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2015 Midseason Catcher Rankings: Ranked by wRC+

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Ray offers his midseason catcher rankings using an advanced metric to rank the catchers through the first three months of the season.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

I am going to take a break from the Roto Roundup for a few days, so I will focus on midseason rankings. These rankings aren't my regular rankings. I am taking a different approach to the rankings for this version using the weighted runs created stat from FanGraphs. wRC+ is a good measure of how well a hitter has performed relative to his peers as well as the league, and is league and park adjusted.

Below is how FanGraphs defines wRC+:

Weighted Runs Created (wRC) is an improved version of Bill James' Runs Created (RC) statistic, which attempted to quantify a player's total offensive value and measure it by runs.  In Runs Created, instead of looking at a player's line and listing out all the details (e.g. 23 2B, 15 HR, 55 BB, 110 K, 19 SB, 5 CS), the information is synthesized into one metric in order to say, "Player X was worth 24 runs to his team last year."  While the idea was sound, James' formula has since been superseded by Tom Tango's wRC , which is based off Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA).

Similar to OPS+Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) measures how a player's wRC compares with league average after controlling for park effects.  League average for position players is 100, and every point above 100 is a percentage point above league average. For example, a 125 wRC+ means a player created 25% more runs than a league average hitter would have in the same number of plate appearances. Similarly, every point below 100 is a percentage point below league average, so a 80 wRC+ means a player created 20% fewer runs than league average.

wRC+ is park and league-adjusted, allowing one to to compare players who played in different years, parks, and leagues.

More from FanGraphs on how to use the stat:

But as a general breakdown, this distribution works fine with wRC listed per 600 plate appearances. League average wRC+ will always be 100.

Ratings wRC wRC+
Excellent 105 160
Great 90 140
Above Average 75 115
Average 65 100
Below Average 60 80
Poor 50 75
Awful 40 60

So, let's take a look at the catchers ranked according to wRC+ through the first three months of the 2015 season:

Rank

Name

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

ISO

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

WAR

1

Stephen Vogt

280

13

38

53

0

0.232

0.300

0.393

0.532

0.390

156

2.8

2

Buster Posey

303

11

39

53

1

0.172

0.300

0.376

0.472

0.368

141

2.8

3

Yasmani Grandal

219

10

26

26

0

0.200

0.259

0.370

0.459

0.365

137

1.7

4

Russell Martin

263

11

45

37

4

0.224

0.268

0.354

0.491

0.365

133

2.9

5

Francisco Cervelli

225

3

24

25

1

0.101

0.303

0.378

0.404

0.349

125

1.8

6

Brian McCann

252

12

30

49

0

0.212

0.270

0.337

0.482

0.352

124

2.1

7

Roberto Perez

140

5

19

14

0

0.205

0.223

0.350

0.429

0.340

121

1.1

8

Derek Norris

294

11

41

45

1

0.199

0.246

0.293

0.446

0.320

108

1.8

9

Miguel Montero

219

9

17

25

0

0.168

0.239

0.352

0.408

0.332

108

1.3

10

Nick Hundley

213

6

27

26

2

0.157

0.298

0.343

0.455

0.347

105

1.3

11

Salvador Perez

260

12

24

33

1

0.188

0.271

0.281

0.459

0.317

101

1.3

12

Brayan Pena

207

0

11

11

0

0.044

0.301

0.371

0.344

0.321

101

0.6

13

Yadier Molina

270

2

21

26

0

0.084

0.293

0.338

0.378

0.313

99

1.5

14

Robinson Chirinos

189

7

21

26

0

0.213

0.206

0.306

0.419

0.318

97

0.8

15

A.J. Pierzynski

198

4

23

24

0

0.137

0.268

0.308

0.404

0.310

96

0.6

16

Wilson Ramos

240

7

22

34

0

0.145

0.264

0.292

0.410

0.302

90

0.8

17

James McCann

183

3

14

15

0

0.136

0.254

0.294

0.391

0.299

88

0.6

18

Caleb Joseph

189

5

22

21

0

0.143

0.232

0.305

0.375

0.297

86

0.4

19

Jason Castro

205

7

22

17

0

0.161

0.215

0.278

0.376

0.288

82

0.9

20

J.T. Realmuto

220

3

22

18

2

0.130

0.240

0.269

0.370

0.275

71

0.4

21

Tyler Flowers

163

5

10

16

0

0.138

0.211

0.264

0.349

0.271

67

-0.2

22

Chris Iannetta

170

3

13

15

0

0.088

0.184

0.282

0.272

0.255

64

0

23

Kurt Suzuki

230

3

18

21

0

0.087

0.228

0.288

0.316

0.262

63

0

24

Kevin Plawecki

145

2

9

14

0

0.083

0.226

0.276

0.308

0.255

62

0.2

25

Mike Zunino

233

8

18

17

0

0.142

0.166

0.234

0.308

0.243

53

-0.1

Quick Thoughts

Stephen Vogt, Athletics

Who saw this kind of season from Vogt in 2015? Our own Heath Capps, that's who. He is leading all catchers with a 156 wRC+, ahead of our preseason favorites Buster Posey, Devin Mesoraco.....remember him?....among others. Mesoraco led all catchers with a 147 wRC+ last season, followed by Buster Posey, Michael McKenry and Russell Martin. According to the Rankings log above, Vogt is having a "Great" season. They need to add a category called "Shocking".

Yasmani Grandal, Dodgers

After being dealt from San Diego to Los Angeles, many writers felt that Grandal's fantasy value would improve with the move out of Petco Park and into Dodger Stadium. Well, it appears we were right, as his wRC+ has improved from 111 last season to 137 this season. He hit his 11th home run last night, and is on pace to approach 20 home runs this season.

Francisco Cervelli, Pirates

Wait. What? Cervelli ranks fifth among all catchers in wRC+? Actually, this is nothing new for Cervelli, as he put up a 128 wRC+ last season and a 143 wRC+ in 2013, he just didn't play much.

Should we use wRC+ to assist us when ranking players who are expected to get more playing time? It's just one stat to look at, in my opinion.

Yadier Molina, Cardinals

Sometimes catchers break down once they reach the age of 30-31, and that is what we are seeing from Molina thus far in 2015. According to wRC+ he is a below average catcher right now....slightly below average. His power, as measured by ISO and SLG, sit at career lows right now, so we can say that we have seen the last of double digit home runs from Molina. He did lose a bunch of weight in the offseason, so I wonder if that is part of the drop in power.

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