When preparing for your fantasy baseball drafts, it is a must to have a strategy before going into your draft. To assist you in your strategy, we have provided you with our Consensus Top 30 catcher rankings for 2015, tiered rankings, and NL-only and AL-only rankings as well.
Now that we have provided you all these tools you need to prepare for your drafts, your fantasy draft preparation would be incomplete without some catchers to target and avoid, which we provide you today.
We asked each of the fantasy baseball writers to provide you with the catcher they would avoid in fantasy drafts this season, and you can find them along with their reasoning below.
Catchers to Avoid in 2016
Kyle Schwarber, Cubs (Ray Guilfoyle)
This won't be a popular avoid selection, as we ranked Schwarber as our third ranked fantasy catcher for 2016 earlier this week. I like Schwarber. Love his power. But, with his current ADP in NFBC leagues sitting at 32.38, I think he is positioned for disappointment in 2016.
After hitting .364-.391-.591 in June and July, Schwarber slumped in the season's final two months, hitting just .221 in August and .208 in September, and he hit 9 of his 16 home runs in August. He will hit for power, but there is enough swing and miss in his game that he could see time on the Cubs deep bench if he gets himself into an extended slump this season. His current ADP is waaaaayyyy too early for my liking, and the offseason hype train is going full steam ahead on his potential, yet overlooking his inexperience and the holes in his game.
Yadier Molina, Cardinals (Tim Finnegan)
Molina is a "name" catcher who used to have strong fantasy value, so I worry about some fantasy owners investing in a 2016 Molina and expecting something near the 2013 version. Molina will turn 34 around the ASB, and has had a steep decline in production the last two years. He's played through some nagging injuries, including some problematic thumb injuries, and I just don't see him returning to anywhere near his prior elite self. Molina's value will likely primarily come to the Cardinals in more "real life" situations, like what he does behind the plate.
Salvador Perez, Royals (Daniel Kelley)
The next time Salvador Perez posts an OPS+ higher than the one he posted the season before will be the first time he does so. In his five years, that number has gone from 128 to 115 to 105 to 91 to 89. He hasn't had an on-base percentage even as high as .290 the last two years. All this as Ned Yost and the Royals run him into the ground (430 games the last three years). One of two things will happen to Perez this year: He'll get hurt and miss time (and he's not hitting well enough to make up the difference), or he'll continue to play every bleedin' day and will wear down. Either way, I just don't think he's worth it.
Brian McCann, Yankees (Domenic Lanza)
This selection is a combination of good old fashioned speculation. McCann is nearly 32 years old, with well over 11,000 innings spent crouched behind the plate, and his workload these last two years has been tremendous. He has made more soft contact and less hard contact over the last two years, and he fell off badly in the second-half in 2015, slashing .200/.306/.395. He still has plenty of power, and he'll be hitting in the middle of a strong Yankees line-up -- but he's trending in the wrong direction. And with the team making an effort to rest its pricey veterans and top prospect Gary Sanchez in tow, McCann may not see the field often enough to produce relative to his expectations.
Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers (Rob Parker)
I wrote about Lucroy in late August and my thoughts have not changed. There are way too many warning signs for me to trust him going forward. I think he has entered a decline phase and the guy that was an MVP candidate is gone for good. 10 HR and a 0.400 slugging % are the kind of power numbers I expect in 2016.
Francisco Cervelli, Pirates (Jason Hunt)
In his first season as a full-time player, Cervelli finished in the top six in two of the five main categories (batting average, runs) and generally didn't hurt you anywhere. However, you're relying upon his ability to repeat that batting average to provide enough value to outweigh the generally replacement-level production in the other three categories. Unless you're getting him really late, I'd rather take a shot on a bit more upside than Cervelli.
Matt Wieters, Orioles (Heath Capps)
My cousin is a die-hard Orioles fan, a sportswriter, and a general good guy all around. I have been happy for him in recent memory as his long-suffering Orioles have finally become relevant. But we play this game for keeps. And I want to write a song called "Waiting for Wieters," since it seems like that's what we've been doing ever since this guy entered the league. Stand-up guy, no doubt. Playing on a one-year deal this year. Maybe he has something to prove. But the man can't stay healthy and catcher is already a demanding position. From 2011-2013, he hit 67 home runs (22, 23, 22). Since then he's managed just 13 (5 and 8) in the last two seasons. Steamer projects 100 games played for Wieters this year. I don't like to be negative, but that feels very optimistic to me. You're almost guaranteed to pairing his 100-game production with a guy from waivers. Which admittedly isn't the worst catcher strategy, so long as you know your 100-game production is going to be legit. So if you think Matt Wieters is the Troy Tulowitzki of catchers, be my guest. But I'm not buying.
J.T. Realmuto, Marlins (Jack Cecil)
I get that the catcher who stole 8 bases stands out, but do we really expect any catcher to improve his base stealing as his career goes on? So lets pretend that he does age a little, and steals only 5-10 bases, then you have to factor in during his whole career he has not been a power hitter, and playing at Marlins Park will likely cap his homer total to something around 10-12. Factor in that his plate discipline is not good, the bottom of the Marlins lineup is not good, and while he's new and shiny when in the minors he was not good. If he was going after the top 12-15 catchers I could understand the appeal, but he's presently the #10 catcher in drafts, and there is no way I would take him over Yasmani Grandal and Yan Gomes. This just stinks of a down year for Eric Hosmer, but even worse because its being done by a bad catcher and a few steals has everyone swooning over him.
Lastly, the dimensions of Marlins Park are changing this year. They are removing the strange area that juts out by the statue and lowering the walls, if Realmuto played his 2015 season in the 2016 Marlins Stadium he would have had 0 home runs added to his total.
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