Catcher is the shallowest and least multi-dimensional of any fantasy baseball position, which is why it’s often an afterthought during drafts. Of course, once the season starts, the value of having a productive catcher is obvious, so taking a little extra time in March to study the C rankings can really save you some headaches later in the summer. Unfortunately, unlike most other positions, it’s difficult to identify sleepers at catcher, so most of the spring training attention is focused on the top players.
There seems to be a clear top six at backstop, with J.T. Realmuto and Gary Sanchez standing above the rest. Several catchers will hit a few more homers than Realmuto, but he’s by far the best bet to lead the position in runs and stolen bases and it wouldn’t be a shock if he led in RBIs (83) like he did last year. He’s also going to be a positive in batting average, which relatively few catchers can boast. Sanchez is one of the backstops who could be a drain on your average, but he has legit 35-HR power and would likely lead the position in RBIs if he can muster even 120 games played. There’s a case to be made for both to be the first catcher taken sometime around the sixth or seventh round, but Realmuto will likely go first in most drafts.
2020 Fantasy Baseball Rankings:
First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | Reliever | Top 300
The next four catchers in our rankings all have varying degrees of upside. Mitch Garver finished second at the position with 31 HRs last year despite playing in just 93 games. Scheduled for more playing time this year, it’s tempting to think his numbers will only improve, but he seems due for at least a slight regression after leading all batters with at least 100 plate appearances in isolated power last year (.357). Yasmani Grandal, Willson Contreras, and Salvador Perez, who missed last year because of an elbow injury, are consistently solid producers who will get regular at-bats. At catcher, that’s about all you can ask for.
Will Smith (15 HRs in 54 games last year) could be this year’s breakout backstop, but he’ll likely be a drain in batting average. If that doesn’t bother you, he’s the guy to target in the mid-to-late rounds. Christian Vazquez and Roberto Perez also showed 20-HR pop last year, with Vazquez also hitting for a decent average, but given their lack of track records prior to last season, both could be one-year wonders. Omar Narvaez, fresh off 22 HRs in Seattle and now in a better hitters park in Milwaukee, and Carson Kelly, who hit 18 HRs in his first full season in Arizona, are likely better bets for homers.
Sean Murphy seems to be everyone’s favorite sleeper after hitting 15 HRs in just 61 professional games last year, including four homers in 20 games at the major league level. Rookie catchers rarely turn into consistent producers (see Danny Jansen and Francisco Mejia last season), but Murphy is worth a shot if you’re the last person in your league to draft a starter. Mejia and Jansen also make for worthwhile post-hype fliers given their pedigrees.
Last season, few expected Garver or Vazquez to break out the way they did, so you know there will be at least a few surprises this year. If you don’t have one of the top six or seven catchers, don’t be afraid to jump on a hot-starting backstop early. You never know when that production will last, and for a position where production is at premium, you don’t want to hold on to dead weight for too long.
We’ll be updating our catcher rankings throughout the spring, so check back for the latest player movements.
Fantasy Baseball Catcher Rankings
Rankings based on 5×5 H2H leagues with Rs, HRs, RBIs, SBs, and batting average as categories
Position eligibility based on Yahoo default settings (5 games started or 10 games played at a position)
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