Dodgers News: Yasmani Grandal, Austin Barnes To Platoon At Catcher
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers had a luxury behind the plate last year that not many other teams could say they had as both Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes were starting-caliber catchers.

Barnes began the season as Grandal’s backup, but as the season went on he emerged as the better option for manager Dave Roberts and wound up supplanting Grandal as the starter towards the end of the season and in the postseason, starting 13 of the Dodgers 15 playoff games.

Now going into 2018 Roberts has a difficult decision to make, as both backstops will be returning to the team and are likely expecting to be the starter.

According to Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times though, a lot of the same from last season can be expected in 2018 as the two will likely split time as the team’s starting catcher:

Grandal started 113 games for the Dodgers last season, compared to 53 for Barnes. Grandal edged Barnes in power numbers as he hit 22 home runs and drove in 58 runs while slashing .247/.308/.459.

Barnes was the better overall hitter though, finishing with a .289/.408/.486 slashline with eight home runs and 38 RBIs.

As has been the case for much of his career, the switch-hitter Grandal faired much better against right-handed pitching, posting a .790 on-base plus slugging percentage compared to .668 against lefties, while Barnes had pretty much equal splits.

So Grandal will get the bulk of the playing time against right-handed pitching, with Barnes starting against lefties, although Barnes should also see some opportunities against righties as well considering the success he had against them last season.

Both catchers were recently ranked in the top 10 in all of baseball by MLB Network’s The Shredder, with Grandal coming in at No. 4 and Barnes not far behind him at No. 6. So while managing their playing time may be difficult for Roberts throughout the course of the season, it is a good problem to have.