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The Determinator: Catchers: #10-6 + Honorable Mentions

Welcome back to The Determinator!

Today I will reveal the #10-#6 Catchers in the MLB as well as some honorable mention catchers from across the league. Tomorrow, I will announce the #5-1 Catchers in the MLB. For a background about The Determinator, see my article about my methodology, changes for 2021, and schedule, here.

 

The Determinator: Catcher-Specific Information

To easily work through and cut-down the list of 134 different players who played any amount of time at catcher during the past two seasons, I set-up two separate boundaries for catchers:


They must’ve had at least 350 PA’s over the 2019 and 2020 seasons.


They must’ve had at least 750 innings at catcher over the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

This limited the number of catchers down to 31.

However, without further ado, let’s get to the first half of the Top-10:

If a catcher led a statistic, it will be bolded.

 

Number 9 (Tied): Wilson Ramos, Free Agent

Top-5: Games, AVG, OPB, wRC, Innings

Top-10: None

Top-15: SLG, HR, SB, wRC+, Off

Going into his age-33 season, Wilson Ramos has been a consistently good catcher the past few years in baseball, even if pundits for his names would say otherwise. Make no mistake, his 2020 season was quite bad as a mainly bat-first catcher who put up an 89 wRC+ and he is heavily helped out by good numbers in 2019. This is Ramos’s second straight year ranking in the Top-10 catchers by The Determinator, with last year placing #10. Of note, his health and ability to play consistently have definitely helped with his Top-5 Games (186) and Innings (1343.2).

Update: As I was writing this post, it was announced that Ramos is close to signing a 1-Year/$2M deal for the Detroit Tigers for the 2021 season.

 

Number 9 (Tied): Travis d’Arnaud, Atlanta Braves

Top-5: AVG

Top-10: OBP, SLG, HR, wRC, wRC+, Off, WAR,

Top-15: SB, Fld, FRM, Def

Our first new player to make The Determinator, Travis d’Arnaud’s great 2020 season with his 144 wRC+ was able to mush many of his statistics from Top-15 last year to Top-10 this year. While d’Arnaud had just one statistic in the Top-5 across catchers in AVG ( .273), his solid numbers across the remaining 6 offensive metrics along with WAR (3.2) helped him tack on a large number of points to slide right into the Top-10. His slightly-above average defense should also not be overlooked as it contributed just enough to creep into a tie for 9th place as opposed to falling short yet again. His scoring in 12 different statistics was the most across all the players highlighted today.

 

Number 7 (Tied): Roberto Perez, Cleveland Indians

Top-5: Fld, DRS, FRM, Def

Top-10: HR, WAR, Innings

Top-15: Games, wRC

In contrast to d’Arnaud’s way of getting onto the Top-10, Roberto Perez was able to get himself into a tie for 7th place while scoring in just 9 statistics (the lowest of all players in the Top-10). The catching leader in DRS (+36) over the past two seasons, all of Perez’s defensive numbers ranked in the Top-5 for catchers. Players like Perez often go overlooked, and seasons like his 2020 would seem to show why as he had a wRC+ of 36. However, the beauty of The Determinator is that great defensive-first catchers have a lot of room to make up space to their more talked about offensive compatriots. It also doesn’t hurt that Perez put up 3.1 fWAR in 2019 around similarly great defensive numbers. This is Perez’s second straight year ranking in the Top-10 catchers by The Determinator, with last year placing in a tie for #8 with Omar Narvaez.

 

Number 7 (Tied): Omar Narvaez, Milwaukee Brewers

Top-5: Games, OBP

Top-10: AVG, HR, wRC, wRC+, BsR, Off

Top-15: SLG, WAR, Innings

Speaking of Omar Narvaez, this is his second straight year ranking in the Top-10 catchers by The Determinator, with last year placing in a tie for #8 with Roberto Perez (see above). After placing Top-10 across every offensive metric in 2019, Narvaez did not have an offensively successful 2020 campaign. After back-to-back seasons in 2018 and 2019 with a wRC+ of 121 and 119, his wRC+ of 60 last season was a true outlier. Interestingly enough however, this may have been because of Narvaez’s focus on defense, which led to some good defensive metrics (+6.3) even if unranked in our system. He’s another candidate helped a lot by his 2019 season, but his slight dip in 2020 is likely explained by the shortened season. Going into his age-29 season, Narvaez should still impress those who don’t have him on their radars.

 

Number 6: Mitch Garver, Minnesota Twins

Top-5: OBP, SLG, HR, wRC+, Off, WAR

Top-10: wRC, BsR

Top-15: AVG, DRS

After ranking #7 on last year’s The Determinator list, Mitch Garver stuck around the same spot, albeit with a less impressive resume on this go around. While he still lead all catchers in SLG (.561) and wRC+ (134), he had a very poor and very short 2020 season. Playing around a 41 wRC+ took him down a step from placing Top-5 in every offensive metric again. However, playing in just 23 games also definitely helped in keeping advanced rate metrics high and less hindered by what is otherwise considered a slump season. He also ranked in the Top-10 with baserunning (up from Top-15) and Top-15 with DRS, which was his first time ranking on a defensive metric. One thing to look at with Garver is going to be playing time in 2020 after the past two seasons he has ended up on the IL with strains. That likely cost him a Top-5 finish yet again this year.

 

Honorable Mentions:

Below is a selection of catchers who led statistics but did not place in the Top-10 rankings, notable veterans, any former Yankees players, and the Yankees player/s who qualified for the position if they failed to rank in the Top-10.


Austin Hedges – Catcher leader in Fld (21.3), Ranked #11 with 28 points


Gary Sanchez – Catcher leader in HR’s (44), Ranked #13 with 22 points


Yadier Molina – Ranked #14 with 21 points


Buster Posey – Ranked #17 with 18 points


Tyler Flowers – Ranked #18 with 16 points


Carson Kelly – Only non Top-10 Catcher with 10+ rankings; Ranked #20 with 14 points


Austin Romine – Ranked #27 (tied) with 4 points

 

Reminder:

The Determinator is a way I used to determine the best players at each position. Like any metric or formula, I am sure it has flaws. No statistical compilation is perfect. That being said, The Determinator, seems pretty effective at assigning player values. I’m pleased with what I have found using this method and hope this is a conversation starter for many.

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