Who is Jesus Sucre? The New Mariners Backup Catcher
I dislike putting questions in the headline. So I put the question and the answer. But this is a post that will aim at slightly filling myself in on what Jesus Sucre is likely to bring to the Mariners while he occupies a very unimportant role, as far as roles go on a 25-man Major League roster.
Jesus Sucre is a mediocre hitter.
It’s already been mentioned but this post wouldn’t be complete with rehashing it. Sucre has almost no power to speak of. Over about three full Major League seasons worth of Minor League at bats, Sucre has clubbed 17 home runs. Those numbers aren’t being hindered by the parks he’s called home either. Sucre’s career ISO (slugging percentage – batting average) is .083, which is bad.
I have my own metric, called Pwr+ on StatCorner, that looks at how often a hitter manages a home run on each type (e.g. grounder, liner) and direction (e.g. pulled, opposite way) of batted ball compared to other hitters in his league. Sucre rates about 5-10% below average. That may not seem like much, but it’s a lot especially for a guy who’s mostly been in Double-A. Sucre isn’t going to come up to the Majors, join a vastly stronger group of peers and look better.
Sucre isn’t much for walking either, with a career isolated discipline (on base percentage – batting average) of .037. The guy Sucre’s replacing, Montero, he has an isolated discipline of .041 as a Mariner. So, yeah, walks less often than Montero. That’s not stellar. That’s not even terrestrial. That’s like, subterranean.
But, Jesus Sucre might be a good defensive catcher.
Who knows? It’s difficult to tell with Major League catchers where we all sorts of data. Minor League catchers, and ones who’ve mostly spent time at Double-A and below aren’t coming with lots of data attached.
We do have some numbers on stolen base attempts and successes for Sucre, provided by Baseball-Reference. They look quite good at a career mark of 42% caught stealing. Context is paramount though and BRef doesn’t have the league caught stealing rate to compare against.
I sort of do. My data isn’t nearly as robust, having to rely somewhat on less than ideal data input when it comes to runner movement from MLB gameday, but it’s close to complete and should be a solid enough estimator of percentages. What it shows is that while Sucre has moved through the minors and compiled that 42% kill rate on would-be baseswipers, the other catchers in the leagues he’s been in have hovered around 30%.
That would mark Sucre as quantitatively a good to great catcher at controlling the Minor League running game. That’s not a sure thing and that’s only one part of a catcher’s defensive responsibilities, but it is a clear contrast with Montero and would be a refreshing site to watch, should Sucre even play all that often.
The other important bits of defense, the framing, the blocking pitches, the pitch calling and so on will have to wait and see. I haven’t heard anything negative from what few scouting reports I’ve seen on Sucre, but then again, Sucre isn’t a player I’ve gone out of my way to keep tabs on.
However, as Jeff mentioned previously, there was rumored interest in Sucre being asked about over the winter and no 25-year-old catcher with Sucre’s batting line who’d advanced only to Double-A would be garnering interest unless a team really thought highly of his other attributes. I mean, I assume. Maybe it was a false rumor. Maybe the other team(s) were just crazy pants. Never rule out insanity in explaining life’s quirks. It’s all around you.