Rangers’ camp is seeing a few positions with lots of competition. The fifth starter spot, left field, third base, and the backup catcher are the hot spots in the final week of Spring. While fans can pinpoint certain players as having the edge over others, the backup catcher spot is the largest tossup among the team. Both Jose Trevino and Jonah Heim were in the majors all last season (both missed some time due to either injury or COVID), but the club didn’t option either one. Jonah and Jose combined to start 154 of the team’s 162 games in 2021 behind the plate (Trevino 81, Heim 73), and by Opening Day, one likely receives the bad news that they didn’t make the team.
“They came into camp ready,” Chris Woodward said. “I think both guys had dug in a ton on the pitching side and in the game calling and receiving.” The stat sheet in Spring is near even between the two, with no one running away with the position. “I like what I’m seeing from both guys,” Woodward said. “I think Jonah came in with; I’m going to take this attitude. He’s been awesome as Trevino has. Both have tried to come into came and said I’m going to take this job [and] when it comes offensively, it’s too small to tell.”
Meantime Rangers Jonah Heim laces a single up the middle. pic.twitter.com/BYNbbQogYU
— Alex Plinck🏳️🌈 (@aplinckTX) March 27, 2022
As for the pitchers like Taylor Hearn and the Rangers 2022 Opening Day starter, Jon Gray, both of them rave about Trevino and Heim’s similar qualities. “They each bring the same thing,” Taylor Hearn told me. “I think Jonah and Trevi bring good leadership. One thing I love about them and Mitch [is] they work with pitchers really well. They make it easy for my job.”
“They both make you feel confident, just going through the motions,” Jon Gray said. “I’ve had good and bad catchers, but the guys that take pride in your pitching game too, and that’s what those guys do, and that’s what I like. It’s cool to have catchers who want to own the pitching too, and they take a lot of pride in it.”
Gray told me he’s worked with Jose Trevino the most out of the three catchers, including Tuesday’s “B” game. “I played against [Jose] a lot, solid player,” Gray said. “He’s even better with the work behind the plate, makes you feel totally confident, and he explains why everything works so well. It’s nice to have someone you feel like you’re on the same page with.”
Jose Trevino with a nice block and throw down to catch the runner trying to advance to second. #Rangers
— Alex Plinck🏳️🌈 (@aplinckTX) March 29, 2022
How does the club make the difficult decision? With Mitch Garver designated as starting catcher, it’s about who compliments Garver more. “Who can have quality [at-bats] not in an everyday role?” Woodward said. “They kind of had spurts where one played more than the other, but it was a back and forth thing. I want to make sure that it stays true, but we have to make a decision as an organization to say, who’s going to give us the best options moving forward because I think you can make an argument for both.” “It’s hard to pick and say one is better than the other at what,” Hearn told me. “They both have strong arms, they both can swing it, they’re both really good clubhouse, guys. I love both of them, [and I] try to work with both of them in the offseason, so it’s kind of hard.”
One of a few differentiations between Heim and Trevino is that Jonah is a switch hitter, which gives Chris Woodward more options. “That helps. There’s no question it helps from the right/left,” Woody told me. “If there’s a matchup-tough lefty, I can get one of the left-handed hitters out of the lineup, maybe put Mitch in the DH. I can shuffle things around. With Trevino being right-handed, it was a little disadvantage [and] Jonah can switch around.” I would say that’s an edge that Jonah has on Jose, but I wouldn’t expect the organization to decide based on that one specific fact. These next few days will get intense because right now, I would say no one has a distinct advantage for the backup catcher job.
My prediction: Jose Trevino
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