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Commentary: Future At Catcher Should Be Coste’s To Lose

Carlos Ruiz has been playing poorly all season, while Chris Coste has been playing well all season. Sounds like a change at starting catcher is in order. Right?

So far Ruiz has caught 32 games while Coste has caught 22 games. So Ruiz is still the No. 1 catcher, but as of late, the rotation has resembled more of a platoon.

Here are their statistics:

Carlos Ruiz: 94 AB, 12 R, 1 HR, 12 RBI, .234 AVG, .308 OBP, .309 SLG
Chris Coste: 62 AB, 8 R, 3 HR, 8 RBI, .339 AVG, .423 OBP, .565 SLG

Against lefties, Ruiz is hitting a paltry .208 with a .250 SLG in 30 at bats. Coste, meanwhile, is hitting .375 with a .438 SLG and an awesome .500 OBP. Of course, this is in 20 at bats.

Charlie Manuel is looking toward installing Coste as the one who faces lefties most of the time, but at some point the question has to be raised: Is Carlos Ruiz a long-term solution?

I’d say it’s not a stretch to think Lou Marson, the 21-year-old catching prospect in AA Reading, is next in line. Since a slow start this season, he’s caught fire:

Lou Marson: 108 AB, 16 R, 0 HR, 16 RBI, 24 BB, 24 K, .315 AVG, .436 OBP, .389 SLG

All good numbers, sans the power, which as he is very young, should come around in time. AAA catcher Jason Jaramillo has been a disaster up there and will likely miss the boat when it comes to shore. The way Marson is playing (and he’s pretty good defensively, by the way), he could be up in Philadelphia by next season. He would be backing up whomever and understanding the ropes. So in 2010, the show is Lou’s to take over.

Until then, of course, it’s imperative the Phils stick with the hot hand, and Coste is clearly that hot hand. And it might be most worthy to stick with Coste, giving Marson the right coach for when he rises to the Majors.

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