Updated May Rankings and Tiers: Catchers

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The time for chalking things up to “just April shenanigans” has come and gone, and we here at RotoBaller felt that it was time for a rankings update with roughly 20 percent of the season in the books. This round features rankings from myself and my Reddit-famous brochacho Kyle Bishop, though it should be noted that we entered these at the beginning of May so recent DL stints like Russell Martin and Welington Castillo should weigh their stock down a bit.

As is tradition, we’re going to kick things off with a look-in at catcher -- the position without a representative in the top-125. The bar is, uh, pretty low here. Alex Avila is currently the No. 6 catcher thanks to hitting four early homers. Robinson Chirinos is the C9 after five early dingers. It may not be April anymore, but you still need to keep two feet on the ground.

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2017 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Catchers (May Updates)

Ranking Tier Player Position Kyle Nick Composite
1 1 Kyle Schwarber C/OF 42 77 59.5
2 1 Buster Posey C 55 67 61
3 1 Jonathan Lucroy C 57 68 62.5
4 1 Gary Sanchez C 61 71 66
5 2 Yasmani Grandal C 121 116 118.5
6 2 J.T. Realmuto C 131 155 143
7 2 Salvador Perez C 141 152 146.5
8 2 Russell Martin C 166 165 165.5
9 2 Willson Contreras C 120 222 171
10 2 Brian McCann C 126 265 195.5
11 2 Evan Gattis C 232 161 196.5
12 2 Austin Hedges C 210 253 231.5
13 2 Welington Castillo C 288 201 244.5
14 2 Matt Wieters C 295 219 257
15 3 Travis d'Arnaud C 260 289 274.5
16 3 Yadier Molina C 284 300 292
17 3 Stephen Vogt C #N/A 317 317
18 3 Tom Murphy C #N/A 324 324
19 3 Jett Bandy C #N/A 351 351
20 4 Cameron Rupp C #N/A 382 382
21 4 Wilson Ramos C #N/A 391 391
22 4 Tyler Flowers C #N/A 399 399
23 4 Francisco Cervelli C #N/A 405 405
24 4 James McCann C #N/A 407 407
25 5 Mike Zunino C #N/A 419 419
26 5 Yan Gomes C #N/A 421 421
27 5 Tony Wolters C #N/A 440 440
28 5 Sandy Leon C #N/A 466 466
29 5 Devin Mesoraco C #N/A 480 480
30 5 Jason Castro C #N/A 499 499

 

Catcher Rankings Analysis: May

You’ll all notice that our top tier is the same as our preseason rankings, except we’re quite split on Kyle Schwarber. He’s done nothing to assuage my concerns that I expressed here in the preseason and I’d take any of the others over him. Proceed at your own risk with that lofty 29.5 percent strikeout rate. And yes, we realize Schwarbs doesn't have C eligibility in all formats but we need to cover our bases here. You know, something Schwarbs needs to do more of to return any profits to those who spent a high draft pick on him.

Schwarber’s teammate Willson Contreras has also slipped from No. 5 to No. 9 thanks to a poor .216/.290/.340 triple slash through 30 games. His swinging-strike rate is up two ticks to 15.9 percent, which has led to a terrible 28 percent K-rate. The Cubs are struggling to recapture their magic from ’16, but these two seem to be bearing the brunt of it.

J.T. Realmuto goes from No. 9 to No. 6 here as he’s shown that 2016’s strong average is no fluke by hitting .310 so far. He’s on pace for roughly 10-12 homers and ~60 runs and RBI, though it is a bit concerning that he’s attempted just one steal (and been caught doing so). The point was that if he hit .284 like in the second half of ’16 to open this season then we’d be less enthusiastic, but this will do.

Austin Hedges shot up from No. 17 to No. 12 thanks to a little adjustment with his hands during his swing that yielded some serious pop -- six dingers from April 15-24 -- but sadly he’s gone just 2-for-20 in May thus far. Yes, one of those two hits was a long ball. He’s sort of hitting like teammate Ryan Schimpf, with a fly-ball heavy diet (45.2 percent), which leads to the poor .167 BABIP but healthy pop. If he hits 25-30 homers then he can claw at .200 for all I care.

Matt Wieters also climbs toward the top-12, and honestly, I should’ve put him higher (though he is my C11 here). He’s certainly worth starting in all formats due to his healthy .289 average, four homers and 15 RBIs in 110 plate appearances. He’s also sporting a career-high 10.9 percent walk rate and a .186 ISO that harkens back to his 20-plus homer days. Mix in a potent Washington lineup around him and you’ve got some rare profits at C in 2017.

James McCann sneaks his way above the two-catcher cutoff here as his profile has run eerily similar to Hedges’ here. Like Hedges, McCann has seven homers thanks to a 45.3 fly-ball rate but also a lowly .164 average thanks to a .109 BABIP. His OBP is actually higher than it was in ’16 thanks to a 14 percent walk rate and some of the HR/FB rate spike is justified by a six-percent rise in hard-hit rate. He’ll likely end up with around 20 homers, but even if he just hits .220 the rest of the way then deep-leaguers should find a place for him.

Also, a quick shoutout for Yan Gomes who is quietly 8-for-18 with a homer to kick off May, but hitting .176 in April after a horrendous 2016 campaign means we'll need to see a lot more from him to get that trust back.

 

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