For several years now, the Brewers have been spoiled at the catcher position. In the early to mid 2010s it was two time All-Star Jonathan Lucroy in combination with Martin Maldonado behind home plate. After Lucroy’s departure, Manny Pina stepped in and did quite well. Eric Kratz was briefly a Brewer in 2018 as well as Jacob Nottingham on multiple occasions throughout the years. Most recently it has been Omar Narvaez as the every day guy.
Following the 2021 season, Pina elected to sign with the Atlanta Braves. This left the Brewers in search of a backup catcher and eventually led to the signing of Pedro Severino. Unfortunately on Tuesday it was announced that Severino was being suspended 80 games. The suspension was a direct result to testing positive for clomiphene, which is a banned substance under MLB’s PED prevention program.
With Severino out for over half of the season, who are some internal options to fill in as the backup catcher?
Following the suspension, the Brewers have just three catchers on the 40 man roster. Those players are Omar Narvaez, Brett Sullivan, and Mario Feliciano. Narvaez is already a lock to play a vast majority of the time, so let’s take a look at both Sullivan and Feliciano.
Sullivan was signed out of the Rays organization this last off-season. He is 28 years old, bats left handed, and has zero major league experience. At the Triple-A level last year he hit just .223 with a .677 OPS. Given his lack of experience and batting from the same side as Narvaez, this does not make him an ideal candidate to call up to the active roster for opening day.
Feliciano was drafted by the Brewers 75th overall during the MLB 2016 draft. He is 23 years old, bats right handed, and has just one game of major league experience. He struggled with a shoulder injury last season. This led to him playing in just 39 games. Given his lack of major league experience and his development being delayed last year, calling him up to the majors also does not sound ideal long term.
Opening day is scheduled for April 7. This leaves the Brewers pressed on time, so it is possible that one of these two begins the year at the major league level. Looking ahead long term, I would expect the Brewers to explore external options to fill the backup catcher position.
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