Major League Baseball
Ranking the 10 best catchers in MLB 2024
Major League Baseball

Ranking the 10 best catchers in MLB 2024

Updated Apr. 3, 2024 3:47 p.m. ET

After a dormant period with minimal hype for fresh backstops and veterans running the show, catchers are all the rave again thanks to a cluster of young stars with lots of pop. Half of our top 10 catchers in Major League Baseball are 26 years old or younger. These flashy prospects-turned-pros have pushed out catchers who, for most of their careers, had been used to being the best in the sport. 

Gone are the days of Salvador Pérez, Yasmani Grandal and Mitch Garver making headlines. Young blood, plus vets still at the top of their game, have made for a particularly deep catcher position with legitimate reason for excitement in MLB for the present and the future.

Our nine-part position series continues with the top 10 catchers entering the 2024 season.

10 Best Catchers in 2024

1. Adley Rutschman, Baltimore Orioles
2023 stats: .277/.374/.435/.809, 20 HR, 127 wRC+, 5.1 fWAR
2024 ZiPS projection: .266/.362/.447/.808 18 HR, 126 wRC+, 5.2 fWAR


Rutschman topped his impressive rookie season with a goosebump-inducing Year 2, establishing himself as the best catcher in baseball. The switch-hitting phenom is built like a tank and is still giving merit to those early Buster Posey comps. The 2023 season featured Rutschman's first All-Star nod and first Silver Slugger — and a ninth-place finish in AL MVP voting. 

While it is a bit concerning that his defensive runs saved dropped from 18 in his rookie year to just two last year, he also received less playing time behind the plate as the O's gave him more looks at DH in their playoff-bound season. Impressively, Rutschman went the full season without allowing a passed ball, and his framing is still well above average. The sky continues to be the limit for Rutschman. It's amazing to think we haven't even seen his best work yet. 

2. J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies
2023: .252/.310/.452/.762, 20 HR, 102 wRC+, 1.5 fWAR
2024 ZiPS: .254/.320/.440/.760 19 HR, 103 wRC+, 3.2 fWAR

3. William Contreras, Milwaukee Brewers
2023: .289/.367/.457/.825, 17 HR, 124 wRC+, 5.4 fWAR
2024 ZiPS: .267/.344/.443/.787 19 HR, 113 wRC+, 3.5 fWAR

4. Will Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers
2023: .261/.359/.438/.797, 19 HR, 119 wRC+, 4.4 fWAR
2024 ZiPS: .259/.355/.452/.807 21 HR, 120 wRC+, 4.6 fWAR

After going back and forth on Smith's placement on this list, it was tough but fitting to place him fourth, as he figures to bat cleanup behind Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman in a mind-numbing Dodgers lineup. Smith's ranking is more of a testament to how impressive Realmuto, who's entering his 11th year in the big leagues, still is behind the plate and at the dish. Contreras, too, edges Smith given his youth — he's almost three full years younger than Smith — and massive improvement behind the plate after moving into an everyday role in Milwaukee. But Smith, who turns 29 later this month, is still elite and worthy of being in the conversation for No. 2 overall. He's accrued just 13 errors and 18 passed balls over five years with the Dodgers and is coming off a long-deserved first All-Star selection. It will be interesting to see how much his numbers are aided this year while batting behind three of the best hitters in the sport.

Team USA's Will Smith hits solo home run vs. Mexico

5. Sean Murphy, Atlanta Braves
2023: .251/.365/.478/.844, 21 HR, 129 wRC+, 4.2 fWAR
2024 ZiPS: .254/.349/.476/.825 22 HR, 122 wRC+, 4.4 fWAR

6. Willson Contreras, St. Louis Cardinals
2023: .264/.358/.467/.826, 20 HR, 127 wRC+, 2.4 fWAR
2024 Zips: .241/.339/.427/.765 18 HR, 112 wRC+, 2.9 fWAR

7. Jonah Heim, Texas Rangers
2023: .258/.317/.438/.755, 18 HR, 103 wRC+, 4.1 fWAR
2024 ZiPS: .248/.307/.428/.736 16 HR, 98 wRC+, 3.3 fWAR

8. Gabriel Moreno, Arizona Diamondbacks
2023: .284/.339/.408/.747, 7 HR, 103 wRC+, 1.7 fWAR
2024 ZiPS: .277/.334/.405/.739 8 HR, 101 wRC+, 2.9 fWAR

9. Francisco Álvarez, New York Mets
2023: .209/.284/.437/.721, 25 HR, 97 wRC+, 2.7 fWAR
2024 ZiPS: .223/.315/.412/.727 21 HR, 102 wRC+, 2.6 fWAR

Álvarez's ceiling is so high that his rookie season, although still solid, was a bit of a letdown. And that's after he crushed 25 home runs and received positive reviews from future Hall of Famers Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer on his defense. So, yes, he's another victim of great expectations. Now, as he enters his second season as the Mets' full-time catcher, he still has the potential to be the best power-hitting backstop in baseball. But he still has work to do after registering 13 errors and eight passed balls last year. Álvarez has been lauded by the Mets for his deep desire to keep learning how to be the best at his position. With more regular playing time on his way, the 22-year-old has a long runway to prove he can fulfill his great promise.

10. Yainer Díaz, Houston Astros
2023: .282/.308/.538/.846, 23 HR, 127 wRC+, 2.0 fWAR
2024 ZiPS: .265/.299/.452/.751 18 HR, 104 wRC+, 2.1 fWAR

Honorable mentions: Cal Raleigh (Seattle Mariners), Alejandro Kirk (Toronto Blue Jays), Danny Jansen (Toronto Blue Jays), Bo Naylor (Cleveland Guardians), Logan O'Hoppe (Los Angeles Angels)

Other MLB Positional Rankings

Deesha Thosar is an MLB writer for FOX Sports. She previously covered the Mets as a beat reporter for the New York Daily News. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Deesha grew up on Long Island and now lives in Queens. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.


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