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Best Catchers in MLB in 2023

The most often overlooked position on the baseball field is the catcher. The man behind the plate wears all the gear and is barely recognizable until he comes up to the plate.

While getting a key hit is part of what makes a catcher great, calling the game and making defensive plays add to making a fantastic catcher.

Here’s a look at the 10 best catchers in MLB from the 2023 season..

Best Catchers in MLB in 2023

10. Patrick Bailey (San Francisco Giants)

Bailey made his MLB debut on May 19, 2023. He played in 97 games, and hit .233 with seven home runs, 48 RBI, and a .644 OPS. His efforts were good enough for seventh place in the NL Rookie of the Year vote. Bailey’s offensive numbers are far from eye-popping, so why does he make the top ten? His defense wasn’t particularly great and he didn’t throw out a huge percentage of runners. Bailey makes the list for calling a great game. Pitchers had an ERA of nearly a full run lower with him behind the plate than all other Giants catchers combined.

Also read: Best Relievers in MLB

9. Willson Contreras (St. Louis Cardinals)

After three All-Star seasons in seven years with the Chicago Cubs, Contreras played in 97 games in his first season with the Cardinals in 2023. Contreras tied a career-high 27 doubles and added 20 home runs and 67 RBI. His home run total marked the fifth season that Contreras reached the 20-home run plateau. Behind the plate, he had eight errors in 764 innings for a fielding percentage of .989.

8. J.T. Realmuto (Philadelphia Phillies)

Realmulo is a 10-year MLB veteran who has made three All-Star teams and won two Gold Glove Awards. He led the league in percentage of baserunners thrown out attempting to steal in 2019 and 2022. Last year, Realmuto hit a respectable .252 with 20 home runs and 62 RBI in large part due to a strong final two months. He was solid in the playoffs, going 13-for-49 with four doubles and three home runs. At age 32, Realmuto might not be at the top of his game, but he’s still one of the best catchers in the league.

Also read: Best Pitchers in MLB

7. Will Smith (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Smith completed his fifth MLB season in 2023, all with the Dodgers. After back-to-back 20-plus home run seasons, Smith made his first NL All-Star team last season. He hit 19 home runs in 2023 to go along with 76 RBI and a league-leading 12 sacrifice flies. Smith was outstanding defensively, committing only four errors in 959 innings. He thrived in the postseason, hitting .417 with a double and a triple in 12 at-bats.

6. Gabriel Moreno (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Moreno made his MLB debut with the Toronto Blue Jays on June 11, 2022. He hit .319 in 69 at-bats over 25 games. Moreno was traded to Arizona on December 23, 2022, and made his mark with the Diamondbacks as a rookie last season. He hit a very solid .284 with seven home runs and 50 RBI but makes this list due to his defensive play. Moreno threw out a league-best 39 percent of potential base stealers and posted a .997 fielding percentage. He was awarded the NL Gold Glove Award for catchers.

5. Cal Raleigh (Seattle Mariners)

Raleigh has made substantial strides since hitting .180 with two home runs in 47 games in 2021. In 2022, Raleigh increased his power dramatically, belting 27 home runs in 370 at-bats. He took his game to a new level in 2023, hitting a career-best .233 with 23 doubles, 30 home runs, and 75 RBI. Raleigh is a work-in-progress defensively but was still respectable with ten errors and a .991 fielding percentage.

4. Jonah Heim (Texas Rangers)

Heim was a key component of the 2023 World Series championship team. He made his first All-Star teams and finished the regular season with 28 doubles, 18 home runs, and 95 RBI. Defensively, he made only two errors in 993 ⅓ innings for a fielding percentage of .998. Heim came up big in the playoffs, recording 12 hits, including three home runs. At 28 years old, Heim is just entering his prime and should be a top catcher for the next several seasons.

3. Sean Murphy (Atlanta Braves)

Murphy played his first four seasons with the Oakland Athletics, earning a Gold Glove Award in 2021. He was traded to the Braves on October 22, 2022, in a three-way trade. Murphy made the most of his first season in Atlanta, earning an All-Star berth, and finished the season with 21 home runs and 65 RBI. He had a .990 fielding percentage in 866 innings and a career fielding percentage of .992. Murphy signed a six-year contract extension with the Braves for $73 million and an option for the 2029 season.

2. William Contreras (Milwaukee Brewers)

Contreras made his MLB debut with the Braves in 2020 and progressed to All-Star status in 2022 when he hit .278 with 20 home runs in 97 games. He was part of the three-way trade that sent Sean Murphy to the Braves. In his first season with the Brewers, Contreras hit .289 with 38 doubles, 17 home runs, and 78 RBI. He needs to improve some defensively after committing 11 errors last season. Contreras played well in the playoffs against the Diamondbacks, going 3-for-9 with a walk. Contreras is still only 25 years old and has a huge upside to keep him among the top catchers for the next decade.

1. Adley Rutschman (Baltimore Orioles)

Rutschman finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year vote in 2022 after hitting .254 with 35 doubles, 13 home runs, and 42 RBI. He made strides this past season, earning his first All-Star appearance and a Silver Slugger Award. Rutschman his .277 with 20 home runs and 80 RBI. Behind the plate, he made only six errors in 983 total chances. He had only one hit in 12 at-bats in the playoffs, but Rutschman, like Contreras, is only 25 years old with a huge upside. He has all the tools to be among the best catchers in MLB for many years to come.

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