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, 2019, and 2020, 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: Gary Sanchez
So we begin with a player that’s more of a hopeful potential projection than a sure thing. Gary Sanchez at one point topped this list for me. However, as the last few years have progressed, Sanchez has fallen on hard times. Over the last three seasons, Sanchez has seen two seasons fall under the 100 wRC+ marker. wRC+ is FanGraphs’ way of compiling a player’s stats down to one number. For Sanchez, his numbers are as follows (2018- 91 wRC+), (2019- 116wRC+), (2020- 69 wRC+). As the 2021 season nears, Gary Sanchez is seemingly on his last legs with the New York Yankees and will have to produce in order to stay in the Bronx.
#9: Yadier Molina
The living legend that is Yadier Molina makes my list at the number nine spot. This selection, more so than any other, is a personal preference. Now trying to compile information from the 2020 season is difficult. However, with Yadier Molina, the offensive numbers have dipped, but at the same time, his defense is still among the best. Going into the 2021 season (as of this writing), Yadi remains unsigned but will be a valuable asset to any team.
#8: Roberto Perez
Roberto Perez is arguably one of the best defensive catchers in all of Major League Baseball. And when you look at his defensive numbers, according to the Fielding Bible, Roberto has saved a total of 40 runs since 2018. Now, Perez’s offensive numbers have never been stellar, but his defense more than makes up for the difference.
#7: Christian Vazquez
When it comes to Christian Vazquez, I have witnessed him punish the Yankees on multiple occasions. Vazquez’s offensive numbers have him slightly under the average for wRC+. Vazquez also has outstanding numbers when it comes to his defensive ability. Christian Vazquez had a breakout season in 2019 and followed that up with another good season in 2020. So as 2021 begins, Vazquez is a name to watch in the catching field.
#6: Omar Narvaez
Omar Narvaez had really impressive years before the shortened 2020 campaign. In his full-season campaign with the Seattle Mariners in 2019, Narvaez would hit an impressive 22 homeruns and have a wRC+ of 119. 2020 however, did not yield the same success. But going into the 2021 season, which is expected to be a full 162-game campaign, Narvaez should bounce back in a big way.
#5: Wilson Ramos
Wilson Ramos has been a key contributor for teams in 2018-2019. Over that span, Ramos would have wRC+ scores of 131 and 105 in 2018 and 2019, respectively. 2020 was not quite as favorable to Ramos. But looking past that towards the 2021 campaign and a return to normality, Ramos should return to form and help a team push towards the postseason.
#4: Will Smith
The Dodgers backstop has the youngest face in all of MLB. But don’t let the young looks fool you, Will Smith is quickly becoming a force behind the dish. Smith, across 309 Plate Appearances since 2019, has put up insanely good numbers for the Dodgers. And if the Dodgers increase in his playing time, his numbers should look even more impressive. Look for a major breakout season from Will Smith in 2021.
#3: Willson Contreras
The Chicago Cubs backstop is rumored to be available, but not because of his ability. Contreras has been an underrated catcher, in my opinion, since his debut in 2016. Over that time, Contreras would tally 74 homeruns and 253 RBIs, and a wRC+ of 116. If the Cubs decide to move Contreras, whatever team he lands on will have a top-flight catcher behind the plate.
#2: Yasmani Grandal
When it comes to the top of this list, there’s little doubt who the top two are; Yasmani Grandal is a top-tier catcher. Grandal is a switch-hitting threat who can change a game on both sides of the ball. When forming a team, the catcher position is vital. Yasmani Grandal has put up incredible numbers since his career began in 2012. And Grandal shows no signs of fading anytime soon.
#1: JT Realmuto
And the winner of the Top 10 Catcher in the game, the crown belongs to JT Realmuto. Realmuto is unquestionably the best catcher in the game (in my opinion). When you look at the whole package of offense and defense, JT has everything. From a cannon behind the plate to an advanced plan of attack for the pitchers, he commands. And then factor in his offensive prowess, and there’s no doubt that he wins out. JT Realmuto is the top catcher in the game.