By now it's no secret that the name "Gabriel Moreno" gives fans of the Toronto Blue Jays some serious PTSD. Just over a year ago, he was shipped to the Diamondbacks in the Daulton Varsho trade that has received a ton of hate around the industry.
The Blue Jays were comfortable with a catching tandem of Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk to take them through the 2023 season. To their credit, this worked out just fine, as the two of them started nearly every single game of the year. Also, the Jays did not have to utilize Varsho as an emergency catcher even once, speaking to the strength of the Jansen-Kirk duo.
It was tough for Blue Jays fans to watch Moreno, who at the time of the deal was still an unproven prospect (at the big league level), excel in Arizona. However, MLB Network has seemingly redeemed themselves for the epic failure of starting pitching rankings they released earlier this week.
Moving on to the catcher position, MLBN shockingly - and frankly, hilariously - gave Kirk the edge over Moreno, putting the former in the 7 spot and the latter in the 10 spot.
Placing both of these players side by side, it's clear that one of them outperformed the other in 2023. While it's nice to see Kirk placing higher than Moreno, it wasn't that way when it came to the stats each player put up last year.
This is by no means meant to slander Kirk, because he was a fine backstop last year. The 25-year-old never strikes out, draws a ton of walks and took significant strides on defense after previously being a below-average option behind the plate. He experienced quite the offensive regression in 2023, which gave Moreno the ability to leapfrog him in rankings like MLBN's.
However, Kirk gets the edge. Moreno won a Gold Glove while leading the majors in dWAR and caught stealing percentage (per Baseball Reference). He also came up big for the Diamondbacks in the playoffs. He hit just 7 home runs all year but somehow connected for 4 of them with 12 RBI in 17 postseason games this past year.
Perhaps it's because of Kirk's longer track record that he beats out Moreno in this ranking. The numbers pretty clearly show who was the better catcher last year, but Kirk has a few more years under his belt and, to this point, is a more experienced and proven catcher.
It remains to be seen how much longer Moreno will rank just 10th in the league at the catcher position. He's still so young and if last year was any indicator of where he's going to go as he ages, he'll shoot up the list ahead of 2025.