Narvaez hopes for shot to start next season

White Sox catcher has done well at plate, with staff in 2016

Narvaez hopes for shot to start next season

CHICAGO -- Numerous names already have been thrown around in regard to potential White Sox starting catching candidates for 2017.

There are free agents such as Matt Wieters, Jason Castro and Wilson Ramos, as well as potential trades.

But what about the candidacy of Omar Narvaez, the 24-year-old, Rule 5 selection in '13, currently serving as part of the White Sox catching crew with free agent-to-be Alex Avila and Kevan Smith? Narvaez has surprised himself a bit by hitting .269 with a .358 on-base percentage over 31 games and 28 starts since being promoted from Triple-A Charlotte.

Narvaez has not hit a home run and has four extra-base hits total. He also has shown consistent professional at-bats.

"First of all. I didn't know I was getting here the same year [as being in big league Spring Training]. But I'm still confident. We have to have confidence in what we do," Narvaez said. "Offensively, I know I can hit a little bit. I didn't know how good I could be. I was a little surprised."

"He's making a good run at it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Narvaez. "When you start looking at next year and guys that are trying to fill in for some spots -- part of it is he came up here and kind of played his way into a look at that."

Along with that consistent offensive approach, Narvaez has done a solid job working with the staff. White Sox pitchers have a 3.74 ERA over the 248 innings with Narvaez, although he has thrown out just 1-of-24 would-be base stealers.

Putting all of these numbers and intangibles together gives Narvaez the look of at least a solid future backup. It's a credit to his current big league work that the left-handed hitter would be considered for more.

"Guys like throwing to him, and he can also put the bat on the ball," Ventura said. "You don't necessarily have to hit home runs to be effective at what he does. But calling games, receiving, approach-wise, he's pretty good at having a nice professional at-bat. It's valuable when he's a left-handed hitter."

"We have to see how it comes in Spring Training and what they make as a decision," Narvaez said. "All I can do is make that decision tougher, just playing wise and control what I can do. Everything else they control."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.