Every offseason, MLB Network runs through a series of programming. One such show is about the Top 10 Right Now at each position. And as we have done in both 2018 and 2019, we will go over our Top 10 Catchers Right Now.
Just a quick note about this list, it is a personal list, and everyone will value different things from each position. So I encourage you to make your own list and see who makes the cut on your list.
10. Yadier Molina- St. Louis Cardinals
As I sat down to make my list, it was difficult to envision leaving Yadi Molina off my top catchers’ list, but it nearly happened. Over the years, Yadi has been a mainstay near the top of my list. But as the years continue to pass and the wear and tear on Molina pile up, Yadi may not be on my list next season. Yadier is a field general and one of the most intelligent minds in the game. And with his Baseball IQ being what it is, Yadi can take back some of what father time has tried to strip away. I expect Yadi to help keeps the Cardinals in the playoff hunt all season long.
9. Buster Posey- San Francisco Giants
Much like with Yadi, Buster Posey has also been a mainstay atop this list. But injuries have worn down the backstop. The San Francisco Giants are synonymous with Buster Posey. Their runs of excellence came with Buster behind the plate. As the Giants begin a new phase, Posey is likely to pass the backstop mantle and torch to Joey Bart. But for the 2020 season, look for Posey to play on his terms. And once again command a presence behind the plate.
8. Tom Murphy- Seattle Mariners
Tom Murphy is a newcomer to my list; however when looking at the numbers, there’s no denying his talent. In 2019, Murphy put together a monster season with a wRC+ of 126 (100 is League-Average.) Tom Murphy played in just 76 games in 2019. But in those 281 plate appearances, Murphy hit 18 homeruns and drove in 40 RBIs. So as the 2020 season approaches, look for Tom Murphy to break out in a big way up in the Pacific Northwest.
7. Wilson Ramos- New York Mets
Wilson Ramos has been, in my estimation, an underrated catcher in Major League Baseball. Over the past couple of seasons, Ramos has been an above-average catcher offensively. Since 2018, Ramos has hit 29 homeruns and 143 RBIs with an average wRC+ of 118.5. The Buffalo, as Ramos is affectionately known as provides his teams with dependable production from behind the dish. And 2020 should be no different for Wilson Ramos.
6. Willson Contreras- Chicago Cubs
Now we look at the other Willson on this list, Willson Contreras. Willson Contreras is a guy that impressed during a relatively short time in the Majors. And even though limited to just 105 games in 2019, Willson hit 24 homeruns and drove in 64 RBIs. Through this offseason, there were rumors that Contreras could be available for the right price. Those rumors have now subsided, and the Cubs will be looking to Contreras to run the rotation. As well, the Cubs will be looking to Willson to help provide some power from the middle of the Cubbies lineup in 2020.
5. Omar Narvaez- Milwaukee Brewers
A name that may not be as well known as some others that should be is Omar Narvaez. Narvaez has been a dynamic offensive performer. Omar had limited time with the White Sox in 2018 and more time with the Mariners in 2019. And through both of those seasons, Omar had a wRC+ of 122 & 119, respectively. Now going into 2020, Omar will be stepping into a lineup with playoff expectations, and he will contribute from the middle of the lineup.
4. Mitch Garver- Minnesota Twins
In what was one of the biggest surprises of the 2019 season, the Minnesota Twins were a powerhouse. The Twins would set the team record for homeruns with 207 total. A significant contributor to that was their catcher, Mitch Garver. Garver would deliver 31 bombs and drive in 67 runners. Garver would play in just 93 games for the Twins. However, that number should increase with Mitch’s play from 2019.
3. Yasmani Grandal- Chicago White Sox
Now we get to the big guns in the catching world. Yasmani Grandal is among the elite catchers in baseball. Offensively and defensively, Grandal does everything that you would want from a backstop. 52 homeruns and 145 RBIs combine over the last two seasons put Yasmani among the best players in MLB, not just catchers. Add in the defensive and framing ability, and Grandal is among the top 3 catchers in the game.
2. Gary Sanchez- New York Yankees
Now we get to the nitty-gritty and more so my personal preference. For many, Gary Sanchez would fall below some of the previous catchers. But in my estimation, Sanchez can quickly become the best catcher in baseball with some minor defensive tweaks. Gary Sanchez is an undeniable offensive force when healthy. Over the last two seasons, Gary was limited by injury to only 89 games in 2018 and 106 in 2019. If Gary can stay healthy for let’s say 130-135 games, Sanchez can easily put together a season of 40/110 in the middle of a powerful Yankees lineup.
1. JT Realmuto- Philadelphia Phillies
This leads us to the man who’s undoubtedly the best of all the catchers in the game, JT Realmuto. There isn’t a single thing that JT doesn’t do well on a baseball field. JT can hit for average and hit for power. Realmuto is also an outstanding base runner and the hands-down best among catchers. And when you look at the defensive ability of catchers, JT ranks among the elite in many aspects of catching, including “Pop-Time” and framing. So when it comes to ranking the best catchers in the game, the number one spot starts and ends with JT Realmuto.