2009 Projection: Chris Coste – Phillies Nation

2009 Projection: Chris Coste

Chris Coste, C/IF (RHB)
Age: 36

2008: 274 AB / 28 R / 9 HR / 36 RBI / 16 BB / 51 SO / 0 SB / .263 AVG / .325 OBP / .423 SLG

Summary: You wouldn’t have known it, but Chris Coste had a better season in 2008 than in 2007. With about 50 fewer plate appearances than Ruiz, Coste improved on his counting statistics and most of his averages. It helped that Coste finally spent an entire season with the big club; still, he remained a platoon/backup. His contact percentages improved slightly, but not enough to show significant ownership of the strike zone. Coste remained a mostly fastball hitter, and one who can tear left-handed pitching (.296/.363/.519). Despite more than 100 fewer appearances against lefties, Coste matched his RBI total with his righty split (18). Coste remained tough to figure defensively; while critics say he’s worse than Ruiz, his metrics show he’s just as good, if not better. And pitchers were generally strong with Coste as backstop — he remains Brett Myers’ favorite target.

Career Level: Descent (Year 1)

Green Flags: With more time, Coste seems to remain a consistent hitter with climbing counting numbers. That’s the mark of a good player. … He has proven to be an above-average contact hitter with his .328 2006. … With 30 more at bats, Coste is an absolute possibility for double-digit home run power.

Red Flags: Though the great lefty numbers, Coste is still hard to swallow against righties. … His strikeout numbers ballooned, and he still doesn’t take nearly as much as he should. … His high average of balls in play shows luck is on his side a lot. That may change.

Prognostication: Now that Coste is locked in to the backup catcher role, he’ll likely be used against left-handed arms. That’s a role that can suit Coste well, as he rips left-handed pitching. He can also spell Ryan Howard a smidge of time at first base, if necessary. Now, Ruiz’s emergence defensively won’t help with his at bats, so expect a possible decrease in counting numbers, but close to normal averages.

2009 Projection: 227 AB / 19 R / 6 HR / 29 RBI / 10 BB / 43 SO / 0 SB / .277 AVG / .313 OBP / .411 SLG



  1. Chuck P

    March 31, 2009 at 11:47 am

    How about this for a red flag…

    He batted .350, .321 and .267, respectively, during the months of April, May and June. .208, .267 and .107, respectively, July, August and September. Further, he has carried that downward momentum into spring, where he is batting .130 with 6 strikeouts in 23 ab.

    Coste is a clutch hitter but if he has to play catcher everyday for an extended period of time I think that we’re in trouble…

  2. Griffin

    March 31, 2009 at 11:48 am

    I just wanted to post something I saw on Jayson Stark’s column regarding Ronny Paulino:
    Before the Phillies traded Ronny Paulino to the Giants (who then dealt him to Florida), the Mets and Marlins were also interested. I surveyed four scouts Saturday on the Paulino-for-Jack Taschner deal. They all voted it a steal for the Phillies. “Good thing the Phillies traded Paulino when they did,” said one. “The more they showcased him, the worse he got.”

    I’m glad Coste is back.

  3. OZ

    March 31, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    i am very happy with Coste as the backup catcher.

    in other news, did my first ever Sprng trnng this past wkdn – that was the freakin’ life. Sat – went to Bradenton to see Phils v. Pirates. Howard hit a bomb…..some other guys hit a few dingers on a wind-friendly day.

    Sunday – v. RedSox. hats off to the Phils for holding tickets for game day walk-ups (not sure if that is the norm, but they’d been unavaible on line). great stadium. lots of nice folks in the stands.

    hope to make this a yearly get away…

  4. Bruce

    March 31, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Tim’s “projections” or more accurately put,.. predictions for Coste is based on assumption that Ruiz can stay healthy and won’t hurt the team offensively in order to play regularly and have a majority of ABs. Personally, I don’t have as much confidence in Ruiz as some here do. His BA has slipped the past years and last season it bordered on the “Mendoza line” (.219). Defensively, there is little difference between Ruiz and Coste. As Tim noted, in communicating with the pitchers, Coste is ” … generally strong .. as backstop — he remains Brett Myers’ favorite target.” I think Manuel feels confident that he can go with either catcher in a given situation regardless of the opposing team. So it would not surprise me to see Coste have at least an equal amount of ABs as Ruiz’s this season.

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