Catchers (hold for applause)
I said catchers! (crickets chirping)
That’s the sound you’ll hear in the draft room when you select your backstop. Not only is catcher the weakest position in fantasy, it has the least excitement. Sure, a couple of the Top 12 have new teams. Wilson Ramos is with the Mets and Mike Zunino is in Tampa. But many of the catchers owners will be drafting are the same names we’ve seen for years. Not many Ronald Acunas in the catching world. Nonetheless, they remain a part of the format and still hold some value.
Let’s take a look at the “best” targets at the position.
My Rank: 4
Expert Consensus Rank: 8
There's a very clear tier at the top and middle of the position. Gary Sanchez and J.T. Realmuto are the clear No. 1 and No. 2. The unfortunate part for fantasy owners wanting the top tier at catcher is they will be spending a Top 80 pick to get it. Even if Sanchez or Realmuto end up the No. 1 catcher in fantasy, they aren't returning Top 80 overall value. The next tier is Buster Posey, Salvador Perez, Willson Contreras, Yadier Molina, Ramos, and Grandal. FantasyPros has this group going between 130 and 160 overall. My target in this range is Grandal. The former Dodgers backstop finished 2018 with 24 home runs, 68 RBIs, and a career high 65 runs scored. Grandal recently signed a one-year deal with the Brewers. I see this as a positive for a couple of reasons. 1) Miller Park, obviously. 2) It's just a one year deal. Grandal doesn't have the security of a multi-year deal heading into 2019. Players in the final year of their contracts (or the only year of their contracts) tend to do better because they are playing for another contract. Factor in the improved home ballpark and Grandal has a great shot at a 30-homer season. This is great value at catcher and he is currently going outside the Top 150 overall.
My Rank: 14
Expert Consensus Rank: 20
After the top 8 catchers are off the board, the next tier is basically everyone else. If I don't land any of the top 8 I'm waiting until the end of the draft to address catcher. Then, I'm most likely streaming the position throughout the season. I like Barnhart at the end of the draft because he offers stability. His three-year average stat line is .258/.332/.384 with eight home runs, 47 RBIs, and 37 runs. Sure, nothing amazing, but solid, especially for a last round catcher. Last season, he posted career-high totals in home runs, runs scored, and hits. He could easily improve on those numbers again in 2019. He also gets most of the playing time, which is a huge plus compared to other catchers going in this range.
Here are a few other options to consider in the final rounds of the draft that could be useful at catcher in 2019.
My Rank: 15
Expert Consensus Rank: 21
Despite averaging just 348 plate appearances his two seasons in Atlanta, Suzuki averaged 16 home runs and 50 RBIs while hitting .276. Yan Gomes doesn't scare me.
My Rank: 22
Expert Consensus Rank: 18
Should have a great batting average. Could develop more power. Minnesota used him all over the field last season as well. They could easily create playing time for him. Plus, he admires his work.