Catcher – Tony Pena
Tony Pena was the Pittsburgh Pirates backstop throughout most of the 1980s. For a catcher, he was a solid hitter but never stood out among the crowd with his bat. He spent 7 years in a Pirate jersey, batting .286/.328/.411 with a .327 wOBA, and 104 wRC+. While those weren’t Johnny Bench-like numbers, they were pretty good for a backstop, and overall slightly above average when you consider his wRC+.
But while Pena was solid when it came to hitting, he was phenomenal when it came to defending. Pena won 3 Gold Gloves while with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Those came in three consecutive years from 1983 to 1985. Throughout his time with the Bucs, the backstop had a 10.8 dWAR. He averaged about 2.0 dWAR per season. When you are approaching that high of a mark per year, you’re reaching elite defensive territory.
He was also great at keeping base runners in check. He caught 39.5% of would-be stealers. His lowest caught-stealing percentage in at least 500 innings was 36% in 1983, which was still 3% better than the league average rate. In total, he caught 332 runners, which was the third-best mark in baseball from 1980 to 1986. Plus he only allowed 36 passed balls.
Pena was a standout player during his time in Pittsburgh. He ended his Pirates’ career with a 20.5 fWAR. The only Pirates catchers with a higher mark during their times in Pittsburgh are Jason Kendall and Manny Sangullen.