MLB Network’s Top Ten Then and Now: (Catchers)


At the beginning of the 2011 season, the MLB Network released their top-10 ranking of all MLB catchers and how it turned out is below:

MLB Networks 2011 Rankings: Catchers:

  1. Joe Mauer
  2. Buster Posey
  3. Brian McCann
  4. Victor Martinez
  5. Yadier Molina
  6. Carlos Santana
  7. Carlos Ruiz
  8. John Buck
  9. Kurt Suzuki
  10. Matt Wieters

Looking forward to this year, the top five would actually stay close to the same with only some slotting issues (to be discussed later) and the elimination of Victor Martinez because of injury and the lack of playing time at Catcher. But there are a couple of additions to this list that are drastically needed, including the D-backs own Miguel Montero.

I’ll start from the top and say that Mauer is still fantastic but after last year’s injuries and the continued success of Brian McCann, McCann has to take the top spot. McCann is entering his age 28 season and has had four straight seasons of .800 OPS or above while never playing less than 128 games in the last four seasons. That should put Mauer second and Posey third with the elimination of Victor Martinez from the list. And there is a strong argument to be made for Yadier Molina being above Posey given his defensive acumen. However, those four are definitely a tier of their own because there is a pretty big drop off to number five.

That is where the D-backs, and Miguel Montero in particular, were robbed. Miggy has been quietly one of the best offensive catchers in the league for a few years now and after a case of the “yips” early last year, Montero settled down defensively and controlled opposing runners with back-picks to the bases and a strong arm to second. He deserves the #5 spot on this list. And the #6 spot has to go to last year’s breakout catcher, Alex Avila. Avila had the best .OPS of all Catchers last year and 2012 won’t be much different as the Detroit Tigers lineup has become even more dangerous with the addition of Prince Fielder. The #7 spot should be Carlos Santana, and like his musically inclined name sake, Santana could be moving up the charts quickly. Santana performed admirably in his first full year in the majors with a .239/.351/.457 slash line. If he is able to increase his average to about .260, Santana could be in the top five of this list by the end of next year.

After those three, there is another precipitous drop off to the likes of Carlos Ruiz, Kurt Suzuki and Matt Wieters. All three of these catchers were solid behind the plate for their respective teams but only one of them was a highly-touted prospect that could be a post-hype sleeper to watch for this year. Wieters was a disappointment from the beginning but quietly had solid numbers for the Orioles last year and is entering his prime now. It is possible it just took him several years to develop into the raw physical tools he possesses. Wieters, like Santana, could be moving up this list by the end of the year.

My Rankings:

  1. Brian McCann
  2. Joe Mauer
  3. Buster Posey
  4. Yadier Molina
  5. Miguel Montero
  6. Alex Avila
  7. Carlos Santana
  8. Carlos Ruiz
  9. Kurt Suzuki
  10. Matt Wieters