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2015 Catcher Rankings: A Look Back

Ray reviews Fake Teams 2015 preseason catcher rankings, providing thoughts on some of the catchers you should keep an eye on in 2016 drafts.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The end of the 2015 fantasy baseball season has arrived, and we hope we were able to help you win your leagues this season, or at least finish in the money. If not, we hope our baseball and prospect coverage helped you begin your rebuild to win your leagues in 2016.

Our prospect team just completed publishing their Top 10 Fantasy Prospects for all American League East teams on Sunday, and they will continue to release their top 10 fantasy prospects for each team in the weeks and months ahead. Beginning sometime in January, we will begin to publish our 2016 consensus position rankings, but before that, I will review our 2015 consensus position rankings, beginning with the catcher position today. In addition to reviewing our preseason position rankings, I will address the impact of many of the offseason free agent signings and trades, and publish some player profiles along the way as well.

In each rankings review, I will provide 2015 season stats courtesy of FanGraphs, along with the end of season rankings for the top 30 players at each position according to the ESPN Player Rater.

With all that said, let's take a look at how our preseason top 30 catchers performed in 2015, along with some thoughts on a few of the players, including a few catchers that out-performed our rankings in 2015.

Fake Teams Rank

ESPN EOS Player Rater

Name

Team

G

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

wRC+

WAR

1

1

Buster Posey

Giants

150

623

19

74

95

2

0.318

0.379

0.470

138

5.7

2

16

Jonathan Lucroy

Brewers

103

415

7

51

43

1

0.264

0.326

0.391

93

1.1

3

Devin Mesoraco

Reds

23

51

0

2

2

1

0.178

0.275

0.244

45

-0.2

4

23

Yan Gomes

Indians

95

389

12

38

45

0

0.231

0.267

0.391

77

0.8

5

5

Salvador Perez

Royals

142

553

21

52

70

1

0.260

0.280

0.426

87

1.6

6

4

Brian McCann

Yankees

135

535

26

68

94

0

0.232

0.320

0.437

105

2.9

7

13

Yadier Molina

Cardinals

136

530

4

34

61

3

0.270

0.310

0.350

80

1.3

8

2

Evan Gattis

Astros

153

604

27

66

88

0.246

0.285

0.463

99

0.0

9

3

Russell Martin

Blue Jays

129

507

23

76

77

4

0.240

0.329

0.458

114

3.5

10

26

Matt Wieters

Orioles

75

282

8

24

25

0

0.267

0.319

0.422

100

1.0

11

20

Yasmani Grandal

Dodgers

115

426

16

43

47

0

0.234

0.353

0.403

115

2.3

12

18

Travis d'Arnaud

Mets

67

268

12

31

41

0

0.268

0.340

0.485

131

2.3

13

19

Wilson Ramos

Nationals

128

504

15

41

68

0

0.229

0.258

0.358

63

0.4

14

15

Miguel Montero

Cubs

113

403

15

36

53

1

0.248

0.345

0.409

107

2.0

15

24

Wilin Rosario

Rockies

87

242

6

22

29

2

0.268

0.295

0.416

73

-0.9

16

8

Derek Norris

Padres

147

557

14

65

62

4

0.250

0.305

0.404

98

2.4

17

Mike Zunino

Mariners

112

386

11

28

28

0

0.174

0.230

0.300

47

-0.5

18

Jason Castro

Astros

104

375

11

38

31

0

0.211

0.283

0.365

76

1.3

20

Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Diamondbacks

79

227

9

26

24

0

0.225

0.310

0.435

100

0.9

21

Carlos Ruiz

Phillies

86

320

2

23

22

1

0.211

0.290

0.285

59

-0.5

22

Chris Iannetta

Angels

92

317

10

28

34

0

0.188

0.293

0.335

80

0.5

23

Alex Avila

Tigers

67

219

4

21

13

0

0.191

0.339

0.287

82

0.3

24

Josmil Pinto

Twins

25

Dioner Navarro

Blue Jays

54

192

5

17

20

0

0.246

0.307

0.374

84

0.5

26

29

Kurt Suzuki

Twins

131

479

5

36

50

0

0.240

0.296

0.314

66

-0.1

27

Andrew Susac

Giants

52

148

3

14

14

0

0.218

0.297

0.368

91

0.0

28

Christian Bethancourt

Braves

48

160

2

16

12

1

0.200

0.225

0.290

36

-0.3

29

28

Robinson Chirinos

Rangers

78

273

10

33

34

0

0.232

0.325

0.438

104

1.5

30

Tyler Flowers

White Sox

112

361

9

21

39

0

0.239

0.295

0.356

78

0.4

6

Stephen Vogt

Athletics

136

511

18

58

71

0

0.261

0.341

0.443

115

2.3

7

Nick Hundley

Rockies

103

389

10

45

43

5

0.301

0.339

0.467

103

2.3

9

Francisco Cervelli

Pirates

130

510

7

56

43

1

0.295

0.370

0.401

119

3.8

10

A.J. Pierzynski

Braves

113

436

9

38

49

0

0.300

0.339

0.430

112

2.1

11

J.T. Realmuto

Marlins

126

467

10

49

47

8

0.259

0.290

0.406

86

1.8

12

Kyle Schwarber

Cubs

69

273

16

52

43

3

0.246

0.355

0.487

131

1.9

14

Welington Castillo

- - -

110

378

19

42

57

0

0.237

0.296

0.453

99

1.3

17

Blake Swihart

Red Sox

84

309

5

47

31

4

0.274

0.319

0.392

91

1.5

21

James McCann

Tigers

114

425

7

32

41

0

0.264

0.297

0.387

85

1.0

22

Caleb Joseph

Orioles

100

355

11

38

49

0

0.234

0.299

0.394

86

1.4

25

Josh Phegley

Athletics

73

243

9

27

34

0

0.249

0.300

0.449

106

1.8

27

John Jaso

Rays

70

216

5

23

22

1

0.285

0.380

0.459

136

0.7

30

Hank Conger

Astros

73

229

11

25

33

0

0.229

0.311

0.448

107

0.5

Buster Posey, Giants

Posey once again showed that he is the top fantasy catcher and will be again in 2016. While his home run output dropped a bit, he showed growth in the other three categories, runs scored (74), RBI (95)and batting average (.318). His 34.6% hard contact rate was unchanged vs 2014, but he improved his strikeout and walk rates. He scored and drove in the most runs since his 2012 season where he put up a 7.7 fWAR.

Once Andrew Susac shows he can play catcher on an every day basis, Posey will remain the Giants every day catcher, but I see manager Bruce Bochy playing him at first base more and more to keep him healthy and his bat in the lineup. That said, they will have to figure out what to do with first baseman Brandon Belt. Maybe the National League will adopt the DH in the coming years, so it could become a moot point.

Evan Gattis, Astros

Gattis was the second ranked fantasy catcher according to the ESPN player rater, as he hit 27 home runs and drove in 88 runs. An excellent campaign for any hitter, but Gattis will no longer be catcher eligible in 2016, as he did not catch a single game this season. He is eligible at DH and the outfield (in leagues requiring 10 games at a position). He provide that he can be a consistent 20+ home run hitter, hitting 20 or more home runs for the third consecutive season.

He should once again be the Astros DH next year, and fantasy owners can count on him to put up another 20-75 season in 2016.

Kyle Schwarber, Cubs

Coming into the 2016 season, the prevailing thought was that Schwarber was not a catcher long term, and that we wouldn't see him in the Cubs lineup for a couple years. But, Schwarber absolutely dominated in his stints in AA and AAA this season, was called up midseason and is now one of the top fantasy catchers heading into the 2016 season. Schwarber hit 32 home runs across three levels this season, and his 131 wRC+ ranked second among all catchers with 250 or more plate appearances in 2016.

He will be my #2 ranked fantasy catcher in 2016 and I wouldn't be surprised to see in the industry some rank him at #1. He has 25-30 home run potential, and should be an every day fixture in the Joe Maddon lineups next season, as he can play catcher, left field, right field and DH.

Devin Mesoraco, Reds

Mesoraco was a source of frustration for many a fantasy owner in 2015 as he dealt with a hip injury that sidelined him for most of the season, yet the Reds were reluctant at times to place him on the disabled list. We will have to monitor his health in the offseason, but I plan to rank him as if he will be 100% healthy heading into the 2016 season. He is a middle of the order hitter, who could see time at catcher and left field next season.

Blake Swihart, Red Sox

Like Schwarber, Swihart was not expected to contribute in 2015, but injuries to Christian Vasquez and Ryan Hanigan changed that plan. Swihart was productive in his first season in the big leagues, hitting .274 with 5 home runs, 47 runs scored, 31 RBI and 4 stolen bases in just over 300 pate appearances.

The Red Sox will have to decide who their starting catcher will be in 2016, as Vasquez should be back and is known more for what he can do behind the plate than at the plate. Swihart has the better bat, so the Red Sox could decide to platoon the two catchers next season, assuming Vasquez is healthy.

If Swihart is their every day catcher, he could put up double digit home runs and stolen bases with a solid batting average, so he could be very valuable for his fantasy owners next season.

Fantasy Rundown

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