The catcher position is quite intriguing. Many of the top catchers are young. You still have guys like Yadier Molina, but the position has gotten younger. There are catchers you can get late in the draft that still have upside.
My rankings are based on a standard 5×5 league. If you have any specific questions about a different league, email me BobbyMcrib@gmail.com.
1. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants – Posey is possibly the most consistent fantasy catcher since Yadier Molina in his prime. I thought about mentioning Joe Mauer, but he had that one crazy power year. Posey gives you average, power and plenty at-bats to stack your roto categories. Enjoy him at catcher while you can. I have a feeling the Giants will move him to first base before he hits 30 years old.
2. Devin Mesoraco – Cincinnati Reds – I knew Mesoraco would do well in the Majors. I was just about two seasons too early in my rankings. He had stretches last season in which he was the best fantasy catcher. He did end up on the disabled list a few times, but he should be good for 25/85/.275 this season.
3. Jonathan Lucroy – Milwaukee Brewers – I almost put Lucroy at #2, but Mesoraco’s upside is greater. He will still end the season with a 15/70/.295 line. He’s a top-three fantasy catcher.
4. Evan Gattis – Houston Astros – I’ve always stayed away from Gattis in the past, but I expect him to have a career year in Houston. He will be Houston’s everyday DH. I actually don’t know how much (if at all) he will be used as a catcher. He’ll get over 500 at-bats, the most of his career. I expect 30+ home runs from him.
5. Yadier Molina – St. Louis Cardinals – Molina missed some time with an injury, so his stats don’t paint an adequate picture of his current skills. He’s only 32 years old, but being an everyday catcher for eleven seasons does begin to wear down the body. I still believe he’ll hit around .300 with possible double-digit power.
6. Matt Wieters – Baltimore Orioles – Wieters underwent Tommy John surgery after only playing in 28 games last season. He is expected to be 100% by Opening Day. There is some risked attached to drafting Wieters high in your draft. I believe you could end up getting him much later than he should be drafted. I expect a line of 22/75/.260 from him.
7. Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals – I’m a little down on Perez, but he has a lot going for him. He should end up with the most at-bats out of the top catchers. He’s young enough to play nearly everyday. He bats for a nice average and has some pop.
8. Yan Gomes – Cleveland Indians – Gomes is a lot like Perez in many ways. The only difference is that Perez will get about 100 more at-bats. They should end the year with similar pro-rated stats.
9. Brian McCann – New York Yankees – I was high on McCann last year, but his first year in the Bronx was a failure. I thought the short fences at Yankee Stadium would work in his favor, but he only hit .232 with 23 homers. I don’t expect him to do much better this year.
10. Wilin Rosario – Colorado Rockies – Rosario is a very good player, but he’s not protected well in the lineup. Also, I don’t see him having more than 60 RBI by the end of the year. He has the ability of being a ‘good fantasy player on a bad team’, but the odds are stacked against him. He does have upside that makes him hard to pass up in a draft.
11. Wilson Ramos – Washington Nationals – I think Ramos could end up as a top-seven catcher by the end of the year, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. If he gets 450+ at-bats, he has the skills to hit 20+ homers and drive in 75 runs. He has upside, but I don’t trust him enough to have him as my #1 catcher. He’s an ideal candidate for a backup fantasy catcher.
12. Yasmani Grandal – Los Angeles Dodgers – Grandal has been a mystery to me. He has yet to live up to his prospect hype. He had weight issues in San Diego and the PED suspension didn’t help him either. The Dodgers haven’t had a productive catcher since Russell Martin left town. He does intrigue me as a backup catcher. I expect his power numbers to jump moving from PETCO.
13. Travis d’Arnaud – New York Mets – I’m starting to feel like this area of the list is designated for “catching prospects that haven’t yet reached their potential.” d’Arnaud was a beast in the minors. He was the major piece the Mets got in return when they traded R.A. Dickey to Toronto. He has monster power and he’s actually hitting for a better average in the Majors than I thought he would. He has breakout potential.
14. Miguel Montero – Chicago Cubs – Montero is only 31, but that’s getting up there in ‘catcher years.’ He was a top-ten fantasy catcher for a handful of season, but the last two seasons has been below average. He had played over 136 games in three of the last four seasons. He will get more rest on the Cubs with David Ross serving as backup. Wellington Castillo is still on the roster as we speak, but he’s expected to be moved before Opening Day.
15. Russell Martin – Toronto Blue Jays – Many fantasy analysts have Martin as a top-ten fantasy catcher, but I’m steering clear of him. He hit .290 for Pittsburgh last year, but he hasn’t hit near that average since 2007. He’s been a consistent .220 to .235 hitter since 2010. I don’t see him keeping an average anywhere near .290 again. He is surrounded by a lot of talent in Toronto, so I do expect his RBI numbers could bump up…but that’s it.
16. Derek Norris – San Diego Padres – I loved Norris last season. He was fit perfectly in a platoon with John Jaso and Stephen Vogt. I don’t see him having the same success in San Diego. He struggles against right-handed pitching and will need to improve that aspect of his game. He still has a shot at hitting .260 with double-digit homers.
17. Jason Castro – Houston Astros – This is when the rankings get a bit sketchy/risky. Castro’s 2013 season was fantastic. He hit .276 with 18 homers. He then fell back to Earth last season when he hit .222 with 14 homers. I think his abilities fall somewhere in the middle. Houston acquired Hank Conger to go with backup Carlos Corporan, so Castro needs a hot start to keep his job.
18. Mike Zunino – Seattle Mariners – Zunino is another hitting prospect that hasn’t had a breakout year. He does have power, but he’s a major batting average risk. I expect him to bounce above and below the Mendoza Line for most of the season. He does have pop, but I’m not a fan of players who drag down your batting average by that much. He is a better head-to-head backup catcher than in roto formats.
19. Jarrod Saltalamacchia – Miami Marlins – Salty had a fantastic contract year with Boston before joining the Marlins. He fell back into old habits and tried to hit for the fences with every at-bat. Miami’s home ballpark doesn’t suit that approach (unless you’re Giancarlo Stanton). He’ll need to hit for contact more to improve on last year’s .220 batting average..
20. John Jaso – Tampa Bay Rays – I owned Jaso a few times last season. He was an awesome spot-catcher. He bats for average and was perfect for what I needed. I don’t see him being more than just that this season. He’s a low-end #2 catcher at best.
21. Christian Bethancourt – Atlanta Braves – He will split time with veteran A.J. Pierzynski. Bethancourt is a fantastic defensive catching prospect, but he held his own in limited time last year. There is a little upside, but not much.
22. Tyler Flowers – Chicago White Sox – Flowers could end the season with 15+ homers, but I expect his average to fall below what he hit last season (.241). He strikes out a lot and unless he becomes more patient at the plate, he’s only rosterable if you’re in a two-catcher league.
23. Carlos Ruiz – Philadelphia Phillies – You aren’t going to win any league with Ruiz as your catcher, but you won’t lose any either. He’ll end the season batting .240-ish with a handful of homers. He’s a pretty vanilla fantasy catcher, but could help out from time to time with a spot-start.
24. Alex Avila – Detroit Tigers – Avila is a lot like Carlos Ruiz, but will hit a few more homers with a lower batting average. There isn’t any upside with either catcher, but they won’t kill any category for you.
25. Josmil Pinto – Minnesota Twins – I was high on Pinto last season, but Kurt Suzuki will get more starts behind the plate. Pinto does have some upside, but as long as Suzuki hits around .280 (with barely any other offensive stat worth mentioning), Minnesota will give Suzuki more time.
26. Chris Iannetta – Los Angeles Angels – Unless you’re in a fantasy league with OBP as a category, he’s not going to help you much.
27. Robinson Chirinos – Texas Rangers – He’s #1 on the depth chart in Texas. He has some upside and could be a nice AL-only backup. He’s protected in the lineup, but his strikeout rate is quite high.
28. Christian Vazquez – Boston Red Sox – He’s 24 years old and will share time with Ryan Hanigan. His catching skills should keep in a strong platoon. His offensive skills are still improving, so I listed him here as a catcher to keep an eye on.
29. Wellington Castillo – Chicago Cubs – The Cubs acquired Miguel Montero and David Ross this offseason and Castillo appears to be the odd man out. I expect him to be traded to a team in need of a catcher. He has nice offensive skills and given the opportunity, could end up as a top-20 fantasy catcher. I couldn’t list him that high not knowing his final destination.
30. Kurt Suzuki – Minnesota Twins – He’s the most vanilla fantasy catcher in fantasy baseball history. You own him at some point every season. I can’t explain why, but you will own him for a few days.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.