In baseball, the catcher probably plays the most important position other than the pitcher. Catching requires the know-how to call a game and be a manager on the field, which involves controlling the pitcher and making sure the pitcher has confidence. Furthermore, catchers need to have a good arm to throw out base runners trying to steal or take a big lead.
So with that, here are the top ten catchers RIGHT NOW:
10. Russell Martin (New York Yankees)- In his first season in New York, Russell Martin went to his third all-star game (his first since 2008). Martin has been a top catcher since 2007 when he won the Gold Glove and Sliver Slugger awards as well as making the all-stars.
2012 Projections: .270 Batting average, 21 HRs and 75 RBIs.
9. Matt Wieters (Baltimore Orioles)- Matt Wieters is one of the best young catchers in the game. He was very highly regarded prospect, and has gotten better each season since he came into the league. He has already won a Gold Glove award (2011), and is one of the best defensive catchers in the American League.
2012 Projections: . 302 Batting average, 25 HRs and 89 RBIs
8. Miguel Montero (Arizona Diamonbacks)- Miguel Montero had a breakout season last year and he made his first all-star game. He has caught one no-hitter, which occured on June 25, 2010, and was thrown by former teammate Edwin Jackson.
2012 Projections: .291 Batting average, 24 HRs and 90 RBIs
7. Alex Avila (Detroit Tigers)- Alex Avila had his best season of his career last year. He showed that he can be a strong offensive player, hitting a career high in home-runs (19), RBIs (Runs Batted In, 82) and batting average (.295). He also made his first all-star game and won the American League Silver Slugger for catchers.
2012 Projections: .300 Batting average, 22 HRs and 84 RBIs
6. Carlos Ruiz (Philadelphia Phillies)- Carlos Ruiz might not put up the offensive numbers that some other catchers do, but he is still one of the best catchers in baseball. He has caught a perfect game and a no-hitter in the same season by the same pitcher (Roy Halladay) during the 2010 season. The perfect game was in the regular season (May 29, 2010 against the Florida Marlins) and the no-hitter was in Halladay’s first career playoff game (October 6, 2010 against the Cincinnati Reds). He is also very solid defensive catcher, perhaps one of the best. His batting average has been strong the past two seasons as well.
2012 Projections: .280 Batting average, 9 HRs and 50 RBIs
5. Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants)- Buster Posey is one of the best young catchers in the game today. He can hit for a very good average and hit for some power as well. But most of all, he can handle a pitching staff like the best of them. He has already won a World Series championship in his first season in the majors (2010). Posey was one of the reasons that the Giants won that year, thanks largely to the way he handled the pitching staff. He missed most of last year due to a broken left fibula and torn ligaments.
2012 Projections: .300 Batting average, 24 HRs and 85 RBIs
4. Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins)- Joe Mauer has been one of, if not the best catchers in the last five seasons. However, due to some injures last season, he only played in 82 games, and his numbers dropped. He still hit for a very good average (.287) although this was the worst batting average of his career. He has won three American League Batting titles (2006, 2008 and 2009), three Gold Gloves awards (2008-2010), four Silver Sluggers (2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010) and his a four time all-star (2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010).
2012 Projections: .296 Batting average, 20 HRs and 90 RBIs
3. Carlos Santana (Cleveland Indians)- Carlos Santana is not just the best young catcher in the majors, he also has emerged as one of the best overall players in game today. He can hit for power as well as average. He is also a very patient batter who can draw walks (he was sixth in the Majors with 96 walks last season). Furthermore, Santana is one of the best defensive catchers in the game today.
2012 Projections: .309 Batting average, 29 HRs and 101 RBIs
2. Yadier Molina (St. Louis Cardinals)- Although Yadier Molina is known more for his defense than his offense, he had the best offensive season of his career last year: a career high in batting average of .305, a career high in home-runs with 14, and career high in RBIs with 65. He has made three straight all-star games (2009-2011), has won four straight National League Gold Gloves (2008-2011) and has won two World Series championships, 2006 and 2011. Molina is also one of the best at calling games and managing a pitching staff.
2012 Projections: .281 Batting average, 22 HRs and 82 RBIs
1. Brian McCann (Atlanta Braves)- Brian McCann is the best catcher in baseball right now. He can hit for power and hit for a very good average. He is also a six time National League All-Star (2006-2011). McCann won the 2010 All-Star MVP and he has won five National League Sliver Slugger awards among catchers (2006, 2008-2011). In addition to all this, he is also a solid defensive catcher.
2012 Projections: .308 Batting average, 22 HRs and 97 RBIs
This was by far the hardest list that I’ve put together so far. If Joe Mauer was healthy last season and put up the numbers he did in 2009, then he would have most likely been number one. Joe Mauer, when healthy, is the best catcher in the game. Let’s see what happens this season if Mauer can regain his old form.
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(Written By Eric Jacinto)
(Edited by Thomas Reed)