Top Five Catchers in Pittsburgh Pirates History

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Number 5 – Fred Caroll

This name is definitely a callback. Fred Carroll played with the Pittsburgh Pirates before the National League was even formed. The Bucs once played in the American Association, the precursor to the NL.

Caroll was a top-tier slugger during the 1880’s. In his 3,290 plate appearances, Caroll batted .284/.370/.480 with 27 home runs and 146 doubles. Now those power numbers don’t seem too great. But this was a time when getting to the double-digit mark in home runs basically made you the Miguel Cabrera of 1880.

From 1886 to 1889, Carroll posted a .434 slugging, including a .484 slugging in 1889. This is why we look at adjusted stats. On paper, a .778 OPS to us isn’t that impressive. It’s solid, but not super great. Well, overall, Carroll had a 136 OPS+ (36% above the league average), .366 wOBA, and 130 wRC+ (30 above the league average). In today’s standards, he would have batted like Max Muncy, Josh Donaldson, Trey Mancini, or Bryan Reynolds.

Defensively, well, there is not that much to go off of. He caught 30% of all runners trying to take an extra base on him, but that was one season in 1890. Stolen base percentage was not tracked before that. However, we can tell that overall, Carroll was much more of an average defender than good defender with a -0.3 defensive WAR.