Monday, January 9, 2012

Top Ten Catchers

For the next few weeks I'm going to post my position rankings. Feel free to leave any comments, questions, or disagreements.

10) Wilson Ramos, Nationals

Was kidnapped this past offseason in Venezeula, but was rescued a few days later. Anyway, Ramos was 4th in the Rookie of the Year balloting last year. He hit .267 with 15 homers and 52 RBIs last year and threw out 32% of runners. I went with Ramos as number 10 because of his potential, and left off veteran catchers AJ Pierzynski and Russell Martin.

9) Carlos Ruiz, Phillies

A unsung hero of the Phillies, Chooch has received MVP votes the last two seasons. Not a power hitter, but is known for clutch hits and posts good On Base Pct. Ruiz is also regarded as one of the best defensive catchers in baseball.

8) Buster Posey, Giants

I may be ranking Posey to low, but he was limited to 45 games after suffering a season ending injury in a collision at home plate. Posey was great in 2010 winning the Rookie of the Year, World Series, and finishing 11th in the MVP voting. During Posey's brief career, he has a .294 BA and has thrown out 37% of runners trying to steal.

7) Matt Wieters, Orioles

You may not have heard of Wieters, but that's because he plays for the Orioles. Wieters made his first All Star team last year and won the Gold Glove in the American League. In his third season last year, he hit 22 home runs, drove in 68 runs, and was third in the AL in Caught Stealing pct.

6) Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks

Guess who had the most RBIs by a catcher last year? It was Montero with 86. He also was 9th in the National League in doubles and 1st in the NL in Caught Stealing pct. with 40%. He was a big reason why the DBacks were a first place club last season.

5) Alex Avila, Tigers

Avila was 5th in the AL in OBP with .389 last year, and was 8th in OPS with .895. He also posted a .295 BA with 19 home runs and 82 RBIs. Avila finished 12th in AL MVP voting last season and made the All Star team.

4) Brian McCann, Braves

Already a six time All Star, McCann had his usual good offensive season last year. The winner of the 2010 All Star MVP Award, McCann has proven to be one of the most consistent and durable catchers in baseball since making his debut in 2005.

3) Mike Napoli, Rangers

Napoli had a breakout season last year, batting .320, hitting 30 homers, 75 RBIs, and had a .631 slugging pct. While he did play some of his games at first base and DH last year, he also threw out 36% of runners trying to steal. Napoli also had a monster postseason for the Rangers last year, batting .328 with 3 homers and 15 RBIs.

2) Yadier Molina, Cardinals

I was tempted to put Yadi as number 1 this year, but didn't due to Joe Mauer's track record of greatness. However, Molina had his best all around year last season. He was 8th in the NL with a .305 BA and was 2nd in a little known stat called AB per SO. Unfortunately, he was also 2nd in double plays grounded into. Yadi won his fourth Gold Glove, made his third All Star team, and won the World Series last year. He also set career highs for home runs(14), RBIs(65), and slugging pct.(.465) last season. The only thing down was his CS % at 29%, his career pct. is 44%.

1) Joe Mauer, Twins

Mauer had a injury plagued year last season playing in only 82 games. 30 of those games were at other positions, and he will likely play first and DH when he's not catching this season to keep him healthier. He is still regarded as a good defensive catcher, though. Mauer's BA was .287 last year, but down 36 points from his career totals. Same with his OPS which was .729 last year compared to a career total of .874. But this is a guy who has won three batting crowns, the 2009 AL MVP, and made four All Star teams since debuting in 2004. He will turn 29 this year, but I think he'll bounce back in 2012.


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