It’s been a solid opening week for positional weeks here at the dot com. We’ve talked rankings, targets, and prospects. I dug in a bit on Omar Narvaez and Travis d’Arnaud. And today we’ve got a bit more catcher chatter on the way, in the form of staff avoids and staff targets. If you’re new here or you just showed up this week, be sure to catch up (pun intended) on the week. And keep coming back as we power through each position leading into the season. First base is in the on-deck circle!
Willson Contreras, Cubs (Jonathan Butler)
NFBC ADP: 133
Contreras teases fantasy owners with his high ceiling every year, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy very often. He has only reached 450 PA once out of the past four years. At an ADP of 132 on Fantrax, I’d rather have guys like Gavin Lux, Cavan Biggio, or Kyle Tucker—who are going around the same time as Contreras.
Christian Vazquez, Red Sox (Heath Capps)
NFBC ADP: 206
Grandal, Realmuto, Ramos, and Vazquez. The only catchers to log over 500 plate appearances in 2019. And that’s what Vazquez has going for him. He was right at average with regard to barrels, exit velocity, and launch angle in 2019. He is above average at making contact, but the problem is a lack of hitting the ball hard (only a 33.6% hard% in ‘19). Based on the playing time we can project, he’ll fall into usefulness as a back end starting catcher or a really solid second catcher. Problem is the ADP, as he’s the ninth catcher off the boards. No, you’re not paying a huge price, and I think Vazquez is a good big leaguer for the Red Sox for the next couple of years. But in his vicinity I’d rather have higher upside plays in Luke Voit (202), Andrew McCutchen (206), or Joe Musgrove (211). And I like taking my shots at catcher later on. Consider the following two players’ projections for 2020:
- Player A: 51 R, 13 HR, 54 RBI, .263 BA, 5 SB
- Player B: 44 R, 12 HR, 50 RBI, .263 BA, 4 SB
It’s pretty close to me, even though Player B is expected to concede runs to Player A (Vazquez) by a decent margin. Probably because Player B is playing for an aging and not improved St. Louis Cardinals lineup...that’s right folks! The ageless wonder, Yadier Molina. He’s going a solid 30 picks later than Vazquez, but they are set to offer similar output. I probably went overboard in our ranks, slotting Molina one spot ahead of Vazquez. But the difference in ADP makes this an easy choice for me. I’ll be avoiding Vazquez in 2020. And no, I’m not drafting Molina, either.
Sean Murphy, Athletics (Garrett Atkins)
NFBC ADP: 230
I’m the low guy on the site on Athletics catcher prospect, Sean Murphy. It might not be his fault, but Murphy gives me Danny Jansen vibes. We all know how Jansen panned out last season. Catcher prospects take the longest to breakout. Scouting reports cite him as more of a defensive catcher. I’ll pass on Murphy for fantasy in 2020.
And that’s all he wrote for who to avoid at catcher. Now surely you can think of other ones to avoid. For instance, I’m out on Wilson Ramos. Too many grounders, not a ton of upside. I’d rather have the knockout punch that is Salvador Perez a round earlier. I’m also out on Buster Posey, who is as boring as they come—not to mention doomed by the home park environs. I’d rather have Kurt Suzuki 30 picks after, or take my chances with the power and batting average risk of guys like Roberto Perez and Robinson Chirinos. At least I know what I’m getting with those guys. Jason Castro and Austin Romine are two other names I like better than Posey, as they are far cheaper and at least offer a glimmer of upside.
Anyway, we here at Fake Teams hope you circle back around in just a bit as we cap off the week with our staff targets at the catcher position. It’ll be time to do some flag-planting!
Which catcher are you avoiding this year?
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