FanPost

Can Landon Powell be better than Kurk Suzuki?

I know a lot of people are perfectly happy with the job Kurt Suzuki has done. His defense,  has been solid. He has a .995 fielding % in the majors. He has a total of 3 errors/passed balls combined in 770 inn, which is outstanding.  He has given up 137 SB in 193 attempts which isn't terribly impressive. Everyone feels his handling of the pitching staff has been great.  I don't know how to quantify that except by his catchers earned run average (cERA) which is 4.54 this year and middle of the pack for catchers. I think his biggest downfall is that he is not progressing as a hitter. He has not had a OPS higher than 735(his rookie year) since AA ball. And it has gone down, if slightly, both years since his rookie year.

Landon Powell hasn't had an OPS under 762 since his first real season of AA ball. Although we won't know if Powell can progressively get better or even hold onto what he's doing OPS wise until he gets a few more years under his belt, we can guess Suzuki isn't going to go out of the 700-750 range anytime soon.

Suzuki April OPS-855,      May-666,        June-729      July-687. 

Powell- April OPS-750, May-905, June 701 July 1144 (wow).

I know SSS and all, but with more at bats he could be more consistent, not less. (not that I expect him to put up a 900+ OPS every year).  Powell is only hitting 50 OPS points higher than Kurk, but he has shown a tendency this year to improve, with the ability to have really high OPS months.

His cERA is also 4.54, so at least this year he has handled the staff the same as Suzuki. I think in this day and age of managers calling games, it may not be that important anyways.   His fielding % of .976 isn't great. He has had 4 errors/passed balls combined in 161 innings. I have been unable to find any fielding stats for Powell in the minors so I'm not sure if this is a solid trend or not but he defiantly needs some work and may never be as good as Kurk behind the plate. He has given up 6 SB in 12 attempts which would make him 2nd best in all baseball behind Kenji Jojima for that amount of attempts. Again, I do not know what his caught stealing % has been in the minors, but he has been excellent so far this year in his limited time.

Powell is a year older than Suzuki and his most obvious weakness beyond his behind the plate D, is his ability to stay healthy and stay on the field. He may never be able to play more than half a season behind the plate and would need to be snuck in at DH or 1B to take advantage of his bat.  At the very least, Powell might have made himself  one of the top 5 back-up catchers in the ML in his rookie year and a very valuable asset to the A's.

If he could stay healthy,( I know a big, big IF) he could compete for the starting C job for half the teams in baseball (if not our own) as his OPS is around 15th in MLB with his amount of games played. I think he could be a nice trade chip to the right team if we decide to keep Suzuki long-term. He could also help make Suzuki expendable if we got the right price and were willing to go with a platoon at C with one of the other minor league studs we have on the way at Catcher in a few years or more, such as Donaldson in AA who leads the Texas league in catcher OPS or Stassi if he signs.

All and all, I think many teams wish they had a Landon Powell on their team right about now. If he can improve his behind the plate D at least 25%,  as well as get the necessary at bats to show if his hitting is really legit and improving, he could really give Kurk a run for his money.

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