Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Doesn’t Favor Personal Catchers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

When the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Yasmani Grandal as part of their haul in the trade that sent Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres, it seemingly ended A.J. Ellis’ three-year reign as the club’s everyday starter behind the plate.

Not only seven years younger than Ellis, Grandal excels in pitch framing, which Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and the front office placed a premium on. Grandal also offers more upside at the plate as a switch-hitter with some power.

With the trade came the question as to whether or not Ellis would become Clayton Kershaw’s de facto personal catcher.

Former Dodgers manager Don Mattingly refrained from labeling Ellis as such, but more times than not he was behind the plate for Kershaw’s starts last season.

Having worked together in the Minors, the duo share a close friendship and high comfort level.

When asked for his stance on the matter, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts also said he does not prefer a personal catcher setup, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:

“I think, for me, it serves everyone better when each catcher is familiar with every pitcher,” Roberts said. “There is some good with that (comfort level of throwing to the same catcher all the time) but I think I’m more on the side that it’s better when catchers are familiar with every pitcher.”

While Grandal received the bulk of the overall starts at catcher early in the season, he was slowed down the stretch by a nagging shoulder injury that required offseason surgery. Meanwhile, Ellis adjusted to his new role and swung a hot bat as Grandal began to cool.

Ellis has caught 102 of Kershaw’s 126 starts over the past four seasons.

Clayton Kershaw with A.J. Ellis and Yasmani Grandal in 2015

CatcherGamesInnings PitchedStrikeout-to-walk-ratioOpponents' Slash line
A.J. Ellis21143.26.55.204/.251/.293
Yasmani Grandal1289.08.54.178/.213/.268