Welcome to the 2017 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at the in-season contributions of every player to don the purple this past season. The goal wasn’t and isn’t to quibble with order. Instead, it’s to get a snapshot of a player along with a look forward. For that reason, we simply sorted by Baseball-Reference’s Wins Above Replacement (rWAR) and will start at the bottom and end up at the top.
No. 24, Dustin Garneau (0.1 rWAR)
Dustin Garneau was one of five catchers to play for the Colorado Rockies in 2017, and he was certainly the least memorable. He wasn’t a member of the anticipated duo of Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy before the season, and he also wasn’t their high-profile trade acquisition Jonathan Lucroy. He wasn’t even the really old Ryan Hanigan. Garneau’s performance did little to separate him as anything more than emergency depth.
Thanks to an injury to Murphy during spring training, Garneau accumulated 74 plate appearances with the Rockies that all came before May 15th. In those 74 plate appearances, Garneau hit a paltry .206/.260/.353, good for a 50 OPS+. He was also three runs worse than average defensively, according to Baseball Prospectus’ catching metrics.
After the Rockies acquired Lucroy, they waived Garneau, and the Oakland Athletics claimed him. During his time in Oakland, he remained essentially the same player he was with the Rockies, posting a 50 OPS+ across 52 additional plate appearances. He did see a modest defensive improvement, however. Baseball Prospectus rated his defense with the Athletics as 0.4 runs better than average.
Still a member of the Athletics’ 40-man roster, Garneau will likely battle for a roster spot during spring training in 2018. Entering his age-30 season, it appears unlikely Garneau will develop into more than Triple-A depth or a backup catcher during his career.