Top 20 Catchers – Fantasy 2017
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These rankings are for standard 5×5 rotisserie leagues, enjoy!
Updated April 21st, 2017. Overall Rankings can be found here.
‘Movement’ column signifies the change in rank at this position, from the last update (April 1st, 2017).
My thoughts preseason…
Spoiler for the our eventual top 300 overall post, I don’t have one catcher inside my top 70 overall. If you were to force one in, I see the case for Jonathan Lucroy. I’m much more comfortable with the baseline stats he is capable of achieving. My expectations are somewhere around the 20-22 HR mark with nice counting stats in a good Rangers’ lineup and an average above .280. If you’re considering taking a catcher early – say before pick 70 overall – you’re doing so with security in mind, so why gamble on a guy like Buster Posey? Posey is coming off a 14 home run season, and there are already talks of Bochy limiting him. I’m much more willing to gamble on a guy like Grandal who in NFBC is going 6-8 rounds later and has 30+ HR potential on one of the best teams in baseball.
Gary Sanchez’s expectations for me are right around what I proposed for Lucroy above. .280 with 20-22 homers and nice counting stats as he’ll likely bat third. Our ‘cover athlete’ for these ranks, is a guy I really do like the potential of, but it comes with much more risk than Lucroy, which is why I’ll have Lucroy above by a hair. The catcher position as a whole just doesn’t have too much to work with. Don’t sweat it if you’re lingering around the 12th round without a backstop. It’s not going to kill your season. The most extreme example of waiting happened recently, with Razzball’s Rudy Gamble punting catcher until the 22nd in a 15 team LABR mixed roto league. It seems crazy, but I like it if you’re continually enamored with other assets on the draft board.
Murphy & Hedges
Tom Murphy has the makings of a .180 ISO hitter in Coors. There really isn’t a need to sell him any more than that. Tony Wolters handles the pitching staff better, but for the 400ish at bats that I want to see Murphy get, he can outproduce a lot of this barren landscape. If you can combo him with somebody like Wellington Castillo in two catcher leagues (say two picks near the round 15-16 turn), I think you’ll be very pleased in that output come July.
Austin Hedges is even more of a wild card. He currently sits outside of the top 300, but is a guy who Fangraph’s Steamer has receiving 400+ at bats, and absolutely mashed in AAA last season (21 HRs in 334 ABs). While he did so in the PCL, basically a whole minor league district of ‘Coors Fields’, I’m buying the 20 HR potential for his price tag. The highest he has been taken in an NFBC league is 226th overall. Even that owner was likely pleased with the potential.
I’m preaching safety if you go catcher early (Lucroy) and throwing yourself into the fire if you wait (Murphy, Hedges, etc). May the fantasy baseball gods be with you.
Photo via the Flickr creative commons, thanks to our friend AP3 for the photo Gary Sanchez.