33-Year-Old Catcher – Free Agent
2018 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
There was no outlook written for Jose Lobaton in 2018. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
Jose Lobaton Contract Information:
Signed a one-year, $1.575 million contract with the Nationals in December of 2016, avoiding arbitration.
Lobaton (foot) is starting at catcher and batting eighth for Sunday's game against the Mets.
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Jose Lobaton: MLB Games Played By Position
Jose Lobaton Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Jose Lobaton Defensive Stats
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2017 Stat Review for Jose Lobaton As compared to the top 200 hitters in 2016 (min 410 PA)
Patience at the plate often leads to positive outcomes.
A couple of useful stats for evaluating a hitter.
Good contact skills often lead to better fantasy stats.
SLG and ISO are useful indicators of power.
Jose Lobaton: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Jose Lobaton.
Although Lobaton was overshadowed by Wilson Ramos' career year in 2016, the switch hitter is quietly coming off his best season with the Nationals, slashing .232/.319/.374 in 114 plate appearances. After Washington lost Ramos to an ACL injury, the 32-year-old split catching duties with 23-year-old Pedro Severino, earning three of five playoff starts for Washington. Ramos left via free agency in December, leaving Lobaton to compete for the starting job with newly acquired Derek Norris and possibly Severino. Norris appears to be the favorite, chiefly because of his pitch framing and work behind the plate, though Lobaton isn't far behind in either category. Lobaton could threaten or supplant Norris if the latter can't confidently clear the Mendoza Line this year.
Lobaton saw less action in his second season in the nation's capital due mostly to Wilson Ramos' ability to not get hurt for once, but it's not as though the 31-year-old switch-hitter was demanding more at-bats with his play. Lobaton's .199 batting average and .573 OPS were both career worsts, and the only thing preventing the Nationals from looking elsewhere for a new backup catcher is his reputation as a strong pitch framer and his relationship with Gio Gonzalez. New manager Dusty Baker may be less inclined to lock Lobaton into a role as Gonzalez's personal catcher than Matt Williams, especially given Ramos' own issues at the plate in 2015. That could open up more playing time for Lobaton, but his track record and limited offensive skills don't suggest he'd be able to do much with it.
As far as backup catchers go, the Nationals could do a lot worse than Lobaton. His time in Tampa made him a master of the subtle art of pitch framing, he does a good job blocking pitches, throws out his fair share of base-stealers, and while his stats at the plate aren't much, hey, at least he can switch-hit. Wilson Ramos' inability to stay healthy makes the No. 2 spot on the Washington depth chart a little more interesting from a fantasy perspective than other backup catcher jobs, but after 700 big league at-bats, Lobaton's offensive limitations have become pretty clear. From a fantasy perspective, the 30-year-old is purely a "break glass in case of emergency" kind of guy.
Lobaton put together his best season as a major leaguer in 2013 working in a platoon with Jose Molina at catcher for the Rays. He posted career highs in every offensive category, hitting .249 with a .714 OPS that included seven home runs and 32 RBI in 277 at-bats. A switch-hitter, he tends to perform better against right-handers when he hits from the left side, as all but one of his home runs came from that side of the plate. He had a walkoff home run to keep the Rays alive in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Red Sox. He is not as strong defensively as many catchers in the game, so that may limit him from seeing everyday work as a catcher. His role with the Rays is now uncertain with the addition of Ryan Hanigan in December.
Lobaton was able to secure the backup catching job for the 2012 season out of spring training, but suffered a shoulder injury in April that knocked him out for over a month. His switch-hitting ability and decent bat earned him regular starts in the lineup throughout the season, though he had a tough time catching fire. While he only hit .222 with two home runs, he carried a strong .323 on-base percentage and hit left-handed pitching especially well (.310/.355/.397 in 58 at-bats). The 2013 starter is likely Jose Molina, who is a superior defender, but Lobaton's advantage with the bat will still earn him regular starts.
With the trade of John Jaso to the Mariners, Lobaton finds himself ready to compete for playing time with Jose Molina behind the plate for the Rays. While Molina is the better defender, Lobaton possesses more upside with the bat despite the lack of experience in the high minors. Lobaton did put together a nice body of work in limited time at Triple-A Durham with eight home runs and a .293 average in only 194 at-bats. One aspect of Lobaton's game that will endear him to the Rays is his patience at the plate; he's posted a walk rate of over 10 percent throughout the minors including a 16.5 percent mark at Durham last season. At 27, there's only so much upside to expect out of Lobaton but there is some sleeper potential in deeper leagues being a switch-hitter matched with a right-handed batter in a platoon.
The emergence of John Jaso blocks a path to the Rays for Lobaton, with Kelly Shoppach also on the roster. He'll likely begin the year at Triple-A and it will take an injury to one of the two catchers ahead of him to get a callup. Even if that were to happen, he's more of a defensive specialist with little offensive upside.
The Rays claimed Lobaton off waivers from the Padres in late July. Known as a defensive specialist, he faces an uphill battle for playing time with Dioner Navarro and Kelly Shoppach already on the big league roster. He should start the season at Triple-A Durham and will likely need an injury to get a callup.
Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Venezuela in 2002, Lobaton has steadily progressed through the Padres' farm system, so much that he was added to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. Offensively, he possesses a little bit of pop with very good plate discipline, though he needs to improve his contact skills. Defensively, he is a good receiver and threw out 42-of-142 runners attempting to steal. Lobaton is slated to begin the season at Triple-A Portland but with the lack of catching depth in the Padres' organization, he could see time in the majors before 2009 is over.