Could Mariners C Omar Narvaez Have the Best Season in Team History?
In a year that has seen more frustration than fun, one Seattle Mariners player is having a season that deserves serious praise. In fact, we should start asking the question as to whether it’s the best season from a catcher in team history.
Now obviously, we aren’t going to crown Mariners catcher Omar Narvaez the best catcher in team history. He’s only played 41 games and Dan Wilson and Mike Zunino are still quite a ways ahead of him.
But in those 41 games, Narvaez is doing serious damage. He is slashing .307/.377/.511 with 8 home runs and 15 walks. His 143 wRC+ ranks fourth amongst all catchers, as does his .511 slugging percentage and his .377 OBP.
But how does this stack up against the best seasons of Mariners catchers? If the season ended today, Narvez would be the single-season leader for batting average, second in OBP, and first in slugging.
If he keeps on his current pace, he would end the year with 32 home runs which would also be a single-season team record. But what about his defense? Right now, Narvez is actually the 11th best pitch framer in the game.
I won’t try and convince you that Narvaez is, or ever will be, even an above-average pitcher. He probably won’t be. But we have already seen significant growth from him since he was catching for the White Sox.
There is no reason to suspect that Narvaez won’t be at least league average defensively eventually, but the defense could be the key factor for stopping him from taking the top spot on the single-season catcher’s list.
Currently, the two best seasons by a Mariners catcher both belong to Mike Zunino, who posted a 4.1 fWAR in 2014 and a 3.9 fWAR in 2017. Narvaez currently sits at 1.4 fWAR at the 33% mark of the season.
So, his pace is at 4.2 fWAR for the 2019 season. There is a long way to go before this pace becomes a reality. But Narvaez is, at the very least, headed to an All-Star campaign. And perhaps he can even make a little history along the way.