30-Year-Old Catcher – Arizona Diamondbacks
2017 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
When 2016 began, Thole was expected to see a fair share of playing time. Not only was he the personal catcher for knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, but Thole was also supposed to provide routine behind the d...
Josh Thole Contract Information:
Signed a minor league contract with the Diamondbacks in January of 2017.
Thole underwent surgery this spring to repair a torn hamstring and won't be able to ramp up activities until at least early August, the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro reports.
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Josh Thole: MLB Games Played By Position
Josh Thole: Minor League Games Played By Position
Josh Thole Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Josh Thole Defensive Stats
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Arizona Diamondbacks Roster
MajorsAhmed, Nick (SS)
AAAArcia, Oswaldo (OF)
AAAcevedo, Andury (P)
A+Almonte, Jose (P)
ABasabe, Luis Alejandro (2B)
RookieCaballero, Jose (2B)
Josh Thole: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Thole had something of a lost season in the Blue Jays' organization thanks to injuries and an unexpected catching backlog. Thole spent 45 games playing for Triple-A Buffalo and hit for a .228/.320/.262 slash line with no home runs. Thole’s value has never come from his bat, but rather that he’s been the personal catcher to R.A. Dickey, a knuckleballer. It is mostly in that role that he played 18 games for the Blue Jays, going 10-for-49 at the plate with two extra-base hits. While he’s a career .249 hitter in the MLB, he hasn’t hit above .234 at the big league level since 2011. With Dioner Navarro leaving as a free agent and catching help on the way—but not here yet—Thole should get a chance to be the full-time backup to Russell Martin. Martin is one of the most durable and dependable catchers, which should relegate Thole to catching Dickey and spelling Martin on night-to-day back-to-backs.
The personal catcher for R.A. Dickey, Thole saw few opportunities when Toronto's other starters were on the mound, finishing with 150 plate appearances in 57 games. Thole has had success at the upper levels of the minor leagues, slashing .292/.365/.464 in parts of three seasons at Triple-A, but he posted just a .598 OPS with the big club in 2014, lowering his career mark at the highest level to .639. He has turned in respectable strikeout and walk rates throughout the years, and the Blue Jays exercised his option for 2015, but Thole has limited offensive upside given his relative lack of power, and he will likely be confined to primarily catching Dickey again in 2015, a role which figures to yield little-to-no fantasy value.
Thole mashed at Triple-A Buffalo in 2013 but put together a meager .175/.256/.242 slash line in 45 games for the Blue Jays. He offers very little power, instead boasting decent contact and on-base skills. Given his offensive limitations, Thole will likely compete with Erik Kratz for the backup catcher job this spring. His leg up may come from having experience handling R.A. Dickey's knuckleball, a skill that proved valuable last season when the Blue Jays had trouble finding another backstop who could do the same.
The Mets were counting on Thole to handle a larger role last season, but injuries held him to 104 games and the offensive output across the board was down. Included in the trade that sent R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays, Thole figures to serve as the backup to J.P. Arencibia in Toronto. Ultimately, it is a role that probably fits his skill set better, but Thole will likely be limited to a couple of starts per week now that he is no longer with the Mets.
Thole struggled the first two months of the season, bottoming out at .207 on May 25. That poor start came as a result of him altering his style to generate more power, by no longer choking up on the bat and swinging for the fences. In addition, he made several defensive adjustments that backfired. In late May, Thole went back to his old style and once again became what he is, an excellent contact hitter with minimal power, and a decent defender. With Ronny Paulino gone and Mike Nickeas as the backup, Thole should catch somewhere between 120-130 games.
Thole continued his rapid rise through the Mets' system, building off his solid 2009 season to have another fine year at Triple-A Buffalo. Thole was promoted in late June, and after sharing time with Rod Barajas, he took over as the starter behind the plate in August. Manager Terry Collins indicated that Thole will get a shot to be the everyday catcher, highlighting Thole's defensive improvement in terms of calling pitches and throwing from behind the plate. Thole won't hit for power but should provide solid batting and on-base averages. He could lose some time against left-handed starters and will need to hold off Ronny Paulino to be the team's main catcher.
Thole, who moved to catcher full-time in 2008, had a breakout season at High-A St. Lucie that season followed by a superb showing in the Arizona Fall League. He continued to surprise, batting .326 with a .392 OBP at Double-A Binghamton to earn a September call-up, where he hit .321 in 53 at-bats. Thole needs to work on the mental game of catching along with his throwing, and the signings of Henry Blanco and Chris Coste mean that Thole will likely start 2010 at Triple-A Buffalo. If he continues to progress, Thole could be the Mets' starting catcher in 2011 or 2012.