Dodgers: 5 greatest seasons by a catcher
Dodgers Top Individual Seasons by a Catcher:
5) Mike Piazza – 1996
Get used to seeing this name on the list. Mike Piazza set himself apart during his incredible rise from being drafted as a favor to Piazza’s father in the 62nd round of the 1988 amateur draft to becoming one of the greatest hitting catchers in baseball history.
In 1996, Piazza nearly won the National League Most Valuable Player Award. He finished with 60 percent of the vote share, losing out to San Diego Padres third baseman Ken Caminiti. The right-handed hitting catcher smacked 36 home runs that season, while driving in 105 baserunners.
His .336 batting average ranked third in the National League and his .422 on-base percentage finished fourth highest during the ’96 season. He also finished in the top ten in singles (5th) and bases on balls (7th).
While far from a defensive wizard behind the plate, he was consistent in suiting up in his catching gear each night. He played in 146 games as a catcher, second most in the National League. What places his ’96 season behind others ranked higher on the list is his defense. He allowed the most passed balls and struggled to throw runners out on the basepaths, something you might be surprised to learn he had some success doing earlier in his career.
Despite being traded in the prime of his career to Florida, he still ranks as the second best catcher in Dodgers history in terms of wins above replacement by FanGraphs. His impressive 33.8 win value a product of several highlight seasons, like 1996, when he recorded a 6.6 fWAR, sixth highest single season total among Dodgers catchers.