For those who are new here, we play a game each winter wherein we come up with a "community projection" for each starting player's performance for the upcoming year. Then we look back after the season is over. First up this offseason is Ryan Doumit.
Bonus: We guessed that Doumit would play in 115 games; actually he played 75 after missing almost three months with a wrist injury.
Most of the projections were pretty similar, and none were terribly close, but Bucdaddy came the closest, betting that Doumit would hit .271/.303/.433.
As bad as Doumit's season felt, the difference between what he did in 2008 and what he did this year mostly just stems from his batting average being 68 points lower, which mostly just shows what a fickle little finger batting average can be. He still hit for good power, and he pounded the ball in September and October, batting .329/.406/.459 over that period. Which will probably be enough to heighten our optimism until next season--or, at least, until he hits the DL in the second week of April.
Doumit may not ever be healthy for any sustained period of time, but he's still an asset as a catcher. As a first baseman or a corner outfielder, not so much. And until Tony Sanchez is ready, if that ends up happening, the Bucs don't have anyone worth moving Doumit around for anyway.
Stlil, this season showed that Jason Jaramillo is a credible second-division starting catcher, and that Robinzon Diaz is a perfectly decent backup. (Jaramillo's defense makes up for his somewhat lackluster hitting.) Also, this didn't get much publicity, but Erik Kratz, who handled a lot of the catching for Indianapolis, showed a decent arm and solid power in his best minor league season yet; he's a marginal player, to be sure, but it actually wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if Kratz, who is already signed to a minor-league deal for 2010, were pressed into big-league backup duty.
So the Bucs have a bunch of vaguely interesting options, and I'd look for them to deal a catcher in the next year or so. Doumit, who's older, less reliable, and more valuable on the trade market than Jaramillo or Diaz, is a likely choice if he gets off to a hot start next year.
Doumit had a mediocre year, and Jaramillo didn't hit after Doumit bumped him back to reserve duty. But the Bucs' catching defense was better overall than it has been in years (certainly it was much better than it was in any year Ronny Paulino was in Pittsburgh) and the Pirates could probably weather a Doumit deal without much of a problem by giving Jaramillo the first crack at the job and turning to Diaz if that doesn't work out. Depth is a nice thing to have.