6. Carlos Ruiz, Philadelphia Phillies. Yeah sure, Ruiz may not be the most offensive catcher in the NL, but his leadership skills and his 2012 season is enough proof that Carlos should be in my Top 10. Ruiz is one of just 9 current MLB players born in Panama. Carlos, also known as Chooch, is having a stellar 2012 year so far. Ruiz has career bests in home runs, RBI’s and average. Carlos only has 50 career homers and 14 of those have come in the 2012 season. Chooch is having a break-out year at 33 years of age. He has a stellar batting average at .345 which is good for 4th in the MLB. Ruiz was rated the most underrated catcher in baseball. I believe it. 2012 was Carlos’ first All-Star appearance but he is known more for his defense than his offense. Ruiz has a career .994 fielding percentage and has never committed more than 6 errors in a season. Ruiz has been recognized by coaches, players and the city of Philadelphia. The City of Philly awarded Ruiz with the Pride of Philadelphia Award for representing the Philly area with determination and class through athletics. Even teammates of Carlos have nothing but good things to say about their starting catcher. As underrated as Carlos Ruiz may be, one thing you can count on is clutch hitting and great leadership.
7. Russell Martin, New York Yankees. I gotta love Martin because he was born in Ontario, Canada. “My home province.” Martin is having a terrible 2012 season. He has just 12 home runs, 30 RBI’s, and a pathetic .188 average. The 29-year-old played for the L.A. Dodgers for 5 seasons before signing with the Yanks before the 2011 year. Martin has pretty good career numbers for a catcher. He has hit 84 homers, 394 RBI’s and has a .260 average. Martin has appeared in 3 All-Star Games in 2007, 2008 and 2011 as well as earning a Gold Glove award and a Silver Slugger award, both in 2007. In my eyes Martin has been overpaid during his career. In 2009, Martin signed a one-year deal worth $3.9 million, in 2010 Martin signed a one-year 6 million dollar deal. Then in 2011 the Dodgers offered Russell 4.2 million for one year and Martin insisted for $5 million or more. After the rejection, Los Angeles non-tendered him. Martin then signed in the Bronx for one year at $6 million. For the 2012 year he signed for a massive 7.5 million bucks. Little did the Yankees know that 2012 would be Martin’s worst season in his career. Even though Martin costs big bucks he is still able to maintain a spot on my top 10.
8. Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians. Santana is exactly what Cleveland needs when it comes to power. The Indians have struggled over the past few years due to the lack of big bats. Carlos provides the strength. The 26-year-old has not performed his best in 2012, but he was on the disabled list for a good period of time. Santana has 42 homers and 142 RBI in his career. Carlos has a reasonable batting average at .240 during his career but when Santana does get on base he can steal a few too. Santana has the ability to play first base as well as catcher, which a lot of teams like. Carlos is a star in the making for the Tribe.The Domincan Republic native shows good baseball knowledge. Santana even started a triple play on April 3 2011 against the White Sox. Carlos is a good deal money- wise too, he signed for 5 years and $21 million in April 2012. In 2011, Santana was second in the MLB in home runs with 27. If Grady Sizemore does not return from injury soon then the Indians will be relying heavily on Santana int he future. I think he can definitely live up to expectations.
9. A.J. Pierzynski, Chicago White Sox. This former professional wrestler is a great veteran in the Sox lineup. A.J. has made several appearances on WWE and TNA Impact wrestling.(I wouldn’t want to get into a bench brawl with him). Pierzynski is known for his… colourful personality. Several times he has been accused of hurting or trying to hurt players and coaches. But what do you expect from a former wrestler? Aside from the negatives Pierzynski is a pretty good offensive and defensive catcher. A.J. bats .284 in his career and has smacked 145 homers and 706 RBI. Anthony John Pierzynski has caught a no-hitter and a perfect game in his career. He has 2 All-Star appearances in 2002 and 2006. But A.J. has what lots of women want, rings and belts. A.J. has a World Series Ring from 2005 with Chicago and I’m sure he has a few championship belts from his wrestling career. The 35-year-old is having a great 2012 campaign, good enough to be on pace for career highs in home runs and slugging percentage. Although A.J. may not be the most gentle player in the league, he is sure to provide a veteran presence and good power in his bat.
10. J.P. Arencibia, Toronto Blue Jays. When J.P. entered the league in August 2010, he was one of the most highly talked about prospects in Toronto. When J.P. gets a chance he delivers. Living not too far from Toronto, I watch the Blue Jays games daily. When Arencibia made his debut Iwas watching from home as he smacked a first-pitch home run, becoming the 28th MLB player in history to hit a home run on his very first pitch. He followed that up with a double in at bat #2 and a single in #3. He finished the game with one more homer. Arencibia is maintaining the role as the starting catcher for Toronto. J.P. has 41 career home runs with 132 RBI and a reasonable .224 batting average. J.P. hits can hit home runs with the best of them. He was 4th in the MLB in long bombs in 2011 with 23, and is currently 5th in the MLB this year with 16. J.P. won’t probably finish as well as he did offensively this year due to a hand injury but J.P. proves that when he gets in a slump, he can easily break out of it with a sudden hot streak. He is still only in his third year and from here things are looking up for J.P. and the Blue Jays.
Honourable Mentions: Miguel Montero, Arizona Diamondbacks
Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers
Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers
Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Boston Red Sox
Geovany Soto, Texas Rangers