Before we begin, a preamble. Here is an overall picture of how bad the catcher position is in fantasy baseball. We’ll go year-by-year since 2016...
2016: In this year, no catcher finished inside the top 100. There was a clear top three of Jonathan Lucroy (102), Buster Posey (112), and Wilson Ramos (120). After that, there was a steep fall to Evan Gattis (175) and J.T. Realmuto (184). A “whopping” nine catchers finished inside the top 300. You have to work your way all the way down to Matt Wieters (371) for the 12th catcher. And of the last three years, this year was the golden year for backstops...
2017: Gary Sanchez (74) was in a tier all his own due to his monstrous power. Buster Posey, Yadier Molina, J.T. Realmuto, and Salvador Perez were all clustered from 147-179. Only six catchers finished inside the top 300, but Mike Zunino’s power (and BABIP) planted him at 307. The 12th-ranked catcher was ranked No. 533 in the fake game...wow. And you thought “371” was bad.
2018: No catcher finished inside the top 100. J.T. Realmuto (117) was in a tier all his own. Yadier Molina, Yasmani Grandal, Salvador Perez, and Wilson Ramos all finished between 186-219. Evan Gattis (257) was the only other catcher inside the top 300. The 12th-ranked backstop was an oft-injured Buster Posey at No. 503.
In summation, on average there isn’t a single catcher finishing inside the top 100 fantasy baseball players. Generally there is a top option or two who stands out, followed by a small cluster of dependability. Also in general, only six or so catchers finish inside the top 300 players. And the 12th-ranked catcher is replacement-level. This suggests that if you miss on an “elite” backstop, that you should just wait. For forever.
Now that you are wholly depressed, let’s take a look at the Top 20 catchers for 2019, at least based on what I can surmise at this juncture. I’m sure to be off somewhere, in some place...if you have a sleeper that you think can crack the Top 20, leave me a name in the comments. To be fair, though, after the first nine guys it looks like we will all be rolling the proverbial dice. Who do you like in 2019?
2019 Catcher Rankings
|1||J.T. Realmuto||He is the only backstop I will have in my Top 100, whether he is a Marlin or not.|
|2||Gary Sanchez||Arguably more upside than Realmuto, but more risk, too. I won't have him if the price is expectant.|
|3||Willson Contreras||The fact that he has this sort of ranking tells you how thin this position is.|
|4||Buster Posey||I'm banking on last year's poor showing being due to injury. Buying him at a discount for the second year in a row.|
|5||Wilson Ramos||31 isn't too old for a catcher, and his bat is undeniable. He just needs to stay healthy.|
|6||Salvador Perez||Has a ton of mileage on him, but he is only 28 years old. Strange, I feel like he should be at least 30...|
|7||Yasmani Grandal||A free agent. He cost himself some money with a poor October, but a smart GM will nab him.|
|8||Yadier Molina||Typically a 36-year-old guy wouldn't catch my eye. But I'll buy "Yadi" until I can't.|
|9||Francisco Mejia||If I were doing tiers, Mejia would be far below Molina. Unless the Padres trade Hedges...|
|10||Welington Castillo||Power in a hitter's park. You should view last year's 80-game suspension as a smokescreen.|
|11||Mike Zunino||Power, but a ton of whiffs. Not a player I generally chase after.|
|12||Danny Jansen||It looks like a clear pathway to playing time in Toronto, for what it's worth.|
|13||Yan Gomes||He had a nuts 27.2% line drive rate in '18. His BABIP was high, but he's done that before.|
|14||Austin Hedges||His pop can justify this ranking. If he is traded away from Mejia, that only increases my liking of him.|
|15||Tyler Flowers||The primary Braves backstop position has been lucrative for years now. Suzuki is gone.|
|16||Robinson Chirinos||Power in a hitter's park. A lot of swing-and-miss. Get used to it at this position.|
|17||Austin Barnes||He isn't known for his bat, but it looks like he'll see plenty of opportunity with Grandal not around.|
|18||Francisco Cervelli||He set a career mark with 12 homers in 2018. If he can be healthier, 15 is within reach.|
|19||Jorge Alfaro||I am assuming the Phillies bring Ramos back...they don't want to pair Alfaro with Andrew Knapp again.|
|20||Kurt Suzuki||I feel dirty ranking him this low. But he is 35 years old and I don't know his landing spot yet.|