Red Sox Rankings: American League East Catchers

Aug 22, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart (23) chases a ball against the Kansas City Royals during the third inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 22, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart (23) chases a ball against the Kansas City Royals during the third inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 3, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Roberto Osuna (54) and Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (55) celebrates as they beat the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 3, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Roberto Osuna (54) and Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (55) celebrates as they beat the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

2.  Russell Martin

Since there is no team in his adopted home of Montreal where he grew up, Martin considered it something of a homecoming to sign with Toronto (East York) where he was born.  Yankee fans are probably wondering where was the Martin who had  4.2  and 5.5 WAR in his Pittsburgh seasons (2013-14) when he was with the Yankees posting a combined 4.4 WAR in his two years there (2011-12). Though Pittsburgh let him build his value for his latest deal, there was no way they were going to be able to provide the big contract that Toronto did.  It isn’t any coincidence that Toronto won the division last year with Martin behind the plate.  He had the same effect in Pittsburgh where he twice led them to the playoffs.

Last season, Martin posted a 3.3 WAR (33.3 for his career).  2015 was a career year in the home run department with 23 for Martin.  His 77 RBI were the highest since he drove in 87 back in 2007 (arguably his career year when he also won his only Gold Glove and his only Silver Slugger).  While  a .787 OPS is impressive at his position, it was down from .832 the prior year, though still above his career .756 average.

Martin had 19 passed balls in 2015, in large part undoubtedly because he caught 20 starts by knuckleballer R. A. Dickey. Josh Thole is not Dickey’s personal catcher though he came over with him from the Mets it seemed.  His dWAR (defense) fell from two to 0.7 last season perhaps due to catching Dickey.

It could go either way between Martin and McCann, who got the nod on experience, but it could be flipped based on the Martin’s having a slightly better 2015 than McCann.

Next: 3. Matt Wieters