Top 10 Right Now – Catchers

This was a strange year with the “top-tier” of catchers with Buster Posey’s injury and down years from Willson Contreras and Gary Sanchez.  With as much heat as Yasmani Grandal takes, he turned in a fine season.  Read on to see where he and the other catchers rank heading into 2019.

A new list will be published each Monday leading up to pitchers and catchers reporting in February. The lists will highlight the Top 10 players at each position, managers and executives, finishing up with the Ultimate Top 10 list, a ranking of each of the position’s number one player.

Here’s a list of what’s to come and already been published:
Nov. 12 – Executives
Nov. 19 – Managers
Nov. 26 – Catchers
Dec. 3 – Left Fielders
Dec. 10 – First Basemen
Dec. 17 – Starting Pitchers
Dec. 24 – Designated Hitters
Dec. 31 – Third Basemen
Jan. 7 – Right Fielders
Jan. 14 – Relief Pitchers
Jan. 21 – Second Basemen
Jan. 28 – Center Fielders
Feb. 4 – Shortstops
Feb. 11 – Ultimate Top 10

Below are two lists, one (“Statistical”) shows players ranked per a combination of their 2018 stats and where they ranked in those stats per their respective position. Offensive, defensive, baserunning and all-inclusive stats are included in the calculations.  The second (“Adjusted”) list is based on stats but then given adjustments based on track record, injuries and projections and reflects our ranking of the players as they head into 2019.

The list in which the players appear depends mostly on where they played the most games (or innings) in 2018 but also where they project to play this coming year if substantially different than last (i.e. role player getting a more permanent position).

2018 Statistical Top 10
10. Elias Diaz, Pittsburgh Pirates
9. Yan Gomes, Cleveland Indians
8. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
7. Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals
6. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
5. Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs
4. Wilson Ramos, Free Agent
3. Francisco Cervelli, Pittsburgh Pirates
2. Yasmani Grandal, Free Agent
1. JT Realmuto, Miami Marlins

Adjusted Top 10
10. Francisco Cervelli, Pittsburgh Pirates
9. Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals
8. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
7. Omar Narvaez, Seattle Mariners
6. Wilson Ramos, Free Agent
5. Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees
4. Yasmani Grandal, Free Agenet
3. Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs
2. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
1. JT Realmuto, Miami Marlins

In consideration (with their rank from last year’s list): Jonathan Lucroy (4), Gomes, Diaz, Kurt Suzuki, Robinson Chirinos, Mike Zunino, Tucker Barnhart, Mitch Garver, Tony Wolters, Danny Jansen, Wellington Castillo, Kevan Smith

Notes: Realmuto has proven he’s for real and Posey may be in decline whether naturally or from wear and tear but still counting on a bounce back from him… want to know just how bad Sanchez’s year was? Garver, Barnhart and Flowers each had a better season with Jeff Mathis coming in with about the same number of points this year in our analysis.  Nothing against any of those guys, but they don’t carry nearly the same expectations Sanchez does.  That said, I’m also counting on a rebound year for the Yankees’ backstop to return to the top 5… the suspension of Wellington Castillo led to a nice surprise in Omar Narvaez (finished 13th for catchers in our statistical rankings this season).  With a career OBP of .366 in just over a season’s worth of at-bats (he also had a nice 2017 in a part-time role), I’m buying him as a nice option in Seattle… I’m not sure whether Yadi played himself back up the list a bit or the position just regressed overall leading to his higher seed than last year’s rankings.  He might start showing his age some this year (?)… Perez stays on for his durability and power… as much as I’d like to get Gomes or Suzuki (9th and 11th in the statistical ranks, respectively) on the list, the final spot goes to the on-base prone Cervelli (especially given the position).

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