Dodgers 2014 Player Previews: Tim Federowicz, The Backup Catcher

Tim FederowiczIn 2011 and 2012, catcher Tim Federowicz spent a majority of his time in Triple-A. Yet in these two years, he would catch for all of nine games and have all of 20 plate appearances in the majors. When 2013 came around, Federowicz started on the Dodgers roster, but was quickly sent down when they signed Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez. Federowicz posted impressive numbers in the minors early in the season with a .418 batting average and .848 slugging percentage in 21 games.

Eventually, he was given a huge opportunity to prove himself in the majors when starting catcher A.J. Ellis was put on the 15-day DL due to a left oblique strain. He became a more valuable asset to the team as he proved himself enough to earn a spot on the Dodgers 40-man roster for the rest of the year. With 173 plate appearances in 2013, he established himself as the primary back up catcher to Ellis.

Once he became a little more comfortable in the majors, his numbers began to elevate. Federowicz had a batting average of .276 in the 25 games he played after last year’s All-Star break. His most notable contribution at the plate includes an eighth-inning double in which he drove in three runs to defeat the Diamondbacks last June.  This would be a memorable and emotion-filled game for the Dodgers, as this win would mark the second brawl Zack Greinke would be involved in last season.

Going into 2014, Federowicz will likely assume the same role.  Defensively, Federowicz has proven himself as capable. Where he’s lacking can be seen in his production at the plate. Last season, he had a .227 batting average, a .283 on base percentage, and a .341 slugging percentage.  He’s by no means a guy the Dodgers want to depend on every single game, but can certainly assume the catching role every so often to give Ellis a break.

How the Dodgers plan to utilize Federowicz will mainly depend on Ellis’ ability to stay healthy. Ellis was healthy for nearly all of 2013 and in addition to supposedly losing 15 pounds this off-season, is planning on catching 120-130 games this season. The Dodgers also have 30-year-old catcher Drew Butera in their system heading into this upcoming season along with non-roster invitee Miguel Olivo in spring training.

All in all, Federowicz is as dependable as a back up catcher can be, but not the guy you can rely on every day. With more major league experience under his belt after last season, the Dodgers hope to see a more comfortable Federowicz producing much more in 2014 and hopefully giving Ellis more days off.


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