Barring any breakout showing from the non-roster invitee catchers during Spring Training, Tim Federowicz is penciled in as the back-up catcher to A.J. Ellis for 2013. The 25-year old right-hand hitting backstop was acquired by the Dodgers in the July 2011 trade deadline three-way deal which sent Dodgers prospect Trayvon Robinson to the Seattle Mariners. The Boston Red Sox sent minor leaguer Chih-Hsien Chiang to Seattle, and the Red Sox received Josh Fields and Erik Bedard from Seattle. The Dodgers received minor leaguer Juan Rodriguez, Stephen Fife, and Federowicz in the trade from Boston. At the time the trade stirred up confusion and anger from Dodger fans. Some were upset that Trayvon Robinson, a promising prospect, was traded away. The Dodgers were very thin in catching depth at the time, so it made sense that Ned Colletti made this move to pickup Federowicz.
Timothy Joseph Federowicz or “FedEx” is a 5’10″ and 215 lb. catcher who was drafted by the Red Sox in the 7th round of the 2008 draft out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. FedEx started his professional career in low-A ball and was at the AA level when he was traded to the Dodgers. In 2009, he spent time between the Single-A and Advanced-A level in the Boston farm system where he combined to hit .305 with 14 homeruns in 106 games. Yet the next season where he spent the entirety with the Advanced-A Salem Red Sox in the Carolina League, the young catcher only hit .253 with 4 homeruns over 109 games. In 2011, he batted .277 with 8 homeruns in the 90 games he played with the AA-Portland Sea Dogs before being traded to the Dodgers and landing in Albuquerque. With the Isotopes, Federowicz excelled, and in the remainder of 2011 he hit .325 with 6 homeruns in 25 games with the ‘Topes. In 2012, he continued to enjoy the atmosphere of Albuquerque. He finished the season with a line of .294/.371/.461 with 11 homeruns, and 76 RBI in 115 games.
Defensively, FedEx had a solid season in Albuquerque as well. His caught stealing percentage was 39%, a professional career high.
He made his Major League debut with the Dodgers on September 11, 2011. Over the last two seasons, FedEx has only played in 10 games and had just 16 at bats at the Major League level. He has hit .188 with 3 hits and 6 strikeouts in that small sample size.
An excellent defensive catcher, FedEx can handle blocking balls in the dirt well, and he works well with pitching staffs. Although he does not have the strongest arm, he is accurate and quick in his release. It is still questionable whether Federowicz will be able to be productive or powerful at the plate in the Majors, but since the Dodgers have not had a top catching prospect within their system for quite some time Federowicz is the heir apparent to A.J. Ellis as their future starting Dodger catcher.
While some may view Federowicz as a mediocre prospect, I see him as a solid defensive catcher who if not the future starting catcher for the Dodgers, then will be quite suitable as a second catcher. While it’s always nice to have a catcher who can hit à la Mike Piazza, finding a talented defensive catcher is difficult in of itself.
Tim Federowicz will be given the opportunity to show management what he can do at the big league level in 2012, and if he flounders I’m sure veteran Jesus Flores will be waiting in the wings.