The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
Yankee backstop Jose Trevino exceeded all expectations in 2022

New York Yankees catcher Jose Trevino is not a name on the tip of the tongue of most major league baseball fans. He doesn’t have the pedigree of high draft round selections of recent catchers like the Orioles’ Adley Rutschman or the Pirates’ Henry Davis. He doesn’t have the experience of veteran catchers like the Phillies’ JT Realmuto or the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina. But what he does have that all the other 60+ catchers in the majors this year don’t have is the American League Rawlings Platinum Glove Award.

This coveted award is given to the player considered to be the best defensive player in the entire league, regardless of the position on the field. While MLB’s Most Valuable Player Award is largely based on offensive production, one could say the Platinum Glove Award winner is the “most valuable player” for defensive performance.

Trevino played in his fifth major-league season in 2022. Not counting his debut season in 2018 (when he appeared in only three games), he averaged only 51 major-league games per season with the Texas Rangers prior to 2022. He had been a sixth-round draft pick of the Rangers in 2014.

After the Yankees traded 2021’s starting catcher Gary Sanchez to the Minnesota Twins, they needed a catcher to split duties with Kyle Higashioka, who had been Sanchez’s backup.

Trevino slashed .245/.270/.364 before coming to the Yankees. But neither Trevino nor Higashioka were expected to provide much offensive punch for a team that had been among the AL’s top four in home runs in 2021.

As Trevino began to get more consistent at the plate in May and June, he became the primary starter as catcher, averaging around .270 while hitting six home runs and 22 RBIs. Plus, he was showing how well he was performing behind the plate. His contributions were rewarded with a spot on the American League All-Star team, even though he had started only 49 games.

His offensive contribution fell off during the second half of the season, when the entire Yankees team, except for Aaron Judge, faltered at the plate. He ended up slashing .248/.283/.388, with 11 home runs and 48 RBIs.

However, he proved it’s not always offensive production that wins games. His defense continued at a high level. He ended up leading all AL catchers in throwing out baserunners trying to steal bases (33% caught stealing). He was considered a master at pitch framing, which means he has stolen and held strikes better than anyone in baseball, thus making it more likely umpires will call a strike. He led the AL with 17 catcher framing runs, a stat that converts strikes to runs saved. He led all catchers with 21 defensive runs saved, which tied him for third among all position players.

Trevino was the first Yankee player to win the Platinum Glove Award and the first AL catcher to win the award since its inception in 2011. His achievement certainly helped increase the awareness of him as a premier defensive catcher.

His performance behind the plate allows the Yankees’ front office to focus on improving other positions that will help compete for the AL pennant in 2023.

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