Jose Lobaton hit a tape-measure homer to help Washington even the NLDS with Los Angeles today. Jose is one of a group which may comprise the golden age of Venezuelan catchers in MLB.
In Chicago, Miguel Montero has kindly and professionally made way for Willson (yes, two “l’s”) Contreras; in Boston, Sandy Leon had a very good season as a platoon man behind the plate (78 games, .310), and of course, Salvador Pérez has already won three Gold Gloves and a World Series in Kansas City.
Lobaton is seeing action because of a catastrophic knee injury to Wilson (one “l,” please) Ramos, who set career highs in all batting categories in the nation’s capital this year. Just a few seasons ago, the Nats had three Venezuelan catchers, highly suspicious for a team so close to the White House.
In Seattle, Jesus Sucre and Jesus Montero (insert inappropriate religious joke here) have had various stints behind the plate, as well, with more limited success than the above-mentioned backstops. If you’re confused by all these guys with similar names, you can bet the next great Venezuelan catcher may just be named Jesus Wilson Montero.
We don’t know where this pipeline of catching talent will stop, but for now there’s a decent chance the catcher for the World Series champion may once again be from Venezuela.