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2016 Fantasy Baseball Tiered Catcher Rankings: Midseason Edition

Welcome to the first breakdown of our midseason rankings here at RotoBaller. We are gathered here today to walk through the catcher rankings, analyzing some key names and providing tiers for your consumption. I feel like I just heard the collective grumble of millions, but I guess that sums up the C-slot in 2016. Assume a standard 5x5 redraft league when reading.

Be sure to also head over to our fantasy baseball rankings assistant. This handy rankings tool show you all of our staff rankings, player news, and weekly waiver wire rankings. You can easily filter, sort, and export all sorts of ranks - mixed leagues, tiers, prospects, dynasty formats, keeper values and more. It's all in one place, and all free.

Editor's Note: RotoBaller has the best Premium MLB Subscription for only $1.99 per week. We have all the tools to help win your seasonal and daily leagues: Hitter & Pitcher Streamers, Matchup Ratings for every player, Sleeper Surgers for AVG, HR, Ks, PLUS Daily DFS Cheat Sheets, Lineup Picks, Expert Lineups, Stacks and Avoids. 


2016 Fantasy Baseball Midseason Rankings Analysis: Catchers

You’ve either been one of the “haves”, enjoying the production out of a top-six catcher, or the "have-nots". There have been some surges below that mark of course (looking at you Chris Herrmann), but it’s honestly been pretty ugly.

If you’ve got Buster Posey, Jonathan Lucroy, Wilson Ramos, Salvador Perez, Brian McCann or J.T. Realmuto then you’ve probably been alright. Now you’ll notice I leapfrogged Russell Martin with Realmuto despite the consensus rankings. Well, this is my article and I personally have J.T. higher, so there! No, okay I’ll defend that in a little. Let’s check in on these top names with some quick hits:

Posey’s increased pop has offset his low BABIP, though the top catcher has been stabilizing lately with a .344 batting average in the last month, so anyone who was fretting at the low average can calm down.

Lucroy’s production looks sustainable across the board, and if he does get traded then hopefully his rhythm holds steady, but he should be held as a top-three option.

Ramos dropped his swinging-strike rate to 8.3% from last season’s 12.1% while boosting his hard-hit rate from 26.4% to 34.2%. He’s making stronger contact and whiffing much less, a potent combination.

Perez is enjoying an even bigger jump in hard-hit rate, going from 24% to 36.6%(!) alongside a 10.7% bump in fly balls, so believe in the power spike.

McCann’s .341 BABIP from April was never going to hold (.231, .235 in last two seasons), but he’s still on pace to hit 25 homers and provide solid returns for owners who invested in him, even with the lagging RBI totals.

Russell Martin burned a lot of owners in the early going, but since June 1 he’s scored 18 runs with four homers and 22 RBIs alongside a .273 average so perhaps he’ll be alright. I’m not buying it though, as he’s still getting rung up at an elevated 27% strikeout rate in that same timeframe (20.9 K% last season), while a .359 BABIP fuels the modest average gains (he’s more of a .280 BABIP guy).

I personally want J.T. Realmuto instead, whose 65/10/50/18/.300 pace looks sustainable albeit with a much lower power ceiling than Martin. I know he’s hitting .317 right now, but his .370 BABIP is a bit high so I’ll be conservative here, even with his plus speed and ground-ball/line-drive tendencies. That said, my colleagues disagree with me, but I know I have some supporters out there – dozens of them!

We can’t avoid talking Willson Contreras, owner of a .305/.387/.561 triple slash through his first 93 Major League PAs with five homers and 16 RBIs. He’s talented, and also gets to hit inside a strong Cubbies lineup, so ailing fantasy owners who were able to scoop him have undoubtedly experienced some serious relief. His playing time situation on a healthy Cubs roster remains to be seen, but his versatility should net him at least five games a week. That said, fantasy owners still may want to sell high here as he’s carrying a lofty .404 BABIP that is sure to drop (he’s still good though).

Derek Norris homered just as I was contemplating which guy to write up next, so I guess that’ll work. His line through the first two months of the season: 19/5/10/0/.179 (in 164 PAs)…gross. Like, actually horrible. A 26.2 K% and .212 BABIP were just destroying him, and his fantasy owners were languishing as a result. He’s been much better since we hit June however, sporting a 19/7/23/4/.257 line in his 118 PAs ever since. He’s poised to have a nice second half for owners, and may still be had for relatively cheap in plenty of leagues.

Yan Gomes showed some life last month, but still looks mostly lost at the dish – illustrated by his going 1-for-29 with 12 Ks in eight July games thus far. His past has anchored this writer for long enough, I’ll be moving along.

How about some good news here? Check out Kurt Suzuki, who is hitting an absurd .366 with four homers, 15 runs and 21 RBIs since June started. He’s really smoking the ball, with a 34.2 hard-hit% and 23.1 LD% in that stretch, fueling a wild .400 BABIP and making him a hot add in 14-team and two-catcher leagues.

For anyone in dire straits riding the Sandy Leon train, he’s a nice short-term bandage at catcher but his .455 average has a hilarious .558 BABIP behind it. His stellar 26.2 LD% is coupled with a modest 28.6% hard-hit rate and a very underwhelming Minor League track record, but if you can sell him off to a Boston-homer or a desperate owner as a little deal-sweetener then that’ll do just fine.


Midseason Catcher Tiered Fantasy Baseball Rankings

Tier Player Name Catcher Rank (Overall)
1 Buster Posey 1 (58)
2 Jonathan Lucroy 2 (89)
2 Wilson Ramos 3 (105)
2 Salvador Perez 4 (111)
3 Brian McCann 5 (120)
3 Russell Martin 6 (155)
3 J.T. Realmuto 7 (161)
4 Evan Gattis 8 (173)
4 Willson Contreras 9 (209)
4 Matt Wieters 10 (211)
4 Derek Norris 11 (221)
5 Nick Hundley 12 (234)
5 Yan Gomes 13 (235)
5 Tommy Joseph 14 (248)
5 Yasmani Grandal 15 (252)
5 Travis d'Arnaud 16 (267)
5 Stephen Vogt 17 (272)
6 Yadier Molina 18 (277)
6 Robinson Chirinos 19 (296)
6 Welington Castillo 20 (308)
6 Chris Herrmann 21 (319)
7 Jason Castro 22 (324)
7 Cameron Rupp 23 (363)
8 Blake Swihart 24 (371)
8 Francisco Cervelli 25 (380)
8 Miguel Montero 26 (389)
8 Jarrod Saltalamacchia 27 (396)
8 Kurt Suzuki 28 (406)
9 Geovany Soto 29 (431)
9 Dioner Navarro 30 (438)
9 Christian Vazquez 31 (446)
9 Tucker Barnhart 32 (Unranked)
9 Sandy Leon 33 (Unranked)
9 Chris Iannetta 34 (Unranked)
9 Tyler Flowers 35 (Unranked)
9 David Ross 36 (Unranked)
9 Mike Zunino 37 (Unranked)
9 Gary Sanchez 38 (Unranked)
9 Carlos Perez 39 (Unranked)
9 Christian Bethancourt 40 (Unranked)


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