MLB’s 6 Most Saber-Friendly Catchers: 2014 Edition
The catcher gets to wear the cool mask. They get the massive glove. They get the chest protector and the knee pads. They’re basically coated in armor — that’s the primal reaction of any youngster drawn to the catcher’s position. That’s why some players opt for the all-out suffering that is kneeling behind home base for half of every inning for the entire game. And, also, because the catcher is the first and last line of defense — they’re the target of the pitch that starts the play, and they’re the player charged with getting outs at the only spot on the entire field where points can be scored.
This makes a catcher’s contribution to a team is very easy to see but mildly difficult to quantify with sabermetrics, or advanced metrics, if you prefer. The same problem as the famous hurdle of early computing, explaining to a machine the difference between a ‘B’ and an ’8′. It’s so obvious when you look at it, but it’s tricky to describe in print.
So what we’ve done, in an attempt to quantify which catchers are the most saber-friendly (and should be, by extension, the most fun to watch) is to combine each catcher’s rSB and RPP for their defensive rating, and added that to their batting WAR for offense. Don’t worry, we’re about to explain what those acronyms mean. All metrics pulled from FanGraphs.