Tuesday, July 12, 2011

All-Hunter Catchers

Through the almost 20 seasons of Hunter there have been six catchers who have rose above the field for contention as the best C in the history of Hunter. I am going to break them down into Tiers, the Catcher for the All-Hunter team will be decided by votes. I am going to ask each owner send me the top 3 on their ballot, consider the below as merely a guide.

Tier 3:
T. Molina:
6675AB 408 HR 1284 RBI .307 AVG .917 OPS
1080 GP @ C
C ERA: 4.75 Past Balls: 122
Pitching Calling Max: 46
661SB Against CS %: 24.7%
Awards: 5-Time Allstars, 3 C Silver Sluggers & 3 World Series

Looking at his hitting numbers alone can be a bit misleading; if you didn’t drill deeper you’d be crazy not to put him in Tier 1. The reason Molina ends up in Tier 3 is the fact he only played 1080 of his 1779 games at the position of C . The remainder due to his sub-par catching abilities were played at 1b, LF & DH (close to half his stats were racked up at a position other than C). His max pitch calling of 46 is also the lowest of anyone to make the list. While those are negatives, he is the only player on the list with 3 World Series Rings. He spent the majority of his career in New York with stints in Arizona (now Helena) prior & Philly post. It was Philly where he picked up his 3rd ring. He’s now playing out the string at AAA for Little Rock hoping for one last shot at the show and potentially a 4th ring.

B. Nixon:
5317AB 177 HR 786 RBI .294 AVG .819 OPS
1401 GP @ C
C ERA: 5.46 Past Balls: 106
960SB Against CS %: 26.9%
Pitching Calling Max: 63
Awards: 5-Time Allstars & 3 C Silver Sluggers

Compared to the others ahead of him on the list his defense is lacking with the worst C Era & his hitting numbers pale in comparison to the remaining options. The inclusion on the list is a tip of a cap to one of the top catchers in the first decade of Hunter. Had Nixon been younger when the world was born he might have been able to stack up better historically, he played almost his entire career with Rochester (now Scranton). An old Mase favorite he’d be happy to see him included on the list. Nixon played his last ML game in S11 & was retired by S13.

Tier 2:
Tanner Sager:

6004AB 217 HR 846 RBI .306 AVG .844 OPS
1449GP @ C
C ERA: 4.48 Past Balls: 127
907SB Against CS %: 19.2%
Pitching Calling Max: 64
Awards: 10-Time Allstars, 6 C Silver Sluggers & 1 World Series Ring

It may seem odd to find a player with Tanner Sager’s hardware in tier two, however compared to the three remaining choices I believe he’s in the right spot. I think everyone can agree that the All-Star selection process does need some work. Sager spent 11 seasons in Washington where he won his only ring before moving to Florida for S19 & is still in the majors with SLC in S20. His pitch calling is decent but his CS% is the lowest of anyone on this list. He had a plus bat for a catcher but the remaining guys had ++ bats and in two cases + defense as well.

Tier 1:
Alex Campos:

5836AB 304 HR 1000 RBI .312 AVG .897 OPS
1799GP @ C
C ERA: 4.53 Past Balls: 69
858SB Against CS %: 26.8%
Pitching Calling Max: 84
Awards: 1 Gold-Glove & 1 Silver Slugger

The first think you’ll notice about Campos is a startling lack of hardware. However he is the only C on the list to have won a gold glove. The biggest knock on Campos is his durability which limits him to about 400AB a year and keeps him out of the running on year to year awards. Having said that of the six finalists he owns the best pitch calling, tied for the best CS% & given up the fewest past balls by a considerable margin. He’s clearly the best defender on the list and on top of the defensive accolades he’s also hit 300+ HR and has 1000RBI, so he’s not just on the list for his glove. Full disclosure he’s the only player on the list that’s played for the Sluggers. His career in the ML started with Louisville before heading to Texas (now Monterray) and then returning to Louisville.

A. Butler:
5055AB 289 HR 994 RBI .330 AVG .971 OPS
1287GP @ C
C ERA: 4.24 Past Balls: 125
807SB Against CS %: 23.4%
Pitching Calling Max: 63
Awards: 7-Time AllStar, 7-Time Silver Slugger & 1 World Series

Bulter was a glaring omission caught by his former owner Smhish when I posted the initial list. He is the youngest member of the list at 35 with several years left in his career to pad his stats. Of the players on the list he has the most Silver Sluggers, best avg., best C Era & .971 OPS. He spent his entire career with SLC winning a World Series before moving to Columbus for this season. I have him 2nd on my ballot based on his slightly lower PC and the fact, I think his %’s are inflated since he hasn’t had to play through the tail end of his career like the other two tier 1 guys, Campos is 39 & the next player is retired.

5729AB 403 HR 1090 RBI .300 AVG .913 OPS
1719GP @ C
C ERA: 4.58 Past Balls: 127
769SB Against CS %: 25.1%
Pitching Calling Max: 79
Awards: 6-Time AllStar & 3-Time Silver Slugger

It was a tough call between the three tier-1 guys but I personally am giving Moraga my first place ballot based on the following rationale. He is arguably the best hitter on the list (T. Molina’s non-C stats excluded). Bulter will catch him in RBI, but not in HR and I think their %s will be a lot closer once Bulter plays through the tail end of his career. Even if you give Bulter the slight edge in hitting Moraga was a much better defender, behind Campos he was probably the best on the list. Morgana was the best of both worlds behind the plate that’s why I have him nipped Bulter & Campos at the finish line.

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