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2018 Catchers - Dynasty Tiered Rankings

As we move closer to the 2018 baseball season, we at RotoBaller have released our Dynasty Rankings. We have been dissecting the tiers of each position, showing fantasy owners where to find value in their draft. At the catcher position, we have a total of 41 players ranked across eight tiers.

When looking at dynasty leagues, one needs to consider future market value as well as the near-term impact of a player. While there are veterans that rank highly on our catcher rankings, you will see more emphasis put on players that are 25 and younger, even ranking players that are unlikely to play an MLB game in 2018 within the top 200. Of course, the top names on this list are similar to the top names in a standard league (speaking to the young talent in the game today), but there are other veterans that slip a bit on this list as compared to those in redraft leagues.

Catchers are not typically a plug-and-play position. Most catchers will only play five to six games a week at most. Make sure you get one that will give you plenty of starts during the season. Luckily, dynasty owners will have plenty of options to choose from.

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2018 Fantasy Baseball Dynasty League Rankings: Catcher 

Ranking Tier Player Name Pos Kyle R. Chris Troy Pierre
1 1 Gary Sanchez C 26 26 25 32
2 1 Willson Contreras C 19 92 48 47
3 2 Buster Posey C/1B 42 46 131 88
4 2 Francisco Mejia C 99 93 158 134
5 3 J.T. Realmuto C 37 170 181 204
6 3 Salvador Perez C 137 245 274 218
7 3 Tom Murphy C 122 155 389 371
8 3 Yasmani Grandal C 142 275 276 255
9 3 Chance Sisco C 271 211 265 361
10 4 Mike Zunino C 234 289 226 186
11 4 Austin Barnes C 217 261 275 492
12 4 Wilson Ramos C 197 295 278 345
13 5 Jorge Alfaro C 200 206 385 448
14 5 Yadier Molina C 226 227 386 397
15 5 Welington Castillo C 275 319 277 304
16 6 Jonathan Lucroy C 311 300 307 394
17 6 Brian McCann C 347 302 279 290
18 6 Matt Wieters C 249 320 384 375
19 6 Evan Gattis C 387 296 341 347
20 6 Jason Castro C 285 381 402 #N/A
21 6 Russell Martin C 324 346 400 533
22 7 Austin Hedges C 436 361 305 326
23 7 Stephen Vogt C 360 418 #N/A 357
24 7 Kurt Suzuki C 398 437 #N/A #N/A
25 7 Robinson Chirinos C 506 332 #N/A 415
26 7 James McCann C 408 443 #N/A 481
27 7 Francisco Cervelli C 475 457 408 491
28 7 Travis d'Arnaud C 460 477 #N/A 330
29 7 Cameron Rupp C 484 494 #N/A 479
30 7 Tucker Barnhart C 536 535 #N/A 537
31 8 Blake Swihart C/OF 555 549 #N/A 423
32 8 Nick Hundley C 556 550 #N/A #N/A
33 8 Tyler Flowers C 562 554 #N/A #N/A
34 8 Christian Bethancourt C 563 555 #N/A #N/A
35 8 Christian Vazquez C 573 562 #N/A #N/A
36 8 Carson Kelly C 574 563 #N/A 359
37 8 Sandy Leon C 578 567 #N/A 404
38 8 Devin Mesoraco C 579 568 #N/A 476
39 8 Bruce Maxwell C 580 569 #N/A #N/A
40 8 Kevin Plawecki C 592 579 #N/A #N/A
41 8 Chris Iannetta C 597 583 #N/A #N/A

 
 
Tier One

Gary Sanchez, Willson Contreras

On August third, 2016, Gary Sanchez was called up to stay. Since then, Sanchez has put together 53 home runs and 132 RBI over 175 games. He will also hit in the middle of the most dangerous lineup in MLB this season. He is the best investment you can make at this position. If he stays healthy in 2018, he could be looking at 40 home runs and 100 RBI.

Willson Contreras is one of my favorite players at any position. The best part about Contreras is his athleticism and ability to play multiple positions. He will be one of the most important pieces of the Cubs' potential run to another World Series. The bat continues to come along, and before too long he will offer a batting average around .290 and 30 home runs. On a team with Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, Contreras will be overshadowed, but offer comparable numbers.

 

Tier Two

Buster Posey, Francisco Mejia

Tier two is thin with catchers like tier one, but includes the best player at this position the last several years. If you take Posey, be prepared for him to move out from behind the plate at any time. The Giants don’t want him back there much longer because they need him healthy and in the lineup. If that happens, he’s moving to first base which is much deeper.

This year’s breakout player will be Francisco Mejia. This time next year, Mejia will be in tier one. He is an excellent hitter, owning a .293 average over five minor league seasons. His competition at catcher is Roberto Perez and Yan Gomes, who combined for a .222 average last year with 22 home runs and 94 RBIs. Those numbers are not bad combined, but Mejia will be able to offer a better average. He will take over as the number one catcher by the super two deadline.

 

Tier Three

J.T. Realmuto, Salvador Perez, Tom Murphy, Yasmani Grandal, Chance Sisco

The long term outlook for J.T. Realmuto is still bright. Double digit home runs and a .290 average the last two years. He is caught in the Miami wasteland of rebuilds though. He will have no one around to help him in 2018, so if you take him this year, cross your fingers the Marlins decide to move on.

Salvador Perez has had a long run as one of the top catching options for fantasy owners. He has averaged 139 games a season since 2013. It’s been nice having a guy who you know is going to be in the lineup. As a fantasy owner, you don’t want to worry about missing a guy two or three games a week and that is what typically happens with catchers. Perez is only 27 years old, but will the games catch up to him? Now that Eric Hosmer is out of Kansas City, Perez could see some time at first base as well.

Tom Murphy was a sleeper at the position last season. In 21 games during the 2016 season, Murphy hit .273 with five home runs. Prior to that call up, Murphy also hit .327 during his first full stint at triple a. An injury early in spring training derailed his chance to build on that last year though. He should be a relative bargain right now and will get plenty of chances without any real competition around him. Take a flyer late and reap the rewards later.

Yasmani Grandal seemed to destined for stardom after a terrific rookie season with San Diego in 2012. After dealing with a knee injury though, he never seemed to bounce back and was traded to Los Angeles for Matt Kemp before the 2015 season. Grandal isn’t going to provide much average and will strikeout a lot. If you want some power at catcher though, Grandal can offer that, crushing 27 home runs in 2016 and 22 home runs in 2017. You just need to be careful of the platoon as Austin Barnes will cut into his playing time. We will get into that later though.

Chance Sisco got a brief taste of the majors last season, appearing in 10 games. It was a successful start though as he posted six hits in 18 at-bats and had two home runs. Caleb Joseph will be the starter to begin the season and Sisco will probably be in triple a for a while longer. If Joseph struggles with the bat though, Sisco could make his appearance sooner rather than later. Let’s hope he turns out to be more successful than Matt Weiters.

 

Tier Four

Mike Zunino, Austin Barnes, Wilson Ramos

The former third-overall pick may have finally put something together last season. After being rushed through the minors and making his big league debut at 22 years old, Zunino struggled to find the consistency that made him a high draft choice. Through parts of four major league seasons, Zunino posted a .195 career batting average. In 2017, he finally raised that to a more respectable .251 and also hit 25 home runs. The breakout is coming, so use this as your last chance to jump on board.

Austin Barnes is the opposite of his catching counterpart in Los Angeles. Barnes can provide a good average with fewer strikeouts while Grandal will supply enough power for both of them. This is a duo I would recommend drafting together. If you have both, you could have enough output from catcher to compete. In fact, if you spend two late round-picks on these guys instead of an early-round pick on a top tier catcher, you would get statistics that are just as good if not better. When you add Grandal and Barnes together, look at where they place among all catchers with at least 100 at-bats.

Hits                 Avg.                Runs               2B                   HR                  RBI

171                  .260                 85                    42                    30                    96

1st                  T-22nd              1st                    1st                    2nd                   1st

If Barnes and Grandal were one player, they would have been the best fantasy catcher last season. If you play in weekly leagues, this is not as appealing, but daily roster locks will benefit from this. You should have another couple of years with this duo at a still relatively young age.

Wilson Ramos needed a season to shake the dust off. A knee injury cost him a breakout season and a shot at a huge deal in free agency. Ramos still has enough left in that tank. Spending a late pick on Ramos could turn out to be a huge bargain. If he rebounds with a good season, then the Rays will flip him at the deadline, hopefully helping you towards a late season playoff push.

 

Tier Five

Jorge Alfaro, Yadier Molina, Welington Castillo

Jorge Alfaro projects as another Carlos Ruiz. He'll offer a decent average and will be around double-digit home runs, but won’t reach fantasy baseball stardom. I anticipate Alfaro will hover between tiers three through five for the majority of his career, so don’t spend too early and don’t be sucked in by that .318 average last year. It's not a pace he will keep up.

Yadier Molina is on the back side of his career. There really isn’t much fantasy relevance left for him. Molina saw a power resurgence in 2017, belting 18 home runs and driving in 82 RBI. He is such a good hitter that the average will stick around, but he has only hit double-digit home runs four times in his career. Great late-round flyer, but not a catcher you want to rely on much longer.

Welington Castillo rewarded owners who took him in the later rounds last season with his best season yet. Castillo is already 30, but he does play for the up and coming White Sox now. The change in stadium could help him pass a career high 20 home runs from last year.

 

Tier Six

Jonathan Lucroy, Brian McCann, Matt Wieters, Evan Gattis, Jason Castro, Russell Martin

Tier six is when we really dive into the veteran group of catchers. Out of this group, Jonathan Lucroy and Evan Gattis are my top picks. Lucroy has yet to sign with a team, but could offer tremendous value for an owner who grabs him late or is able to snipe him off the waiver wire. Lucroy’s value is way downafter a disappointing 2017, but he did hit .310 after the late season trade to Colorado. The right situation changes all of that.

Evan Gattis is a tricky bet because he could easily lose catching eligibility any year. If he keeps it, he offers great value this late in a draft. He hit 32 home runs in 2016, and if he is healthy in 2018, he should get close to that mark again. His power is his worth.

 

Tier Seven

Austin Hedges, Stephen Vogt, Kurt Suzuki, Robinson Chirinos, James McCann, Francisco Cervelli, Travis d'Arnaud, Cameron Rupp, Tucker Barnhart

From a dynasty perspective, this tier offers me two catchers that I am interested in. Austin Hedges hit 18 home runs last season, eighth among catchers. The only problem is his 122 strikeouts were third-most amongst catchers. I can’t praise Zunino (first in strikeouts) for a potential breakout and write off Hedges for the same issue, but Zunino has been known for his bat, Hedges' calling has always been his defense. I foresee a catcher with a low .200 batting average and around 20 home runs a year for the foreseeable future, but keep your eye on him. If he cuts down on the strikeouts, he could become more valuable.

Travis d’Arnaud was a highly praised offensive catcher in the Blue Jays organization and was the center of the R.A. Dickey trade. Injuries have been the biggest issue for d’Arnaud. I am still interested in taking a flyer in dynasty leagues though. The talent is there if he can stay healthy for a full season. He’s 29, so time is running out.

 

Tier Eight

Blake Swihart, Nick Hundley, Tyler Flowers, Christian Bethancourt, Christian Vazquez, Carson Kelly, Sandy Leon, Devin Mesoraco, Bruce Maxwell, Kevin Plawecki, Chris Iannetta

The only true interest I have in tier eight is the eventual replacement to Molina, Carson Kelly. He has had up and down success during his minor league career and may never be as good of a hitter as Molina, but you are investing for the long term. The rest of this group are flyers or injury replacements if your starter goes down. Don’t draft any of these guys hoping for starter production.

 

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