AL East 2017 Positional Rankings Review: Catcher

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 22: Manny Machado /
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4. Tampa Bay RaysWilson Ramos, Jesus Sucre, Derek Norris

Before the season, knowing Wilson Ramos was injured, I wondered if the Rays may consider trading for a catcher. It turns out, they traded for Sucre in February and signed Norris in March.

Between these three, they about split the number of games started evenly. Ramos started 57 games, Norris 52 and Sucre 51.

Ramos was the best at the plate, but was not close to his 2016 form. Ramos hit .260/.290/.447 with 11 home runs, six doubles, 35 runs batted in and 19 runs scored in 224 plate appearances. When you combine the fact of his sub-par offensive year with a defensive WAR of -0.2, it was not a great year for Ramos.

Ramos wound up with a WAR of just 0.1, a far cry from the 3.3 he put up in 2016. His range numbers were alright defensively, but his total fielding runs above average were some of the worst numbers of his career. He also only threw out 17 percent of base stealers against.

Ramos was always going to be the offensive part of the Rays’ battery options, but when that isn’t great, it just isn’t a good season.

Sucre actually had a decent year, hitting .256/.289/.409 with seven home runs and six doubles. With a offensive WAR of 0.5 and a defensive WAR of 0.3, you could argue he did a better job in 2017 than Ramos did. Sucre also threw out 27 percent of base stealers, which is right at league average and better than Ramos. He also did not make any errors, and only had four passed balls.

Norris had an abysmal year. He was released by the Rays’ midseason, and then suspended for the rest of the season on September 1 due to domestic violence. Norris was only hitting .201/.258/.380 and struggled behind the plate as well, with six errors and six passed balls and a fielding percentage of only .986. He also only threw out 20 percent of attempted base stealers.

Ramos is under contract through 2018, but it appears the Rays will continue to look for options behind the plate who can do well both behind the dish and also beside it.