We wrap up each week of positional coverage with our 2017 rankings. In addition to the rankings we will pose a number of questions to our panel covering topics such as reaches and targets, players to avoid and late round impact players.
Taking part in our rankings will be Kevin Jebens, Jim Finch, Ron Vackar, Josh Coleman, Andy Singleton, Mike Sheehan and Neil Kenworthy. Our seven “experts” each ranked their top 25 catchers for the 2017 season.
Players marked N/R were not ranked inside the top 25 by that particular person. We used a 10 games started minimum requirement for eligibility, but everyone listed here should qualify for catcher regardless of where you play.
If you feel we overlooked someone or would like to debate a player’s ranking, feel free to do so in the comment section below.
Are there any catchers (other than Posey)
you would reach for before round 10?
Jim: I’m sure someone else will say this, but I will not reach for anyone but Posey in leagues that just uses one catcher. There are catchers capable of putting up Posey numbers, but who they are will vary from year to year.
Kevin: Home runs were plentiful in 2016, but even so, I’d have to consider a big power source like Gattis or Sanchez.
Ron: Lucroy and Sanchez would both be in play for me inside of the first 10 rounds. After that, I prefer to wait out the position.
Andy: Don’t know that the 9th round is a big reach, but that’s where Realmuto and Perez are going, and they are two of my favorites. The big reach, if at all, would be for Sanchez (NFBC ADP of 46 overall) – and again, not viewing it as an overreaction. Being a Yankee fan makes him hard to ignore.
Josh: In one catcher format I can’t see myself reaching for anyone other than Posey. In larger or point based league I might reach into the 70-80 range to obtain Lucroy. In two-catcher formats I’m willing to reach, should the draft results dictate, to ensure I own 2 of my Top 20 options.
Mike: I would reach slightly for Realmuto in roto/categories because of the stolen base potential as well as my top catcher, Jonathan Lucroy.
Neil: Lucroy. His ability to consistently put the bat on the ball and reach base safely make him a fantasy asset in any format. Gary Sanchez’s power is extremely tempting in the right spot as well, but I’ll let others reach before I do.
Which catcher do you plan on owning the most stock of?
Jim: McCann usually slips in drafts which I love. With the exception of 2007 he has 20 home runs each season, and 50/50 for runs and RBIs is his floor – the only risk is batting average. I also love Realmuto for his combined power and speed, but I may get priced out on him after hitting .300 last year.
Kevin: I like generally consistent value at a decent price. That used to be Yadi, but now that he’s faded, I look to Perez. And if I’m honest, as a Cubs fan I will probably try to grab Contreras.
Ron: In two-catcher formats I can see myself owning the most stock in Rupp. I like his batted ball profile, the cost is practically nothing, and I will have my eye on Jorge Alfaro when he is ready to take over. Zunino is another catcher I could see myself taking a chance on in deeper formats.
Andy: The same as my previous answer, Realmuto and Perez.
Josh: Castillo will likely be a catcher I’ll own plenty of shares of given my ranking for him. My only fear is defensive issues giving way to Caleb Joseph. I also like Mesoraco, Ramos and Zunino as end draft flyers. Ramos will miss the beginning of the season, but a place holder’s production along with Ramos will produce top-10 value. Mesoraco and Zunino are low-risk options that can be replaced in-season if they fail.
Mike: I think I will own a lot of Lucroy since I think he is the best catcher, and the recent mock drafts I’ve seen have him going in the 5th and 6th rounds.
Neil: While it may come at a higher price this season, I’ll stick to my 2015 strategy and grab as much of Realmuto as I can. Despite a lack of RBI opportunities, his average and stolen bases are enough, to provide a top-10 fantasy catcher floor for the young backstop.
Which catcher(s) do you plan on avoiding in the draft?
Jim: I’ll avoid Molina. If the average drops back to .270/.280 range his value is replacement level. I’ll also be avoiding d’Arnaud, Ramos and Mesoraco (injury concerns), Austin Hedges (unproven risk) and Zunino (can’t hit at the major league level).
Kevin: Wieters gets too much love after three years of under 450 AB. Murphy has a high-risk, high-reward profile for power, but the contact rate scares me too much to invest.
Ron: Mesoraco, Gomes, and d’Arnaud are at the top of my avoid list at the catcher position. Their injury histories make them too risky to rely on in deeper formats.
Andy: Russell Martin, he’s only getting older.
Josh: I’ll avoid Sanchez (46th overall) and Contreras (99th overall) based on their current NFBC ADP. I like both and believe they should put up solid numbers, but I could easily make a case for taking Yasmani Grandal 100 picks later.
Mike: I don’t want any part of Perez. He’s fine overall, but he slumps in the second half every year because of KC’s over-usage of him.
Neil: I like a lot about Contreras heading into 2017. However, like Gary Sanchez, many owners will likely overdraft the Cubs’ phenom. I have no problem skipping Contreras and grabbing a veteran backstop like Stephen Vogt or Francisco Cervelli at the tail-end of a draft.
Who is the lowest ranked catcher
you would feel comfortable with as your starter?
Jim: I have him ranked higher, but Rupp is the lowest ranked catcher I’d be happy with. He is perfectly capable of putting up a line similar to McCann or even Salvador Perez.
Kevin: In single catcher leagues, I can live with any of my top-13, no problem. Rupp (#13 for me) is going to surprise as a late-round purchase. For two catcher leagues, I still want one of my top-13, because the next batch of guys all have minor to major risks if they’re my primary guy. You can wait a bit, but don’t put it off till the end of the draft.
Ron: In a two-catcher format, the lowest ranked catcher I would consider as my starter is Austin Hedges. In a single catcher format, it would be Wieters or Vogt.
Andy: Austin Hedges. After Yadier it’s a mixed bag and I’m likely streaming. Still not sure what Hedges is, but the upside is a high average, high OPS, and surprising recent power surge.
Mike: The lowest I’d go as my first catcher in a 2 catcher league would be Norris. In a one catcher league I want Realmuto or better, otherwise I’ll just take one in the last round.
Neil:It depends how my team is constructed. If I have a lot of high-floor, limited upside guys I’m probably going Murphy who has the upside and plays half his games in Colorado. If I draft the opposite with a lot of high upside players with less established floors I would lean on Vogt who may struggle vs LHP but has decent offensive numbers for a catcher.
That Wraps up our catcher rankings. Check back next week as we bring you our Top 30 First Base options for the 2017 season.