You would be hard-pressed to find a better catching duo than what the Braves possess. Travis d’Arnaud is a stalwart behind the plate and is amid the best offensive season of his career (outside of the shortened 2020 campaign). He was named to his first All-Star Game and is fifth among all catchers in fWAR at 3.8.
Not far behind him on the WAR leaderboard is his catching mate William Contreras. Contreras has only played half a season, but he’s 11th among catchers in WAR at 2.1 — pretty incredible considering he was supposed to spend most of the year in AAA. The injury to Manny Pina back in April forced the Braves hand, and Contreras has delivered in a resounding fashion. He’s third on the team in OPS (.860) and fifth in homers (19).
With one more home run, Contreras will become the first Braves catcher to hit 20 bombs in a season since Brian McCann did it back in 2013.
Honorable mention to William Contreras. Remember, Manny Pina was supposed to be the backup catcher. Contreras was expected to spend most of the year at AAA. Now he's got a chance to be the first ATL catcher w/20+ homers in a season since BMac in 2013
— Kevin McAlpin (@KevinMcAlpin) September 20, 2022
The offensive catcher is a dying breed, but not in Atlanta. Not only will Contreras likely reach the 20 homer mark, but d’Arnaud might also. Following last night’s two-run shot that put the Braves in front of the Nationals, Travis now has 18 long balls on the season.
A lot of teams are simply hoping their catchers can hit over the Mendoza Line and handle the pitching staff well. The Braves have the best of both worlds. They are on pace to get 40+ homers from their backstops. This is the best catching tandem in baseball, and both players are under contract next year as well.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire