Ben Verlander’s MLB tiers: Who are the very best catchers?
FOX Sports MLB Analyst
The countdown of the very best gamers in baseball continues.
After tackling all the outfield final week, we head again into the infield this week and tier the highest catchers.
Many may view catcher to be one of many weaker positions contemplating the shortage of true offense energy. However, there are nonetheless a number of good catchers within the sport.
Let’s have a look!
Elite: J.T. Realmuto
Realmuto’s the very best catcher within the sport. He has been for a couple of years now, too.
He does all of it: He’s nice offensively (he hit .276 with 22 homers and 84 RBIs final season). He’s unbelievable defensively. He throws out extra guys than anyone else.
He’s additionally quick. Remember his inside-the-park house run in final 12 months’s playoffs? (I’m certain he despatched Ronald Acuña Jr. a pleasant little present for serving to out.) Realmuto steals bases, together with 21 final season, along with being nice on offense and protection.
Realmuto epitomizes the whole package deal. When I consider catchers, he is certainly one of one. That’s why he is within the “Elite” class all by himself.
The ‘Elite’ catcher tier
Just one catcher makes Ben Verlander’s “Elite” tier.
Almost Elite: Adley Rutschman, Will Smith
I’m all in on the Rutschman hype practice and I used to be earlier than he bought known as as much as the massive leagues. He lastly debuted final 12 months and he didn’t disappoint.
For a participant who had as a lot hype as he had from the day he was drafted in 2019, to be pretty much as good as he was as a rookie for the Orioles is excellent. Baltimore’s season effectually rotated, and the trajectory of the franchise from a cellar dweller to a playoff contender, the day Rutschman was known as up.
Pitchers communicate so extremely of Rutschman. Offensively, we all know how good he’s. He’ll solely get higher, and I might guess my backside greenback that he is within the “Elite” class subsequent 12 months.
As for Smith, we have all seen what he is completed within the playoffs. The Dodgers have had the very best lineup in baseball over the previous couple of years and so they have Smith hitting fourth.
He rewarded that belief final 12 months by hitting .260 with 24 house runs and 87 RBIs. He’s completely among the best catchers in baseball.
The ‘Almost Elite’ catcher tier
Ben Verlander has love for one catcher specifically on this tier.
Really Good: Sean Murphy, Cal Raleigh, Salvador Perez, Travis d’arnaud, Alejandro Kirk, Willson Contreras, Jose Trevino, William Contreras, MJ Melendez, Jonah Heim, Martín Maldonado
Murphy might be the largest title on this group.
The Braves’ huge acquisition this offseason is without doubt one of the brilliant, younger stars within the sport on the catcher place, which is not simple to return by. He’s a catcher that may be actually good defensively and put up numbers on the plate. Last 12 months, he hit .250 with 18 house runs and 66 RBIs. At the catcher place, you will completely take that.
If you do not know Raleigh, aka “Big Dumper,” it is time to be taught his title. As my “Flippin’ Bats” co-host Alex Curry identified, he had actually huge moments on the finish of the season.
He hit the house run that principally clinched a playoff spot for the Mariners.
In his numbers final 12 months — he hit .211 with 27 house runs and 63 RBIs — you may be shocked to see him ranked this excessive. Well, he bought off to an abysmal begin, one that you just actually cannot climb out of average-wise. I would not have a look at that quantity and assume he is by no means going to hit properly. He simply bought out to a begin that he could not utterly get better from. I’m very excited for what the longer term holds for him.
There’s an argument to have Maldonado in any class from “Almost Elite” to “The Rest.” He might be anyplace relying on what you worth.
If Maldonado weren’t within the Houston Astros’ lineup, I do not suppose he will begin for a lot of different groups. The Astros’ lineup is so deep and so good that you do not thoughts the shortage of offensive manufacturing that he brings, and he is simply not good offensively.
I’ve Maldonado ranked right here due to what he does with the pitching workers. What he does behind the plate is a number of the finest stuff in baseball. It’s unbelievable. When I have a look at a catcher, I do not strictly have a look at offensive numbers. We cannot deny that the offensive numbers have been fairly unhealthy, however he did have some clutch hits within the playoffs.
The purpose he is ranked right here is that everybody loves throwing to him. He transforms a pitching workers and there’s a lot of worth in that.
The ‘Really Good’ catcher tier
Ben Verlander believes two catchers on this tier are primed to rise sooner or later.
Pretty Solid: Eric Haase, Christian Vázquez, Danny Jansen, Carson Kelly, Tyler Stephenson, Joey Bart, Austin Nola, Nick Fortes, Keibert Ruiz, Jacob Stallings
Bart’s growth has been disappointing after being tabbed the “future Buster Posey” upon beign drafted. That’s a tricky title to have thrown at you — Posey was there for a protracted, very long time and the Giants received three championships due to him.
After hitting .215 with 11 house runs and 25 RBIs in his first full season, Bart must take a giant step ahead in 2023. The excellent news: that is nonetheless doable.
Haase seems like he is usually a staple for the Tigers sooner or later. Vázquez has been far and wide the previous few years, first with the Red Sox after which Astros and now the Twins.
Kelly has but to dwell as much as the hype with the Diamondbacks.
Nola had an honest season in 2022, however the Padres would take again the commerce through which they acquired him from the Mariners for Ty France and Andrés Muñoz.
The ‘Pretty Solid’ catcher tier
Ben Verlander had another person on this tier earlier than being satisfied to maneuver him up.
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