Blue Jays Catchers: Ranked by WAR

The catcher of the future, Travis d’Arnaud, is gone. While in the grand scheme of things (ie making the playoffs), I support the trade. However, I’m left wondering–when will the Jays have a true all-star caliber catcher?

Throughout the clubs history, the Jays have held onto a few good but not great catchers. I’m talking about the Ernie Whitt’s, and in shorter stints, the Darrin Fletcher’s and Gregg Zaun’s of the world.

Below is a ranking of Jay catchers seasonal WAR, with a minimum of 80 games behind the plate. WAR is a tricky stat for any position, but more-so for catchers, as the defensive component for backstops (especially in a historical setting) is questionable.

 


Rk Player WAR/pos Year Age
1 Gregg Zaun 3.3 2005 34
2 Ernie Whitt 3.2 1983 31
3 Pat Borders 2.8 1990 27
4 Ernie Whitt 2.7 1988 36
5 Ernie Whitt 2.5 1986 34
6 Ernie Whitt 2.4 1989 37
7 Ernie Whitt 2.4 1987 35
8 Ernie Whitt 2.3 1985 33
9 Gregg Zaun 2.2 2007 36
10 Greg Myers 2.2 2003 37
11 Gregg Zaun 2.1 2004 33
12 Darrin Fletcher 2.1 2000 33
13 Darrin Fletcher 1.8 1999 32
14 Ernie Whitt 1.6 1984 32
15 John Buck 1.5 2010 29
16 Rod Barajas 1.5 2008 32
17 Charlie O’Brien 1.5 1996 36
18 Buck Martinez 1.5 1983 34
19 Buck Martinez 1.5 1982 33
20 J.P. Arencibia 1.4 2012 26
21 Alan Ashby 1.4 1978 26
22 Bengie Molina 1.3 2006 31
23 J.P. Arencibia 1 2011 25
24 Darrin Fletcher 0.8 1998 31
25 Ernie Whitt 0.8 1982 30
Rk Player WAR/pos Year Age
26 Greg Myers 0.7 1991 25
27 Rod Barajas 0.6 2009 33
28 Benito Santiago 0.6 1997 32
29 Buck Martinez 0.6 1984 35
30 Pat Borders 0.5 1992 29
31 Rick Cerone 0.5 1979 25
32 Greg Myers 0.4 1990 24
33 Alan Ashby 0.2 1977 25
34 Ernie Whitt -0.1 1980 28
35 Darrin Fletcher -0.2 2001 34
36 Pat Borders -0.3 1993 30
37 Rick Cerone -0.3 1978 24
38 Pat Borders -0.4 1994 31
39 Bob Davis -0.4 1980 28

 

The first thing that jumps out to me from this list–the age of the top 10. The Jays have a weak history of productive catchers under the age of 30; catchers under the age of 25 are almost non-existent.

Everyone in the top 10, except a single season from Pat Borders, is 30+ in age.

The Jays have been good, not great, as a club for the past 15 years. Losing production from behind the plate for the forseeable future will hurt. But this pain can be off-set by a playoff banner reading ’2013′ hanging from the Rogers Centre rafters.

Coming up on Friday: A small study of Top 100 prospect catchers and their historical WAR.

Sources: Baseball-Reference Play Index, Image via FRANK GUNN/ASSOCIATED PRESS

has written for mopupduty.com since 2006. Follow Matthias on Twitter, Facebook and Google +