It is going to be unfair to hold any catcher TCU plays in 2013 to the standards of the past five years.
Should they fight and hustle like before? Yes.
But the pure offense just isn't there. We have the elite level defense and receiving, we have a top flight thrower, we have a power bat and a few guys we can dream on, but none of that is in one body yet.
So, for now, we try to find the right combination of athletes to fill the big shoes left to them as the quarterback on the diamond. But first, let's look at what we got out of our catchers in 2012.
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There are about four guys who will see playing time behind the plate in 2013, lead by Kyle Bacak from San Jacinto Junior College.
Kyle was originally recruited by TCU back in 2010 when he was coming out of high school, along with Texas A&M and the University of Houston. He ultimately decided to join Todd Whitting at Houston, leaving after one year for SJJC. He is now come full circle, joining TCU as a premier defensive catcher and their best option behind the plate to start 2013.
He has an above average arm and pop time, but makes his money as a blocker and receiver at the plate. He won't wow you with his bat however, and is the kind of guy you could see getting pinch hit for late in close ball games. Ultimately, the best situation would be for Bacak to put together a strong enough offensive campaign to keep him on the field, but I wouldn't expect to see that.
Instead, Paddy O'Brien could get an extended look behind the plate, along with utility-do-it-all-man Davy Wright. O'Brien is a defensively talented catcher who was brought into the 2012 class last spring after the dismissal of backup catcher Braden Mattson.
But, don't take your eyes off Jerrick Suiter as your catcher of the future. The kid is extremely gifted and he made big strides last fall when it comes to blocking and receiving. He already has a top flight pop and arm, a true defensive weapon that most teams can only dream of, and you know all about his bat from the regionals last year. Right now, Suiter is being held back as a DH or OF only due to a minor arm injury, but the team expects him to start getting back into the swing of things in mid-March or so. If some combination of Daniels, Fitzgerald and B. Johnson can take hold in the corner OF spots, Suiter could be the full time catcher heading into Big 12 play.
And, as you guessed, that would be a major win for TCU offensively and defensively, but we will have to wait and see how things shake out.