The Best Fielding Catchers

This is the first of several installments (I think it will be one for each non-pitching defensive position) on the best defensive players in the Giants’ history.  For my methodology, please see this post.

Here are the top ten catching three-year defensive peaks in Giants’ history:

Player Years 3-year Defensive Runs/150 3 Year Defensive Runs
Kirt Manwaring 1991-93 17.2 35
Kirt Manwaring 1992-94 15.6 35
Kirt Manwaring 1993-95 9.6 22
Frank Snyder 1921-23 2.7 6
Frank Snyder 1923-25 2.6 6
Frank Snyder 1922-24 2.2 5
Wes Westrum 1950-52 2.0 5
Harry Danning 1939-41 1.9 5
Shanty Hogan 1929-31 1.7 4
Shanty Hogan 1930-32 1.6 4


Kirt Manwaring was, for a period during the 1990s, a giant among Giant catchers.  He was a terrible hitter, but his defense made up for it and more, particularly in 1992 and 1993, when he was worth three and two-and-a-half wins above replacement, respectively.  That was a very valuable catcher.  We don’t necessarily think “great defense” when we think of Frank Snyder since he was such a good hitter on those Giants pennant-winners of the 1920s, but “Pancho” was a skilled receiver who guided some great Giant pitching staffs.  From there, though, we get single peaks of Wes Westrum and Harry Danning, who were good if not great, and two of Shanty Hogan‘s peaks over a four-season period.

Of note for not making the list are Marc Hill, who put up some great defensive numbers for the Giants 1975-77 while only being the sort-of starting catcher in the last of those seasons, and would be second on this list after Manwaring had he enough games at catcher to qualify.  Ray Katt put up some good defensive numbers as Westrum’s backup with the Giants in the 1950s, but was the primary catcher only in 1955.  And Buster Posey did not make the cut because he really hasn’t played enough at catcher since he only came up in May of 2010 and then missed almost all of 2011 with that broken ankle.




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