Blue Jays Top 10 Catchers of All Time

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2. Russell Martin

Russell Martin was drafted by the Dodgers in 2002. He made his debut with L.A in 2006. He played for the Dodgers, Yankees and Pirates before signing with the Blue Jays prior to the 2015 season. Martin is the best catcher the Jays have ever acquired. He had been a perennial all-star level catcher for 9 years. He’d been a starting catcher since his MLB debut. Martin dwarfs every other name on this list so far in terms of talent and value.

Martin was, obviously, the Jays’ starting catcher in 2015 and logged 507 PAs. He hit 23 home runs (a career high), slashed .240/.329/.485, led the league in caught stealing % and put up 3.5 WAR. Martin was every bit the player that the Jays expected offensively. Defensively, his numbers were among the worst of his career. A significant part of the problem was the pitchers he had to catch. Normally, knucklerballers have their own personal catchers. With R.A Dickey, Martin chose to take on the task himself (which also allowed the team to carry a more productive backup in Navarro). Martin’s passed ball totals went through the roof.

Martin’s season garnered him an all-star game selection (John Buck is the only other catcher on this list so far to be selected as an all-star) and he was a gold glove finalist. His teams in the past had a penchant for reaching the playoffs and the 2015 Jays were no different—reaching the playoffs for the first time in 22 years. Martin’s 2015 season may be the best ever by a Jays’ catcher—although Pat Borders’ 1990 and a few seasons from the #1 on this list might have something to say about that.

Barring unforeseen issues, Martin will be the Jays starting catcher for a few more years at least. Martin will be entering his age 33 season and has over 10,000 innings of crouching in his knees but Zaun, Fletcher, Martinez and Ashby all had career best seasons after that age. Martin is #2 on this list after only one year with Toronto. After his Jays’ career is over, he may well be #1.

Among Jays’ catchers all-time he ranks 7th in WAR, 1st in WARPA, 9th in HR, 2nd in BB%, 3rd in SLG, 3rd in OBP 1st in ISO, 1st in wRC+, 2nd in offensive runs and 9th in defensive runs.

Next: No. 1: One of the all-time beloved Jays tops the list