Friday, February 4, 2011

MLB Network's Top 10: Catcher

This is a continuation of a look at MLB's Top 10 by position.

Carlos Ruiz will never be mentioned among the top offensive catchers in baseball. He doesn't stack up with Joe Mauer or Brian McCann. But over the last two years, Chooch is finally getting the recognition he deserves as one of the best defensive catchers and game callers in the league. He's also started producing with the bat, especially in the post-season. Last year, he posted a career high .302 average, and fell just short of his career highs in home runs (8) RBI (53) and doubles (28). His 55 walks were also a career high. Add everything up, and Ruiz ranks seventh on MLB's top ten. The list:

10- Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles
9- Kurt Suzuki, Oakland Athletics
8- John Buck, Florida Marlins
7- Carlos Ruiz, PHILLIES
6- Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians
5- Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
4- Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers
3- Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves
2- Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
1- Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins

No real surprises in the top five. Mauer is a perennial MVP candidate, Posey burst upon the scene with a tremendous year for the Giants (although it may be a little premature to rank him second already), McCann and Martinez are solid catchers with great bats and Molina is outstanding behind the plate.

Carlos Santana at number six is a surprise. He's appeared in just 46 games in his career and amassed 150 at bats. He hit .260 with six homers, 22 RBI, 13 doubles, 37 walks and 29 strikeouts. He was solid behind the plate as well and is a bright spot on a depleted Indians squad. But number six overall in the league is extremely premature to rank a kid that is still going based mostly on potential. Most people, right now, would take Ruiz over Santana. Talk to me in two or three years, or maybe even in six months, and Santana could certainly prove that he is worthy of the ranking. But at this point, he barely cracks the top ten for my money.

Matt Wieters is somewhat of an anomaly. Loaded with tons of potential, everyone expected huge things from him when he came up for the Orioles in 2009. He had a decent year in a limited number of games (96), but people expected more from him in his first full season. He struggled in 2010, which saw his average drop from .288 to .249. With nearly 100 extra at bats in 2010, he barely eclipsed some of his 2009 numbers; his home runs went from nine to eleven, his RBI from 43 to 55, his hits from 102 to 111 and his runs from 35 to 37. However, he did strikeout 94 times compared to just 47 walks.

Wieters still has a ton of potential, but after his 2010 season, potential has to be just about all he's being ranked on in cracking the Top Ten.


  1. really Yadier 5???? try no.1, in terms of catching...offense is the trend however....lowest one backpicks like him or runs on him for that matter...consensus of pitchers want to throw to him....and clutch instincts...hard to say least higher than five and certainly not in that 4-6 sandwich J O'Dell

  2. The Yadier hyperbole of being a great catcher has almost run its course once he posts a horrific sub 90 OPS + again

  3. These are MLB Network's rankings, not mine.

    Molina is a very good catcher. There is no way he is number one in the league though. Catchers are difficult to rank because some are great offensively, some defensively and some both.

    Molina is outstanding behind the plate, but doesn't compare to Mauer overall. Molina was bad at the plate last season and has a worse career fielding percentage than Mauer. He's excellent behind the plate and handles his staff well, no doubt (although most catchers could handle Wainwright and Carpenter pretty well).

    I think 5 is the right spot for him though, which is still a really high spot. Any time you make the top 5, you're considered one of the elite in the game. But right now, I'd take the top 4 ahead of him.

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