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Welcome back, RotoBallers. Over the next few days, I'll be breaking down my top impact prospects for fantasy baseball by position. Today I'm bringing you my top 10 catcher prospect rankings - rookies that have the best chance to make fantasy baseball impacts for the 2018 season.

Catcher is a vital spot for owners in redraft leagues. There are not many out there like Gary Sanchez and Buster Posey, so owners are always looking for the next up-and-coming catcher to have an impact in redraft leagues. There does not appear to be a next Posey or Sanchez coming up, but no one really expected Sanchez to be as good as he was and there are still solid catching prospects out there for fantasy owners to keep an eye on. Some with low expectations could also amount to much more than they were originally projected to produce.

Francisco Mejia is the closest thing to an elite catching prospect, but he might not have the playing time in 2018. Jorge Alfaro will have the playing time in 2018, but question marks around his plate discipline could eventually force him to go back to the minors. Still, the owners that can jump on these guys early and ride the next wave of catching talent will be better off for it given the shallow major-league depth. So without any further ado, here are my top 10 catching prospects for 2018.

Editor's Note: Stay on top of our MLB off-season news and fantasy analysis all year round. Read our daily fantasy columns about MLB prospects, dynasty outlooks, player outlooks and much more. It's always fantasy baseball season here. Let's Go!

 

Top Catcher Prospects for 2018 Fantasy Baseball

To be clear, this list is not the top prospects in baseball. This is a list of the top prospects who are likely going to rise to the major leagues and provide fantasy baseball value this season.

 
1. Jorge Alfaro (PHI, MLB)
Stats: 114 PA, .318/.360/.514, 5 HR, 0 SB, 2.6% BB%, 28.9% K%
ETA: Opening Day
For better or worse, it appears Alfaro is going to start as the catcher in Philadelphia in 2018. The slugging catcher has always produced impressive power numbers, but strikeouts and poor patience at the plate have continuously slowed his development and prevented him from taking the next step offensively. His Major League numbers in 2017 were impressive, but a .420 BABIP and abysmal 0.09 BB/K ratio hints at major regression to come. There is still hope Alfaro can produce. He is solid defensively behind the plate and he will hit for power, which will prove valuable to owners in 14-team leagues. The difference between Alfaro becoming a top-notch catcher for fantasy and not will come down to the patience. For now, owners will have to wait and see what he does with his time.

2. Francisco Mejia (CLE, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 383 PA, .297/.346/.490, 14 HR, 7 SB, 6.3% BB%, 13.8% K%
ETA: June
If this list was based purely on talent, Mejia would be at the top, hands down. His bat is very special, leading some evaluators to believe he could compete for batting titles down the road with the chance to hit 20 home runs per season. However, Mejia has work to do defensively and has not played in Triple-A yet, the level he will likely start at in 2018. With both Roberto Perez and Yan Gomes ahead of him on the catching depth chart, Mejia has an uphill battle for playing time. It should not be put past him that he will eventually fight his way to the majors and force a change, but given that Alfaro is slated to be a starter in 2018, Mejia has to sit at second in my rankings. Should Mejia appear in a position to take starting duties behind the dish, however, he should immediately be picked up in all leagues.

3. Chance Sisco (BAL, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 388 PA, .267/.340/.395, 7 HR, 2 SB, 8.2% BB%, 25.5% K%
ETA: Opening Day
With Wellington Castillo out of Baltimore, the Orioles could be about to begin their youth movement by placing Sisco into the starting lineup. He will battle this spring with Caleb Joseph for the starting catching spot, and has a decent shot to win it. Sisco is no where near the same caliber defender Joseph is, but his bat has plenty more upside, appearing to be a potential high-average hitter with decent pop. Sisco has an all-fields approach and knows how to take a walk, which should help him hit well in Spring Training and make his case for the starting gig. Even if he loses it, Sisco would begin 2018 as the backup and could eventually beat out Joseph for starting time. The lack of home-run pop limits the excitement around Sisco, but he could be a solid add for owners in 14-team leagues or better if he emerges as the starter.

4. Mitch Garver (MIN, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 372 PA, .291/.387/.541, 17 HR, 2 SB, 13.4% BB%, 22.8% K%
ETA: Opening Day
Garver has seemingly always hit in the minors, and only now in his age-27 season does it look like he will finally have a major-league role. Garver crushed Triple-A pitching in 2017, particularly left-handed pitchers and is set to begin the year splitting time with Jason Castro behind the dish in Minnesota. He struggles at times against right-handed pitchers, which could keep him from fully taking over the starting job at catcher, but he has the chance to make the most of nearly every start he makes. He could be a reliable DFS play and a solid AL-only, deep-league add.

5. Carson Kelly (STL, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 280 PA, .283/.375/.459, 10 HR, 0 SB, 11.8% BB%, 14.3% K%
ETA: Opening Day
Kelly has shown nearly in each of the past two seasons that he has what it takes to be a starting catcher in the majors. The only problem is that he is blocked by Yadier Molina in St. Louis. Molina might be 35 years old, but he has appeared in 136-plus games in all but one of his past nine seasons and turned in another great 2017 season. Kelly, on the other hand, has struggled in his limited time in the majors. Still, evaluators are convinced Kelly is the next man up in St. Louis, and with age creeping up on Molina, Kelly should be ready to start at any point. Kelly has shown he is more than capable defensively and that he should hit for a decent average thanks to a plus-hit tool and great plate discipline. He also seems to be starting to tap into some of his raw power. Kelly will likely begin 2018 as Molina’s backup, at least giving him playing time during the season. He is a solid stash in deep leagues in the event he slides into the starting role.

6. Tom Murphy (COL, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 154 PA, .255/.312/.426, 4 HR, 0 SB, 5.8% BB%, 36.4% K%
ETA: Opening Day
Everyone begins the year with plenty of optimism for Murphy. He’s a catcher with a ton of power and plays in Coors Field. Sounds great, right? The problem is, he just does not make enough contact. He typically strikes out at least 25 percent of the time and very often over 30 percent. Murphy has a shot to begin the year as the backup catcher in Colorado, and if he can somehow make enough contact, he could find a way to displace the soon-to-be-35-year-old Chris Iannetta behind the plate. But that’s a very big ‘if.’ He could be extremely valuable and productive in 14-team leagues or shallower. He also could have another season of lost hope.

7. Victor Caratini (CHC, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 326 PA, .342/.393/.598, 10 HR, 1 SB, 8.3% BB%, 14.7% K%
ETA: Opening Day
Pretty much all Caratini does is hit, hit and hit some more. He crushed Triple-A pitching in 2017, improving across the board from a solid 2016 season at Double-A. His defense is a question mark with many believing his future home is at first base. But the switch-hitter has a shot to open the 2018 season as the backup catcher to Willson Contreras and could find ways to squeeze into the lineup even on days Contreras is starting. Caratini’s role will be limited in 2018, but any playing time could prove valuable to owners in deep/NL-only leagues because of his ability to hit.

8. Danny Jansen (TOR, AAA)
Stats: (from AA) 210 PA, .291/.378/.419, 2 HR, 1 SB, 10.5% BB%, 9.0% K%
ETA: July
Jansen’s name has flown up prospect lists after putting together a stellar 2017 in which he walked well more than he struck out and flashed his plus hit tool. He did not show much in the power department, but with a bat like his, he could hit for a high enough average to make up for that to some extent. The defense is only average, but it is good enough to keep him behind the plate, alleviate any potential concerns for owners down the road. Russell Martin remains firmly entrenched in the starting catching spot in Toronto despite a down year, but it is not implausible that Jansen could force his way into some playing time on a rebuilding Blue Jays team. If he does reach the majors, he could be a solid add in deep/AL-only leagues or better if he lands consistent playing time.

9. Sean Murphy (OAK, AA)
Stats: 217 PA, .209/.288/.309, 4 HR, 0 SB, 9.7% BB%, 15.7% K%
ETA: July
Known as a stellar defensive catcher and a decent power hitter, Murphy is the top catching prospect for the Oakland Athletics and should be able to force his way onto the roster without much effort. The A’s are rebuilding and need a young catcher to take over, and Murphy should be that guy. He struggled to hit for a decent average, but part of that was due to a poor BABIP of .232 at Double-A. He struck out only 15.7 percent of the time and walked at a decent rate. His glove will get him to the majors, but scouts believe he will develop enough power in his bat to become a 20-homer threat, making him a potentially valuable depth piece in deep/AL-only leagues.

10. Garrett Stubbs (HOU, AAA)
Stats: 91 PA, .221/.341/.286, 0 HR, 3 SB, 12.1% BB%, 16.5% K%
ETA: July
There is not a ton to be excited about with Stubbs. He is a short catcher, who has faced questions as to whether he can hold down the position throughout his professional career. He has typically been a solid hitter, but had a down year offensively in 2017. He will not hit for too much power, but could add the occasional stolen base. If all goes well for him, he could post a .270-plus batting average. He is not going to snag a starting job this year unless there are several injuries, leaving him as a very deep/AL-only add if he is promoted.

 

More 2018 MLB Prospects Analysis





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