AL East 2017 Positional Rankings Review: Catcher

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 22: Manny Machado /
1 of 5

As the baseball season comes to an end, we take a look back at our preseason AL East catcher rankings to see how we did.

As the baseball season churns toward the World Series, it is time to look back at some of the preseason predictions and whether they were accurate or not. Here at The Baltimore Wire, we look at every position and rank the five teams in the AL East.

Some positions, such as center field and third base, are difficult to predict, and hard to evaluate too. Some people rely on sabermetrics, others ignore them. We will use them, but not rely solely on them.

The first position is catcher, where our AL East preseason rankings looked like:

  1. New York Yankees
  2. Boston Red Sox
  3. Toronto Blue Jays
  4. Baltimore Orioles
  5. Tampa Bay Rays

Overall, a lot of good in these rankings. But, let’s break them down further. Players listed started at least 10 games at the position, unless otherwise noted.

5. Toronto Blue JaysRussell Martin, Luke Maile, Miguel Montero, Rafael Lopez

The Jays had six people start games behind the plate, more than anyone else in the AL East. They had someone start 36 games behind the plate (Maile) who the catching-deficient Rays got rid of. It adds up to a fifth place ranking.

I cautioned in my rankings that despite putting the Jays’ third, aging Martin might be about done. Now, he did deal with some injuries that could have hampered his abilities, but 2017 wasn’t good. Martin hit .221/.343/.388 with 13 home runs, 12 doubles, 35 runs batted in and 49 runs scored in 78 starts at catcher.

There were some good signs behind the plate. Martin had a .996 fielding percentage, and his range was excellent. However, his 20 percent rate at throwing out base stealers was not good. Somehow, Martin had a 1.5 WAR, 1.5 offensive WAR and 0.6 defensive WAR. Reason #350 why sabermetrics continue to not make sense.

Maile caught 36 games for the Jays, and the offense was practically non-existent. He hit .146/.176/.231 in 136 plate appearances, with three walks, two home runs, five doubles, seven runs batted in, 10 runs scored and 35 strikeouts. Add that all up and it is an offensive WAR that makes sense, -0.8. However, Maile had a defensive WAR of 0.9, which shows why he played as much as he did. For a team that had issues with their pitching, Maile helped behind the plate.

Montero’s batting average was even worse than Maile’s, and just ask Jake Arrieta about how good he is behind the plate.

Moving forward, this has to be a position of concern for the Jays.