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Geovany Soto seals roster spot with strong throwing day

Newly minted White Sox backup catcher shuts down Dodgers running game

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday was the deadline for MLB teams to decide the fates of their veteran minor-league free agents, and the White Sox made Geovany Soto part of their plans. You could call it unofficially unlistedly official, since the Sox still have to make corresponding 40-man roster removals to make him and Matt Albers fit.

The backup catcher job was Soto's the moment he signed his minor-league contract provided he stayed healthy. Even his injury-hampered post-peak track record easily exceeded the competition's. He hit .247/.320/.432 over 71 games across his 2013 and 2014 seasons, which were interrupted by a torn meniscus.

Whether that's his true talent level or whether he can add a little bit more when 100 percent, that would still be enough to crush the output from catchers who weren't Tyler Flowers the last two seasons.

2014: Adrian Nieto (118 PA) and Josh Phegley (38 PA) combined to hit .231/.275/.385, and were 6.9 runs below average behind the plate.

2013: Phegley (213 PA), Hector Gimenez (80 PA) and Bryan Anderson (19 PA) combined to hit .193/.230/.296, and were 1.3 runs below average behind the plate.

Soto's defense was the bigger question mark. While he developed into a good defensive catcher toward the end of his Cubs career, his numbers fell off as the injuries piled up. His catching metrics dipped into the red on his Baseball Prospectus page for the first time last year -- although it's a small number (-0.4 runs) over a small sample size.

That said, Soto alleviated some of the concerns about his athleticism with a helluva performance behind the plate against the Dodgers. He caught five innings of one-run ball from a Carlos Rodon who intentionally threw twice as many changeups as sliders, and Soto caught three baserunners in four attempts.

Moreover, Soto would've been 4-for-4 if it weren't for that meddling Yasiel Puig pulling Alexei Ramirez's move on Ramirez himself.

First throw: Soto beats Puig to the bag, but Puig swims around the tag.

Second throw: Soto cuts down Jimmy Rollins at third.

Third throw: Soto's throw just beats Justin Turner to second, with Sanchez showing off his quick hands.

Fourth throw: Right on the money to get Alex Guerrero.

Outside of Rollins, who stole 28 bases for the Phillies in 2014, none of these guys would be classified as true stolen base threats (Puig, Turner and Guerrero were a combined 21-for-29 last year). But those would be the guys running on a catcher who could be abused, and Soto showed that he's capable of keeping opponents honest.