Top 10 Catchers of the 2023 MLB Season

Ranking baseball's top 10 catchers from the 2023 season.

With the 2023 MLB season nearing a close, it’s time for a comprehensive ranking of the game’s best at each position.

To start off the recap, let’s take a look at this season’s best catchers.


1.  Adley Rutschman


One of MLB’s youngest breakout stars since last season takes the top spot on this list. Rutschman leads the surging Baltimore Orioles in hits (142) and is 3rd in RBI (70). Since the All-Star break, the Orioles have a 36-16 record, pushing them past the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the competitive AL East. In that span, Rutschman is 2nd on the club with a .269 average and is slashing (.269/.351/.426).

Overall, Rutschman leads his fellow MLB catchers in hits and leads all qualifying catchers (3.1 PA per team game played) with a .367 on-base percentage and is 2nd in batting average (.272).

Rutschman has also proven to be a clutch player for his young but contending team.

Among qualified catchers, Rutschman is T-2nd with 8 RBI when the game is Late/Close, he has a (.273/.423/.418) slash line while leading all major league catchers post-All-Star break in batting average and doubles to help his Orioles take sole possession of first place in the AL East.


2. Jonah Heim


The 2023 All-Star was just one of the six Texas Rangers to be named an All-Star this season and deservedly so. Heim has steadily improved his numbers since joining the Rangers in 2021 and after hitting .227/.298/.399 with 20 doubles, 16 homers, and 48 RBI last season, Heim has already surpassed or is on pace to surpass every one of those numbers so far while possibly playing in fewer games. To date, Heim is slashing .261/.317/.439 with 25 doubles, 15 homers and 77 RBI.

While Heim has missed time due to injury and does not qualify as a league leader, he still leads all major league catchers in RBI and his batting run value of 19 is in the 87th percentile of all major league hitters.

Heim is also one of the very few catchers with exceptional offensive and defensive value. His fielding run value of 12 sits T-3rd among MLB catchers and ranks in the 98th percentile. He is T-4th in catcher framing runs (9) and his caught stealing above average number of 4 places him T-4th among his fellow catchers.


3. William Contreras


Everyone is familiar with his well-known older brother Willson, but William is making a name for himself while holding the same offensive prowess and might be even better defensively.

In 2023, Contreras leads all qualified catchers in batting average (.281), OPS (.808), doubles (33),  HardHit rate (48.9%), wOBA (.352), and wins above replacement (4.3). Against breaking balls this season, he is hitting .289 with a slugging percentage of .503.

Defensively, Contreras has a fielding run value of 7 that sits in the 87th percentile for all catchers. According to Statcast, his fielding run value over the previous three seasons sat at -13. He also holds a framing run value of 6, ranking in the 92nd percentile.

Trying to win their first third division championship in six seasons, his Milwaukee Brewers currently hold a 3.0 game lead over the Chicago Cubs for the NL Central lead and Contreras is second on the squad with 69 RBI on a roster that has Carlos Santana and Christian Yelich in its lineup.

Since last season, Contreras leads all catchers in batting average (.281) and slugging percentage (.477).


4. J.T. Realmuto


Realmuto is the athlete that can simply do what no other catcher in the majors can do. His five triples, 13 stolen bases, and .461 slugging percentage put him in front of his fellow catchers in each statistic.

He is tied for first on his Phillies in triples with Trea Turner (!) and sits just behind him in slugging percentage .461 for 4th on the team. Among all major league catchers, Realmuto is second with a .419 wOBACON (weighted on-base average on contact).

According to Baseball Savant, Realmuto holds a blocks above average number of 7 that sits in the 93rd percentile while leading all catchers in pop time with 1.83, putting him in the 100th percentile by a wide margin. Since 2018, Realmuto’s 1.81 pop time leads all major league catchers.


5. Sean Murphy


Murphy might be higher on this list if it weren’t for the fact that he has less than 100 games played this season.

Nonetheless, Murphy is proving to be a key contributor to a lineup that was already potent without him. He is still 5th in RBI with 67 and has an OPS of .891 which leads all catchers with a minimum of 330 at-bats on the season.

Overall, Murphy is slashing .270/.381/.510 with 21 doubles, 20 homers and 67 RBI. His OPS+ of 135 would be the second-highest of an offensively-productive career. Instead of telling you what his percentile ranking are, just take a look at the graphic below. Simply put, he rakes. Murphy is one of only two catchers with 20 homers and 20 doubles on the season to date.

Defensively, he is in the 100th percentile in blocks above average (13) and provides his pitchers with a strike rate of 49.9 percent which is the second-highest rate among catchers that have caught a minimum of 2,500 pitches on the season (4th overall ranking).


6. Will Smith


Will Smith has been one of the most consistent catchers since he made his debut in 2019. This season, he ranks second among catchers in OBP (.364) and is one of only three catchers this season to register an OPS of at least .800.

Smith’s wOBA of .350 sits just behind William Contreras for the lead among catchers while being one of three catchers with wOBA of .350 or higher.

Thanks to the likes of Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Max Muncy, Smith ranks fourth in RBI on the Dodgers, but since last season, Smith has tallied 155 RBI, leading all other major league catchers in the statistic over that span.


7. Willson Contreras


Willson Contreras entered the 2023 season with big shoes to fill as the new catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals since Yadier Molina’s 19-year career came to a close last fall.

In his first season in St. Louis, Contreras has the highest batting average of his career since his 2019 campaign in which he was named an All-Star and is on pace for career-highs in hits, walks, and doubles.

He is T-1st on the Cardinals in doubles (26), 2nd in on-base percentage (.350), and 3rd in batting average (.256).

Known more for his offense, Contreras has a HardHit% of 46.7 percent, making him only one of two catchers this season to have a HardHit rate of 45 percent or higher (William Contreras).


8. Elias Díaz


It may have taken a few years, but Elias Díaz is making his case as one of the better offensive catchers in the sport. In his 9th MLB season and 4th with the Colorado Rockies, Díaz was named to his first All-Star game after hitting .277/.328/.435 with 12 doubles, nine homers, and 45 RBI in the first half.

Despite a second half in which he has slightly faltered at the plate, Díaz is still on pace to tally career-highs nearly across the board, already surpassing his previous career-high of 51 RBI (67) and his 14 home runs are only five away from a new career-high while ranking 3rd on the Rockies in total home runs.

Díaz has also proven that he can hit away from Coors Field as well. His home/road splits are favorably comparable.

Home 208 57 13 8 35 .274 .314 .452
Road 229 60 10 6 32 .262 .313 .393


9. Cal Raleigh


Raleigh may not hit well enough to be higher on this list (.235 average, .314 OBP), but his power at the plate is not something to sneeze at.

As the Seattle Mariners hold a 0.5 game lead for the last of the AL Wild Card spots, Raleigh is 2nd on the team in home runs (27), 4th in RBI (66), and his 21 doubles make him one of seven different Mariners to hit at least 20 doubles on the year.

He is also the only other catcher besides Sean Murphy to have a 20-20 season so far (20 homers, 20 doubles). His 54 home runs since last season leads all catchers in the statistic.

He leads all major league catchers in home runs (27), wOBACON (.428), barrels (40) and barrel% (13.3 percent). Raleigh’s slugging percentage of .472 makes him only one of two qualified catchers with a slugging percentage of .460 or higher.


10. Salvador Perez


No list of catchers would be complete without Salvador Perez and he closes out this list of top catchers.

With career numbers of (.266/.300/.459) with 244 home runs and 797 RBI, Perez is not the offensive threat he once was, but his 21 homers this season puts him just behind Cal Raleigh for the lead among catchers.

Despite hitting .247 this season with an OBP of .287, his 122 hits place him 3rd among catchers for the most hits this season.


Honorable Mention: Keibert Ruiz


Thanks mainly due to the potency of the lineup from the Atlanta Braves, the Washington Nationals sit 29.5 games back of the NL East lead, but that doesn’t mean Nats fans don’t have something to cheer for.

Ruiz is quietly putting together a career year for a team that is going nowhere but has nice pieces in the clubhouse.

Among his fellow catchers, Ruiz is 5th in hits (115), T-8th in doubles (19), 6th in home runs (17) and 8th in RBI (59). He is top-2 on the Nationals in home runs and RBI while also being a nightmare for pitchers to strike out.

Ruiz’s 2023 MLB Percentile Rankings

Ruiz leads all catchers in In Zone Contact% at 92.0 percent (no other catcher is above 90.0 percent) and his 13.9 Whiff% ranks 4th-lowest among all major league players, not just catchers.

2 responses to “Top 10 Catchers of the 2023 MLB Season”

  1. Travis says:

    No Yanier Diaz?

  2. Stephanie says:

    No Patrick Bailey?

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