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Updated Catcher Rankings - 2018 Fantasy Baseball


One final time before regular season baseball returns and our lives are, at last, complete, RotoBaller's staff writers are updating their 2018 fantasy baseball rankings. Today, we'll be taking a look at the shallowest position - catcher.

As usual, after the few elite options are off the board, it's probably best to leave filling this slot for the back half of the draft if you're playing a standard one-catcher format. You can find my analysis below, breaking down each tier of our staff's consensus catcher rankings.

Don't forget to bookmark our famous Rankings Wizard where you can see all of our rankings for mixed leagues, points leagues, AL/NL only leagues, dynasty leagues, top 2018 prospects, dynasty prospects and more. You will also find our tiers, auction values, player news, stats, projections and more. You can easily download everything - oh, and it's all free! We hope you enjoy...

Editor's Note: Get our 2020 MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our draft kit, premium rankings, player projections and outlooks, our top sleepers, dynasty and prospect rankings, 20 preseason and in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research and tools. Sign Up Now!

 

2018 Fantasy Baseball Tiered Rankings: Catcher (March)

Ranking Tier Player Position Auction $
1 1 Gary Sanchez C 26
2 2 Buster Posey C/1B 18
3 2 Willson Contreras C 15
4 2 Salvador Perez C 9
5 2 Evan Gattis C 9
6 3 J.T. Realmuto C 6
7 3 Yadier Molina C 3
8 3 Mike Zunino C 2
9 3 Yasmani Grandal C 2
10 3 Wilson Ramos C 2
11 4 Brian McCann C 2
12 4 Welington Castillo C 2
13 4 Jonathan Lucroy C 1
14 5 Robinson Chirinos C 1
15 5 Austin Barnes C 1
16 5 Austin Hedges C 1
17 5 Matt Wieters C 1
18 5 Alex Avila C 1
19 5 Russell Martin C 1
20 6 Jorge Alfaro C 1
21 6 Tom Murphy C 1
22 6 Cameron Rupp C 1
23 6 Travis d'Arnaud C 1
24 6 Stephen Vogt C 1
25 6 Tyler Flowers C 1
26 6 Francisco Mejia C 1
27 7 Yan Gomes C 1
28 7 Devin Mesoraco C 1
29 7 James McCann C 1
30 7 Bruce Maxwell C 1
31 7 Chris Iannetta C 1
32 7 Blake Swihart C/OF 1
33 7 Tucker Barnhart C 1
34 7 Christian Vazquez C 1
35 7 Chance Sisco C 1

 
 
Tier 1

Gary Sanchez has assumed the throne at the catcher position. He followed up his spectacular debut performance with a .278-33-79-90-2 line in 2017. The 25-year-old has everything going for him. Great lineup, in which he'll hit in a prime run production spot? Check. Fantastic home park? Check. Volume? Check - despite missing a few weeks with a biceps injury last year, Sanchez was one of just four catchers to log at least 525 plate appearances. He's being drafted in the second round in mixed leagues, and given the paucity of talent at catcher, it's hard to argue with that valuation.

Tier 2

12 home runs barely even register these days, but Buster Posey is still one of the best fantasy backstops in the game. The veteran hit .320 last year, making him the only catcher to hit above .290. He also played in 140 games for the sixth straight season, trailing only J.T. Realmuto at the position in 2017. If it's volume you're after, but you want a bit more pop, Salvador Perez is your man. He failed to clear 500 plate appearances for the first time last year, but he still blasted 27 homers (second among catchers behind Sanchez) and drove in 80 runs while hitting a respectable .268. Or you could go with Evan Gattis, who should offer similar production and appears to be penciled in as the primary Astros DH. Perhaps you'd prefer a guy with fewer miles on the odometer; if so, Willson Contreras is a worthy option. He hit .276 with 21 homers and 74 RBI despite missing a month with a hamstring injury.

Tier 3

This tier encompasses the rest of the top 10 at the position. As mentioned above, Realmuto led all catchers in games played a year ago. Over the past two seasons, he’s hit .290, scored 128 runs, and stolen 20 bases, putting him in the top-five at the position in all three categories. He’s also avoided being a complete zero in HR and RBI. However, the Marlins’ talent purge is likely to take a chunk out of his value in 2018. Yadier Molina hasn’t hit below .270 this decade, and last season’s 18 home runs, 82 RBI, and nine (!) stolen bases were among the leaders at the position. It is, however, tough to bet on a repeat of this performance. After all, he’ll be 36 this year, and those homer and steal totals were both higher than his three previous seasons combined. Mike Zunino finally stuck at the major-league level for a full season, and finished third among catchers with 25 home runs. He also ranked in the top seven at the position in runs scored and RBI. That’s the good news. The bad news is that even with a .355 BABIP, he hit just .251 thanks to an absurd 36.8% strikeout rate. Only three hitters with at least 400 plate appearances made less contact than Zunino did. Yasmani Grandal still seems to be the primary option behind the plate for the Dodgers, and ranks in the top five among catchers in homers (49) and RBI (130) over the past two seasons. He's authored second-half swoons in each of the last two years, though, and you'll have to deal with a lousy batting average. Wilson Ramos actually played pretty great in the final two months of 2017: .296/.324/.496 with eight homers and 35 R+RBI in 39 games. It’s not hard to imagine him turning in a full season on that level if he can stay healthy, but that's always been his problem.

Tier 4

Brian McCann has been a steady contributor for over a decade, but he’s also entering his age-34 season with more question marks than usual. Last season was the first time he failed to play in 100 games since becoming a full-time player. He’s hit above .242 just once in the last six years, and his 18 homers in 2017 broke a streak of nine straight seasons with at least 20. McCann’s also likely to find himself batting eighth or ninth most of the year, which will keep his run production suppressed even in the Astros’ potent lineup. Despite playing in only 96 games last season, Welington Castillo set career highs in home runs (20), runs scored (44), and batting average (.282). He should get the bulk of starts behind the plate for the White Sox. Betting on another .280 average is probably a bad idea given his contact issues and lack of foot speed, but Castillo is among the better catchers available in the middle-to-late rounds. As for Jonathan Lucroy, he finally has a team, but he's also been a total bust in two of the last three years and is entering his age-32 season. If a deadline trade to Colorado couldn't help him find his vanished power, how's Oakland going to work out?

Tier 5

The most (only?) interesting names in this group are the top two.  Robinson Chirinos has been solid in a timeshare over the last few years, and in 2017 he hit a career-high 17 homers and totaled 84 R+RBI in just 88 games while batting a passable .255. Over the last four seasons, Chirinos is a top-5 catcher by OPS (minimum 1,000 plate appearances). Now that he's finally the starter in Texas, he could be a bargain. If Austin Barnes ends up with the lion’s share of the playing time behind the plate in L.A., you can go ahead and bump him up this list substantially. The profile is great – essentially J.T. Realmuto with more walks - and he can credibly play second base as well. The other options here are, uh, not great. Alex Avila could be okay, if you buy the age-30 breakout. But Austin Hedges hit .214, Russell Martin is 8,000 years old, and Matt Wieters is trash.

Tier 6

Jorge Alfaro didn’t exactly light the world on fire at Triple-A last year, with just seven homers, a .649 OPS, and a strikeout rate north of 30 percent. He's out of minor league options, though, so he's virtually assured of playing time. The power is very real, I’m just not confident that he’ll get to it in games often enough to be a starter in standard mixed leagues. Tom Murphy, pretty much the same deal. Francisco Meija would be a lot more interesting if we knew he was going to play much. I'd bet all the money in my wallet that Travis d'Arnaud will miss at least two months of the season.

Tier 7

Hey, Chris Iannetta is still hanging around! How about that? Devin Mesoraco should've been a star, but his body just keeps betraying him. Keep an eye on Chance Sisco's playing time; he'll become interesting if the Orioles ever realize how terrible Caleb Joseph is.

 

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