Top 5 MLB Catchers in 2013
It takes a special player to be a catcher in the majors leagues. Not necessarily a good player, but a special one.
There are a lot of bad batchers out there. Actually, let me amend that. There are a lot of bad hitters out there who are in the major leagues because they are catchers. Throughout baseball's rich history, there have been countless players who can attribute their entire major league careers to their ability (and willingness) to strap on the tools of ignorance and take a foul ball off their face or chest or worse. Just ask Bob Uecker
The nature of catching makes it incredibly difficult to remain an effective baseball player over the course of a 162-game season. A baseball season is long enough, but the rigors of being behind the plate make it even more rigorous and make it a testament to the players on this list that they are able to remain productive major league hitters despite spending as much time squatting behind the plate as they do.
In fact, some of them are so good, their respective teams are working on ways to get them in the lineup without getting them killed behind the plate. But part of what makes them so exceptional is their ability to be dynamic hitters while also taking a beating game after game.
We tip our hat to these five gentlemen, mainly for having the guts to get back there in the first place, bt also for being great at it.
5 - Carlos Ruiz, Philadelphia Phillies
The man affectionately known as Chooch gets bumped to the bottom of this list because of his im[ending 25-game suspension for amphetamines, which certainly cuts into his value for 2013. I'm working under the assumption, however, that they didn't play that great of a role in his emergence as one of the best catchers in the game and that he'll be back to his smooth swinging ways once he returns.
Even if he doesn't, few catchers receive as much praise from pitchers as Ruiz, who manages a pitching staff as well as any catcher in baseball.
4 - Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles
Because of the way he dominated the minor leagues and the hype that surrounded his assention to the majors, it still feels like Wieters has been a bit of a disappointment in the majors, but nothing could be further from the truth. After winning a Gold Glove award and leading his team to the playoffs, we can now put Wieters in the discussion among the best in the game.
3 - Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
Ok, so the 2009 season in which he hit 28 home runs may prove to be the outlier in Mauer's great career, but the guy is still a batting title waiting to happen. He's already got three and could finish his career with twice that - as a catcher.
The Twins have finally figured out how to get him in the lineup more often, spelling him at first base a few days a week, which adds to his value as a hitter and saves his body from wear and tear.
2 - Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
Yadier was once just the little brother of the Molina family, but the former defense-first player has turned himself into a great hitter as well, making him one of the most valuable players in the National League.
Back-to-back seasons hitting over .300 with double-digit homers (including a career-high 22 last season) have turned him into an offensive force to go along with his world-class defense behing the plate and role as unquestioned leader on the field. He's now the total package.
1 - Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
It's tough to argue with that MVP Trophy.