MLB: Dollar values of the best catchers

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 11: St. Louis Cardinals Catcher Yadier Molina (4) during a game between the Colorado Rockies and the visiting St. Louis Cardinals on September 11, 2019 at Coors Field in Denver, CO. (Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 11: St. Louis Cardinals Catcher Yadier Molina (4) during a game between the Colorado Rockies and the visiting St. Louis Cardinals on September 11, 2019 at Coors Field in Denver, CO. (Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Luis Severino talks with Gary Sanchez. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Luis Severino talks with Gary Sanchez. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

No. 9 Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees, $2.163 value; $670,000 salary

Sanchez is Contreras’ body double at the plate. Both generated a 3.1 WAR in 2019 that valued out at $1.371 million when considered against the average of their peers in the ranks of catchers who worked at least 500 innings.

In Sanchez’s case, that sprang from a .232 batting average but 34 home runs and 77 RBIs. His 119 OPS+ provides statistical backing for the concept that he is a solidly above average MLB player at the bat.

He is basically also Contreras’ double behind the plate. Sanchez’s -3 defensive runs saved translates to a negative $115,000 value purely based on his defense.

Where Sanchez has a slight edge –and it’s only a slight one – is in his pitch framing. He still needs work; his -3 runs saved via framing ranks only 24th among his MLB peers, and values out at -$123,000. But the sum of all the components puts Sanchez’s overall value at $2.163 million in 2019, a few nickels ahead of Contreras and nicely above his approximate $670,000 salary.

Like Contreras, Sanchez will have to materially upgrade his defensive work to justify the higher salaries he’s likely to command in arbitration. That, however, is a story for a future season.