Raising Questions: Bako or Marson? – Phillies Nation

Raising Questions: Bako or Marson?

Paul Bako’s biggest moment as a Phillie came on July 11 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bako’s walk-off single capped an 8-7 come from behind win. Lou Marson’s biggest Phillies moment came on the last day of the 2008 season. He clubbed his first Major League home run, walking into the dugout only to receive the silent treatment.

With Chris Coste gone and Carlos Ruiz as the everyday catcher, Paul Bako has found himself a home as the Phillies backup catcher. However, is Lou Marson a better option?

Marson could find himself dealt by the trade deadline. Keeping him in Triple-A may keep his value higher in case he struggles in the bigs, but Marson is very close to being, if not already, Major League material. In addition, the Phillies might want him to get playing time instead of sitting next to John Mayberry Jr.

Marson does not hit for power, but his average is a solid .295 after returning from an injury. His on-base-percentage is an impressive .384, and he has shown his patience during his cup of coffee, drawing three walks in 17 at-bats (one which led to Shane Victorino’s grand slam against the Marlins).

Bako hasn’t done much at the dish. He is batting .195, and in 24 more at-bats than Marson had with the Phillies, Bako has the same amount of walks (3). Bako has not homered and has a total of four runs batted in. Bako isn’t there for his bat; he is there mainly for his defense.

Bako has called a good game; his catcher’s ERA is 3.74, but that stat is mostly dependent on the pitchers. Bako hasn’t done anything eye-popping which has stood out. He has made one error and threw out one runner in seven chances, but he doesn’t come close to Chooch behind the plate.

Don’t take away from Marson’s catching abilities. It’s not easy for a catcher to come up and learn a whole new set of pitchers, but Marson’s defense is impressive. In limited Major League playing time, Marson has already thrown out three runners attempting to steal. That may have to do with runners being unfamiliar with him, but he has a cannon. He has thrown out 18 runners with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

It isn’t like Marson is a stranger to the Phillies. Marson was found in the middle of the NLDS clincher celebration, in the bullpen catching various pitchers during the postseason, and in the World Series parade despite not being on the playoff roster. He knows what a playoff atmosphere is like, despite not playing in one. He also played in the Olympics, where he batted .308 against some of the world’s finest.

At 37, Bako has the experience over the 23 year old Marson. It has been a vicious cycle that the Phillies upper positional prospects are blocked and don’t make an impact until their mid-to-late 20’s (see Chase Utley being blocked by Placido Polanco). Is it time for the Phillies to go with a young guy? Who should the Phillies rely on as their backup catcher, Paul Bako, or Lou Marson?

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  1. Chutley

    July 28, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    i vote for Halladay…………………R.I.P Jim Johnson

  2. The Little Guy

    July 28, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    I thought the reason Bako was signed was to help the young players in AAA and now he finds himself in the Majors?

    Go with Marson

  3. Memphis

    July 28, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Marson needs as many ABs as he can get. Bako isn’t blocking Marson. Ruiz is blocking Marson. Bring him up when the rosters expand, maybe, but give the kid as many ABs and innings as he can get. Nothing wrong with a 23-yo catcher at AAA.

  4. Michael N.

    July 28, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    ill take Marson can’t be worse then Bako and since were doing that lets drop Eric Bruntlett off the back of the team bus on a road trip so we can bring up DOnald to replace him if he isn’t traded.

  5. Kennedy

    July 28, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    May as well give him ABs in the minors for now, call him up when we go to 40 men. Give him ABs then. Its not like the division race is tight.

  6. lefty44

    July 28, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    if he stays in AAA he will get say 80 ab’s in august if he comes up say he gets 15 abs in august i think the 15 abs in the bigs will do him more good, bye bye bako ,hello sweet Lou

  7. Keystone

    July 28, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    I go with the Charlie argument he uses with Mayberry, thats why winter ball is played for younger guys to get their AB’s they dont get with the bigs. Marson…its a no-brainer.

  8. 85 (60and6.wordpress.com)

    July 28, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    If Bako was the other option, I still don’t see the point of releasing Coste. But I’d agree with what a lot of people above have said. Keep Marson at LHV until the rosters expand, then give him all these at-bats Bako’s been getting lately.

  9. Chris.I

    July 28, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    This is an Absolute no brainer question. Bako is a decent average catcher, and calls a pretty good game, but his offense is terrible. I would have chosen Coste over Bako anyday, and agree with the one guy on here….Why the hell did they release him? Made no sense. If Marson isn’t included in a trade by Friday, I suspect him to be called up and Bako Optioned or released.

  10. Barney

    July 28, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Marson. Times infinity

  11. therookie300

    July 28, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    There was something going on with Coste’s game-calling. He seemed to fall out of favor with Charlie and then he was gone.

  12. lefty44

    July 28, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    yeah i think Coste and Lidge had a little tif also

  13. Kenny

    July 28, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    How many times do you get a chance to repeat? Well, [the Phillies’] chance to repeat, to me, depends on whether they can get Roy Halladay. Heck, if they get him, they’ve got a chance to three-peat.

    A very famous baseball excutive.

  14. Andrew

    July 28, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Marson needs to be included in a trade somewhere.
    we have a world champion catcher already. His name is Carlos Ruiz.

  15. Rich

    July 28, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    The only way Lou’s going to be our guy of the future is coming up and doing it. Besides, we have D’Arnaud, and some of you love him, so if Marson’s here Saturday, maybe it’s time now to test him out. If he’s a .295 hitter in AAA, and can do anything nearly in the realm of that (hell, I’ll take .250 behind the dish for us anymore), he has a shot. If not, we know where our future is.

  16. psujoe

    July 28, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Kenny, While I agree landing Halladay makes the Phils the front runner I still think they can win it all by gettig Wedderburn or Lee. Especially if Myers and MArtinez pan out.

  17. Manny

    July 28, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Jays scouting Donald…

  18. Kenny

    July 28, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    I agree. What scares me is if you give up Drabek then you have to get Halladay. I dont mind Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Happ.

  19. MP

    July 28, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Kenny, we’d have to give up drabek for halladay or lee. If we’re giving up our top prospect (and we should for doc) why would we settle for lee who would be a consumation prize for not getting halladay?

  20. maxhole

    July 28, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    mitch is drunk on the wild pitch tonight. anyone else listening to his hickups?

  21. Don M

    July 28, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    throwing out runners has nothing to do with calling a good game behind the plate, or handling pitchers and pitches..

    when Marson is actually ready, he’ll play in the big leagues.. lets not try to rush him

  22. Barney

    July 28, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Trade Ruiz. He just isnt producing anymore

  23. Dan

    July 28, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    if marson was gonna be the backup coste would still be here. I dont think charlie wanted two right handed catchers. bako is leftie which is why he is the backup. If the phils were going to call up marson the may as well have kept coste.

  24. Tim

    July 29, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Bring back Sal Fasano

  25. Bruce

    July 29, 2009 at 12:52 am

    Tim, “Sal’s Pals” would love that. 🙂

  26. Tim

    July 29, 2009 at 1:12 am

    Roy Halladay should catch

  27. A Train

    July 29, 2009 at 1:41 am

    Bako is not that good. Bring up Lou.

    Bruntlett is worse that Bako. Bring up Jason.

  28. Matt

    July 29, 2009 at 5:38 am

    Lou, at least to me, seems to be the most MLB-Ready prospect in the Phillies minor league affiliates. That being said, I always kinda wondered why Marson didn’t permanently have the back-up position behind Ruiz by the time Coste was cut.

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  30. Don M

    July 29, 2009 at 9:13 am

    I have a hard time believing that people still don’t understand how PROSPECTS should play everyday in the minor leagues, and continue to develop their game… instead of trying to get them to join the Major League roster, only to serve as a backup..

    Bako has been better than expected behind the plate.. why replace him with Marson before the Sept-callups ?? … Bruntlett hasn’t been great by any means.. but what makes anyone think that Jason Donald would be any better in that same, limited playing time..?

    Everyone wanted Mayberry Jr. and couldn’t understand why they didn’t make him the Righty-bench bat… and then when they did bring him up, nobody could understand why he wasn’t hitting HR’s when he would get that Pinch-Hit at-bat every other game …

    Let’s wait on our prospects.. no need to rush someone from AA or AAA to the Majors, ESPECIALLY if they wouldn’t even have playing time.

  31. Don M

    July 29, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Anyone think that the Red Sox offer, including Buchholz and Bowden is way better than our offer? and the Blue Jays still turned it down..

  32. NJ

    July 29, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Who knows what to think of believe with the Halladay saga, the Jays front-office has spun such a web of BS around the whole affair it would be great even for a brief moment, to know what’s actually going on…

  33. Joe

    July 29, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Chooch is a great catcher and is our number one. His hitting stinks right now, but he will be ok. In the meantime, I see no need for Bako to be around. When Marson is back in the swing of things, bring him up and unload Bako. Chooch and Bako are splitting time now, so they can do the same with Marson….the upside to Marson is much greater than with Bako.

  34. Cole

    July 29, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    too late…..

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