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For the most part, preseason rankings have been showing a ton of love to your San Diego Padres. The likes of Juan Soto, Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr, and Blake Snell have all been appearing near the top of rankings in their positions and analysts have shown a good amount of praise.

However, it appears that Austin Nola is the odd man out. The 33-year-old catcher first came into the league in 2012 looking to be an infielder. However, just a couple seasons into his professional career, he found a better role behind opposing batters. The problem with Nola recently hasn't been his catching skills but rather his production at bat.

In 2022, he posted a slash line of .251/.321/.329 and his isolated power dropped to .087. Bleacher Report's Joel Reuter ranked every team's starting catcher and placed Nola at number 21 out of 30 names.

"He hit .306/.373/.531 in 110 plate appearances with the Seattle Mariners during the 2020 season before he was traded to the San Diego Padres at the deadline in a seven-player deal that sent Ty France and Andres Muñoz the other way."

"He has not matched that level of offensive production since he was traded, but he has developed into a reliable starting catcher, and he has some of the best contact skills on the San Diego roster with an 8.6 percent walk rate and 15.1 percent strikeout rate."

(Via Bleacher Report)

Reuter was looking at these rankings and grading players based off of their skills at the catching position and numbers when they step up to the plate. Even though Nola hasn't been as successful when he bats in the regular season, his chemistry with the Friars' pitchers is unmatched. 

Even if Nola continues to struggle in 2023, and he certainly hasn't in Spring Training so far, the Padres are set to have one of the deepest and most talented lineups in history. They will be getting plenty runners on base between their stars and Nola will continue to do what he does best on defense.

He did just take a nasty hit about a week ago from a fastball that veered off route and hit him directly in the nose. However, his recovery has been insanely fast and Bob Melvin says he is already prepared to suit up again.