Toronto Blue Jays 2010 Report Cards – Catchers

With the quiet part of the offseason in full bloom for the Jays (i.e. post-regular season, pre-free agency) I thought I’d take a look back at the 2010 campaign and dish out the highly anticipated 500 Level Fan Report Cards.

This series of posts will be split into five parts: Catchers, Infielders, Outfielders, Starters, Relievers.  Today I’ll begin with part 1: the Catchers.

Note 1: Report Card grades are based on Performance on an absolute basis, vs. the rest of the AL, and vs. Expectations

Note 2: Only players who received a significant amount of playing time are graded (meaning no J.P. Arencibia)

John Buck

Production: .281 average, .802 OPS, 20 HR, 66 RBI, 5 errors, .994 fielding %, All-Star

Rank among AL Catchers (30 catchers with 100+ AB): Average – 3rd, OPS – 6th, HR – T1st, RBI – 4th

vs. Expectations: Average Season pre-2010 (per Baseball Reference) – 12 HR, 43 RBI, .235 average, .705 OPS.  Set a career high in Average, OPS, HR, RBI.

Buck was outstanding at the plate this year.  He ranked at or near the top in every major offensive category, and gave the Jays much more than they were expecting based on his career numbers.  The defensive aspect of his game was lacking at the beginning of the season, but as he grew more comfortable with the starting staff, his game calling and his calming influence grew in leaps and bounds – especially with Ricky Romero.  His 20 HR tied the Blue Jay record for a catcher set by Darrin Fletcher, and he became the first Jay backstop since Ernie Whitt to make the All-Star team.

Grade: A

Jose Molina

Production: .246 average, .681 OPS, 6 HR, 12 RBI, 2 errors, .996 fielding %

Rank among AL Catchers (30 catchers with 100+ AB): Average – 14th, OPS – 12th, HR – T12th, RBI – 26th

vs. Expectations: Average season pre-2010 (per Baseball Reference) – 2 HR, 14 RBI, .235 average, .609 OPS.  Tied career high in HR, set high in OPS

It’s difficult to judge a back-up catcher on numbers, since by definition they receive much less playing time than a starter.  But when he played Molina produced at a decent clip, essentially meeting expectations both of his career and of what a backup catcher should produce.  His numbers almost matched last years back-up Raul Chavez exactly.  But his biggest contribution by far came behind the plate.  The rapport he established with Brandon Morrow was one of the (if not the) biggest reason behind Morrow’s breakout season.  As soon as Molina became Morrow’s personal catcher, it was as if something clicked for the pitcher.  That alone trumps the numbers and stats.

Grade: B-

Come back tomorrow to see the 500 Level Fan Report Cards for the 2010 Blue Jay Infielders.

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