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Midseason Fantasy Baseball Tiered Rankings: Catcher (C)


Today we're looking at the midseason catcher rankings for fantasy baseball. Catcher has been pretty thin this year, but it's still a position we need to address.

Finding offensive production from your catchers can be a difference make, so let's analyze what we can expect moving forward.

Editor's Note: You can check out all of RotoBaller’s 2015 fantasy baseball midseason rankings and analysis, which has been updated over the past few days.

More rankings: Starting Pitchers (Part 1)Starting Pitchers (Part 2)First Base (1B)Second Base (2B)Third Base (3B)Shortstop (SS)Outfield (Part 1)Outfield (Part 2)Relief Pitchers (RP)

 

Tier 1 - Elite

1) Buster Posey
2) Stephen Vogt
3) Brian McCann
4) Russell Martin
5) Jonathan Lucroy

Nobody could have seen a Stephen Vogt breakout coming, but he’s been able to sustain his production throughout the first half, hitting .287 with 14 HRs, 43 runs scored and 56 RBIs. The only real concern with Vogt is whether or not he can sustain that level of production, or anything even close to it. The main obstacle will be his health, as he always seems to have a sore body part each week. He’ll likely see more time as a DH in the second half to keep him fresh, which should allow him to stay hot for a while longer.

Brian McCann has been resurgent in 2015, finally playing like the perennial All-Star the Yankees were hoping for when they signed him for big money last season. His 55 RBIs rank him third among all catchers, and he should easily approach 25 homers come September. He’s once again a top fantasy backstop, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Jonathan Lucroy began the season on the disabled list, so obviously he doesn’t have the counting stats of a top-tier catcher—yet. He’s coming into the All-Star Break hot though, hitting .300 with five RBIs and 12 runs scored in his last 15 games. I like his chances to return to the fantasy elite in the second half, and could still finish as a top 10 catcher come season’s end.

 

Tier 2 - Excellent

6) Evan Gattis
7) Yasmani Grandal
8) Salvador Perez
9) Nick Hundley
10) Derek Norris
11) Matt Wieters

Yasmani Grandal has been an absolute force over the last month and a half, and has been an important part of the Dodgers’ success. He’s currently slashing .282/.401/.526 on the season, which is outstanding for a catcher. I don’t see any reason why this can’t continue as he hits in the middle of a potent Dodgers lineup. He should have no trouble finishing with 70 RBIs and 25 homers, and if he can keep his batting average up he may very well be a top five catcher by the end of the season.

Nick Hundley has also pleasantly surprised many fantasy owners in 2015, especially considering he was not even projected to be the starting catcher over Wilin Rosario coming into the season. He has taken the job and run with it, benefitting of course from playing his home games at Coors Field. Over 236 at-bats, he’s hitting .309 with 31 runs scored and 30 RBIs, with six homers and three steals to boot. His .370 BABIP indicates his average likely won’t remain that high, but even if he keeps it above .270 he should provide enough value for top ten fantasy production.

 

Tier 3 - Above Average

12) Wilson Ramos
13) Yadier Molina
14) Yan Gomes
15) Francisco Cervelli
16) J.T. Realmuto
17) A.J. Pierzynski
18) Miguel Montero

Francisco—that’s fun to say. The former Yankee backup backstop has been a more than capable fill-in for Russell Martin in 2015, hitting .294 with 27 runs scored and 30 RBIs. He’s an above-average catcher who has helped the Pirates pitching staff become one of the most consistent in the league, and the fact that he’s chipping in at the dish is a big part of why the Pirates enter the All-Star Break with one of the best records in baseball. His average is likely to go down, but Francisco Cervelli as a top 15 fantasy catcher? Why not!

Miguel Montero has had an up-and-down season at the plate, but when you look at his numbers overall there is definitely some fantasy value there. His .230 batting average is pretty typical for a catcher, but the ten homers have been a nice surprise. With only 32 RBIs and 19 runs scored, his counting stats aren’t as high or as great as one would hope, but if he continues to hit in the middle of a dangerous Cubs lineup I expect those numbers to improve. 20 homers and 75 RBIs at the end of the season is very realistic.

 

Tier 4 - Mid-Range

19) Wilin Rosario
20) James McCann
21) Wellington Castillo
22) Travis D’Arnaud
23) Mike Zunino
24) Robinson Chirinos
25) Tyler Flowers

I would love to rank Travis D’Arnaud higher based on his talent level, but my dude just can’t seem to stay healthy. A hyperextended elbow is the most recent issue, and unfortunately D’Arnaud doesn’t have a timetable for his return. He could provide some nice fantasy value towards the end of the fantasy season however, so don’t write him off completely.

Mike Zunino would likely not be starting if there was anyone to challenge him for the job, but as it stands he appears locked-in as the Mariners everyday catcher. The only real value he has is in the power department, as his nine home runs are in the higher level for a catcher. However, his .160 batting average and 100 (!) strikeouts over 250 at-bats make it hard to rank him even this high. The only thing keeping him out of the bottom of the list is his raw potential.

 

Tier 5 - Low-End

26) Brayan Pena
27) Kurt Suzuki
28) Carlos Ruiz
29) Rene Rivera
30) Chris Iannetta
31) Ryan Hanigan

Veteran Brayan Pena may not be long for this list, as he receives regular rest due to his age. Tucker Barnhart plays more and more often these days, and Pena only has 205 at-bats on the season. Still, he’s hitting .283 and only has 18 strikeouts on the season, so he’s not without value. He shouldn’t be rostered in anything but two-catcher leagues.

Ryan Hanigan is also on the chopping block, as prospect Blake Swihart is waiting in the wings. The Red Sox are in no hurry to turn full-time duties over to the greenhorn backstop though, so Hanigan should hang around for at least a few more weeks. His stats are nothing special, but if you need an injury fill-in he’s serviceable, not unlike the rest of the guys in this tier.

 

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