When you are a 34th round draft pick as a college senior out of Miami (OH) University, and have the fifth best batting average on the team, staying on a minor league roster for more than a year and a half is an accomplishment. Not only has Adam Weisenburger done just that, but for the second straight year he was named as the top defensive catcher in the Milwaukee Brewers system by Baseball America, received an invite to big league camp, and earned his first trip to the Arizona Fall League.
Weisenburger will not be winning any batting titles, with his average dropping from .276 in Rookie ball to .260 in High-A and .223 in two years at Double-A, but he has the defensive chops to become a big league option as early as this season.
Jonathan Lucroy might be the best catcher unknown to the casual baseball fan, thanks to the obscurity of playing in Milwaukee and back-to-back seasons without making the playoffs, and if the future behind the dish for the Brewers. The only other catcher on the 40-man roster is Martin Maldonado, who hit .169 with an OBP of .236 in 2013 in 67 games, leaving a need for catching depth in the organization.
Weisenburger is one of four catchers to receive an invite to big league camp, and is the most intriguing of the four. Despite being considered the best defensive catcher in the Brewers system for the second consecutive season, he has thrown out a less-than-impressive 24% of attempted base stealers, which must improve if he is to become a legitimate option as a backup catcher.
While Weisenburger has never put up much of an average, and only has seven home runs in 583 minor league at-bats, he has always had an OBP at least 106 points better than his average. That ability to get on base just might carry Weisenburger to the big leagues as early as 2014.
Weisenburger’s biggest competition to become the emergency catcher for the Brewers this year comes in the form of a pair of journeymen, Matt Pagnozzi and Robinzon Diaz. Pagnozzi and Diaz are each 30 or older, have a combined 86 games played in the big leagues, and two career home runs. In addition to that, Diaz hasn’t gotten a chance in the big leagues since his age 25 season, which was back in 2009.
Never seeing a single game above Double-A may be slight disadvantage for Weisenburger, but a solid camp and a trip to the PCL can give many a young hitter some additional confidence at the plate and, with solid defense, he just might find himself in the big leagues this season.