What to expect from the Dutchies this year? Shawn Zarraga

With Spring Training at full swing now, it is time to see how the players from the Kingdom of the Netherlands will do in the upcoming season. Of course there is no crystal ball and it is still up in the air, but in general you can make a decent prediction based on the performance of previous years.

Shawn Zarraga was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 44th round of the 2007 draft.
In 2008 he played his first pro games with the AZL Brewers. The next year he started with the Helena Brewers of the Pioneer League (advanced rookie). In that same year he was promoted to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of the Full A Midwest League, thus skipping A short season. With the Timber Rattlers Shawn only hit .152 in 21 games. With the Helena Brewers he hit a bit better as he posted a .266  BA in 31 games.

Shawn spent the next three seasons with the Brevard County Manatees of the Florida State League (A Advanced). Finally in 2013, Shawn was sent to the Huntsville Stars of the Southern League (AA). With that team he hit a very respectable .292 and committed only two errors in the season (.991 but he also threw out only 20% of the potential base stealers.
In 2014 he started the season in Huntsville again but eventually he was promoted to Nashville. With the Sounds he hit .213. He played sixteen flawless games in which he threw out four of thirteen wannabe base stealers. Eventually Shawn ended up in Huntsville again where he hit .330 for the season.

In the off season, the Brewers sent the Aruban catcher to the Dodgers in exchange for center fielder Matt Long and LHP Jarret Martin. The Dodgers placed him on the roster of the Tulsa Drillers with whom he played 44 games (27 as a catcher and 2 as a first baseman) in which he hit .277 with nine homeruns. During the season, Shawn was promoted to the OKC Dodgers. With the LA Dodgers’ AAA farm team he served as a backstop in 17 games in which he threw out only three of eighteen potential base stealers. At bat he did very well with an average of .303.

At the end of the 2015 season, Shawn opted for free agency but eventually re-signed with the Dodgers who placed him on their AAA roster and sent him an invitation for Spring Training camp.

Shawn ZarragaDuring the inaugural Premier 12 tournament, Shawn played for the Kingdom of the Netherlands but was hit by the injury bug twice. Despite his .200 average, he managed to hit a homerun and to drive in seven runs.

What can we expect from Shawn? The fact that he received an invitation for Spring Training indicates that the Dodgers have some faith in him. Shawn’s defense has a strong side and a kind of Achilles heel. He hardly makes errors but then again he does not throw out many base stealers. During his career he threw out 100 of 409 (24%). This spring he will have to battle for a roster spot with five other catchers of which three are on the 40-men roster. I expect that A.J. Ellis and Yasmani Grandall will be untouchable for now even though Ellis did not hit that well and neither did Grandal. Shawn will have to deal with catchers like Jack Murphy (who spent the off season in Australia with the Canberra Cavalry of the Australian Baseball League), Austin Barnes and Kyle Farmer (who split the 2015 season between Rancho Cucamonga and Tulsa). Unless he has a monster Spring Training so the Dodgers cannot ignore him, I expect Shawn to start the season at Oklahoma City. He may get a shot as soon as one of the two MLB catcher will get injured.

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