Catchers are like laundry, dishes, taxes, and dinners with in-laws. We all hate them, but they have to be done. Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but I think you get my point. Catcher is easily the worst position in fantasy baseball. As I’ve stated in previous articles this year (and last year) I’m way down on the catching position as a whole. In fact, my current rankings have only one backstop (Gary Sanchez) inside my top 100 overall players.
Take Salvador Perez for example. Consistently ranked in the top 10 at the position and consistently coming through. In roto leagues Perez finished #8 in 2016 and #5 in 2017. A top 5 catcher, huh, that must be real valuable...Perez was the #209 overall fantasy option last season. That’s right, in a career year, Sal Perez wasn’t even a top 200 player. His ECR last year? 148. His ECR this year? 123. You honestly think Perez is going to have a season better than his career year? Why spend a pick in the 13th round on him then?
But I digress. We are here today in this article to tell you who you SHOULD target in the upcoming season. Let’s get to it!
Current Rank: 36
Expect Consensus Rank: 30
This one is a bit obvious, but grabbing Sanchez at the end of the 3rd round/early 4th round gives you the best catcher in fantasy baseball. Sanchez is also the only threat to finish inside the top 50 overall who carries a C tag in their eligibility. Over just 122 games, Sanchez hit .278 with a .876 OPS 33 HR 90 RBI and 79 R. He was the #1 catcher in both roto and points leagues last year. In 173 games between 2016 and 2017, Sanchez has 53 HR 132 RBI and 113 R while hitting .284. Those numbers are amazing, but at catcher... they’re unheard of!
Current Rank: 144
Expect Consensus Rank: 137
Realmuto is one of my favorite catchers to target in fantasy baseball. He finished #4 at the position in each of the last two seasons and has been a top 10 points league option since 2015. He does this with consistent playing time and a bit of speed. His three-year-average stat line is .281 13 HR 53 RBI 59 R and 9 SB. Those 9 SB are a big deal in fantasy baseball, especially roto leagues. I’m not too worried about the depleted Marlins offense either. Realmuto was good in 2015 and 2016 when Giancarlo Stanton played just 193 combined games and Dee Gordon just 224 games. He’s a solid bet for top 5 at the position and top 200 overall. That I’m willing to take right around 150 overall.
Current Rank: 158
Expect Consensus Rank: 160
Gattis shows up on this list for two reasons. 1) The Astros plan to make him their primary DH. 2) He’s been a top 6 catcher in two of the past three seasons. These two reasons are very much related to each other. In 2015, Gattis played a career high 153 games. 136 of those appearances were at DH. Only 11 of those appearances came in the field, left field to be exact. The other six appearances were pinch-hit opportunities. He didn’t log a single inning behind the plate. Offensively, which is all that really matters for fantasy purposes, Gattis hit .246 with 27 HR and 88 RBI. That year Gattis was the #2 catcher in points leagues. In 2016, Gattis was the DH 71 times and caught 55 times. He still managed 499 PA and was the #5 catcher in points, #6 in roto. If Gattis plays DH primarily in 2018, he should stay healthy enough to log 500 PA. This makes him a top 5 catching option—one who is currently going outside the top 150 overall.
If you don’t grab Sanchez, Realmuto, or Gattis, WAIT on filling the catcher position until the end of the draft. You are almost certainly going to be streaming your catcher all year long if you take this approach.
Here are a few options who are currently ranked outside the top 250 who I like as streaming options at C:
My Rank: 263 Expert Consensus Rank: 306
Good power if you can deal with the bad batting average.
My Rank: 418 Expert Consensus Rank: 360
Coors Field y’all!
My Rank: 427 Expert Consensus Rank: 450
#19 catcher in 2016. #22 in 2017. Good home ball park. He’ll get over 400 PA.