One of my favorite questions to ask at the end of the season is who were the best catchers for the year. Here is a quick run down of who I believe performed head and shoulders above the others, and more importantly, what makes them the top rated.
Brian is considered one of the best and consistent batters in his field. McCann managed to post a major league-leading 26 home runs and American League-leading 94 RBI in 2015. As a seven time all star he was at his peak when he played for the Braves. He managed to earn five silver sluggers during his time there, which shows his level of offensive play being possibly the best in the league. While his high number of errors, and lower count on throwing out stealers keeps him from being in first, McCann certainly deserves a position in the top five for his overall performance.
While his 2015 numbers were affected by an early season injury, missing about one third of the year, and then add in another fifteen games at first base, it would take one of the best to still place in the top twenty, so how much better is he when he managed to place in the top 5? We really are looking forward to seeing how he does in 2016, and wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t number one.
As we were saying, he only managed to play almost fifty-five percent of the games as catcher, but with an excellent batting stat (fifty-one runs scored) and without his OPS he still placed ninth for all catchers who qualified. It is worth mentioning at this point that if his OPS had qualified he would have moved up to sixth.
While defense wasn’t his strength this year and needs some work, and he finished sixth for most errors for catchers; nearly seventy-five percent of runners were managed to steal on his watch, we know he is a contender next year, and with a little defensive coaching will be a powerhouse for his team. Being only twenty-nine years old, he still has a great future ahead of him, and with past accomplishments like National League all-star and leading the MLB in doubles, not to mention finishing fourth in National League MVP voting, we are still expecting so much from Lucroy.
3. Salvador Pérez
2015 statistics: .260 AVG, 21 HR, 70 RBI, 52 R, 138 H, .706 OPS, four errors, .695 SBPCT (in 142 games; 139 at catcher)
Being in the American League playoffs and a great run to the 2014 World Series, Perez is proving that having an amazing defensive playing ability and a lot of power, can make the difference between unknown and elite in the game. Even though this is just his fifth season, it is his third as a starter and it looks like he is just warming up. 2016 is going to be an amazing year for catchers in the top five, as Perez has already garnered two golden gloves and three all star appearances, that’s not even including the outcome for this years awards. Add to the mix that he is just twenty-five years old, and you know he has an amazing future coming up.
Even with an injured left thumb, missing a large number of games and being the oldest of this group, Molina can still hold his own. Know as the best defensive catcher in the game, a title which really says it all, Molina’s impact on the teams performance cannot be stated enough. Anyone who doubts his position here in second, unless they thought he should be first, need only look at his seven consecutive gold gloves. That in and of itself tells the story.
1. Buster Posey
2015 statistics: .318 AVG, 19 HR, 95 RBI, 74 R, 177 H, .849 OPS, two errors, .639 SBPCT (in 150 games; 106 at catcher)
While Posey is known for being able to play everywhere, and though he played more games than everyone else on the list this year at one hundred and fifty. It has to be noted that only one hundred and six of those were as catcher, which is the second least of the group.
Being a flexible player and having smart team management was surely helpful. His team has managed to take a well rounded player and slowly turn him into one of the best performing catchers in the pros. While Posey has been in the top twenty MVP list and has even won one, in his first six seasons in the majors, you know he is doing something right. Between his near perfect knowledge of the game and his excellent relationship with is pitchers, nobody would have doubted he would be this year’s top pick.