Blue Jays Top 10 Catchers of All Time

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1. Ernie Whitt

Unsurprisingly, Ernie Whitt is the greatest Blue Jays catcher of all time. His career began rather inauspiciously as he was drafted in the 15th round of the 1972 by the Red Sox, had a cup of coffee with Boston in 1976, was selected by the Blue Jays in the 1976 expansion draft and was little used by the Blue Jays until 1980.

A new manager, Bobby Mattick, believed in the 28 year old Whitt and gave him a chance to be the starting catcher in 1980. The offence came slowly as Whitt hit for a .640 OPS and .604 OPS in 1980 and the strike shortened 1981 but Whitt was solid defensively. His bat came around in 1982 with a .758 OPS. Over the remainder of his Jays career, Whitt would always post an OPS over .750. Whitt’s best season came in 1983 as he put up an .805 OPS, 3.6 WAR and 9 total fielding runs above average. Whitt was remarkably consistent putting up roughly 3 WAR from 1985 to 1989. Six of the best seasons by a Jays catcher according to WAR are Whitt’s. He has the best single season mark of 3.6 WAR.

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In 1985, Whitt was named to the All-star team and was instrumental in leading the team to its first divisional title that year and another in 1989. Whitt was traded away prior to the 1990 season to make room for young guns Borders and Myers. The Jays received Ricky Trlicek from the Braves in exchange for Whitt and Kevin Batiste. The trade didn’t work out for either team as Whitt had a terrible season in a back up role, Batiste never played another MLB game and Trlicek threw 1.2 IP in his brief Jays career. Whitt retired after a decent stint as a third stringer for the O’s in 1991.

Post-retirement Whitt has had success as a coach and manager. He was a coach in the Blue Jays’ system from 1997 to 2004 and on the major league coaching staff from 2005 to 2008. Whitt has managed Team Canada since 1999 and has been instrumental in promoting the growth of baseball in Canada.

Whitt holds the record in nearly every counting stat category for Jays catchers. Among Jays’ catchers all-time he ranks 1st in WAR (21.8 WAR. Next highest is Zaun at 7.1 WAR), 1st in games played (1218), 1st in home runs, 1st in RBI (518, more than doubling the next highest), 1st in SB (22), 4th in OBP (.327), 3rd in wRC+ (101), and 1st in defensive runs (79.3). Also 1st in hits, doubles, triples, runs, walks and WPA.

Next: Free Agent Target: Jordan Zimmerman

Honourable Mentions:

Jose Molina just missed the 400 PA cutoff. Rod Barajas and Greg Myers were considered as well