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Fantasy Baseball 2016: Top 20 NL-Only Catcher Rankings

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Ray ranks his top 20 catchers for NL-only leagues with Cubs catcher Kyle Schwarber pushing Buster Posey for the top spot.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

I will be publishing my NL-only catcher rankings today and my AL-only catcher rankings tomorrow. I play in four NL-only leagues, two of which are keeper leagues, and one of which is the Tout Wars NL Auction Experts league. I play in one AL-only keeper league as well.

Last season, only three catchers hit 20 or more home runs, and all three were from the American League - Brian McCann, Russell Martin and Salvador Perez. That should change in 2016, as the National League has up to six catchers that could reach the 20 home run level, including Buster Posey, Kyle Schwarber, Yasmani Grandal, Travis d'Arnaud, Welington Castillo and Devin Mesoraco.

Except for a rare few catchers, they usually don't hit for a high batting average. Of all catchers with 300 or more plate appearances last season, seven hit .270 or higher, and six of those seven were from the National League: Buster Posey, Nick HundleyA.J. PierzynskiFrancisco CervelliBlake SwihartBrayan Pena, and Yadier Molina.

National League catchers fared well in OBP leagues last season as well, as no fewer than 14 catchers finished with an OBP above the .319 league average last season, and eight of them played more than 100 games.

There aren't many every day catchers in baseball anymore, but last season, there were five NL catchers who received 500 or more plate appearances: Posey, Norris, Molina, Cervelli and Ramos. An additional five more catchers received 400 or more plate appearances last season, led by Grandal, Realmuto, Lucroy, Pierzynski and Montero. I can see Pierzynski and Montero losing plate appearances to Tyler Flowers and Schwarber and David Ross.

Catching Prospects who can make an impact in 2016

Jason Hunt published his Top 20 catching prospects for 2016 yesterday, and there are a few catchers in his rankings that I think will see time in the big leagues this season, and should be on your target list for a possible call up should you be in need of a catcher around midseason.

Tom Murphy, Rockies

Murphy has power and he plays in Coors Field, so of course you should have him on your target list on draft day. He may make the Rockies Opening Day roster, but if he doesn't, he could get a call up early in the season, A trade or an injury to starting catcher Nick Hundley is all that is needed for Murphy to see regular time at Coors.

Andrew Knapp, Phillies

The Phillies are in a rebuild right now, and they may not want to rush Knapp, but if he hits in Triple A like he did in Double A, they may want to give him a call up in July or so to get him acclimated to handling a big league rotation.

Austin Barnes, Dodgers

Barnes may not see much time behind the plate for the big league club in 2016, as the Dodgers have Grandal and A.J. Ellis blocking him. But, he could see time at second base or third base this season, as Justin Turner is coming off knee surgery and Chase Utley is no young pup at the keystone.

For those of you in 12 team mixed leagues, I can see up to 13 or 14 of the NL catchers listed below being drafted in two catcher mixed leagues this season.

Rank

$ Value

Name

Team

1

$28

Buster Posey

Giants

2

$21

Kyle Schwarber

Cubs

3

$15

Jonathan Lucroy

Brewers

4

$14

Yasmani Grandal

Dodgers

5

$14

Travis d'Arnaud

Mets

6

$11

Devin Mesoraco

Reds

7

$10

Welington Castillo

Diamondbacks

8

$9

Derek Norris

Padres

9

$9

J.T. Realmuto

Marlins

10

$7

Miguel Montero

Cubs

11

$7

Wilson Ramos

Nationals

12

$6

Nick Hundley

Rockies

13

$6

Yadier Molina

Cardinals

14

$5

Francisco Cervelli

Pirates

15

$2

A.J. Pierzynski

Braves

16

$1

Tom Murphy

Rockies

17

$1

Andrew Knapp

Phillies

18

$1

Andrew Susac

Giants

19

$1

Tyler Flowers

Braves

20

$1

A.J. Ellis

Dodgers

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