With Spring Training just beginning, what better way to look at some position rankings. The most overlooked position in baseball is the catcher. The pitch selection he makes in a game determines the outcome. Who are the top 5 catchers entering the 2017 season?
- Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants)
Posey is a complete catcher in baseball. The Giants backstop hit .288 with a .362 on-base percentage. Posey consistently gets on base (career .373 OBP). He is also an above average base runner for the position going 6-6 in steal attempts. Defensively he cut down a remarkable 37 percent of steal attempts as well. Posey is regarded as one of the best pitch framers in the game. I’m not sure there is really much of an argument here.
2. Yadier Molina (St. Louis Cardinals)
Molina comes in at #2 on the list. He proved that he has recovered from the thumb injuries slashing a .307 average and .360 OBP. Molina has always been regarded as a terrific defensive catcher as well. He not only has one of the best arms but he is one of the best pitch framers in the game too. The Cardinals staff always pitches behind the Molina leadership.
3. Salvador Perez (Kansas City Royals)
Perez is one of the most durable catchers in the game. His workload probably causes him to go on stretches where he doesn’t hit as well as he could with a .247 average. He does, however, have some pop in his bat hitting 22 homers in 2016. The downside to Perez is he has always been a terrible pitch framer.
4. Jonathan Lucroy (Texas Rangers)
Lucroy is probably the best pure offensive catchers in baseball. The Texas backstop hit .276 this past year on top of a .345 OBP. A career high 24 homers in 2016 only adds to his value. Lucroy is also a very athletic catcher who runs well for the position. Lucroy did throw out 39 percent of base stealers but his pitch framing his only above average.
5. Gary Sanchez (New York Yankees)
The question is whether Sanchez can repeat on an unbelievable 2016 season. In 229 plate appearances, Sanchez dropped 20 homers to go along with a .299 average. He also averaged 97.7 MPH exit velocity on his homers which shows his power is here to stay. Defensively he gunned 41 percent of base stealers proving to be a plus defender. Now it’s time to see whether teams will figure him out once the advanced scouting reports come out. He did hit .282 and 10 homers during 282 at bats in AAA last year. It’s safe to say we have no idea what to expect from Sanchez next year but it’s something we should all be excited about.
*Honorable Mention: Russell Martin, Wilson Ramos, Willson Contreras, and the often mysterious Sandy Leon.