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2018 Catchers - Early Points League Rankings and Tiers

If you play in a head-to-head points league, or season long format, you already know how difficult it can be to find fantasy analysis tailored to the format. Not only are the traditional rotisserie and head-to-head arrangements more popular, but the very nature of points leagues makes them difficult to cover in a general sense because they carry significantly more variance in terms of settings.

Niche audience or no, there are still plenty of folks out there who love the format, and y’all deserve help from the experts just as much as those who stick to roto or H2H. That’s why we’re excited to unveil the first round of RotoBaller’s 2018 fantasy baseball points league rankings for catcher and the month of January.

This round of rankings come to you courtesy of Nick Mariano, Chris Zolli, Bill Dubiel and myself, Kyle Richardson. Be sure to check the rest of our points league rankings and analysis columns on our 2018 fantasy baseball rankings homepage. We have tiers, auction values, stats and player news for mixed leagues, dynasty leagues, 2018 prospects and more.

 

2018 Fantasy Baseball Points League Rankings: Catcher (January)

Ranking Tier Player Name Pos Nick Bill Chris Kyle R.
1 1 Gary Sanchez C 48 41 34 34
2 1 Buster Posey C/1B 77 71 48 62
3 2 Willson Contreras C 120 109 111 98
4 2 Salvador Perez C 114 137 142 130
5 3 Evan Gattis C 135 159 167 154
6 3 J.T. Realmuto C 213 149 165 163
7 3 Yadier Molina C 182 209 206 193
8 3 Yasmani Grandal C 163 228 227 212
9 3 Mike Zunino C 231 241 235 222
10 4 Brian McCann C 234 237 244 248
11 4 Welington Castillo C 193 279 278 265
12 4 Jonathan Lucroy C 264 256 263 259
13 5 Wilson Ramos C 310 250 243 274
14 5 Russell Martin C 215 305 308 283
15 5 Robinson Chirinos C 326 286 291 302
16 5 Austin Barnes C 307 327 321 320
17 5 Austin Hedges C 314 324 328 326
18 6 Jorge Alfaro C 329 330 324 316
19 6 Tom Murphy C 321 332 330 318
20 6 Matt Wieters C 277 360 352 334
21 6 Cameron Rupp C 317 #N/A 364 347
22 6 Travis d'Arnaud C 318 339 372 350
23 6 Devin Mesoraco C 328 #N/A 371 356
24 6 Stephen Vogt C 293 398 380 360
25 6 Yan Gomes C 332 394 391 378
26 6 Blake Swihart C/OF 401 #N/A 446 438

 
 
Tier 1

It’s interesting to note that I am the only one who has three catchers ranked in the top 100 this season. Catcher is typically a position that owners will wait on. If you play in a league that locks rosters at the beginning of the week, you can set in stone that you will miss two to three games from the position. There are only three catchers I would be willing to pay up for this year.

Gary Sanchez, Buster Posey and Willson Contreras all offer me a bat with tremendous upside. Sanchez and Contreras both missed time with injuries last year and didn’t reach 125 games. If both are healthy for the entire 2018 season, they should be among the leaders in games caught. The other thing Sanchez, Contreras and Posey have in common is their team’s willingness to play them in different positions. The Giants have been playing Posey at first base for a couple years now, Sanchez can move to DH and Contreras logged games at third base, outfield and first base in 2017. Any catcher that offers the flexibility to play other positions offers the upside of staying in your lineup more often.

Salvador Perez continues to finish as a top catching option due to his volume of playing time. Until last season, Perez had played at least 138 games a season since 2013. Even though he hit .268 last season, his highest mark since 2013, all the wear and tear could be coming into play soon. I don’t view him as a tier 1 catcher anymore and would hate to get caught drafting him too high if he breaks down.

 

Tier 2

Tier 2 includes my favorite sleeper at the position for 2018, Mike Zunino. The former third overall pick is only 26 years old and finally seemed to be figuring things out at the end of last season. He was rushed through the minors fairly quickly due to his advanced approach at the plate, but hasn’t found that same success hitting against major league pitching. 2018 could finally be the year he makes the jump.

When Evan Gattis was traded to the Astros before the 2015 season, it was supposed to be the end of his catcher eligibility. The last two seasons though, Gattis has caught just enough to keep his eligibility. He will DH more than he catches, which will allow him to be in your lineup more often than not.

With the news of Christian Yelich heading to Milwaukee, it seems apparent that J.T. Realmuto will be the next to go. Until that happens, I am not going to recommend spending to get him. The only reason I have kept him this high in my rankings is because I think he does move to a better team before the season starts. Keep your fingers crossed.

Yadier Molina and Brian McCann are both aging veterans that come with as much risk as reward. Yasami Grandal has the potential to offer top power at the position, but he could lose out on playing time to Austin Barnes, who will come up in the next tier.

Welington Castillo offered great numbers while with the Orioles last season and will now move to the White Sox. Chicago could be a sneaky team this year depending on their young player’s progression, and Castillo could offer you another under the radar season.

 

Tier 3

Jonathan Lucroy still awaits a contract and so we wait. Lucroy can hit, but had a down 2017. He is a great buy-low option depending on his landing spot. A knee injury ruined what could have been a lucrative offseason for Wilson Ramos last year. He wasn’t healthy to start 2017 and still provided decent numbers for those who waited. As he enters 2018 healthy, expect a better turnout. He’s only hit .300 and topped 20 home runs once in his career, but he could offer great upside at this point in the draft.

Russell Martin also suffered from a down 2017, but his upside of 20 plus home runs is too much to pass up if you miss out on the top options at the position. Robinson Chirinos set a career high with 17 home runs last year and is first in line for backstop duties in Texas this year.

For Austin Barnes, see above. He will split time behind the plate with Grandal but could play some second base as well. Barnes will offer a better average and OBP but not much in terms of power.

 

Tier 4

Austin Hedges is an elite defensive catcher, but his bat has not developed much yet. He may always be a light hitting catcher but with some power. He was tied for eighth amongst catchers with 18 home runs last season.

Jorge Alfaro was one of the top catching prospect in the game before getting a shot last year. In only 235 at bats he hit .318 and five home runs. Alfaro could be hitting in the middle of a much improved Phillies lineup, and could be a couple of tiers higher by the end of the season. Cameron Rupp remains on this list for now, but only because Alfaro hasn’t had much opportunity in the majors. As soon as Alfaro takes over the catching duties full time, Rupp falls out of my rankings. Keep an eye on this.

Any hitter at Coors field has tremendous upside, and that includes Tom Murphy. I was really high on Murphy heading into last season but injuries derailed that. The good news is that no other Rockies catchers did enough to solidify themselves as the top option, so Murphy should get the opportunity again.

We all have that player who we continue to take hoping they breakout, only to be let down time after time. That was Matt Wieters until last year for me. There is always hope, but don’t have that much hope.

The problem with Travis d’Arnaud has always been health. If he could stay healthy, his bat may finally come around. He has never played in more than 112 games in a season.

Tucker Barnhart may be the starting catcher for the Cincinnati Reds to open the season, but I am holding out hope that Devin Mesoraco takes the job back from him. During his last healthy season, Mesoraco .273 with 25 home runs and 80 RBIs. There had been some talk of moving him to the outfield to help with the wear and tear.

 

Tier 5

After deals to bring in Yelich and Lorenzo Cain, the Brewers appear headed for a competitive season, if the pitching staff holds up. If Stephen Vogt can work his way into the lineup full time, he will have plenty of offense around him to help. He may not be a guy I am interested in drafting, but I will be keeping an eye on him.

Yan Gomes has all but reached fantasy irrelevancy at this point. The only Indians catcher I am interested in is Francisco Mejia, but he won’t show up till after the super two deadline.

I am rooting for Blake Swihart to take the lead catching duties, but the Red Sox have three catchers that could take reps. It’s a situation worth monitoring until one separates himself.

 

More MLB Rankings and ADP Analysis




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