THE ASTROS ALL-TIME TEAM - CATCHER

Starter: Alan Ashby

(c) Houston Astros
Seasons: 1979-1989
388 RBI, .252 AVG, 25% CS

Key comments:
"Ashby is the franchise’s longest-tenured catcher and its best offensive player at the position."

"A gamer who plays solid defense and delivers clutch hits"

"Displayed a command of the field defense and deftness controlling his pitching staff"

Runner-up: Brad Ausmus

(c) Houston Astros
Seasons: 1997-98, 2001-02
173 RBI, .256, .262 AVG, 41% CS

Key comments:
"Ausmus is a superior defensive catcher and even a little better hitter for average."

"Without a doubt the best defensive catcher the Astros have ever had"

Other mentions : Johnny Edwards

Full comments:

Gene Elston: Johnny Edwards & Alan Ashby.

Michael Nash:
Alan Ashby & Brad Ausmus. Ashby gets the nod primarily based on length of service. Ausmus clearly a very fine handler of pitchers and great defensive player. Neither guy could hit a lick, though.

Bob Hulsey:
Starter -Alan Ashby (S): He's a gamer who plays solid defense and delivers clutch hits. He was missed in the 1980 LCS and he went deep in his two other post-season series. Backup - Brad Ausmus (R): Defensively, the best catcher in team history. Regular catcher on three division-winners. Handles young pitchers well.

Bill McCurdy:
Starter: Brad Ausmus gets my vote for his defensive skills and his handling of young pitchers. Backup: Alan Ashby gets edged by Brad’s arm & intelligence, but I like this guy for many of the same reasons I chose Ausmus.

Jeff Burk:
Alan Ashby & Johnny Edwards. Ashby is the franchise’s longest-tenured catcher and its best offensive player at the position (OPS+ 106). Edwards (OPS+ 89) was a better hitter than Brad Ausmus (OPS+ 83), and his two Gold Gloves and throwing percentage suggest he was a comparable defender.

Andy Tomczeszyn:
Alan Ashby, Brad Ausmus. It's not like there was a great selection here, but Ashby gets the nod for longevity, and for beating out wave after wave of "top prospects" who were basically handed the job every spring training. Ausmus is the back up here, primarily because he is without a doubt the best defensive catcher the Astros have ever had.

Darrell Pittman:
While his offensive numbers were less than impressive, Alan Ashby displayed a command of the field defense and deftness controlling his pitching staff that leave no others his equal in Astros history. No other Astros catcher has caught so many no-hitters as an Astro.

John Lauck:
Brad Ausmus & Alan Ashby. A very close competition between these two, but Ausmus rates an edge over Ashby on both offense and defense. Ausmus has better speed and power than Ashby had, and Ausmus also has a better arm for catching base stealers, but both men rank among the best of modern-day NL catchers at calling a game and doing the often-subtle physical work of catching, such as blocking pitches in the dirt, and framing pitches in the strike zone for the umpire’s call.

Ray Kerby:
At the position where defense is paramount, Brad Ausmus gets my selection at catcher. The only Astro backstop to win a Gold Glove (two and counting), Ausmus is backed up by another defensive selection: Johnny Edwards. Edwards was a Gold Glover for Cincinnati before coming to Houston and played well here, getting the nod over the Alan Ashby, whose primary qualification is longevity.

Greg Lucas:
Brad Ausmus overtakes my #2 Alan Ashby this year. Ausmus is a superior defensive catcher and even a little better hitter for average. I always liked John Edwards, too. He led the lead in fielding percentage three times with Houston, but he was not quite the hitter the other two were, although hitting is not the strong suit for any of them. All could handle a pitching staff. Had Edwards been here more than he was-- and the club had won something he might have been able to jump around one or both of those I rank ahead of him.