Why do I always start my fantasy baseball season with the catcher rankings?! I start with great optimism to get 30 guys deep and still have enthusiasm and everything feels great. However, before I know it I am looking at my spreadsheet with the values for each guy and I feel this desperate urge to just give up. Simply, it just makes me so miserable how bad this position is for fantasy.
The Posey Tier
- Buster Posey, C, SF
Posey is as close as it gets to an everyday player at the catcher position. When you combine that with a superb ability to hit around 20 home runs at a 0.300 average whilst batting in the middle of a line-up and frankly he is unrivalled when it comes to security as a draft pick. Where you should take him in drafts is another question all together.
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The not quite Poseys’s
Lucroy is as solid as they come in my opinion. Yes he will have bad spells but come end of season you will realise you didn’t worry about this horrible position once all year. Perez is the second option to get close to Posey in games played but the difference is the majority of his will be at the catcher position as opposed to first base or DH (like Gattis). Perez cannot keep being this good and durable whilst catching this much but he’s a solid enough contributor that he’s worth being the fourth catcher off the board
The Potential Studs
Do you like to gamble?
Sanchez was the big storyline to end 2016 and his numbers make it hard to get a read on him. If I did my projections strictly by the Math of previous seasons he would be projected for 41 home runs. Now he has the potential to be really good but that good I am not sure. The Yankees will do everything to make sure this kid is in the line-up and that can only benefit him (and you!) but somewhere I assure you there will be an ugly slump that will leave you terrified. Gattis is the big loser of the winter meetings as he appears to have gone from an everyday player at either catcher or DH to a platoon catcher. Now I am sure Houston will try to get his bat in the line-up plenty and if you think he can get 120 games played then he has the potential to compete for that #2 catcher position but if he only plays 90 games then you are looking at a guy who should be well within the tiers below.
The Solid Options
Vogt should be another multi position guy who will get over that 120 games mark and that’s why I don’t really see him failing this year as sheer volume and lack of competition from behind should keep him in a job. Martin was pretty scary at times last year but I think he is another guy where sheer volume can keep him afloat as a solid fantasy option. Toronto’s line-up may not have the same strength this year and maybe that means Martin can’t just swing for the fences every time and this should help his numbers outside of homers. Ramos broke out big time last year and may have figured out just how to be a top hitter. The move to Tampa is a big groaning point for me because he could have been so much more if he had signed in a good hitters park with a good line-up but other than maybe Colorado there weren’t many opportunities like that.
The bottom end of safe
Contreras really emerged last year and has two things going for him; one: it’s his job for sure and two: he is in a really scary line-up that can explode an score a ton of run. McCann has just been traded to Houston where he is projected to be a platoon man, for a Catcher that doesn’t really matter, and I think this benefits him overall for fantasy. Grandal brings a lot of scorn because he is hugely hit and miss but when he hits it is a lot of fun to own him and come end of season it all evens out to safe at the end. Molina is the old warriors whose only scary aspect is injury but at this point I’d trust his safety over gambling on the tier below.
The injured gamble
- Wilson Ramos, C, TB
Ramos broke out big time last year and may have figured out just how to be a top hitter. The injury to start the year is going to make it hard for you to draft him in one catcher leagues but in two catcher leagues with a DL spot he is a decent mid round gamble. The move to Tampa is a big groaning point for me because he could have been so much more if he had signed in a good hitters park with a good line-up but other than maybe Colorado there weren’t many opportunities like that.
The meh tier
- Travis d’Arnaud, C, NYM
- Francisco Cervelli, C, PIT
- Wellington Castillo, C, ARI
- Tyler Flowers, C, ATL
- J.T. Realmuto, C, MIA
I kind of wanted to give d’Arnaud his own tier because I think he could be really good for fantasy but there are enough scars from last year to stop me. Cervelli is my Molina 2.0 but I trust him less and hence he is a tier lower. Castillo will have power surges to rival the best but the rest of the time he will leave you feeling a bit sick. Flowers is simply a do a job kind of draft pick. I once harboured so much hope for Realmuto but I fear that the excitement of a 10/10 catcher is gone and instead we just have a powerless catcher whose value comes from game time. A shame.
The maybe tier
All three of these guys have been top 10 catchers in fantasy preseason predictions for me in the past. Gomes has had a promising career derailed by some injuries and bad luck but he plays in a promising young line-up and I am optimistic he could provide some stretches of offensive firepower. Norris has flashed decent ability with the bat and he is playing in a decent Washington line-up so he should have a reasonable floor. Mesoraco is another promising hitter who has been derailed by injuries and bad luck but is someone else I may be willing to take a gamble on in deeper leagues. Castro showed big things a couple of years back but has kind of got lost in the wilderness since then. I am ranking him here because I think he an offer double digit power but it will come at the cost of average.
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The Free Agents