Grading Seattle Mariners 2019 Season Performances: Catcher

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 17: Tom Murphy #2 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates in the dugout after scoring on a single by Dee Gordon #9 in the fourth inning against the Kansas City Royals at T-Mobile Park on June 17, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 17: Tom Murphy #2 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates in the dugout after scoring on a single by Dee Gordon #9 in the fourth inning against the Kansas City Royals at T-Mobile Park on June 17, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Welcome to a new series, where we will work our way around the diamond, giving grades Seattle Mariners based on their 2019 seasons. And of course, we will start behind the plate.

But before we dive into grades, let’s talk a little bit about our process. Obviously, the Mariners aren’t done playing yet, but two weeks isn’t going to drastically change grades, so let’s begin now so we can hopefully be done by the end of the month.

Also, grades are all subjective. There isn’t an answer key here. It is more like grading book reports as opposed to grading math test. There are many different correct answers here. We will be grading players on a standard 0-100 scale, where 100 is an A+ and 0 is an F-.

Our reports cards will also include some positives and negatives for each player, in our attempt to factor in as much as possible when handing out these grades. With that in mind, let’s begin with our first 2 players.

B+. 2019 slash (as of 9/17): .279/.354/.466, bWAR 1.9, fWAR 1.8<p>Pros: career high in HRs, no offensive drop off, improved defense</p><p>Cons: Below-average defender</p>. Seattle Mariners. S1. Omar Narvaez

First up is primary Mariners backstop, Omar Narvaez. Acquired for Alex Colome, Narvaez was a part-time catcher during his years with the White Sox. In his first crack as a full-time player, Narvaez maintained his career norms in batting average and on-base and raised his career-high slugging percentage from .429 to .466.

The rise in his slugging numbers is also evident by his new career-high 21 home runs. At the plate, Narvaez is having the single greatest offensive season in Mariners history. But of course, we felt good about the offense when he joined the team. His defense is another story.

When acquired, the book on Narvaez was that he was so terrible defensively that whatever value he gave you with the bat was largely washed away. Well, not surprisingly, the Mariners stuck it out with Narvaez and the improvement is evident.

Still firmly below-average, Narvaez is at least fringe-average at pitch framing, a solid game caller, and is a tick below average at throwing to bases. Overall, his defense is probably still a 40 or 45 grade (20-80 scale). So while there is an improvement, the defense still isn’t up to par, knocking him down a peg on the grade sheet.

Tom Murphy. A. 2019 slash: .282/.320/.552, bWAR 2.3, fWAR 2.9<p>Pros: career highs across the board, great defense</p><p>Cons: too many strikeouts, too few walks</p>. Seattle Mariners.

Perhaps the biggest surprise and best player relative to his skill set, Tom Murphy walks away with a nearly perfect grade. Murphy was an absolute find by GM Jerry Dipoto, acquiring the former top prospect from the Giants early in 2019.

Together, Murphy and Narvaez are a great duo and the strength of the Mariners for most of this season. Murphy has played so well that many fans now consider him to be the catcher of the future and Narvaez the odd man out, which was insane to thing back in April.

Murphy is a well-above-average defender behind the plate with 60-grade power behind the dish. We still don’t know if Murphy can hold up over the course of an entire season as a starter, but he has done everything possible to show himself to be worthy of that opportunity. He does swing-and-miss a lot and isn’t great at taking his walks.

But he does hit the ball hard, has easy 20 home runs power and is both a great pitch framer and thrower behind the dish. Tom Murphy is great and deserves one of, if not the best, grade of many Mariners regular in 2019.

Next. 2020 FA Class 2B and how it impacts the Mariners. dark

facebooktwitterreddit