NAPOLI, MIKE  
 
Image of    Nickname:   N/A Position:   C
Home: Cooper City, Florida Team:   RED SOX
Height: 6' 0" Bats:   R
Weight: 215 Throws:   R
DOB: 10/31/1981 Agent: Brian Grieper
Birth City: Hollywood, Florida Draft: Angels #17 - 2000 - Out of Flanagan H.S. (Fla.)
Uniform #: 12  
 
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2003 CAL RANCHO CUCAMONG   47 165 28 44 10 1 4 26 5   23 32     .267
2004 CAL RANCHO CUCAMONG   132 482 94 136 29 4 29 118 9   88 166     .282
2005 TL ARKANSAS   131 439 96 104 22 2 31 99 12   88 140     .237
2006 PCL SALT LAKE   21 78 12 19 6 0 3 10 1 1 8 29   .436 .244
2006 AL ANGELS   99 268 47 61 13 0 16 42 2 3 51 90 .360 .455 .228
2007 AL ANGELS $395.00 75 219 40 54 11 1 10 34 5 2 33 63 .351 .443 .247
2008 CAL RANCHO CUCAMONGA   5 14 3 8 3 0 1 4 0 0 2 2   1.000 .571
2008 AL ANGELS $425.00 78 227 39 62 9 1 20 49 7 3 35 70 .374 .586 .273
2009 AL ANGELS $2,000.00 114 382 60 104 22 1 20 56 3 3 40 103 .350 .492 .272
2010 AL ANGELS $3,600.00 140 453 60 108 24 1 26 68 4 2 42 137 .316 .468 .238
2011 PCL ROUND ROCK   4 15 3 4 1 0 3 9 0 0 2 4 .333 .933 .267
2011 AL RANGERS $5,800.00 113 369 72 118 25 0 30 75 4 2 58 85 .414 .631 .320
2012 AL RANGERS $9,400.00 108 352 53 80 9 2 24 56 1 0 56 125 .343 .469 .227
2013 AL RED SOX $5,000.00 139 498 79 129 38 2 23 92 1 1 73 187 .360 .482 .259
2014 AL RED SOX   15 56 7 17 2 0 3 9 0 0 8 19 .400 .500 .304
PERSONAL:

 

  • Napoli was the 17th round pick by the Angels in June, 2000 out of Charles W. Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
  • Mike was born on Halloween in 1981.

  • In 2004, Mike led the California League in home runs and RBI. And he had a .394 on-base percentage and .539 slugging percentage.

  • In 2005, Napoli led the Texas League with 31 home runs and 99 RBI.

  • In eight winter ball games in the Dominican Republic before 2006 spring training, Napoli hit two home runs and went 9 for 25 in eight games for Aguilas.

  • During the off-season before 2005 spring training, Baseball America rated him 29th-best prospect in the Angels' organization. But before 2006 spring camp opened, the magazine had him at #11 in their farm system.

  • During the off-season before 2007 spring training, Napoli lost 15 pounds after a diet of pre-packaged meals—a loss he believes could lead to more consistent production. He dropped from 227 to 212.

    "It stinks eating those meals—you get a piece of chicken, three potatoes, and some fruit," Napoli said. "But I've gained weight over the years, and I wanted to get back to where I felt good, where I felt athletic. I want to be the best I can be. I've got to take better care of my body," Napoli said, "and eating habits have a lot to do with that."

  •  
  • August 2013 -- Mike Napoli is dating a porn star ?

    For those who don't follow her NSFW Twitter feed, adult film actress Rachel Starr posted a series of tweets revealing a friendship with the Boston Red Sox' backstop. Once she announced her intent to "hang out" with Napoli, the Internet took it from there.


    TRANSACTIONS

  • June 2000: Napoli signed with the Angels, and scout Todd Claus, after the team drafted him in the 17th round out of high school in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

  • January 19, 2009: Napoli and the Angels avoided salary arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $2 million contract.

  • January 19, 2010: Mike and the Angels again avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $3.6-million deal that could grow by an additional $100,000 if he starts 120 games.

  • January 22, 2011: The Blue Jays sent OF Vernon Wells to the Angels, acquiring Napoli and OF Juan Rivera.

    January 25, 2011: Mike's stay in Toronto was short-lived. The Rangers sent reliever Frank Francisco and cash to the Blue Jays, acquiring Napoli.

  • January 29, 2011: Napoli and the Rangers agreed on a one-year $5.8 million contract.

  • February 11, 2012: Mike and the Rangers again avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year, $9.4 million contract for 2012. Napoli settled $500,000 below the midpoint after the sides exchanged figures. Napoli asked for $11.5 million and the club offered $8.3 million.

  • December 3, 2012: Napoli and the Red Sox agreed on a three-year, $39 million contract.

    However, during his physical, an issue with his hip came to the surface, so the final signing stalled.

    So on January 17, 2013: Mike and the Red Sox agreed on a one-year deal with a base salary of $5 million. With incentives, he can play himself to a $13 million payday, which boosts the compensation to the level of the three-year deal he first agreed to with Boston six weeks before.

  •  
  • November 4, 2013: The Red Sox extended the $14.1 million qualifying offer to Napoli. Mike can choose to accept the offer and play 2014 with the one-year deal, or test free agency. If he chooses free agency and signs with another team, that team forfeits a top pick (the first 11 picks are protected, so those teams would then give up a second-round selection) and the Red Sox receive a compensatory pick in June, 2014's first-year player draft.

    December 6, 2013: Napoli signed a 2-year, $32 million contract with the Red Sox, leaving more $$$ on the table (from the Rangers, Mariners and Marlins) to stay in Boston.

  • December 7, 2013: Napoli agreed with terms of a 2-year, $32 million contract with the Red Sox. He again left money on the table to return to Boston.
  •  
     
    BATTING:

    • Napoli is a true run-producer. He won't normally hit for a high average (except in 2011), but he hits with some real righthanded power and knocks in runs. He generates good bat speed and has good loft and carry when he hits one.

      He strikes fear into pitches when he strides to the plate.
    • Mike's big swing gets long at times because a loop in his load makes it hard for him to hit the top half of the ball.

      He always will have trouble hitting a pitch that is above his hands. He swings and misses a lot, but balances out his high strikeout numbers by also walking a whole lot.

    • Napoli's desire to crush balls sometimes ties him in knots offensively, which is why it's so important for him to focus on driving the ball the other way and not trying to yank everything into the left-field seats.

      Mike says, "I have to keep it simple—see the ball, hit the ball. When I'm hitting to all fields, driving the ball to right-center, that's when I know I'm doing the right things."

    • Napoli made his Major League Baseball debut on May 5, 2006 against the Detroit Tigers in Comerica Park, and proceeded to hit a home-run in his first Major League at-bat off starting pitcher Justin Verlander.

    • In 2006 with the Angels, after hitting .286 with 11 homers and 27 RBIs before the All-Star break, Napoli hit .164 with five homers and 15 RBIs after the break. 

    • Mike is not just a high fastball hitter, he hits very, very high fastballs—from the letters all the way to nose—high heaters. He can really hammer them.

    • Napoli does get on base even when he's not hitting for average, and his power isn't just dead-pull.

    • As of the start of the 2014 season, Napoli had a career batting average of .259 with 169 home runs and 472 RBI in 2,768 at-bats in the Major Leagues.
     
     
    FIELDING:

    • Napoli has really developed as a defensive catcher. He used to be only adequate, not showing much agility until coming on in 2005. 

      Early in his pro career he didn't throw very well. But he worked hard and showed much progress in 2005 and 2006.

      By now, however, he contributes little on defense.
    • Mike has smoothed out his footwork and exchange, allowing his average arm strength to enable him to throw out runners at an above average pace. In 2005, Napoli threw out a super 47 percent of Texas League baserunners who were trying to steal.

    • Napoli blocks balls in the dirt and receives adequately. He is comfortable being a catcher.

  • He handles a pitching staff very well. His communication skills are excellent. He is able to bring adjustments not only inning to inning but pitch to pitch. He makes a quick study of opposing hitters.

    Pitchers respond well to Mike.

  • In 2006, with the Angels, Napoli posted a team-low 3.76 catcher's ERA. He was particularly effective in working with Kelvim Escobar (2.76) and Jered Weaver (2.22).

    "Mike is a good receiver," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He has soft hands, and while his arm may not be quite as strong as the others, he has a good release and he is very accurate."

  • As of the start of 2009 season, the Angels planned on taking Napoli from behind the plate and installing him as their DH. In his first three seasons with the Angels, Mike had clearly demonstrated:  A) the ability to mash with the best of them, and B) a distressing habit of getting hurt and missing chunks of seasons.

  •  
    Put those two points together, and it's not hard to conclude C) that this guy should be occupying significant time in the less-stressful DH role to keep his booming bat in the lineup.

    However, after coming to the Texas Rangers, Napoli was anything but a defensive liability. In 2011, the American League champions were 42-15 in games he started as catcher. He  threw out a respectable 10-of-31 base-stealers, and the Rangers staff posted an impressive 3.16 ERA with him behind the plate. Napoli might not be a natural as a catcher, but he works well with the pitching staff and sure doesn’t mind sacrificing his body to block the plate.

  • When you watch Mike Napoli play first base, you'd never know that he was primarily a catcher before the 2013 season. He is so good, the Red Sox would never take him out for defense in the late innings.

  • "That happened because of [infield instructor] Brian Butterfield, in addition to Mike's athletic ability," said manager John Farrell. "Early on before Mike got into games, we had some time we could devote after the workouts where he and Butter had a lot of concentrated one-on-one work, and in those first few days, I remember watching them work and talking to Butter afterward, he felt like this was a guy that had good mobility."

    The transition from catcher to first base doesn't go so smooth. Just ask Mike Piazza. But in this case, it couldn't have gone better.

    "Because he was a catcher, he plays low to the ground where a lot of balls are when you're fielding or digging the ball out of the dirt defensively," Farrell said. "Going back in the conversations with Butter, we felt like when he gained confidence getting further off the bag when we used some of our conditioning, that was an outward sign that he felt comfortable and he trusted his internal clock to get back to the bag on a ground ball elsewhere in the infield.

    "By expanding that range or positioning, that's given him so many more opportunities to field balls in a straight-up position rather than having to range or dive or whatever it might have been. He's a good athlete. He came to us with a number of games played at first base. It wasn't like we took a guy green to the position and had to make wholesale changes."

     
    The one memorable gaffe Napoli had at first base came at Tropicana Field in June, 2013, when he couldn't handle a popup. But Napoli is far more comfortable on popups these days.

    "Yeah, and leading up to that and then for a period of time after that, a lot of the early work came off a Ponza [pitching] machine with fly balls in Fenway Park and just getting accustomed to repetition with fly balls," Farrell said. "We've seen a number of them of late where there's not even a second thought now." (10/07/13)
     
     
    RUNNING:

    • Mike runs the bases well—real well for a catcher. He goes from first to third well.
     
    CAREER INJURY REPORT:

    • 2003: Napoli missed most of the season with a torn laburm in his right shoulder that required surgery.
    • July 2-18, 2007: Mike went on the D.L. with a bone contusion in his left shin/high ankle that he suffered during a game the night before.

    • July 28-September 1, 2007: Napoli went on the D.L. with a strained right hamstring. And on the last day of August, Mike strained something lower in his leg—not related to the hamstring.

    • July 6-August 8, 2008: The pain in Napoli's shoulder, which had bothered him all season, became so unbearable that he was put on the D.L. An MRI confirmed the original diagnosis of inflammation in the right shoulder.

    • October 31, 2008: Napoli underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder.

    • February-March 27, 2009: Mike was held back from rigorous throwing for the first few weeks of spring training, not rushing things while recovering from the shoulder surgery.

    • June 11-July 4, 2011: Napoli was on the D.L. with a strained oblique muscle in his left ribcage.

    • August 11-September 15, 2012: Mike was on the D.L. with a left quadriceps strain.

    • October 2012: Napoli underwent Lasik surgery.

    • January 22, 2012: Mike revealed that he has avascular necrosis in both hips, the same degenerative condition that ended the career of two-sport star Bo Jackson.

      But Napoli said that because the condition was discovered in its early stages and was treated with medication. The condition was not discovered until he underwent a physical after agreeing to a three-year, $39 million contract with the Red Sox in early December. The discovery of the condition caused the Red Sox to revise their original offer. Seven weeks later, Napoli signed a one-year, $5 million deal that could be worth $13 million with performance bonuses.

      Avascular necrosis, known by its acronym AVN and also known as osteonecrosis (ON), is a progressive, degenerative disorder that kills bone tissue. According to AVNSupport.org, it is caused by a blockage or loss of blood flow to a joint or bone, causing the joint/bone to die.

      "Usually, but not always, the hips are first affected, then other joints may follow," according to information on the site
      . "It can strike any bone or joint in the body. The bone tissue/joints actually die, just as heart muscle tissue dies from a heart attack."

      Avascular necrosis in both hips, the same degenerative condition that ended the career of two-sport star Bo Jackson.

      Avascular necrosis, known by its acronym AVN and also known as osteonecrosis (ON), is a progressive, degenerative disorder that kills bone tissue. According to AVNSupport.org, it is caused by a blockage or loss of blood flow to a joint or bone, causing the joint/bone to die.

      "My heart just sank," Donna, his mother, said. "We were shocked. Here we thought we were going to a press conference, and all of a sudden Mike finds out there's something wrong with his hips. I just said lots of prayers."

      For weeks, neither Napoli nor the Red Sox talked publicly about why the deal had been placed on hold while they worked out a new contract. Gone was the guarantee of three years. In its place, a one-year deal for $5 million with performance-based incentives that could make the deal worth as much as $13 million, the equivalent of one year under the old agreement.

      But money was the least of Napoli's concerns. He had endured physical setbacks before -- in the minor leagues, he had surgery on both shoulders -- but nothing like this. "When I heard the news," former teammate Jeff Mathis said, "I got sick to my stomach. I knew how hard he'd worked."

      Mathis visited Pembroke Lakes to see his friend.

      "I remember sitting in his kitchen," Mathis said. "He was cooking and talking about hip surgery, hip replacement. I'm just going, 'Damn, man.' The look on his face -- just worried about being able to function every day, moving around, having a life after the game."

    • April 16, 2014: Napoli dove headfirst into 2nd base while advancing on a wild pitch in the 9th inning of a game vs. the White Sox and dislocated his finger.

      "I look at my finger," Napoli said, "and it's sideways
      ."

      Second base umpire Jim Joyce was even more distressed than Napoli by what he saw
      .

      "Jim Joyce was going, 'Oh my God,' calling for the trainer," said Napoli, who was able to smile while describing the umpire's reaction, perhaps because by that time X-rays had returned negative, indicating no fracture.

      The finger was dislocated, the Red Sox said, and reset by a White Sox team doctor. Napoli wore a splint on the finger as he spoke with reporters.

      "It's not broke," he said. "I can play with some soreness. I guess we'll see how it goes tomorrow."

     
     
     
    Last Updated 4/18/2014. All contents © 2000 by Player Profiles. All rights reserved.