Top 5 American League Catchers

The 2017 season is now only a few months away. It’s time too see where each team stacks up in the American League at every position, starting with the man behind the plate, the catcher. Arguably the most important player on a franchise, the catcher calls the game and knows the ins and outs of every opposing player that steps into the batters box.

Top 5 American League Catchers

1.  Wilson Ramos – Tampa Bay Rays

The best free agent catcher available this offseason joins the Rays and instantly becomes the top catcher in the AL. A .307 average and .850 OPS in a season with the Washington Nationals is guaranteed to put any player on the radar of all MLB executives. Throw in 22 home runs and 80 RBI, and Tampa has found a middle-of-the-order bat to compliment Evan Longoria.

2. Jonathan Lucroy – Texas Rangers

The 30-year-old joined the Rangers mid season after being traded by the Milwaukee Brewers, and put together a marvelous 2016. His 24 home runs and 81 RBI gave his team great production from the plate. Maintaining a .292 average and posting a .855 OPS while doing so is even more impressive. He has always been a reliable bat, with a career average of .284, and the Rangers have a savvy veteran backstop who can help them return to the postseason.

3. Gary Sanchez – New York Yankees

When questioning what the definition of a breakout star is, look no further than the man wearing pinstripes behind the plate. The Yankees catcher gives fans something to look forward to for seasons to come after posting 20 homers and 42 RBI in his rookie season. He did this all while maintaining a .299 average and a rarely-seen 1.032 OPS. The 24-year-old has only scratched the surface of his potential and will continue to lead New York’s youth movement in 2017.

4. Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals

He has a cannon for an arm and few players run on him, which is the smart move. He also swings the stick with some gumption having belted 22 home runs to go with 64 RBI last season. His .247 average was well below his career .272 mark; if he can bring that number up in 2017, he’ll be an even bigger force to reckon with for opposing pitchers.

5. Russell Martin – Toronto Blue Jays

The 33-year-old Quebec native has put together a remarkable career, with 162 home runs and 691 RBI. After a 20 homer, 74 RBI season in 2016, Martin is showing no signs of slowing down. With a young duo in ‘Strochez’ on the mound he is exactly what Toronto needs in a backstop. The team’s identity in 2017 will be different than what fans have come to expect, but don’t be surprised to see Canada’s team competing in the AL East.

Honorable Mentions: Evan Gattis and Stephen Vogt

These five players will all play key roles in their team’s success in 2017. The catcher position has also turned the page in recent seasons in regard to its place in the lineup. In the past, catchers were slotted in the 8th or 9th spot, but each player on this list has the ability to bat cleanup for their respective teams. This group will have fans invested throughout the season and will all vie for All-Star nods when the time comes.

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