Oakland Athletics: The Athletics’ All-Time 25-Man Roster

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Backup Catcher: Kurt Suzuki

Kurt Suzuki is an interesting choice for this, but the group felt that in picking a reserve catcher, Suzuki fit the bill. Drafted by the Athletics in 2004, he made his debut at age 23 in 2007. Currently, Suzuki is an All-Star catcher for the Minnesota Twins, but he spent the first five and a half major league seasons – as well as half of the 2013 season – with the A’s organization. During that time, Suzuki batted just .255/.311/.380 with 59 home runs and 16 stolen bases.

However, Suzuki led the league in games played as a catcher in 2008 and 2009, and has consistently ranked high in defensive categories like range factor and fielding percentage. He also had a top-five caught stealing percentage in 2008 and 2012.

Mostly, Suzuki made the cut because in terms of backup catchers, a team wants someone who is consistently ready to play when needed and can jump in and provide veteran leadership to a somewhat-unfamiliar pitching staff. Considering that Suzuki replaced beloved hometown star Joe Mauer in Minnesota, the Twins seem to be in agreement with those on the Swingin’ A’s staff who rate Suzuki as one of the top defensive catchers.

Suzuki is one of the most dependable and energetic catchers in the league, and the Athletics were lucky to have him play for them in his prime.

Runner-Up: Ramon Hernandez

The second-place finisher for backup-catcher extraordinaire was A’s veteran backstop Ramon Hernandez. Hernandez debuted with the Oakland Athletics in 1999, hitting .279/.363/.397 in his first partial season. He spent five season in an A’s uniform, including an All-Star season in 2003, when he hit 21 home runs, knocked in 78 RBIs and scored 70 runs. He also lead the league in throwing out would-be base stealers in 2006, and ranked in the top four for caught stealing percentage in two other seasons. Hernandez will never be remembered as a superstar, but his consistency and his defensive talent make him a great backup catcher on the All-Time roster.

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