Yankees are getting surprising offensive production from veteran catcher

MLB: Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Trevino was supposed to become the backup catcher for the Yankees, but so far he’s impressed with his bat after an ice-cold start. His showing in Houston left fans disgruntled with his standing on the team, but since the slow start to the season, he’s been a force for this offense. Serving as their primary bat against left-handed pitching, the veteran catcher has done an excellent job at the bottom of the lineup, making up for some slumping Yankees at the top of the lineup. It’s not as if you’re playing Trevino for his bat, but you’ll certainly take the production he’s giving you.

With a 126 wRC+ and 10.2% walk rate, he’s bringing a more patient approach at the plate, making him a far better situational hitter in the role he has as the eighth or ninth hitter in the lineup.

Jose Trevino Has Flown Under the Radar in the Yankees’ Offense

MLB: Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have found a way to remain in the top 10 in wRC+ (110) despite the cold start from Aaron Judge, which seemed impossible at this point last year. Lost in the shuffle of overreaction is the fact that the Yankees are playing at a 105-win pace to start the season and that in any other division, things would look a lot better. Baltimore is a great team, but the Yankees have started to flex their lineup depth and could be poised for a hot stretch if Judge gets back online.

Jose Trevino is part of that wave of solid depth hitters the Yankees have had this year, and a huge part of that stems from a decrease in Chase Rate. Last season, the 31-year-old backstop chased at 39.3% of pitches he saw, and now that number has been cut down to 24.8% in the early stages of this season. His walk rate is at 10.2%, and while pitchers will identify that he isn’t going to do damage in-zone and try to attack early with first-pitch strikes, it makes his at-bats a lot better.

He doesn’t have enough power in his profile to aggressively attack opposing pitchers, and this kind of approach should allow him to track the ball more and boost his OBP. Defensively you know you’re getting an elite-level defender, and if the Yankees somehow get an 85-90 wRC+ out of him then it’s a massive success of a season for Trevino. As Austin Wells gets things going, the catching tandem could be one of the top duos in the sport.

The Yankees are second (4.8) in defensive value from the catching position according to FanGraphs, and that’s in large part because of their excellent framing. Despite their reputation, the Yankees are actually only 12th in stolen bases allowed (21) but they’re fifth in caught stealings (8), giving them a solid 27.5% caught stealing rate on the season. If Jose Trevino plays a good chunk of games, he could win another Gold Glove behind the plate, further establishing himself as the top defender at the catching position.

It was always overreactionary to want Jose Trevino off of the team after just four games, and his 231 wRC+ over his last eight games is exactly why. The flyball rate has returned back to its 2022 form, where he hit a career-best 11 home runs with a 92 wRC+ across 115 games. He hit just four home runs last year in 55 games, and Trevino is already halfway toward matching that mark. Trevino’s bat won’t define how far the Yankees go, but it could add a win here or there, and that goes a long way toward playoff positioning.

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