A short while ago, I looked at Geovany Soto's batting thus far in the 2010 season. Basically, I came away smiling. In the comments section, we began to discuss Soto's value to the team, and I'd like to explore that further here.
From everything I've heard from scouting and statistical reports* alike, Soto has above average (and possibly superior) defensive abilities. For fun, I want to hypothetically compare Soto to our last decade of catching, Michael Barrett and the ever undeservedly popular Joe Girardi. Assuming their defensive abilities were equal (which they weren't, especially in the case of noodle-armed Michael Barrett), let's compare their offensive performances thus far:
In other words, last year -- when Soto had an "off" year -- he was still better than Girardi ever was and still ahead of his brick-handed colleague Michael Barrett.**
Add to this Geovany's super-sweet contract (because he's a young guy and yet to go through arbitration), and we're pretty much looking at the most valuable catcher in the league (on account of Joe Mauer's mega, wallet-clearing contract). Allow me to stress this point:
*Hey! Fangraphs just added some catcher defense stats! How great is that?! I'll tell you. It's very great.
**I don't dislike Michael Barrett. His defense was just terrible.