It's tough to be a catcher. The expectations are that you're to make every pitcher better, make sure that no one steals any bases, and you have to produce at the plate as well.
Oh, and you're going to take an absolute beating the entire time.
Still, these players find a way to excel one of the toughest jobs in sports every day.
Here are the 10 best catchers in baseball heading into the 2017 season.
*Stats compiled from Fangraphs and Statcorner
Adam HungerAdam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Sal Perez - Kansas City Royals
Perez has a cannon arm, but he hasn't gotten on base at a .300 clip in three years and his pitch framing is literally the worst in baseball. That said, he's behind the plate almost every game and you'd be a fool to run on him. Add in 20 homers every year and he makes the list.
Denny MedleyDenny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Francisco Cervelli - Pittsburgh Pirates
After a breakout 2015 season at the plate, Cervelli regressed in 2016, as a hand injury affected his game. But even if Cervelli repeats his singles-and-walks slash line of .264/.377/.322, his pitch framing should make him one of the best catchers in baseball. He was 9.9 Runs Above Average in stealing strikes last year, one of the top marks in baseball, after leading baseball in 2015 (26.7 RAA).
Charles LeClaireCharles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Brian McCann - Houston Astros
At age 33, McCann doesn't have the same pop at the plate that he once possessed, but he's a steady performer — you can bank on him to hit .240, get on base 32 percent of the time and hit around 25 homers every year. He's hit at least 20 homers every year since 2008, the only active player in Major League Baseball who can say that. Add in solid defense and strong framing (5.7 RAA) and you have a rock-solid everyday catcher.
Jasen VinloveJasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Willson Contreras - Chicago Cubs
Came up last year and wowed with a .282/.357/.488 clip in half a season. That'll be hard to replicate, but no matter, Contreras' defense is more than enough to keep him on the field. Despite not being behind the plate every day at the Major League level, Contreras threw out 37 percent of runners and posted a 3.3 RAA mark. The sky is the limit now that he's the Cubs' No. 1.
Ken BlazeKen Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Russell Martin - Blue Jays
He's 34, and the 2016 season, which started and ended slow (it was pretty good in the middle, to be fair) clearly took a toll on him.
He's likely to see the field less in 2017 and that could mean a return to some of his better slugging numbers.
Another season of 20 homers and solid pitch framing? Surely the Blue Jays will sign up for that.
Joe NicholsonJoe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Sanchez - Yankees
Sanchez hit 20 homers in 53 games of his rookie season last year. While that clip isn't believed to be sustainable, it's shocking production.
Sanchez is no slouch behind the plate either — he's a plus defender who should throw out a lot of baserunners in the coming years.
Sanchez could easily be at No. 1 on this list next year, but for now, after 55 Major League games, he's No. 5.
Kim KlementKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Yadier Molina - Cardinals
One of the greatest defensive catchers of all time, Molina is a Hall of Famer in my book.
Alas, he's no longer at the peak of his incredible powers — remember when he averaged a wRC+ of 132 from 2011-2013 while being the best defensive player in baseball? Yeah, that was pretty awesome.
Molina is still one of the best behind the plate, even if his arm isn't quite the cannon it once was, and he's a strong pitch framer. Furthermore, his reputation precedes him (which matters.)
At the plate, he's good for a league average output, still, but don't be shocked if he shows more pop — there was a significant stretch when he slugged well above .500 last year.
Charles LeClaireCharles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Yasmani Grandal - Dodgers
Grandal isn't going to hit for average, but he could hit you 30 homers a season. And there's little reason to think that clip isn't sustainable.
Grandal is also a plus behind the plate — he was the second-best pitch framer in baseball in 2016.
Jonathan Lucroy - Rangers
One of the best defensive catchers in baseball is also one of the best hitters at the position — Lucroy is good for a 10 defensive WAR and a 125 wRC+ plus season in 2017. He's also a solid pitch framer for a team that needs all the help it can get in that department (especially at the back end of the rotation), posting a 5.5 RAA last year.
Neville E. GuardNeville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Buster Posey - Giants
The cream of the crop, Posey's 2016 wasn't stellar by his standards, but it was still good. He lives in a world where .288/.362/.434 is poor.
Since 2012, Posey has been 27.7 wins above replacement, nearly 10 wins above his best counterpart.
Posey is good to post a 130 wRC+ in 2017 — more in line with his career marks at the plate — and be one of the best behind the plate. Posey was baseball's best pitch framer last season at 26.8 RAA.