When the Mets let Rod Barajas move across the country to Los Angeles, they effectively handed the everyday job to Josh Thole, the team’s top catching prospect. 

The final few weeks of the season will operate as a test of sorts.  The Mets need to determine if Thole has what it takes to handle the everyday job in 2011 or if they need to shop in free agency again.

From a fantasy perspective, Thole doesn’t offer a lot at first glance, but that doesn’t mean that he should be ignored, especially in two-catcher formats.  First, let’s take a look at what he has done thus far in 2010:

125 At Bats
.288 Batting Average (36 Hits)
2 Home Runs
11 RBI
9 Runs
1 Stolen Bases
.369 On Base Percentage
.384 Slugging Percentage
.321 Batting Average on Balls in Play

The power is the first number that jumps out at you.  The problem is, the 2005 13th round draft pick has never shown much upside in that department. 

In 1,321 minor league AB prior to 2010, he had just 8 HR, hitting more than one in a season just once (5 at High Single-A in 2008).

At Triple-A this season, his first time at the level (despite getting a look in the Majors in 2009), he had just 2 HR in 165 AB.

Maybe if he were hitting a lot of doubles, there would be more intrigue in that department, but that hasn’t been there either. 

He’s never had more than 29 doubles in a season (and has four in the Major Leagues).  No luck there.

His minor league career fly ball rate is just 32.9%.  At the Major League level the past two seasons, he’s posted the following marks:

  • 2009 – 20.0%
  • 2010 – 35.5%

No luck there, either, as he was at 29.3% in 2010 just a week ago.

In other words, he is not going to hit for much power in the Major Leagues.  That’s not going to kill his value, but it certainly doesn’t help matters.

He does do a good job of getting on base, with a minor league OBP of .379 heading into this season.  He walked 175 times in that span, an 11.7% rate.  This year with the Mets, he’s posted a 10.6% mark.

He has also always been able to hit for average, thanks to a good contact rate (he had struck out just 165 times heading into this season).  He may not be a .300 hitter, given his inflated BABIP, but he easily should be a .285+ hitter.

The thing about that is, hitting at the bottom of the Mets lineup, he just hasn’t been producing runs.  There haven’t been RBI.  There haven’t been runs scored.  He needs to provide something there to offset the lack of power. 

If he were slotted into the No. 2 hole, things may be different, but that just doesn’t make sense for the Mets.

The bottom line is you have a catcher who is going to hit for a good average and little else.  Does that sound appealing?  He is, at best, a low-end option in two-catcher formats, but you would be better off taking the flier on someone who could provide help in more than one category.

What are your thoughts on Thole?  Am I being too difficult on him?  Do you think he holds value?

Make sure to check out our extremely early 2011 rankings:


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com