Those of you that play fantasy baseball know that Catcher is one of the hardest positions to find a usable player to fit in to your lineup. It may be the only position where after the top five guys, the drop off is so steep that almost every guy feels like they are basically the same at that point.
The key to winning a fantasy championship starts with getting yourself a dominant player at the thinnest position. There’s 15 first baseman that you could draft that you’d feel comfortable about, so hold off on those and consider going Catcher first (unless you have a top 5 pick, then don’t be dumb).
The Top 5 Catchers this season, in my opinion, are:
- Buster Posey
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Gary Sanchez
- Salvador Perez
- Evan Gattis
Every once in awhile guys come up from from the minors, off the bench, or from a different team and go on a tear. For me, deciding who that guy will be is all based on potential and the eye test. Although it’s hard for everyone to pass the eye test when you don’t always have access to watching them, the internet is there to help you out. This is my list of guys to consider if you want to wait on a catcher in this year’s draft.
1. Mike Zunino – Seattle Mariners
This one is solely based on potential. Although it seems like it has been forever since Zunino has been a top prospect, the hype surrounding his potential is still there. He has shown massive power but also massive strikeout ability. Once he came back from Triple-A last season, he showed quite a bit of improvement. He is also tearing it up in spring training which is a positive sign. Look for his new backup, Carlos Ruiz, as well as hitting coach Edgar Martinez, to take Zunino to the next level. Or look for him to strike out 35% of the time. Neither one would surprise me. I’m taking the risk though.
2. Tom Murphy – Colorado Rockies
Two words: Coors Field. No ballpark in the majors is more forgiving to a hitter than Coors Field. Much like Zunino, Murphy has the propensity to strike out quite a bit. But having a fly-ball hitter in a hitters park where the ball carries quite well should have fantasy owners licking their chops. If he can find a way to cut down on the strikeout rate, look for him to be a .270 hitter with 20 HR potential.
3. Welington Castillo – Baltimore Orioles
Maybe not a huge surprise here, as he did have fairly dominant stretches last year. Again though, with the catcher position being so slim he’s well worth the roster spot. In hitter friendly Camden Yards he should have no issues hitting 20 bombs with a .260-.270 average. His fantasy numbers won’t blow you away, but guys like this have the skills to be a top 5 player if they can put it all together.
4. J.T. Realmuto – Miami Marlins
This guy had quite the 2016 season. Hitting .303, 11 HR, 48 RBI, scoring 60 runs and even stealing 12 bases. There aren’t a lot of catchers that have the speed to steal bases. In fact, Realmuto is the #1 base stealing catcher. He will be a solid contributor in points leagues, but his skill set translates even better in a rotisserie league. Draft him and don’t look back. This is a guy I would even consider trading for if i wasn’t able to draft him.
5. Wilson Contreras – Chicago Cubs
Last season he went from top prospect to fantasy stud before cooling off towards the end of the season. The good part about Contreras is that he offers left field eligibility as well. A rare combination for a catcher. With someone as offensively gifted as Contreras, the Cubs have a hard time keeping him out of the lineup.With a few months of big league action already under his belt, look for Contreras to come in to this season looking to prove that Gary Sanchez wasn’t the only star catcher to come out of last season.
Now take this list and be free, my friends. Do with it as you may, but i would suggest at least considering the knowledge i have just dropped on you and taking your first step towards a fantasy championship.