In anticipation of the 2023 MLB season, MLB Network has been posting some positional player rankings in the last week.
When it comes to catchers, Willson Contreras remains an elite choice despite switching teams.
Earlier in the offseason, the St. Louis Cardinals gave him a very nice five-year contract to be Yadier Molina‘s long-term replacement behind the plate.
His work with the Chicago Cubs gave him a top-five ranking in MLB Network’s exercise.
Nuevo equipo, mismo Willson. 🦾
Willson Contreras es el 5to mejor receptor de @LasMayores 2023 según @MLBNetwork. 🇻🇪 pic.twitter.com/rHWgAbi2Lz
— MLB Venezuela (@MLBVenezuela) February 3, 2023
Philadelphia Phillies backstop J.T. Realmuto was crowned as MLB’s top catcher according to the exercise.
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Will Smith came in second, Baltimore Orioles young star Adley Rutschman was third, and newly-acquired Atlanta Braves catcher Sean Murphy checked in at fourth.
Here is the full top 10:
A full look at @MLBNow’s #Top10RightNow behind the plate 🍽️
What would you change? pic.twitter.com/2Z6dE3zKSm
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) February 3, 2023
Contreras, 30, will be an upgrade over ‘Yadi’ offensively, and while he is no Molina behind the plate, his defense is very, very good.
In 2022, he had one of his finest seasons in recent memory, hitting .243/.349/.466 with 22 home runs and a 132 wRC+ in 113 games and 487 plate appearances.
He posted a rock-solid 3.3 Wins Above Replacement, or WAR.
In St. Louis, he will be surrounded by some excellent hitters like Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Lars Nootbaar, Dylan Carlson, Tyler O’Neill, Tommy Edman, and others.
Contreras is not just an offensive force superior to even prime Molina, but he also has playoff experience after winning the 2016 World Series with Chicago as a rookie.
Everything seems to indicate that the Venezuelan will do just fine in St. Louis.
As long as he keeps a similar level than the one he has shown over his whole career, fans will love him.NEXT: The Cardinals Have A Major Lead To Uphold In 2023