As spring training kicks into full swing, it is as good of a time as ever to consider some of the best catchers in the majors.
The catcher has perhaps an underrated role in today’s baseball world, but nothing they do should be undervalued. Catchers are responsible for working with every pitcher on their staff, calling pitches, keeping base runners in check and hitting on top of all of that.
With that in mind, here are the best catchers in baseball as of right now.
5. Yadier Molina
In terms of running a pitching staff, Molina may be the best of the bunch. The eight-time Gold Glove winner is turning 36 this season, and is in the twilight of his career. In 2017, Molina hit the second most home runs of his career despite missing some time. Molina has not earned a Gold Glove since 2015 either, which was the end of his eight consecutive seasons streak.
Molina still may mean more to his team than many other top players in the league. He may not be the best offensively or defensively, but his work with pitchers is second to none.
The Cardinals have a losing record without Molina behind the plate. He won’t win an MVP, but he is very important to the Cardinals’ success.
4. J.T. Realmuto
Realmuto has broken out as one of the best catchers in baseball the last couple of years. He finished last season with a 3.6 WAR and has had an average floating around .300 the last two years.
Realmuto finds himself in a precarious situation after this past offseason. Derek Jeter and the new Marlins ownership just sold most of their best players in order to shed salary and build for the future.
Of course, anybody who was ready to win now is not happy about the recent changes. The Marlins had one of the best outfields in baseball and shipped them off all over the country.
Realmuto is one of the last remaining pieces from the old Marlins team. He now finds himself in a sort of limbo, as he still has three years left in Miami.
Despite the shuffling in Miami, Realmuto should be in store for another great year offensively. Part of the success comes from his speed, as he can run with some of the quickest outfielders as well. He is an all around player who can bring many different things to the table.
3. Willson Contreras
Contreras turned into perhaps the best hitter on a stacked Chicago team last summer. He was sidetracked by a hamstring injury while running down the first base line, but the 25-year-old still had a solid year after racking up 21 home runs and a .276 batting average. He should be a vital part of the Cubs offense once again in 2018.
Contreras is also known for his cannon of an arm. What may be the strongest arm behind the plate adds another dimension to his game that can shut down base runners. One of his weaknesses though is he is not considered a good framer. However, his ability to throw the ball makes up for it, and his lightning bat certainly puts him above most other catchers.
2. Gary Sanchez
Sanchez is the best hitting catcher in the game without question. He cranked out 33 home runs and had an average approaching .300 last year. With Giancarlo Stanton coming into the picture in New York, Sanchez ought to have a solid cushion in the lineup and may have an even better year offensively.
Sanchez has a solid throwing arm and is considered an above average pitch framer. His downfall is his pitch blocking, and in that category he is one of the worst in all of baseball. If it wasn’t for that downfall, Sanchez may be No. 1 on this list as his offense puts him in a whole other league when talking about catchers.
1. Buster Posey
Coming in at the No. 1 spot is Buster Posey, which should be a surprise to no one. Posey has had continued success throughout his career. With Sanchez coming into the picture, he might not be the best hitting catcher in baseball anymore, but he should still be considered one of the best of all time.
The All-Star catcher has hit over .300 in five separate seasons, winning the batting title once and bringing in the MVP in 2012. The only other catcher to win MVP in the National League is Johnny Bench, so that should say a lot about the league Posey is in.
He has a straight shot into Cooperstown and has not shown any decline in production. Expect Posey to have continued success for the coming years.
Featured image from SI.com
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