AL East 2017 Positional Rankings Review: Catcher

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 22: Manny Machado /
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1. New York YankeesGary Sanchez, Austin Romine

Sanchez was an All-Star for the first time in his career, showing his strong end to 2016 was not a fluke. Sanchez hit .278/.345/.531 with 33 home runs, 20 doubles, 90 runs batted in and 79 runs scored. The offensive numbers are quite impressive considering the grind of playing catcher in the American League East.

Sanchez featured an offensive WAR of 4.1 and was 41 runs above replacement level. Not bad at all for a 24-year-old making under $600,000. The Yankees appear poised to have Sanchez near the top of this list for years to come.

Sanchez played in 122 games for the Yankees, starting 99 of them behind the plate. His dWAR was 0.6, and his range was also above league average. He did make 13 errors and had an 16 passed balls, both AL leading. He will need to continue to work on his defense, but the offense makes up for some of the deficiencies behind the plate. Sanchez’s strong arm allowed him to throw out 38 percent of attempted base stealers, well above the league average.

Romine started 58 games behind the plate for the Yankees. No real surprises here, he kind of is who he is at this point. He hit .218/.272/.293 with two home runs, nine doubles, 21 runs batted in and 19 runs scored. His slash line was fairly close to his career average.

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What made a difference is that his defense was the worst it has ever been. He only threw out 3 of 29 base stealers, a 10 percent rate. His other defensive statistics were also not good. Romine remains cheap and under team control, but if an injury was to happen, the Yankees would be in trouble at the position.