better. A lot of talk about the new swing. But the approach is bad and has not changed.

      I like him as a backup and I think the pitchers like throwing to him. A smart & funny guy and, I think, solid in the clubhouse.

      If he wants to play more, all he has to do is hit.

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