30-Year-Old Catcher – Free Agent
2014 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
There was no outlook written for J.R. Towles in 2014. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
J.R. Towles Contract Information:
Agreed to a minor league contract with the Dodgers in May of 2013.
Towles signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers on Wednesday.
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J.R. Towles: MLB Games Played By Position
J.R. Towles Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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J.R. Towles: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for J.R. Towles.
Towles will likely be the starting catcher at Triple-A Rochester, but there's some upside for him getting playing time in Minnesota. If Joe Mauer's injury woes continue to limit his time behind the plate, Towles could get into the mix since Drew Butera is a weak hitter and Ryan Doumit isn't strong with the glove. There's also a chance he beats out Butera for the third catcher role with the Twins to start the season.
Towles had another shot to nail down the starting catcher position last season but failed to impress. He had just four extra-base hits in 47 at-bats and drew only two walks while striking out 12 times. He faces an uphill battle this spring now that Jason Castro wears the "catcher of the future" tag. Chances are, Towles will find himself playing elsewhere in 2011 with Humberto Quintero penciled in as the No. 2 backstop behind Castro for Houston this season.
Towles' star lost a bit of its shine after a rough callup in 2008 and a mixed 2009 Triple-A performance. The Astros started him three of every five games down the stretch, hoping to see a glimmer of the magic he displayed in September 2007. They didn't, as he hit .182 over the last month of the season. Jason Castro is increasingly looking like the catcher of the future for the Astros. If Towles doesn't right the ship soon, he may wind up a career backup.
Towles was anointed the starter and successor to Brad Ausmus in spring training, but simply could not get the job done out of the gate. He compiled a .145 batting average before being sent down to Triple-A Round Rock in early June. His struggles continued initially at Round Rock, but he eventually righted the ship and ended up hitting .304/.370/.500 with seven homers and 28 RBI in 168 at-bats before being called back up in September. Heís clearly a superior hitter to Humberto Quintero, but Quintero is better behind the plate. The two will compete to be Houstonís starter this year, but until Towles proves he can hit at the major league level, you'll want to tread very carefully with him in most formats.
Towles, a 23-year-old catcher, rose through the ranks last season as he spent time at High-A Salem, Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Round Rock before getting promoted to the majors in September. He batted .287/.393/.447, with 11 homers and 62 RBI in the minors. He's known as a good receiver, and has a plus arm behind the dish. Towles projects as Houston's catcher of the future, and has a great mentor in Brad Ausmus, as the two should share the catching duties this season, with the youngster representing the high-upside, fantasy-friendly option of the pair.
Towles hit .317/.382/.525 with 12 homers, 19 doubles and 55 RBI at Low-A Lexington in 2006. He also stole 13 bases in 18 attempts. For a catcher, he has a rare combination of both offensive and defensive ability. His bat is very quick through the hitting zone, and he utilizes the entire field. Behind the plate, he's very agile with soft hands and a plus arm. He should start the year at High-A Salem, but we expect him to finish at Double-A Corpus Christi at the least.
Towles was drafted in the 20th round in 2004 from a junior college in Texas. He is an athletic catcher with a good defensive reputation, and the proven ability to make contact and hit for average. He is also unusually fast for a catcher. Right now the main question is power development, but he clearly bears watching.