Friday, March 30, 2012

MLB Top 10 Catchers - Post 1980

As I was putting together my MLB lists, here are a few of the things to note.  (1) The player qualifies at the position he played the most career games at, but is not penalized for playing multiple positions.  (2)  While the list is Post 1980, it really is players I got to see a decent part of their careers and 1970's stats are included in my analysis.  (3)  I will use my own judgment when applying steroid use/suspicions.

10.  Tony Pena - More of a defensive catcher, but who didn't emulate some of his crazy catching stances as a kid?  Pena was a 5-time all-star and played in two World Series.

9.  Joe Mauer - The best pure hitter on the list, Mauer is one of two career .300 hitters on this list and one of two to win an MVP.  Injuries have started to take their toll on the early career returns, but Mauer is still poised to ascend up this ladder.

8. Javy Lopez - One of the many key players of those oh-so-close Atlanta teams, Lopez was another power-hitting catcher. His career totals of 260 home runs and over 800 RBI's are supplemented by 9 playoff appearances and 1 World Series ring.

7.  Lance Parrish - Remembered mostly as a fixture in the middle of the order for the Tigers of the 1980's, Parrish ended his career with 324 home runs and over 1000 RBI's.  He was an 8-time all-star and won 1 World Series ring with the dominant '84 Tigers.

6.  Benito Santiago - Santiago presented a good mix of offensive and defensive skills, with his defense placing him higher than some of his more gifted offensive counterparts.  His 34-game hitting streak was impressive considering the everyday grind of the catching position.

5.  Jorge Posada - The top four players on this list were all at least 10-time all-stars, but none have the post-season hardware of Posada.  15 playoff appearances, 6 World Series appearances, 4 Rings.  275 home runs and over 1000 RBI are not to shabby either.

4.  Gary Carter - The late Gary Carter lands at #4.  An 11-time all-star, Carter swatted 324 home runs and drove in over 1200 runs.  Like his mates in the top 4, Carter also exceeded 2000 career hits and is considered an all-time great at his position.

3.  Carlton Fisk - Stay fair, Stay Fair.  I know that was in the 70's, but it's an image we have all seen hundreds of times.  Fisk tallied over 2300 hits in his storied career, with 376 of those clearing the fence.  Despite the aforementioned highlight, Fisk did not win a World Series ring.

2.  Mike Piazza - Tommy Lasorda's nephew tops all catchers on the list with 427 long balls and joins Mauer as a career .300 hitter.  The best offensive catcher of his era, Piazza was a 12-time all-star and played in one World Series, where he was lucky enough to have Roger Clemens throw his broken bat back at him.

1.  Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez - Great defensive catcher? Check (13 Gold Gloves).  Over 300 HR's? Check.  Over 2800 hits? Check.  14-time All-Star?  Check.  MVP?  Check.  World Series ring?  Check.  While there are some greats on this list, there is no question that Rodriguez is the greatest catcher of the past 30 years. 

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