The Determinator: Catchers 2022 (#10-6)
For the last two years, I have been ranking every starting player in the MLB by position in a system I’ve dubbed The Determinator. I don’t worry about projection systems, I look only at how well a player did that last year, analyze the data, and showcase who was and will be the best for the upcoming season.
Today we begin this experiment all over again. Welcome back to The Determinator.
Today we start with the #10-6 Catchers!
The Determinator: My General Methodology
The Determinator is a ranking system that is built upon the analyzation of 16 carefully chosen stats through a very simplistic system of comparisons. Some of these stats are more classical (Games Played, Home Runs, etc.), others are more advanced (wRC+, WAR, etc.). From this come 7 offensive stats, 4 defensive, 2 baserunning, and 3 general stats, set to contribute towards the importance of each part of the game.
The Offensive stats are: AVG/OBP/SLG, wRC, wRC+, HR, and Off (Fangraphs)
The Defensive stats are: Fielding, DRS, UZR (or Framing for Catchers), and Def (Fangraphs)
The Baserunning stats are: Stolen Bases and BsR (Fangraphs)
The Overall stats are: Games Played, Innings at Position, and fWAR (Fangraphs)
After determining this list of statistics, I then had to input each into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet I sorted how each player did in each statistic from best-to-worst. If you were top 5 in a category, you got ranked as a ‘Green’. Top 6-10 was a ‘Yellow’. And, Top 11-15 was labelled as a ‘Red’. The number of each ranking was counted- so it was possible to come out with a score of zero- and given values of 5, 3, and 1 respectively.
Key Note: If player/s across a statistic had the same numbers across a border- for example the 5th and 6th players with the most Home Runs- then they would both be counted as the better ranking- in this case both ‘Green’ or 5 points- and replace one spot from the following ranking- in this case a ‘Yellow’ or 3 points. This could also stretch some statistics to include more ‘Red’ players who had equal stats to the 15th best.
Additionally, if no stats were recorded in a counting statistic that could fit into a ranking- as is seen with Catchers and Stolen Bases- then no ranking is given to those players. This would greatly increase the number of points given out, and lessen the value of each point. This is not true for advanced metrics that can produce negative values- as also is seen with Catchers and BsR.
The results were then tallied, sorted from greatest to least, and a ranking was created.
Finally, player age, 2022 salary, and contract status, were all not considered in this experiment. This is entirely statistic-based.
In order to quality for ranking by The Determinator, a player must’ve had at least 250 plate appearances during the 2021 season and at least 500 innings played at the position in question.
Number 10: Wilson Contreras, Chicago Cubs
Top-10: Games, OBP, SLG, HR, wRC, wRC+, Off, Innings, DRS
Total Score: 33
Wilson Contreras is a player who has a lot of intrigue for the New York Yankees as a player who could be moved before the 2022 season. As a hitter, he has had a lot more consistency as a great hitter than Gary Sanchez (who is either a butcher or a stud), though his defense will still leave Yankees fans begging for Kyle Higashioka behind the plate. Outside of Yankee fandom interest in Contreras, he’s been one of the better catchers in the MLB the past couple of years and while undervalued by fWAR at +2.1 (which I use for this data) he had a better season that he’s given credit for (+4.1 bWAR). He’s an obvious Top-10 catcher currently in the MLB.Embed from Getty Images
Number 9: Sean Murphy, Oakland Athletics
Top-5: Fld, DRS, FRM, Def
Top-10: HR, WAR, Innings
Top-15: Games, wRC, wRC+, BsR, Off
Total Score: 34
We go from one catcher who may be traded to another, this time with a player of a completely different profile in Sean Murphy. One of the games top defensive catchers (if not the best), he took home the 2021 AL gold glove for catchers. He’ll hit for occasional pop and does hit better than his rate stats showcase given his playing in the AL West. With a top tier catching prospect in Tyler Soderstrom, the Athletics may be willing to dish Murphy soon, and he’s going to be worth a killing on the open market.Embed from Getty Images
Number 8: Yasmani Grandal, Chicago White Sox
Top-5: OBP, SLG, HR, wRC, wRC+, Off, WAR
Total Score: 35
There is a reason that the Chicago White Sox gave Yasmani Grandal a 4/$73 Million contract going into the 2020 season, and it’s because Grandal can be the best catcher in the MLB (when healthy). The Determinator is a little skeptical on him after playing less than 100 games in 2021 which kept him from ranking well defensively, but if Grandal comes back healthy for 2022, expect him to quickly contend for the #1 spot again soon. He’s an advanced hitter with a good eye and power and will provide good defense behind the plate.Embed from Getty Images
Number 6 (Tie): Omar Narvaez, Milwaukee Brewers
Top-5: AVG, Fld, FRM, Def
Top-10: Games, OBP, wRC, WAR
Top-15: wRC+, Off, Innings, DRS
Total Score: 36
Both players tied for #6 by The Determinator I believe are highly underrated catchers in the MLB. Omar Narvaez won’t put up the most flashy statistics, but he hits for a good average as a catcher, provides good offense, and great defense. Considering the volatility inside catching as many catchers are either fully offensive (see: Gary Sanchez) or fully defensive (see: Martin Maldonado), a player who is good-to-great at both always slips under the radar but would be a great addition to every competing team.Embed from Getty Images
Number 6 (Tie): Max Stassi, Los Angeles Angels
Top-5: Fld, DRS, FRM, Def
Top-10: OBP, wRC+, Off, WAR
Top-15: AVG, SLG, HR, BsR
Total Score: 36
Max Stassi is much like Omar Narvaez in the fact that he’s overlooked as one of the games best catchers for much of the same reason. He’s going to provide a better rate defense and offense than Narvaez, but he’s primarily been used as a platoon catcher for the Angels with Martin Maldonado/Kurt Suzuki, and injuries have kept him from playing a ton. This keeps his stock and value low, but on a strict ability and production standpoint, Max Stassi is a catcher to watch.Embed from Getty Images
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.