This week we embraced the challenge of covering the least exciting position in all of fantasy sports (except for kickers). We have catcher-centric rankings, tiers, sleepers, prospects and more—and you can find it all in one place right here.
To round out the week we asked each writer to provide you with a catcher he would target in fantasy drafts this season, and you can read some propaganda on each pick below.
Staff Catchers to Target in 2018
J.T. Realmuto, Marlins (Punk is Dead)
If Sanchez is too obvious, I’ll go with J.T. Realmuto. In roto leagues, the Marlins backstop finished as the #4 catcher in both 2016 and 2017. He is a lock for consistent playing time even in a depleted Miami offense. He is the safe route at an unpredictable position.
Evan Gattis, Astros (Brian Creagh)
Evan Gattis’ Steamer projections trail Salvador Perez by three runs, zero home runs, seven RBIs and .008 points in batting average. Gattis is currently being drafted five rounds later than Perez and has the added bonus of spending time at designated hitter. It’s not sexy, but it is effective.
Austin Barnes, Dodgers (Heath Capps)
If I don’t pay up for Willson Contreras, I will be targeting the best hitting catcher in all of baseball last year. Austin Barnes topped all backstops in OBP (.408), wOBA (.386), and wRC+ (142). He was second in walk rate (14.9%) and ninth in SLG (.486). Yes, Yasmani Grandal is of minor concern, but there is a reason Barnes caught 13 of 15 postseason games for the Dodgers last year. Barnes is a better overall hitter and a year younger. His presence makes Grandal expendable. Did I mention Barnes has a later ADP than his backup?
Robinson Chirinos, Rangers (Eddy Almaguer)
Robinson Chirinos‘ ADP in a 12-team league is equivalent to the 23rd round. This is someone who rocked a .399 OBP in the second half of 2017, is going to be the starting catcher in a hitter’s park, and plays in a lineup that scored the fifth-most runs in the American League last season. The caveat is his power dropped and he hit five home runs in the second half compared to his 12 in the first. But whether you get the mediocre, high-power Chirinos of the first half or the low-power, great slash line Chirinos of the second half, the price is perfect to stick in your lineup.
James McCann, Tigers (Joe Gentile)
I am a believer in using one of your last picks to draft a catcher. That said, I could go many different ways. I love Tyler Flowers, Austin Barnes and Welington Castillo as late-round selections, but I’ll go with someone who is not even projected to be in the top 300 in drafts. That man would be the Tigers backstop, James McCann. He is going to get the majority of playing time for Detroit with the loss of Alex Avila and with John Hicks as the only other catcher on the depth chart. His batted ball profile also gave him a projected batting average of .268 last year, which was fifteen points higher than his actual batting average due to his extreme 28.2% line drive rate (20% is around average). He is also a dark horse to put up 20-25 home runs as he had a hard contact rate of 38.2% last season.
That’s it for catcher targets...for now. Be sure to check back a little later today and find out which catchers you should avoid. Also, first base week starts on Monday. Make sure to let us know if there’s anyone you’d like to hear about. Cheers.
Of these options listed, who is your favorite target?
This poll is closed
J.T. Realmuto, Marlins
Evan Gattis, Astros
Austin Barnes, Dodgers
Robinson Chirinos, Rangers
James McCann, Tigers