Fantasy Tier Rankings: Catcher

Posted by Noah Wright on

By: Noah Wright


Among all the positions in baseball, catcher is the shallowest position in baseball. When it comes to fantasy, once the first tier and second tier of catchers go, you’re left with a bunch of defensive limited catcher who won’t help too much offensively.

Tier 1:

1.) J.T. Realmuto:

The new Philly catcher is nearly a 5 tool play. Last season, J.T. batted .277/.340/.484 with 21 home runs, and 74 RBI’s. He also led catchers in wRC+ at 126. He also led all catchers in runs scored. Realmuto aslo has speed with a 28.6 feet/second average sprint speed. That’s faster than guys like Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, and Jose Altuve just to name a few. Plus with Realmuto moving to a very hitter friendly park, Citizens Bank Park, expect Realmuto’s stats to go up from what they were last year.

2.) Wilson Ramos:

Ramos is one of the best hitting catchers in the MLB currently. Last season, Ramos batted a very strong .306/.357/.487 in 416 plate appearances. The slugging back-stop also reached the double digit home run mark with 15 last season. The Mets’ catcher will likely reproduce similar numbers to last season and 2016 given when he is healthy, which is a risk. Plus given the line-up that surrounds him, he’ll likely collect more RBI’s next season.

3.) Buster Posey:

Posey had a rough 2018. It was his worst offensive season in a while with only a .284 average and .741 OPS. His slugging % also dropped below .400 for the first time in his career where he played in more than 100 games. However Posey still remains as a high upside catcher. After surgery, he’ll likely bounce back and play 120-130 games, increase his home run total back to around 12-15, and increase his batting average.

Tier 2:

1.) Gary Sanchez:

Had it not been for a rough 2018 season, Sanchez would probably have been in the top tier of catchers. However, his .697 OPS and .186 BA dropped him to tier 2. Though he was injured for nearly half of 2018, Sanchez can still provide good pop, as he hit 18 home runs in only 374 PA’s. If healthy, Sanchez can rival 40 home runs, a .280 average, and .875 OPS.

2.) Wilson Contreras:

The Cubs catcher had a down year in 2018. His OPS dropped to .730, and he saw an overall dip in power and BA. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider Contreras. Between 2016-2017, the right handed batter put up a .278/.356/.494 batting line and averaged about 21 home runs per season.

3.) Yasmani Grandal:

Yaz Grandal is another high level offensive catcher. Grandal put up another 20+ home run campaign. Plus, the switch hitter boosted his OBP from .308 in 2017 to .349 in 2018. Grandal also isn’t one with a large injury history, so you can rely on him to give you 450-500 plate appearances per season. However, just be aware he is a streaky hitter. He can go from the best catcher in the league one month, back down to a mid-to-lower tier catcher the next month, but then back to a top 5 catcher the third month.

  1. ) Willson Contreras:

The Cubs catcher had a down year in 2018. His OPS dropped to .730, and he saw an overall dip in power and BA. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider Contreras. Between 2016-2017, the right handed batter put up a .278/.356/.494 batting line and averaged about 21 home runs per season.

Tier 3:

1.) Yadier Molina:

Molina’s overall offensive production has been dwindling the past few seasons, but he’s seemed to have a rejuvenated power surge. Last season, the Cardinal legend blasted 20 home runs in 503 plate appearances. His overall .750 OPS isn’t bad for a catcher either. However, just be aware of his advancing age. Molina will be entering his age 36 season, making him a slight risk in fantasy.

2.) Francisco Cervelli:

Cervelli will never bring much power into a line-up, but he is a very useful catcher. Offensively, you’ll probably see a slight dip in power as he blasted a career high 12 home runs and had a career high .431 slugging %. However in the past 6 seasons he’s played in, his OBP has only reached below .370 once. Him being able to draw a walk is valuable. Next season will probably look a lot like 2016 combined with his 2018 season, a .260 BA to go along with an OBP at or above .370 and slugging % at .400. However I would suggest drafting a secondary catcher option if you pick Cervelli as last season was the first season he played in 100+ games since 2015.

3.) Omar Narvaez:

The former White Sox catcher is coming off a solid season in where he posted a good .794 OPS and .275 BA. Now on the Mariners, Narvaez will likely continue to produce similar numbers to 2018, as T-Mobile park is not very much more pitcher friendly than Guaranteed Rate Field.

4.) Kurt Suzuki:

Kurt Suzuki’s past 2 seasons in a Brave uniform has produced overall good results. He’s  hit double digits in home runs in back to back seasons, and has had 50 home runs in each of the last 2 years. Plus, Suzuki has kept a decent average from year to year since coming to Atlanta. His move from Suntrust to Nationals park should not impact him too much as he did have good home and away splits in 2017, and has played in Nationals park before, and multiple times with the Braves.

5.) Robinson Chirinos:

Chirinos is one of the few offensive first catchers in the MLB. The past 2 seasons have seen him put up decent OBP and slugging numbers for a catcher. In a line-up where he’ll bat below guys like Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, Tyler White, George Springer, Michael Brantley, Chirinos will likely see a lot of RBI chances. Though he will be moving away from Arlington, one of the most hitter friendly environments in baseball.

Tier 4:

1.) Jorge Alfaro:

Alfaro is coming of a slightly disappointing rookie season. However an overall .731 OPS and 10 home runs isn’t horrible for a catcher. While it is underwhelming, Alfaro showed some decent talent with his bat in the minors when he was a top 50 prospect. Plus, he even flashed some of that pop in his 114 PA sample size back in 2017 when he had a .514 slugging %. It might be worth taking a flyer on Alfaro in the later rounds.

2.) Mike Zunino:

Drafting Zunino comes with some risk. While he will give you about 20+ home runs his plate discipline skills have been all over the place the last few years. He could either give you a .250/.330 BA/OBP line, or a .200/.250 BA/OBP line. So take caution with Zunino.

3.) Yan Gomes:

Last season was Gomes’ best season since 2014. Overall, he finished with a solid .266/.313/.449. A .762 OPS is solid output for a catcher, but this is following 3 straight seasons of underperformance and injury plagued seasons. Between 2015 and 2017, Gomes batted a weak .215/.266/.377. Also it’s not like Gomes being traded to the Nationals means he goes from a pitcher friendly park to a hitter friendly park.

4.) Salvador Perez:

Perez is kind of like Mike Zunino, minus the chance of a good OBP. Sure Salvy will give you about 25 home runs and 75+ RBI’s, but he’s never drawn 25 walks in a single season. Plus he’s not going to give you a great batting average. However if it is late in the draft and you’ve yet to take a catcher, Perez isn’t a horrible option.

Tier 5:

Tier 5 is mainly going to consist of your run of the mill defensive only catchers.I don’t feel the need to write a whole paragraph to explain the difference between a guy like Manny Pina and Martin Maldonado. Most of these guys should only be taken as depth/2nd/3rd catcher options.

1.) Austin Hedges

2.) Brian McCann

3.) Martin Maldonado

4.) Manny Pina

5.) Tucker Barnhart

6.) Christian Vasquez

7.) Sandy Leone

8.) Roberto Perez

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