I would like to officially start the campaign to get Dioner Navarro elected to the 2008 All-Star game in New York. You can cast your vote for Navi, along with other Rays players, by clicking right HERE. Nothing could be better for Rays fans than tuning into the All-Star game to see a stadium full of Yankees fans watching a former prospect that is now a Ray.
Outside of just putting it to Yankees fans, there are many other reasons why one should look towards Navi when pondering their catcher selection. Dioner is leading all catchers with at least 60 at-bats in the American League with his .874 OPS. While this is a relatively small sample size, his results to this point have been quit impressive. The next closest is Mike Napoli with .855 and the .836 of Joe Mauer. Considering Napoli has been hitting way over his norm with eight homeruns and Mauer has nearly 50 more at-bats that Navarro, he has still been knocking in the RBI with his 12 compared to Mauer's 15 and Napoli's 17.
Dioner has been as good as anyone in regards to hitting with runners in scoring position. To this point he has put up a line of .375/.375/.500 with RISP, with many of these runs coming in important situations. His BABIP shows that he has been quite lucky so far this season, but he has been one of the most integral pieces of this successful puzzle so far. In games in which Dioner has played this year, the team is a staggering 16-6 and one of those loses was in a pinch-hitting role.
Defensively, he hasn't been too shabby either. While he could use some improvement in throwing out attempted steals, he has done a great job being a backstop for our young staff. Through 178 innings caught, he has yet to commit an error and continues to boast a fielding percentage of 1.000.
Last year, the American League took three catchers and I propose that this year one should come from your own Tampa Bay Rays.
On a sidenote, I will be launching a new blog that will focus on the AL East Division today. I will not be writing for this blog outside of an editorial capacity, but our very own "nyfaninlaaland" and Tommy from Outs Per Swing will be featured writers. I hope you guys can take a minute and check the new site. You can find the site HERE.