2018 was supposed to be a breakout season for both of the Mets’ catchers, Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki. They both had a great spring and a decent start to the season.
In early April, they both went down with injuries within days of each other, and the season collapse began. The team traded Matt Harvey to the Cincinnati Reds for catcher Devin Mesoraco, who split time with Tomás Nido and José Lobatón for most of the season.
This offseason, getting a catcher was a priority for Van Wagenen.
More from Rising Apple
- NY Mets News: Marcus Stroman sees “potential fit” with the Angels
- NY Mets were too “seek” and not enough “destroy” last winter
- NY Mets: 1 trade target to consider from each 100-loss team
- NY Mets: Top 12 free agents the team should look to sign this winter
- NY Mets: Jeff Wilpon’s legacy continues to plague the Amazins
In early December, after Yasmani Grandal turned down a four-year offer, the Mets agreed to a contract with former National Wilson Ramos. He is a great hitter, with a batting average of .303 last season, much higher than average for a catcher.
He is also much better behind the plate than the Mets are used to. Over his career, he has thrown out 32% of players attempting to steal, compared to d’Arnaud’s 21% and Plawecki’s 23%. This is extremely important, as the Mets have had trouble limiting stolen bases.
After trading Plawecki to the Cleveland Indians, the Mets will start Ramos behind the plate with d’Arnaud backing him up (unless traded).
Unlike the rest of the infield, the Marlins have the clear favorite in the division at catcher in J.T. Realmuto. He might even be the best catcher in baseball today. Each season he plays, he just gets better. In 2018, he had a .340 OBP with 21 home runs and 74 RBI and took home a silver slugger award at the end of the season. In the field, he had a caught stealing percentage of 33%, and he has been in the top 10 in passed balls for four straight years.
However, there have been serious talks about the rebuilding Marlins trading Realmuto, especially since this is his final pre-arbitration season. Miami’s rank at this position will depend on if they find a package worth trading him for.
Kurt Suzuki has always been a good catcher, but his last two seasons with the Braves have been the best of his career. In those two years, he had a .271 average with 31 home runs and 100 RBI.
This season he will play for the Nationals after signing a two-year, $10 million deal. An All-Star in 2014, he will most likely start behind home plate for Washington this season.
The Braves, instead, will go in the direction of Tyler Flowers. He is a career .239 hitter, but he has had himself a fine three seasons with Atlanta, with an OBP of .360.
Fan-favorite Brian McCann will back him up, as he and the team agreed to a one-year deal for 2019. McCann had some fantastic seasons with the Braves but struggled last season with the Houston Astros.
As for the Phillies, they will go with Jorge Alfaro at catcher. In 2018, his first full season, he hit .262 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI. If he has a similar season, he will be a pretty average offensive catcher on a team with plenty of bats around him.
At catcher, it is fair to say that the Mets rank second in the division behind the Marlins, as long as J.T. Realmuto is on the roster.