Best Catcher (2013)

Wil Nieves, Arizona Diamondbacks

Miguel Montero's got the big contract (five years, $60 million), but it's his backup, Wil Nieves, who's delivered to the maximum this year. We wince when Montero goes to the plate — he seems to have lost his will to hit since getting all that dough. He may have been a guy who's good only when he's lean and hungry (which he certainly isn't on either count). He's left countless men in scoring position this year, batted in the low .200s, and his defense never has been all that. We'd much rather see Nieves — who, amazingly, barely made the team this year — get the lion's share of playing time. 'Cause he's roaring, and Miggy's not. First off, Wil's just as good a defensive catcher as Montero, has a soothing way with pitchers, whom his position must manage on the field, and his hitting's been off the charts. Dude was batting .354 in 37 games (highest average on the squad), with 34 hits and 14 runs batted in, just past midseason. Incredible stats for a part-time starter! The guy's clutch, too. Despite his limited playing time, he's been the reason the D-backs have won certain games. Why he and Montero haven't reversed roles this season is beyond us. Yeah, Nieves is a journeyman backup catcher, but perception isn't reality here! Time to move the guy who's helping the team to the premier role behind the plate — and, maybe, bump up his bargain-basement $800,000 annual pay. If for no other reason than that Montero might wake up and start effin' hitting.


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