2017 Keeper Values: Catcher Rankings - Tier Two: Willson Contreras

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What's up RotoBallers. Welcome back to my series on keeper leagues. Today I'll be taking a look at catcher keeper values for fantasy baseball (tier two), for those of you deciding what players to keep for your teams.

Keeper Value Rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft round in order to keep a player into the up-coming season. These rankings are based on Keeper "Values". In the marketing world, Value can be defined as: the extent to which a good or service (player) is perceived by its customer (fantasy owner) to meet his/her needs or wants.

For these specific rankings, 12 team, 5x5 scoring, 23 man roster, Rotisserie league settings were used. If you play in a custom league with non-standard configurations, are thinking of keeping a player not on this list, or want to compare players on your team, follow me on Twitter @RowdyRotoJB or contact me via the RotoBaller Chat Rooms.

Editor's note: Be sure to also check out our 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. It's already loaded up with tons of great rankings articles and draft analysis. Aside from our tiered staff rankings for every position, we also go deep on MLB prospect rankings, impact rookies for 2017, and dynasty/keeper rankings as well. Bookmark the page, and win your drafts.

 

How My Keeper Valuation Formula Works

The Keeper Values are derived from my 15 step Keeper Valuation Formula. The product is a quanitative depiction of a players ability to meet/exceed fantasy owners needs based on the cost they payed for the player in the previous season (2016 ADP). The higher the score, the higher the return the fantasy owner will receive from the player, keeping him at his associated cost. Approaching Keeper selections with this "value" based attitude, will greatly increase the effectiveness of a fantasy owner's draft in a Keeper League.

TIER SCORE EXPLANATION
1 >75 Finders Keepers! These are the Elite Keeper Values. MUST BE KEPT.
2 50-75 Great Keeper values. Unless you have a full load of Tier 1 players, these guys need to be kept.
3 25-49 You are gaining value with these players, but not as much as your opponents are, potentially. Consider if your options are limited.
4 0-24 Break even point. Minimal value. Only consider if you have a large quantity of Keeper selections.
5 -99-0 Keeping these players will hurt your overall draft, as you are not adding any value. Dont waste a Keeper selection here.
6 <-100 The associated costs make it impossible to return any value, these players will ruin your draft. Stay far away.

 
 

2017 Top Catcher Keeper Values: #2

2. Willson Contreras, CHC (23rd Round ADP) Keeper Valuation Formula Score: 66.41

With two veteran catchers, and Kyle Schwarber locked into the Cubs roster, not many fantasy owners were thinking of Willson Contreras heading into the 2016 season. We all knew he was the catcher of the future in Chicago, but having a fantasy impact as soon as the 24 year old did was a welcomed surprise. After destroying AAA pitching to the tune of .353/.442/.488, and Miguel Montero completely disappearing at the plate, Contreras received the call on June 17. The catcher landscape in fantasy baseball was immediately changed as he went deep in his very first big league at-bat.

Contreras finished his rookie season with a World Series ring, 12 HR, 33 R, 35 RBI, two SB, and an impressive .282/.357/.488 line in just 76 games. His .363 wOBA and 126 wRC+ both ranked second to only Gary Sanchez among catchers with at least 200 PA. But if you look at his batted ball statistics, you will actually see quite the resemblance to that of another catcher who enjoyed a fantastic 2016 campaign.

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FanGraphs.com

As you can see, both Wilson Ramos and Contreras were heavy ground ball hitters (54.3 GB%), but gave the fans their money's worth on their flyballs. A 23.5 HR/FB% may not be completely sustainable for Contreras, but by the looks of that infield flyball and medium-hard hit percentages, there is no doubt that the kid can square up a baseball. The main difference between the two catchers, besides the current injury factor for Ramos (sad face), is plate discipline. This is where Contreras, like most young hitters, has the most room to improve in his game. He struck out at a 23.7% rate, with a 13.9 swinging strike percentage. This led to a 70.5 Contact%, and now the dispairity between the BA and BABIP starts to make sense.

Reyes-Changeup-2

He more than made up for the whiffs by punishing the ball when he connected, as evident by his .206 ISO (.240 in AAA), and the exciting news is that plate discipline will certainly come with experience in the bigs. As you can see Contreras already began to tighten up his swing selection after just a month of seeing Major League pitching.

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As he reduces the red squares down and out of the strike zone, the strikeouts will decrease and the contact will rise. For a freakish athlete like Contreras, this should be an easy adjustment as he takes the next step this season. Proving this athleticism, the rookie catcher started two games at first base, and 21 games in leftfield in 2016.

Besides the massive amount of talent and potential, the best thing Willson Contreras has going for him is the Chicago Cubs. He is slated to hit in the middle of the lineup surrounded by a slew of offensive studs. A unanimous top six catcher in the RotoBaller Expert's Rankings, it doesn't take a sexy formula to understand why Contreras is such a highly touted fantasy player for 2017, especially in keeper leagues. The catcher position is certainly on the rise in fantasy, but it is still too shallow to to pass on the opportunity to keep Contreras in the later rounds.

 

 

2017 Keeper Value Articles: 

Catcher Rankings: Tier Three