The 5 Best Catchers in Baseball Today
No One Ever Said Catching Was Easy
The catcher position in baseball requires a lot from a player, especially to be considered one of The 5 Best Catchers in Baseball Today.
Were it not for the fame and fortune, few would envy a MLB catcher. In the blazing summer heat, a catcher must sit in a squat position throughout the game, wearing heavy pads and a helmet while a pitcher fires a ball anywhere from 90 to 100 mph right at his dome.
Often thought of as a team captain, a catcher is a lot like a point guard in basketball or a quarterback in football. From the field, he must call the game, deciding what pitches should be thrown in each situation, requiring and in-depth knowledge of the opposition's hitters and the pitcher's ability.
Oh yeah, and as you might assume, he should hit a little bit.
If it sounds like a lot, that's because it is.
Catchers Deserve A Lot of Credit
Very few in the history of baseball have been able to successfully man all aspects of the catcher position.
Therefore, those who have are
often considered to be some of the greatest players ever. Names like
Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Yogi Berra, Mike Piazza and Joe Torre live
in infamy for not only what they accomplished behind the plate, but at
the plate as well.
Today, as always, there are only a select few catchers showcasing sensational skills with both their bat and their glove. In my excellent opinion, if I do say so myself, these are The 5 Best Catchers in Baseball Today:
How to Become One of the Best Catchers:
5) Yadier Molina
Unlike other backstops on the list, Yadier Molina is not an excellent hitter. Far from it. Like, really far. Ok, you get the point. It's far. But, there is no way when discussing the best catchers in baseball any conversation could occur without mentioning at least one Molina.
I mean, there are three of them, for cripes sake!
Since 2005, Yadier Molina has thrown out 42% of runners attempting to steal a base and has picked off 36 base runners. Damn! To say his arm is excellent would be an insult to understatements.
His cannon has earned him three straight NL Gold Glove Awards since 2008 and four straight Fielding Bible Awards since 2007. In 2010, he won the award unanimously with a perfect score of 100.
Defensively, there is no one better.
What keeps Molina from the top of this list is his bat. Or lack thereof. After seven seasons logged as a big leaguer, he has a .268 AVG, .327 OBP and .361 SLG. In 2680 appearances at the plate, Molina has hit only 41 HR, or one every 65 AB, to go along with a mere 325 RBI in a St. Louis Cardinals lineup that features Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday.
His best season was 2008 when he compiled a .304 AVG, 7 HR, 56 RBI and scored 37 runs in only 124 games.
Were he able to swing the stick, there is a chance Yadier Molina could go down as one of the top three catchers in history. No foolin'. But, as it is, he will probably have to settle for a top 20 finish. Still, not too shabby.
2010 MLB Awards List:
4) Buster Posey
You may be right. I may be crazy for already putting Buster Posey on this list. But I might just be the lunatic you're looking for.
Any-hoo. After only 115 games in the big leagues, Gerald "Buster" Dempsey Posey III (sounds like a Civil War General) looks like the kind of talent that doesn't come around too often, especially at the catcher position.
Apparently, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) agrees. In November 2010, the BBWAA voted Posey the NL Rookie of the Year Award (ROY), after a myriad of weekly and monthly awards throughout the season. He is only the sixth NL catcher to ever win the MLB ROY award.
Don't be surprised if Buster Posey becomes the first catcher to win the NL MVP Award since Johnny Bench in 1972. Really, he is just that good.
Thus far, he has a .305 AVG, .348 OBP and .489 SLG. In 423 plate appearances, Posey has hit 18 HR and 67 RBI batting in a pitcher's park in a somewhat weak San Francisco Giants lineup. Offensively, he carried his team down the stretch and in the playoffs in 2010 on the way to a World Series Championship. So, apparently pressure isn't a problem.
At only 23 years old, we will have to wait a while to see where Buster Posey winds up on the all-time catcher list, but, I think it is safe to say that today, he is one of the top five in the game. Quote me!
Who is the Best Catcher in Baseball Today?
3) Victor Martinez
Looking over this list, at 31-years old, Victor Martinez may as well be Methuselah compared to Yadier Molina and Buster Posey. Martinez started his career with the Cleveland Indians in 2002 and played there for most of his first eight seasons.
In 2009, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox and during 2010 Free Agency he signed with the Detroit Tigers, making him the only catcher on the list to have played for multiple teams.
Over his nine seasons, he has made four different All-Star Game appearances and won one AL Silver Slugger Award. His Silver Slugger Award came as a result of a tie with Ivan Rodriguez, making it the first and only tie in the 30-year history of the award.
Victor Martinez has a career .300 AVG along with a .351 OBP and .469 SLG. In 3,3739 plate appearances, he has hit 131 HR, 638 RBI and scored 509 runs. Martinez's best season was arguably in 200 with a .301 AVG, 25 HR, 115 RBI and 78 runs scored.
Unlike the NL players on this list, Martinez is able to rack up plate appearances as a designated hitter and first baseman on days off from catching. With that in mind, his numbers should continue to climb while batting around Austin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers.
2) Brian McCann
One of the most consistent catchers over the last five seasons, Brian McCann received little national notoriety prior to his game-winning double in the 2010 MLB All-Star Game.
That hit earned him the All-Star MVP and his own personal sandwich at McDonalds, the Mc Canndwich Burger. Not really. About the sandwich.
However, in "Hotlanta," fans of the Atlanta Braves have known him and loved him for six seasons now as he has supplanted himself as the team's cleanup hitter and primary RBI man.
In that time, he has made five All-Star appearances and won four NL Silver Slugger Awards. Not bad in only six years for a 26-year old.
For his career, McCann has compiled a .289 AVG, .360 OBP and .489 SLG. He has hit 112 HR and 466 RBI over the course of 2602 plate appearances. His best season was in 2006 when he hit .333, 24 HR, 93 RBI and 61 runs scored.
With high OBP players like Martin Prado, Chipper Jones and Jason Heyward hitting in front of him, it is likely Brian McCann's RBI numbers will only increase as he enters his prime. Watch out, NL East pitchers!
1) Joe Mauer
Can you guess who the only catcher to win the batting title three times is? Or the only catcher to ever lead the league in AVG, OBP and SLG for a season? Yes. It's Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins. Making him the easy decision for the best catcher in baseball today.
At the end of the 2009 season, Joe Mauer signed a 8-year, $184 million extension with the Minnesota Twins, the highest contract ever offered to a catcher. Not surprising since he is not only one of the most well-runded players at the position, but possibly in all of baseball.
In seven seasons with the Twins, Mauer has collected more hardware than the Home Depot. He has won four AL Silver Slugger Awards, three AL Gold Gloves, three AL Batting Titles and appeared in four different All-Star Games. In 2009, he won the AL MVP Award with one of the best seasons from a catcher in MLB history.
To this point, he has a career .327 AVG, .407 OBP and .481 SLG. He has hit 81 HR, 472 RBI and scored 507 runs. Obviously, his best season came in 2009 when he won the MVP Award with a .365 AVG, 28 HR, 96 RBI and 94 runs scored.
It is unknown just how long the Minnesota Twins will let Mauer play catcher as they are likely to protect their investment down the line. But for now, while he is still behind the plate, Joe Mauer is most definitely the best at the position.
Tell me your 5 Best Catchers in Baseball Today below: