The starting catcher is going to be James McCann. The McCannon, as that name suggest, has a good arm and a 37% caught stealing rate. He also has a career defensive WAR of 2.6. In 2016 McCann had +9 DRS. His scouting grades were 55 for both defensive ability and arm strength. One con to McCann is that his pitch framing has always been subpar, but just about everything else is a postive when it comes to defense. McCann also has great leadership skills and that will come in handy in a rebuild with many young pitchers and players in general. If McCann can get his offense going, expect him to win a Gold Glove in the coming years.
McCann’s backup and possibly even Miggy’s backup, will be John Hicks. Hicks was a pleasant offensive surprise in 2017 and while he mainly played first base, catcher is his main position. Hicks only has 78 career MLB games under his belt, but at the catching position he is worth +1 DRS and in 2017 he caught 33% of potential base stealers.
Third string options
There is also a third catcher on the roster and that is prospect Grayson Greiner. More than likely we will be seeing him at some point in 2018. Greiner, along with Jake Rogers, could be the new catching duo in a couple years and Greiner will more than likely be the defense first backup. Greiner, who is a 6’6″ catcher was graded at 50 for fielding, which is average and a 55 for arm strength which is slightly above average. Even though he is large for a catcher, he is said to be fairly agile behind the dish and is a very good receiver.
If Greiner’s bat does not show up next year, the Tigers did sign two veteran backstops to minor league deals for depth just in case. Former Tiger Brayan Pena and former All-Star Derek Norris. Pena has always been known as a defense first catcher and he has a career defensive WAR of 1.1 and a 28% career caught stealing rate. Derek Norris, on the other hand, is known as an all around catcher. Early in his career he provided offense and defense with career defensive WAR of 3.2 and offensive WAR of 8.4. Norris also has a fairly strong arm from behind the plate.
So, in conclusion, the Detroit Tigers still have a ways to go with their defense. However, most of these players have several positives with their defense and with a new coaching staff I expect them to add several more positives in the defense department. Go Tigers!