I will be giving my opinion on who the best players in the American and National League are between now and July 2, the last day to vote for the All-Star Game.
I will give the top five players for each position in each league in every article and I will keep a record of each number one player (or the top three outfielders) in each position, along with when the next article can be expected to be published.
Articles are to appear about every three days.
Today, the catchers of the American League are on deck. Two veterans stand out from the crowd. There are also two other veterans in the top five, and one young player on an up-and-coming team.
5. Victor Martinez, Cleveland Indians
Since 2002, Victor Martinez has been a solid performer in Cleveland, and this year has been no different.
With an impressive .315 average, Martinez swings a hot bat. While Martinez hasn’t managed to hit a home run yet this season, he has driven in 15 runs.
Unfortunately, the rest of the Indians roster hasn’t brought Martinez home much this year. He has only scored nine times and has only touched 49 total bases.
4. Jason Varitek, Boston Red Sox
Jason Varitek has the lowest average of these catchers, hitting .290. However, he makes up for this by hitting for power. Varitek has five home runs, second only to Mike Napoli amongst American League catchers.
He has also caught four no-hitters in his career.
Varitek’s biggest flaw is the number of times he’s struck out this year. His 30 whiffs double the amount of strikeouts of everyone else on this list.
3. Dioner Navarro, Tampa Bay Rays
The youngest catcher on this list may come as a surprise to some.
Navarro didn’t play from April 4-22, but since then the 24-year-old Venezuelan has been on fire. His .366 batting average is the best amongst American League players who have seen action in over 20 games.
Navarro hasn’t driven in many runs, though. He has only 13 runs batted in on one long ball and a minute five doubles.
2. Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
Joe Mauer marks the upper tier of the American League catchers.
With a .319 average, Mauer has scored 25 times while producing 45 hits, 18 runs batted in, nine doubles and a triple. He has also drawn 19 walks and has a .398 on-base percentage. Mauer has yet to hit a home run this season.
1. A.J. Pierzynski, Chicago White Sox
You’ve got to believe me. It pains me, as a Cub fan, to put a South Sider as number one, especially after the Barrett-Pierzynski fight two years ago. But Pierzynski deserves it.
He’s put up a .317 batting average with 44 hits and 16 runs batted in. The thing that separates him from Mauer is his ability to hit for extra bases. Pierzynski has 14 doubles and three home runs that will help the AL in the All-Star Game.
C A.J. Pierzynski, Chicago White Sox
C Next Up (Tentatively scheduled for Friday, May 23)