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St. Louis Cardinals: I am excited about Eric Fryer

Eric Fryer is back in red for the St. Louis Cardinals this season - why am I the only one excited?

I am REALLY excited about Eric Fryer.

Don’t hit that escape button just yet, keep reading.

I am not sure whether it is my life long journey of being a backup or bench player – but the addition of Fryer really has me jacked for the 2017 season.

Dexter Fowler? Cool. Brett Cecil? Neat.

Eric Fryer is what has me pumped for the spring. And here is why:

We need a back up catcher in Eric Fryer like the St. Louis Los Angeles Rams need a new owner/coach/GM.

Yadier Molina is aging (shocking I know), but ask any catcher who has played the game – your knees start to go.

Yes, I know Carson “Kid” Kelly seems to be the heir apparent, but there is ZERO reason to rush him behind the plate.

No, we don’t need a rookie backing up our future Hall of Famer in Molina, what we need is STABILITY.

There is nothing more comforting as a General Manager, coach, and even fan, knowing that you have a solid back up.

A guy who knows his role, can play when called upon, and most importantly, stay the course and remain healthy all year.

Then Minnesota Twin Eric  Fryer (left) and <a rel=

If you take a look at the number of back up catchers the St. Louis Cardinals have employed over the last couple of years, you will agree, we need a presence in this time of upcoming transition.

For those of you who are not aware, here is what we have had to deal with over the course of Molina’s career:

Twenty-seven (27…no seriously) catchers have logged innings behind Molina since he came up to the big club in 2004. Names like Stephen Hill, George Kattaras, Gerald Laird and Travis Tartamella are a part of that group.

YIKES.

If the St. Louis Cardinals are truly serious about Molina’s longevity, and the successful transition to Carson Kelly, they need to get serious about having a consistent back-up, and one that they aren’t scared to throw on the field.

Eric Fryer embodies that attitude.

Although Fryer isn’t the sexiest off-season signing, you might start to share my enthusiasm when you look at what he does.

Eric Fryer (kind of) hits.

He looked like an All-Star at the plate when he was with the Cardinals last season – slashing .368 in 41 plate appearances.

Fryer then moved on and was eventually picked up by the Pirates, where his average wasn’t as stellar (.218), but he did play in 36 games, and notched 90 plate appearances.

People will write off Fryer for that drop in offensive production, but I am seeing something much different.

In his six years of service, Fryer’s average was .254 while playing for three different teams (he also played for the Twins).

That is just four points below the league average of .258 in that same time span.

I don’t count him out as a hitter, especially in a back up role.

Eric Fryer plays solid defense.

Over the five years of recorded defensive statistics, Fryer has recorded a  higher caught stealing percentage (CS%) three separate times than the league average of 28%. His career high was with St. Louis last year, where he was a solid 67%.

Granted the sample size is small in terms of games played, but the fact he has done it three times, with three different teams, is optimism enough.

Not everybody can be Yadier Molina, who throws a more accurate ball than Jared Goff, but it is comforting to know that Fryer has the ability to defend the dish.

Eric Fryer knows a National League Central opponent, and well.

Why wouldn’t it be beneficial to have a guy who has played for a division opponent for three years?

Wait you thought baseball was all warm hugs and kisses? Fryer is a gold mine of information on the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Cardinals will ask questions.

Most importantly, Eric Fryer stays healthy.

It’s nice to have back-ups who are actually present and ready to play.

If I haven’t convinced you…

  1. I really don’t care, my excitement for Eric Fryer is still intact.
  2. Look at the stats, and keep in mind he is a back up – we don’t need another All-Star, just someone to fill in at a consistent rate, and help bridge the gap until Carson Kelly is ready to play.

You should be excited for Eric Fryer St. Louis, because in this crazy baseball world, it’s nice to have a little stability.

Welcome back Eric, it’s good to see you again.

 

Follow @TonOfClayton

 

 

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  • Ben Cerutti

    26.

    Matheny was the starter in 2004.

    • Clay Beyersdorfer

      You are correct, but he eventually became the back up.

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