The MLB free agency All-Star team

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 16: Dallas Keuchel #60 of the Houston Astros looks on during Game 3 of the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Loren Elliott/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 16: Dallas Keuchel #60 of the Houston Astros looks on during Game 3 of the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Loren Elliott/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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MLB free agency
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 18: Wilson Rammos #40 of the Philadelphia Phillies in action against the New York Mets during a game at Citizens Bank Park on August 18, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Catcher

Wilson Ramos made the 2018 American League All-Star team on his way to a .306/.358/.487 season with the Rays and then the Phillies.

To date, Ramos is probably best known for having been kidnapped and held for ransom a few winters back in Venezuela; commandos eventually rescued him. Since recovering from injuries and getting his eyes fixed, Ramos has blossomed. The 2018 All-Star selection was his second – he also made it in 2016 – and his OPS+ has twice topped 120.

Based on 2018 numbers alone, you could make the case that Ramos is the game’s best catcher. Here’s how his stat line compares with the game’s most-used backstops:

Name, PA/BA/HR/RBI/OPS/bWAR
Ramos, 416/.306/22/70/.845/2.7
Grandal, 518/.241/24/68/.815/3.3
Contreras, 544/.249/10/54/.730/2.8
Molina, 503/.261/20/74/.750/1.8
Realmuto, 531/.277/21/74/.825/4.3
Barnhart, 522/.248/10/46/.699/0.9

As the numbers show, Ramos dominated the rate stats for his position, and probably would have dominated the counting stats as well had he been given the same number of plate appearances. His OPS was 20 percentage points better than any of his peers, and his batting average was 29 points superior.

The knock on Ramos, to the extent there is one, will be on the defensive side. He threw out 29 percent of baserunners in 2018, a notch above major league average but only barely, and his .949 fielding average is right at that average figure.