Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

2018 Catchers - Early Fantasy Baseball Tiered Rankings


With the holidays in the rearview mirror, it’s time to turn our attention to the upcoming fantasy baseball season. (Or, if you’re me, it’s finally time to start writing about it now that people aren’t focused on the vastly inferior but more popular fantasy sport that is football). Our first round of rankings comes to you courtesy of Pierre Camus and Jeff Kahntroff, in addition to yours truly.

The opening round of rankings presents the highest degree of difficulty, for a variety of reasons. With four months until the regular season begins, there’s typically a fair amount of uncertainty around roles and playing time. That problem is exacerbated by a slow-developing offseason like this one. This may be the first time ever that this many marquee names remain on the market in January. There’s also this:

Suffice it to say there will likely to be a lot of tinkering with our rankings between now and when the final preseason installment drops in March. That doesn’t mean the exercise can’t be instructive, just remember to take this initial foray with a grain of salt. We’ll begin, as always, with a look at fantasy baseball’s thinnest position.

Editor's Note: Be sure to check out all of our staff's initial 2018 fantasy baseball rankings for mixed leagues, including tiers and auction values. Analysis columns on all positions are coming soon!

 

2018 Fantasy Baseball Tiered Rankings: Catcher (January)

Ranking Tier Player Position Kyle Pierre Jeff
1 1 Gary Sanchez C 36 40 53
2 1 Buster Posey C/1B 64 78 66
3 2 Willson Contreras C 79 100 173
4 2 Salvador Perez C 98 141 187
5 3 Evan Gattis C 149 198 110
6 3 J.T. Realmuto C 131 191 181
7 3 Yadier Molina C 192 193 208
8 3 Yasmani Grandal C 140 224 265
9 3 Brian McCann C 200 248 #N/A
10 4 Mike Zunino C 216 213 252
11 4 Wilson Ramos C 164 278 251
12 4 Jonathan Lucroy C 184 245 281
13 5 Welington Castillo C 210 270 282
14 5 Robinson Chirinos C 258 #N/A
15 5 Russell Martin C 270 #N/A #N/A
16 6 Austin Hedges C 294 259 292
17 6 Austin Barnes C 284 #N/A
18 6 Jorge Alfaro C 285 #N/A #N/A
19 6 Tom Murphy C #N/A 286 #N/A
20 6 Matt Wieters C 313 300 #N/A
21 6 Travis d'Arnaud C 321 #N/A

 
Tier 1

No surprise here. Gary Sanchez was never going to maintain the monstrous pace he set as a rookie, but last year’s sophomore effort was still far and away the best to be had at the position. Even if this is his ceiling, the 25-year-old has already established himself as the game’s best offensive backstop. Buster Posey is no slouch, of course. He’s logged at least 140 games in each of the last six seasons, averaging 18 home runs per year and never hitting below .288. Given his minuscule strikeout rate, there’s a strong argument that he remains Sanchez’s equal (or perhaps better) in points formats.

Tier 2

Not exactly sure what Willson Contreras did to Jeff to merit such a low ranking. The Cubs’ catcher built on his strong rookie showing, maintaining a virtually identical slash line over a greater number of plate appearances while slightly upping his walk rate and isolated power. He’s similarly bearish on Salvador Perez, even though the veteran has increased his HR total every season and been one of the most durable catchers in baseball, despite Ned Yost actively trying to murder him with heavy workloads. True, his OBP is trash, but that’s of minor importance in standard leagues.

Tier 3

Only four catchers accumulated enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title in 2017 – both guys in our top tier, and two of the five in this group. J.T. Realmuto and Yadier Molina had basically identical seasons. Go ahead, try to tell them apart without cheating:

G AVG HR R RBI SB
141 .278 17 68 65 8
136 .273 18 60 62 9

 

Realmuto is, of course, nearly a decade younger. Molina will be 36 this year, and the risk of decline accounts for the large gap between them in my rankings. The other three players in this tier all played in the World Series last season, though Yasmani Grandal didn’t see the field much after the Dodgers elected to ride Austin Barnes in the playoffs. I still think he’s the primary catcher in Los Angeles, though, and only Sanchez has hit more homers at the position over the last two years. The Astros’ duo of Evan Gattis and Brian McCann come in fourth and fifth, respectively. This may be Gattis’ last season with catcher eligibility, but his expected role as the primary DH in 2018 should make him one of the highest volume options behind the dish. Both are on the wrong side of 30 and will likely drag a bit on your batting average, but they remain solid value picks for those owners disinclined to invest heavily in a catcher.

Tier 4

The high-variance tier. Do you want to bet on Mike Zunino’s power keeping him afloat despite a strikeout rate approaching 40 percent? Maybe you’re more inclined to roll the dice on Wilson Ramos staying healthy and recapturing his 2016 form (.307/.354/.496, 22 HR, 80 RBI). Or you could cross your fingers that Jonathan Lucroy’s cratering last season was a blip on the radar rather than the start of a steep decline. Pros and cons to all three options; personally, Ramos feels like the best balance of risk and reward here.

Tiers 5 and 6

We’re into deep, two-catcher, and/or AL/NL-only territory. The most intriguing name here to my eyes is Robinson Chirinos, assuming the Rangers finally hand him the starting job. He’s been productive as a backup/1-B to this point, and last season he hit .255/.360/.506 with 17 homers in 88 games. If you believe in the batting average boost he experienced in 2017, Welington Castillo is a fine option as well. The remainder is a collection of fading vets and guys for whom playing time is a question mark.

 

More MLB Rankings and ADP Analysis




More Recent Articles

 

Thursday Night Football Matchups Analysis - Week 15

What a tremendous upset to kick off the fantasy playoffs (in most league formats)! The Chicago Bears pulled off a tremendous upset of the NFC East leading Dallas Cowboys last Thursday, with Mitch Trubisky throwing for three scores and David Montgomery getting 20 touches in the win. Most of Dallas' playmakers returned solid days, but... Read More


Show Me The Money! Stashes That Could Win Your League

Success in the fantasy playoffs is all about planning ahead. Your bench is no longer a safe space for high floor players without much of a ceiling; they won't win you the big game. You need to look ahead and stash players with exploitable matchups in the weeks to come so that you don't get... Read More


Wide Receiver Snap Counts and Target Trends - Week 14 Analysis

Wide receivers are essential components toward your ultimate goal of securing league championships. If you are preparing for Week 15 matchups, an expanding collection of tools are available that can provide you with an extensive level of knowledge. Those results provide the foundation for this weekly statistical breakdown of the wide receiver position, which is designed... Read More


The King's Week 15 Lineup Rankings and Analysis (Premium Content)

Welcome back, RotoBallers! Below you will find my Week 15 fantasy football lineup rankings for the second round of your playoffs. The ranks are available in PPR, Half PPR, and Standard formats. They will be updated as needed, so make sure to check back for the latest versions, especially on the weekends. Skill Position analysis versus... Read More


Week 15 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More


Fantasy Football Booms, Busts - Kenny Golladay, Kenyan Drake, James White

If there was ever a week to have more booms than busts in your fantasy football lineup, it’s this week. The playoffs are either underway or about to start in fantasy football leagues across the nation and around the world. If you are lucky enough to be the proud owner of a playoff team, then... Read More


Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 15 Josh Jacobs (shoulder) is now expected to suit for Week 15. Adam Thielen (hamstring) is expected to return... Read More


Week 15 Stream Team - Free Agent and Bye-Week Streamers

Now that the playoffs are in full swing in most leagues and the final march for a championship has begun, streaming becomes a  necessary strategy. Knowing who to add and when to start them could be the ultimate difference-maker in a weekly matchup. Making the right streaming decisions could easily be the difference in winning... Read More


NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 15) - Targets and Avoids

Week 13 was a pretty chalky one with just three underdogs winning outright. The biggest upset was the Broncos absolutely annihilating the Houston Texans who were still celebrating their "Super Bowl" win against the Patriots the week prior. Three weeks remain and I'd be a fool to think there are hundreds who are reading this... Read More


The Tape Tells All - Robby Anderson Fantasy Outlook

Welcome to another edition of "The Tape Tells All," where I break down some film of an NFL's player performance and try to draw some fantasy football conclusions from that film. This week, I'm looking at New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson, who's shaken off a slow start to the 2019 season by going... Read More


Fantasy Football Risers, Fallers - Zach Ertz, Emmanuel Sanders, Robert Woods

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement.... Read More


Fantasy Football Disaster Recovery: Sit Your Studs?

Welcome to Disaster Recovery, where each week I'll examine why your studs played like duds. This isn't a place to find out why you should have sat a player for somebody else on your bench. Disaster Recovery is here to examine the guys who you didn't think twice about starting and to help you decide if you should... Read More


Week 15 Warning Signs: Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz, Julio Jones

You made the playoffs. Awesome. Now you have even won your first game. That is even better. But now what? There are many players, some of whom performed in the first round, who may not be so fortunate this week. Whether it is a bad matchup or injuries to key players around them, this could... Read More


WR/TE Leaderboards After The First Playoff Round - NFL Next Gen Stats

Things finally got serious. If you're here, it's only because one of two reasons: 1) you have followed the series all along and want to keep reading just so you don't feel bad with yourself, or 2) you won your first round of the fantasy playoffs and are still on the lookout for the smallest... Read More


Deeper League Free Agent Pickups for Week 15

The first week of the fantasy playoffs is in the books, and hopefully you're still writing another chapter in it. Week 14 was absolutely brutal from an injury perspective, with several big name players getting carted off the field and burying multitudes of fantasy teams in the process. Mike Evans, Calvin Ridley, Devante Parker, Alshon... Read More