Back Up Mets Catcher: Jose Lobaton (2018)
Jose Manuel Lobaton was born October 21st 1984 in Venezuela. The six foot one catcher signed with the San Diego Padres for $70,000 right out of high school.
He briefly played with the Padres, seven games in 2009 before being designated for assignment. He was picked up by the Tampa Rays, spending all of 2010 in their minor leagues.
Lobaton spent three seasons in Tampa splitting time with Jose Molina in the 2012 & 2013 seasons. In 2013 with the Wild Card Rays, he saw the most action, playing in 100 games batting .249 with career highs in HRs (7) doubles (15) RBIs (32) & hits (69).
Behind the plate he posted the 5th best fielding % (.996%) while turning 6 double plays (3rd most in the AL) but allowed 63 stolen bass tossing out just 14% of would be base stealers.
During a three game span in mid August he hit a walk off triple & a walk off HR, becoming only the fourth player to do that & the first catcher since Wally Schang in 1917.
Post Season Hero: In the ALDS against the Boston Red Sox he played in all four games, starting two of them & coming in late in the other two.
In Game #4 with a tie score in the bottom of the 9th inning, Lobaton hit a walk off HR off Sox reliever Koji Uehara. It was the only game in that series Tampa won. He is the only Rays player to ever hit a walk off HR in the post season.
In February of 2014 he was traded to the Washington Nationals for Nate Karns. He spent four seasons in D.C. as back up catcher to Wilson Ramos. He batted below .200 in two of those seasons but played a solid defense.
He played in two more post seasons, losing the NLDS both times, to the LA Dodgers in 2016 & Chicago Cubs in 2017. In the 2016 NLCS he hit another post season HR, this one in a 5-2 Nats win.
In a crazy season where he was designated for assignment twice & cleared waivers once while having his contract purchased again as well. He saw action in 22 games as one of five catchers the Mets used in 2018. He batted just .143 with four RBIs in that time, throwing out 3 of 12 base stealers.
In his career he threw out 20% of would be base stealers posting a .993 fielding % making 21 errors in 3045 chances with 183 assists. He batted just .215 with 244 hits 21 HRs with 47 doubles & 107 RBIs.
Family: Jose married his wife Nina at Tropicana Field in 2012.