Red Sox catcher vs the AL East
- Mike Zunino, Rays (10)
- Gary Sanchez, Yankees (7)
- Christian Vazquez, Red Sox (5)
- Danny Jansen, Blue Jays (3)
- Pedro Severino, Orioles (1)
Though each of the AL East catchers produced positive value in 2021, one clearly stood out from the pack. After spending the first eight years of his career failing to live up to the expectations that come with being the number three overall pick, Mike Zunino broke out in 2021. The 30-year-old blasted a career-high 33 home runs and posted a solid 138 OPS+ to go along with his usual top-level defense. His 3.8 WAR was nearly three times as much as any other catcher in the division.
The second spot came down to two rivals who had down seasons. Christian Vazquez has the edge on Gary Sanchez defensively and had a nearly 50-point advantage in average, but Sanchez drew a lot more walks and hit for significantly more power. Ultimately, I chose to give the edge to Sanchez, as his career OPS is 30 points higher than Vazquez.
The last two spots go to Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen and Orioles catcher Pedro Severino. Jansen was solid in limited action last year, slugging .473 and homering 11 times in just 70 games. He should get an even bigger role in 2022. Severino, meanwhile, was around league average last year and is pretty much just a placeholder for top prospect Adley Rutchsman.