Jose Trevino has proven to be a pleasant surprise for the Yankees. With a career OPS of .668, the Yankees probably expected Trevino to give excellent defense from the catcher position with marginal offensive capability. However, Trevino has provided a well above-average bat to go along with his typically stellar defense. He has a legitimate chance of being an All-Star and earning a trip to Dodger Stadium in July. The question becomes how Trevino stacks up to other catchers in the American League. I will look through the top three offensive performers (apart from Trevino) among catchers on the All-Star ballot in the American League. Baseball Savant provides the relevant statistics.
In 100 at-bats through the end of play on Wednesday, Trevino has cracked 30 hits with seven walks — this is good for a .300 average and an OBP of .346. In addition, he has a slugging percentage of .490 which results in an OPS of .836. In even more positive news, the underlying metrics seem to support these results. Trevino has an xBA of .283 with a xSLG of .466, which are both very close to his actual performance. This indicates that Trevino has consistently made good contact, resulting in a high likelihood of reaching base. Trevino has also hit five home runs during this season and rates as an elite pitch framer in the 99th percentile.
The Angels’ Max Stassi has had a decent offensive year. In 118 ABs, Stassi has a 28 hits to go along with 18 walks. This results in a decent .227 average to pair with a much better .338 OBP. A slugging percentage of .381 is not as great, and results in a .719 OPS — Stassi has also hit four home runs. Looking at the advanced metrics, Stassi has an xBA of .240 and an xSLG of .414. The metrics seem to indicate that he has actually hit into a little bit of bad luck. In addition, Stassi does not have the greatest defensive metrics. On the issue of pitch framing, he ranks about average at the 54th percentile. Stassi has overall worse numbers in both offense and defense than Trevino.
The Texas Rangers’ Jonah Heim has had a fairly good offensive season this year. In 148 at-bats, Heim has 36 hits to go along with 12 walks. Heim has hit seven home runs, second most among AL catchers. Salvador Perez leads the AL in catcher home runs with nine, but he also is hitting .209 with a .653 OPS — the only way he’s going to LA is if fans or fellow players are feeling sentimental toward the veteran.
Heim has a .243 average with a .298 OBP and a slugging percentage of .439. This results in a fairly good OPS of .737. The metrics seem to support Heim’s performance with a xBA of .236 with an xSLG of .430. While Heim might have more home runs than Trevino, his overall offensive performance has not been to Trevino’s level.
Alejandro Kirk of the Blue Jays is having a legitimately great offensive season for a catcher. Kirk has 52 hits in 167 at-bats to go along with 22 walks and only 19 strikeouts. This results in an .311 average and .391 OBP with a .461 SLG. This combines to a .852 OPS, good for best in the AL among qualified catchers. Kirk’s xBA of .315 and xSLG of .529 are both in line with his overall stat line, and Kirk has five home runs this year. Kirk’s framing rings in at the 91st percentile, which is excellent. Kirk has slightly better offensive numbers on the year than Trevino, but with slightly worse defensive metrics.
Jose Trevino does not have a lot of credible competition among the American League catchers. Max Stassi and Jonah Heim have played well this year, but their offensive output has not been in the same league as Trevino. However, Alejandro Kirk has played incredibly well. Looking at Fangraphs’ WAR leaderboards for the catching position, Kirk and Trevino are number one and two among the AL catchers. Kirk has 1.8 WAR and Trevino has 1.7 WAR. Kirk has better offensive numbers, while Trevino has better defensive numbers. Ultimately, both of these catchers deserve to be at the All-Star Game. Depending upon how much weight you put on defensive metrics, Trevino or Kirk could be the best catcher in the American League.