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Catchers had a tough time hitting against the Dodgers in 2021

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From behind the plate to at the plate was a struggle vs. LA

MLB: San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to realize how much time the Dodgers occupy, until the first week after their season ends and I’m searching random things on Baseball Reference looking for something to stand out.

Maybe I found it.

First, I wanted to see which player(s) had the worst 0-for against the Dodgers in 2021. That was Padres catcher Austin Nola, who was hitless in 16 at-bats against LA, with two strikeouts.

At 0-for-15 was Reds infielder Eugenio Suarez, who walked once, as did the Pirates’ Jacob Stallings, another catcher. Hmmm.

Stretching this out to folks who actually had hits against the Dodgers, who had the fewest?

Wilson Contreras of the Cubs was 1-for-22 against the Dodgers, with the lone hit a two-run home run on June 24, and shepherded the Chicago pitching staff that threw a combined no-hitter in Los Angeles.

Dom Nuñez of the Rockies was 2-for-21. The Giants’ Curt Casali was 2-for-27. Carson Kelly of the D-backs was 2-for-29. That’s a lot of catchers.

Twelve primary catchers had at least 15 plate appearances against the Dodgers in 2021, and only four had an OPS of at least .600.

MLB catchers vs. Dodgers, 2021

Player AB R H 2B HR RBI BB SO PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Player AB R H 2B HR RBI BB SO PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Posey 51 7 15 4 3 9 9 9 60 0.294 0.400 0.549 0.949
Caratini 42 6 11 1 2 5 5 18 48 0.262 0.333 0.429 0.762
Vogt 16 3 3 0 1 1 4 4 20 0.188 0.350 0.375 0.725
Molina 15 2 3 0 1 2 1 3 16 0.200 0.250 0.400 0.650
Díaz 47 4 7 2 3 4 4 12 51 0.149 0.216 0.383 0.599
Barnhart 15 2 3 1 0 1 0 6 16 0.200 0.250 0.267 0.517
Nuñez 21 1 2 0 1 1 4 10 25 0.095 0.240 0.238 0.478
Kelly 29 2 2 0 1 1 4 11 34 0.069 0.206 0.172 0.378
Contreras 22 2 1 0 1 2 2 12 25 0.045 0.160 0.182 0.342
Casali 27 0 2 1 0 2 3 12 30 0.074 0.167 0.111 0.278
Stallings 15 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 16 0.000 0.063 0.000 0.063
Nola 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 16 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Minimum 15 plate appearances Source: Baseball Reference

Buster Posey, a future Hall of Famer, was the best-hitting catcher against the Dodgers this season, which seems quite familiar. He had a solid NLDS against them with three extra-base hits and an .850 OPS in five games.

That list above doesn’t even count Daulton Varsho, the amazingly versatile Diamondback who plays both center field and behind the plate. Varsho hit .200/.250/.311 in 48 plate appearances against the Dodgers, which is nothing to write home about, but compared to the catchers he’d be in the upper half.

Except that in his actual PA as a catcher, Varsho was 0-for-15 against the Dodgers over five games, with seven strikeouts and a walk.

Overall, catchers hit just .162/.242/.289 against the Dodgers in 2021. In the postseason, with a Posey infusion, catchers hit .233/.283/.349 in 12 games against LA.

Catching was the worst-hitting position in the majors this year, which makes sense given the physical demands of the job. But as a league, MLB catchers hit .229/.305/.371, which seems Ruthian compared to what catchers did at the plate against the Dodgers.

Major league hitters as a group hit .244/.317/.421 in 2021, for reference.

If you can find a catcher who can hit, hold on to them for dear life. Like for instance, if you have a catcher with a career batting line of .262/.365/.527, a 135 wRC+ with 48 home runs in 221 major league games over three seasons, that might be someone quite valuable.