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Fantasy Baseball 2016: Top 20 AL-Only Catcher Rankings

Ray ranks his top 20 catchers for AL-only leagues with several veterans leading the way, including Brian McCann, Salvador Perez and Russell Martin.

Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, I published my NL-only catcher rankings today and today I am publishing my AL-only catcher rankings. 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.

Within the American League catching rankings, there are several players in the middle of the rankings that come with questions marks, namely, Matt Wieters, Stephen Vogt, Blake Swihart and Yan Gomes. After that quartet of catchers, the position thins out pretty quickly, so I suggest those of you that play in AL-only leagues to try to draft a catcher early this season.

As mentioned in my NL-only catcher rankings, only three catchers hit 20 or more home runs, and all three were from the American League - Brian McCannRussell Martin and Salvador Perez. That said, eight other catcher hit 10 or more home runs last season, all in a semi-regular playing status ( between 70-100 games).

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, only one catcher from the American League,  Blake Swihart, hit .270 or higher, and he did it in less than 100 games, so there is no telling what kind of hitter he will be in a full time role.

The league average on base percentage in the American League was a woeful ,293. .293!!! The league average OBP in all of base ball was just ,.302. For those of you who play in OBP leagues, only 10 AL-only catchers got on base at an above league average, and half of them were part time catchers. Not good.

There aren't many every day catchers in baseball anymore, but last season, there were four AL catchers who received 500 or more plate appearances: Perez, McCann, Vogt and Martin, and only two more catchers, James McCann and Kurt Suzuki, received 400 or more plate appearances last season,

Catching Prospects who can make an impact in 2016

Gary Sanchez, Yankees

Fake Teams writer Domenic Lanza profiled Sanchez on Wednesday, and here is an excerpt:

Sanchez has the potential to hit for a solid average and above-average to plus power - a combination that should put him in the middle of a lineup, providing for plenty of opportunities to both score and drive in runs. Not many catchers can hit .260 to .270 with 20-plus home runs nowadays (only one did last year, and only two more hit over twenty bombs). As long as he stays behind the plate, he should be an elite fantasy commodity.

The only issue with Sanchez in 2016 is that, barring an injury or a trade, he isn't likely to be more than Brian McCann's back-up. That makes him a better target in keeper leagues, but I wouldn't sleep on him this year, given McCann's age and mileage. And when it comes to Sanchez's bat, it's a matter of when, not if.

I agree with Domenic here. Sanchez is an injury away from plenty of playing time in the Yankees lineup.

Sanchez is the AL-only catching prospect closest to making a fantasy impact in 2016, so target him late in drafts if you need a second catcher in mixed leagues, and don't hesitate to draft him several rounds earlier in AL-only leagues.

Top 20 AL-Only Catcher Rankings

Rank

$ Value

Name

Team

1

$19

Brian McCann

Yankees

2

$14

Salvador Perez

Royals

3

$12

Russell Martin

Blue Jays

4

$10

Matt Wieters

Orioles

5

$9

Stephen Vogt

Athletics

6

$7

Blake Swihart

Red Sox

7

$7

Yan Gomes

Indians

8

$2

Jason Castro

Astros

9

$2

Caleb Joseph

Orioles

10

$1

JR Murphy

Twins

11

$1

Dioner Navarro

Blue Jays

12

$1

Chris Iannetta

Angels

13

James McCann

Tigers

14

Robinson Chirinos

Rangers

15

Gary Sanchez

Yankees

16

Geovany Soto

White Sox

17

Hank Conger

Astros

18

Alex Avila

Tigers

19

Kurt Suzuki

Twins

20

Josh Phegley

Athletics

21

Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Tigers

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