2017 Catcher Rankings

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By 3.26 on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
1. Jonathan Lucroy
2. Gary Sanchez
3. Buster Posey
4. Yasmani Grandal
5. Wilson Contreras
6. Welington Castillo
7. J.T. Realmuto
8. Salvador Perez
9. Evan Gattis
10. Russell Martin
11. Brian McCann
12. Kyle Schwarber
13. Stephen Vogt
14. Yadier Molina
15. Matt Wieters
16. Cameron Rupp
17. Tom Murphy
18. Travis D’Arnaud
19. Derek Norris
20. Francisco Cervelli

Bust – Buster Posey
Buster Posey is consistently over drafted strictly off of reputation and the fact that he is eligible at catcher and plays every day. Don’t get caught in this trap. Posey is starting this season as a 29 year old catcher who has been showing declining power, only 14 home runs and a slugging percentage of .434, both of which are his lowest marks since 2011. He plays in one of the least hitter friendly parks in the majors. In addition to low power numbers Buster’s batting average is has been on the decline for multiples years. Yes, he is a good player, but not worth taking him where he will end up being drafted as he will not return that value.

Breakout – Welington Castillo
I know you’re thinking, what Welington Castillo? Yes, Welington Castillo. With the move from Arizona to Baltimore Castillo will remain in a very hitter friendly park and add on his schedule the American League East’s home stadiums that include New York and Toronto, both launch sites for baseballs. He no longer will have to hit in San Francisco or San Diego or face Clayton Kershaw. Hitting around him is taking a step forward allowing him to see more quality pitching and maybe best of all the pitching in the AL East is at best leaguer average. Look for big things from Castillo and feel free to wait on him as he won’t be a catcher taken early in drafts.

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Look Out Story, Here Comes Sanchez

Gary Sanchez

New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez has done something this season that no other rookie has done since, well since Rockies’ shortstop Trevor Story did to start the season. Sanchez has hit nine home runs in his first 21 games. He is only one of nine players in MLB history to have 15 or more extra base hits in 21 games and only the second Yankee to do it. Let’s not forget those 21 games include two games in 2015 that he was called up for and one games on May 13th this season before he was sent back to Triple-A.

Though Story and Sanchez do share this honor of being two of a very few hitters to have nine home runs in their first 21 games they both are very different hitters. Story has produced a lot of power this season, but he is not the all-around hitter that Sanchez is showing to be. Story’s home runs are wall scrapers, with an average home run distance of 327 feet, while Sanchez hits not doubter and averages 409 feet. In 2016 Story has an average exit velocity of 91.5 mph as compared to Sanchez’s 94.6 mph. Don’t take my word for it though let’s dive deeper in to what these two rookies did in their first 21 games in the big leagues.

In his first 21 games with the Diamondbacks Trevor Story was putting balls over the wall like it was going out of style. He had ten home runs, one more than Sanchez, but he was prone to the strikeout. Through those first 21 games Story had 35 strikeouts in 97 plate appearances, he was striking out in 36% of his plate appearances. He had a .253 batting average, a .320 on-base percentage and nine walks (only walking in 9% of his PAs).
Sanchez on the other hand has not shown so far to be an all or nothing player. He is hitting .389 with a .450 OBP, only striking out 15 times in 80 plate appearances (19% of the time he strikes out) and walking 10% of the time with 8 walks so far.

Comparing two players strictly based on a 21 game sample size is far from fair and when you look at their minor league numbers these two players do look more similar than they do different with Story having a minor league slash line of .263/.348/.469 and Sanchez .275/.339/.460, but what they will do in the majors long term is still yet to be seen. What is fair to say is that both Sanchez and Story have shown they belong in the big leagues and love to put on a show for the fans. Only thing not enjoying their promotions this year are the baseballs.

(Photo Credit: By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Gary Sanchez) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)