Originally written on World Series Dreaming  |  Last updated 11/15/14
“Tom (Downers Grove) People are downplaying the importance of Navarro coming here and backing up Castillo. Am I the only one who thinks Navarro was a great pick up and could play his way into starting? Bruce Levine (1:35 PM) No, you’re not–I’m convinced of the same possible result. During his media session on Monday, Cubs’ starter Matt Garza went on and on about Navarro’s skills as a catcher. At 28, he is hardly just a backup at this point of his career.” http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/chicago/chat/_/id/47066 Just over a week ago I found this comment in Levine’s shortened chat session on February 12th.  The comment caught me by surprise because Dioner Navarro has not been a starter since 2009, and last year was the first time his OPS was above .600 since 2008.  Welington Castillo is far from the second coming of Buster Posey, but the numbers Navarro has put up should not be hard to eclipse. To be perfectly honest I have never read Bruce Levine for his analysis on baseball decisions, but rather to hear what his contacts feed him for information.  I considered his analysis as on point as it was on the decision between Tony Campana and Dave Sappelt.  Levine commented on January 29th that: “One of those guys — and I’m guessing it’s Sappelt — may be designated for assignment when they make a roster move to put Hairston on the 40-man. Campana is a guy you want to keep because he can help change games with his speed, and he gives you some protection if someone on the 25-man is injured.” http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/chicago/chat/_/id/46895 Not to pat myself on the back too hard, but I called that well before that comment.  So it was easy for me to dismiss out of hand Levine’s comment.  That was until Anno tweeted this morning the Cubs intrasquad lineups:   Intros quad line up Blue Team Valbuena 2B Sappelt CF Castillo C Nelson 1B Soler LF Baez SS Lake 3B Jackson RF Bogusevic DH — WorldSeriesDreaming (@WSDreaming_Cubs) February 20, 2013   Intros quad line upWhite Team DeJesus CF Castro SS Rizzo 1B Soriano LF Schierholtz RF Navarro C Stewart 3B Barney 2B Hairston DH — WorldSeriesDreaming (@WSDreaming_Cubs) February 20, 2013   The first thing I noticed, after wondering what the hell an “Intros quad” was, was the B team’s centerfielder in Dave Sappelt.  There had been some question about how much Sappelt could be trusted as a CF, but he has always made the most sense as a platoon mate for David DeJesus.  The fact that they are trotting him out in CF in the first game suggests that the Cubs will go with two platoons in the OF this season like I was hoping, but looking at the other team’s lineup I was caught off guard. Now I know better than to read too much into the lineups in spring training, much less for the first intrasquad game.  But one thing jumped out right at me instantly.  If you had asked me yesterday to draw up the Cubs opening day lineup it would have been that with a pitcher instead of a DH.  The one change was the catcher spot. I thought back to the comments Levine had made about Navarro and Castillo.  Then I started to think about Beef Castle in more detail.  Castillo has all the tools to be a solid big league catcher.  He is athletic enough behind the plate with a strong arm.  He will hit for some power which is something the lineup needs desperately.  However, it doesn’t take too much digging to find the weaknesses in Castillo’s game.  He has been below average in drawing walks for virtually his entire pro career which is a no no with the current regime.  His arm, while strong, is hardly accurate, and perhaps most damning of all is his reputation for being a poor framer of pitches. Theo Epstein upon taking over the franchise made it a point to emphasize the organization’s focus on defense.  Measuring defense is the hardest thing to do, but great strides have been made recently.  Catcher defense is the latest nut to be cracked, but Mike Fast has just put forward an interesting article about the effects of catcher’s ability to frame pitches.  The article suggests that the catcher’s ability to get favorable calls over a long season can be staggering.  So perhaps Navarro does have something to offer with the reputation as a very good to excellent defensive catcher. On the first day of games I already have more questions than I thought I would have all spring training.  I am left with two possibilities to consider today.  On the one hand I could have gravely underestimated Levine’s analysis abilities; or I could have been right in saying that one should not read too much into the first intrasquad rosters of spring training.  Either way this storyline has become the most interesting one to me outside of the battle for the final bullpen spot(s).
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Michael Sam signs with CFL’s Montreal Alouettes

Ex-A&M quarterback Kenny Hill transferring to TCU

Michael Bennett compares Pete Carroll to Willy Wonka

Jim Kelly: There is no doubt Tom Brady cheated

Warriors hang on, edge Rockets in Game 2 thriller

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Farrell 'not ruling anything out' as Red Sox's struggles persist

Gretzky: Connor McDavid could be the next Gretzky

Bucs' Clint McDonald: Jameis Winston already leading team

Dana White: Rousey vs. Cyborg would break UFC PPV record

Report: Smith child abuse investigation 'sexual in nature'

DeGale: ‘At the end of the day I’m better’ than Dirrell

NFL icon Bud Grant zings Pats with Deflategate joke on Twitter

RG3 announces birth daughter's birth on social media

Don't listen to Nick Saban, the bowl system is just fine

MLB scores partial victory in minor league wage lawsuits

Ranking the NBA Playoffs' most significant injuries

WATCH: Will Smith ejected for foreign substance on arm

Guy behind NFL's social media trolling of Pats is a Jets fan?

In defense of 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie

Madison Bumgarner homered off of Clayton Kershaw

Would both Towns, Okafor prefer not being the No. 1 pick?

Spoiler Alert Central: Pitfalls in online viewing of live sports

NYPD officer takes photo with 'Eli's brother' at Letterman

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jim Kelly: No doubt Tom Brady cheated

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

Ex-players sue NFL for conspiring to push painkillers

Astros surprising, but can get better with Correa

Here come the Giants

Aaron Hernandez got new tattoo in prison

TUF weekly recap by NOS® Energy Drink

Ten players who could benefit due to PAT rule change

Five QBs set for breakout campaigns

Report: Lakers will pursue Thibodeau

MLS leaders struggling with attendance

LBS: I was a contestant on Sports Jeopardy!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.