The catcher position has become one of the more shallow fantasy positions in the league. It is top heavy, and only a handful of catchers are getting full time at-bats. We have seen many teams turn to two catchers splitting time, as well as using platoons. For those playing in two-catcher leagues, I will just say best of luck. While there are some names to keep an eye on as far as young guys with upside moving forward. The full-time at-bats won’t be there just yet. As far as drafting goes, reaching for a top name is tough to do when you look at the production you are passing on in that round. There are value guys in later rounds, and catchers will pop up on the waiver wire throughout the year.
|3||Yasmani Grandal||White Sox||93.57||$13||529.7||446.5||114.5||20.0||1.0||23.4||75.2||73.1||2.1||0.256|
|8||Christian Vazquez||Red Sox||196.78||$5||452.4||415.8||113.4||21.0||1.0||10.8||53.6||51.5||4.3||0.273|
|21||Danny Jansen||Blue Jays||277.39||$2||310.9||275.2||68.9||14.7||1.0||9.9||36.1||36.1||1.1||0.250|
|24||James McCann||White Sox||333.28||$1||184.1||168.3||44.5||8.4||1.0||5.4||21.6||21.6||1.1||0.265|
|35||Reese McGuire||Blue Jays||520.84||$1||298.0||268.3||66.8||13.7||1.0||6.3||31.9||28.8||2.1||0.249|
Tier One (1-5)
No real surprise as to who ranks inside the top five here, although you might value a few differently depending on power. J.T. Realmuto is the first catcher off the board, as he is a threat to hit 20 home runs, but also give you some stolen bases as well. Realmuto had 25 home runs and nine stolen bases. He also hit .275. Over the last two years, he has 46 home runs and over 150 runs and RBI. Gary Sanchez is the big power threat behind the dish, with 105 home runs in 372 career games. The average has fallen off over the last two seasons. Still, Sanchez is a lock for 25+ home runs when healthy.
Yasmani Grandal is next in line, but also is coming off a .380 OBP season. Grandal is moving from Milwaukee to Chicago, which is a fairly lateral move. He will be in a terrific lineup that has a lot of potential this season. Grandal had a 17% walk rate, which isn’t new for him. He has a great eye at the plate, and I would expect more of the same from him this year. Looking at ADP, Grandal is the third name off the board. However if you are evaluating within the top three catchers, Grandal comes a few rounds later and a bit cheaper in terms of auctions.
Salvador Perez missed all of 2019, and the ADP has dropped because of that. I have him projected for more of the same from a healthy Perez season. He has surpassed 20+ home runs in four straight healthy seasons. Perez is one of the better offensive catchers in the game, and we are getting a slight discount. I am not really concerned with injury and season off. Willson Contreras is coming off a career high in home runs, and had a .355 OBP. He should hover around the 20 home run mark again, and a .260 average is a good projection for him. I won’t find myself with much Contreras this year just due to the ADP and auction prices, where I can get Perez a round or two later, or grab guys with as much upside rounds later.
Tier Two (6-9)
Mitch Garver is borderline a tier one player, but won’t see quite as many of the at-bats as the name above. He had 31 home runs and a .365 OBP, which put him among the tops at the position in fantasy terms last season. A 29% HR/FB is going to fall down a bit, but Garver still has 20+ home run upside. I wouldn’t reach on Garver given the projected drop in power numbers, but 120+ R+RBI and 20+ home runs are certainly in that range of outcomes again. However, that is said for a few names below him as well.
Will Smith split time last season and only saw 54 total games. He had 15 home runs in 54 games, and had a .337 OBP. He projects to double his plate appearances, who will see a drop in his 23% HR/FB rate. Smith has a good walk rate and I like his OBP projection more than a few other sources. Smith is going to carry a higher strikeout rate, who is swinging more for power. Christian Vazquez is an interesting name. He had over 500 at-bats for the Sox last season, putting Sandy Leon in a true backup role. The 23 home run outbreak is a big of a fluke. His statcast stats are average at best, and he over-performed when it came to his power numbers. I do believe he can be productive in fantasy still, but expect a drop off.
Wilson Ramos is a 32-year-old catcher, who has put together two strong years after struggling with injuries in 2017. I like Ramos at this range, where he has 12-15 home run upside, and will be around a .340 OBP. Ramos has relied on positive BABIP numbers given the groundball rate is way too high for my liking. However that has been the case for years now.
Tier Three (10-14)
Omar Narvaez has been the name I have landed on the most in drafts, sitting just a shade over the 200th pick overall, and likely later in home leagues. Narvaez had 22 home runs, and had a .353 OBP in Seattle last year. He will take a small hit in at-bats going from Seattle to Milwaukee with Manny Pina likely drawing starts against left-handed pitching. This is a great bump in home parks, where Miller Park enhances left-handed power. Carson Kelly came over in the Paul Goldschmidt trade. He had 18 home runs last season, and had an .826 OPS. He had a 40% hard-contact rate last season, and has improved his launch angle as well. Kelly is on his way up to the next tier.
Turning 38 years old this year, Yadier Molina is still floating around the fantasy world. A fringe double-digit home run guy, who will still hit for a strong average. He is a good contact bat, but his upside is a bit limited in terms of fantasy. Travis d’Arnaud played for three teams last season, posted 16 home runs, 52 runs, and 69 RBI. A once upcoming catching prospect is now over 30 years old. Atlanta has been excellent at fielding catchers over the last few years with Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki. d’Arnaud will get a majority of at-bats, and there is some power and RBI upside here.
Jorge Alfaro has a ton of power, and had 18 home runs. He has a lot of strikeouts tied to his name, and needs the high BABIP to hold his .262 average over the last two seasons. He doesn’t walk, but he has power and is also rather quick. Alfaro will have a few stolen bases added in as well. 15+ home runs is possible again, and he can have a few stolen bases as well. Alfaro is going to hurt you in AVG and OBP, but as we look lower, most will.
Tier Four (15-18)
Sean Murphy hit for a .308 average in 2019 down in Triple-A, and had ten home runs in 31 games. He played 20 games at the major league level, and had a .333 OBP and four home runs. Murphy is set to take on most of the catching duties for Oakland. He projects close to being a double-digit home run guy, and should get there. The days of Buster Posey being a top end fantasy catcher are long gone, but a healthy Posey still has some value. I have his average bouncing back to a .290 level, and a bump in runs and RBI. A move to first base still is in his best interest durability wise, and that would help offensive production anyway. But that day has not come yet.
Tom Murphy is essentially projected for the Mike Zunino type years in Seattle. A horrendous average but strong power numbers. There will be a lot of lonely nights, but the chance for 20+ HR and 60+ RBI are there. He hit .273 last year, but had a .340 BABIP and 31% strikeout rate. Expect those numbers to come down a bit. If you can afford the average, the power is there. Francisco Mejia is going to split some time with Austin Hedges in San Diego, but Mejia will get the slightly higher workload, and carry a better average with double-digit home run upside.
Tier Five (19-25)
There are some names that will be splitting time behind the dish, and while they project for less than 400 at-bats. Kurt Suzuki is one of them, who will be splitting time with Yan Gomes. Suzuki has 163 RBI over the last three seasons, where he played 291 games total. He also had double-digit home runs in each season, surpassing 15 twice. Suzuki is a good contact bat, with a career 12% strikeout rate. Robinson Chirinos has found himself back with Texas, which is a good spot for him. He has strong power, and has had a strong track record against left-handed-pitching. Expect another 15+ home run season and the chance for 50+ RBI.
A report came out with Jason Castro is expected to catch at least 100 games for the Angels. He hasn’t done that in two years, and is turning 33 this year. I am not banking on that report, but 90 games is in the range of outcomes. The big strikeout rates are here big time in this range, outside of Suzuki, but double-digit home run power is as well. He is also hitting behind a good Angels lineup. Mike Zunino is a boom or bust nightly option, who has a few years over 20 home runs, but a career .271 OBP. Danny Jansen is going to start behind the dish, but mostly split time. Jansen should be a double-digit home run guy with plenty of chances for RBI.
Small home ballpark and a very good offense, Tucker Barnhart is worth a look late. He projects for a shade under ten home runs, and 80 combined runs and RBI. Curt Casali will back him up.
Tier Six (26-32)
Roberto Perez never surpassed ten home runs in any of his Major League seasons nor his Minor League years. All of a sudden he hits 24 in 2019? The 28% HR/FB rate is very high, and the 50% groundball rate is not great. Expect a pretty good drop off in power, but the at-bats are there in two-catcher leagues or those looking for a backup late.
We are mostly in backup catcher range, although a few are worth looking at. Yan Gomes will split time with Kurt Suzuki. Although he will back up, 250 at-bats are still there with some power upside. Adley Rutschman isn’t here yet, so we will get Chance Sisco and Pedro Severino instead. Neither are attractive fantasy options, but for deep benches or two-catcher leagues they are worthy of late round picks. And I mean late. Stephen Vogt was a nice pick up for Arizona. He popped ten home runs, with 30 runs, and 40 RBI with the Giants last season. I like Vogt super late, where he has a chance to duplicate his numbers from last season.
Tier Seven (35-40)
Martin Maldanado is the starting catcher for the Astros, and brings some late-late round value. He isn’t going to hit for a high average, but he can chip in with around 40 runs and RBI a piece. Maldanado will also be around ten home runs. He projects for over 350 at-bats in this range, and there are not many guys this late getting those type of at-bats. If Reese McGuire can stay out of trouble, he will starting cracking more and more games behind the plate. He is a talented young catcher, and a former first round pick.
Some platoon bats down here will be noteworthy names to keep an eye on. Tyler Flowers is a high strikeout name, but a name who will see 250+ at-bats. Manny Pina is the other one, who will see more time against opposing left-handed pitchers with Narvaez starting against right-hander. Francisco Cervelli is back catching, which was somewhat of a surprise given the concussion issues. He will backup Alfaro in Miami. Cervelli was somewhat underrated during his time in Pittsburgh, where he didn’t kill your average really until last last season. Most of these names would see everyday work with some sort of injury, so keep them on your radar. Otherwise most of these guys you won’t be touching in regular leagues. They have to be designed to have backup catchers with deeper rosters or two-catcher leagues.
- 2020 Fantasy Baseball Cheat Sheet
- Fantasy Baseball Sleepers & Late Round Values
- MLB Closer Depth Chart
- 2020 Fantasy Baseball SP Rankings
- 2020 Fantasy Baseball Closing Pitching Rankings
- 2020 Fantasy Baseball Top 40 Catcher Rankings
- 2020 Fantasy Baseball 1st Base Rankings
- 2020 Fantasy Baseball 2nd Base Rankings
- 2020 Fantasy Baseball Outfield Rankings
- 2020 Fantasy Baseball SS Rankings
- 2020 Fantasy Baseball 3B Rankings