In the annals of history, 2019 will go down as the year of the catcher. I should note the fact that I am all alone on ”how much I like the depth at catchers” island. None of the Fake Teams writers agree with me here. Maybe I should take that as a warning sign, but I’ve never been so excited at the number of potentially fantasy relevant players at this position and think a few will “wow” their owners in 2019.
1 . A record number of home runs will be hit by catchers this year.
Justification: I know we are seeing more home runs as a whole in the MLB each year, but the totals among catchers has NOT gone up each year. For context, 2018 as a year had the 7th most home runs hit by catchers (558). The current record was 2017 when 675 home runs were hit, followed by 2012 when 627 home runs were hit. You will have your usual candidates – Salvador Perez, Yasmani Grandal, J.T. Realmuto and Yadier Molina but also there is potential among Danny Jansen if he passes Russell Martin, Austin Hedges / Francisco Mejia and even a veteran like Tyler Flowers could rise back to a 10-15 HR territory.
2. Willians Astudillo finishes in the Top 50 in the LEAGUE in hits.
Justification: My biggest concern is playing time. If Jason Castro is at catcher, Willians will likely play third base but will he get bumped at any time. For anyone who doesn’t know the backstory on Willians, he swings at everything, rarely strikes out, walks, and he almost never hits home runs. The top catcher last year was J.T. Realmuto, who had 132 hits (good enough for 90th). Willians will need around 150 hits to get into the Top 50. Last year Willians had 33 hits in 30 games.
3. Buster Posey returns to fantasy relevance with 70+ RBIs and Runs, finishing as a Top 3 catcher.
Justification: the torn labrum ended his 2018 season in August, and before that he wasn’t at his best. But I don’t think the decline for Buster is here yet, I think he still has a few more seasons as a top catcher. Posey is expected to be healthy to begin the 2019 season.
4. Yasmani Grandal triples his stolen base total from last year.
Justification: Okay, so this means he steals just six bases, but his recent signing with Milwaukee puts him on the team that swiped the 4th most bags last year. It wasn’t just Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain either. Eric Thames, Tyler Saladino, Hernan Perez, and Manny Pina were all in on the fun too.
its weird seeing “stolen base” as a yasmani grandal stat— s a m (@tankohh) August 9, 2018
5. Gary Sanchez does not finish as a Top 5 catcher for fantasy next year (currently projected as 2nd best catcher).
Justification: While I’m bullish on the position as a whole, I am not backing Gary. In his first two full seasons, things looked good. He was batting .275+, he was hitting 20+ HR and had over a hit per game. This all came to a halt last year where he batted .186, got hurt three times, and he was criticized for not giving it his all on a few occasions. There are too many red flags here for me to crown him as a Top 3 catcher for next year. I would rather pass and go for Willson Contreras, Salvador Perez, Buster Posey and Yasmani Grandal.
Besides the aforementioned Bold predictions, there are some candidates who I think will improve in 2019 from their 2018 stats. Included in this are: Jonathan Lucroy, Francisco Cervelli, Austin Hedges, Jorge Alfaro, Yan Gomes and John Hicks.
Be sure to come back tomorrow for the second half of our rankings and more catcher coverage!