Hello and good morning! Welcome to the new year! I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday and wrap up to the 2017 year. Now that we can finish writing the date with a 1-8 at the end we’re in full prep mode for the upcoming major league fantasy season.
Over the course of the next few months, as you may already know, we’ll be releasing positional rankings from catcher through relief pitcher. I’ll be here weekly to address the “do not draft” list at each position. Some things I’ll consider when constructing my list will be the surroundings for said player, the value provided based on their average draft position (ADP), and guys I just flat-out don’t like in any fantasy format.
At the catcher position, once you get past the top few guys you might as well throw a dart at the board and take whoever it sticks on. There are also going to be a lot of platoons at the catcher position, outlined by Jim Finch the other day. There is no need to take one of those platoon options as your primary starter, unless it’s later in your draft and you’re also planning on picking up his handcuff. Alright, enough of this rambling, let’s get to the “do not draft” list for catchers!
J.T. Realmuto: Marlins
J.T. Realmuto is the catcher most relying upon his surrounding roster to have success. He’s arguably a top-5 option at the position (6th on my list), but with everything going on in Miami during the offseason and up to this point, there’s no way he should be the 5th catcher off the board.
Realmuto put up .278/17/65 line last year with Stanton, Ozuna, Yelich, and Bour in the lineup. Remove Stanton and Ozuna and the production will go down due to lack of protection. Sure, Realmuto will likely put up a batting average close to .280 and somewhere in the 15-20 home runs, but the RBI numbers will drop. I think we’re looking at a season closer to his 2016 season (11 HR – 48 RBI) than last year’s totals. Those aren’t numbers I want to gamble on if I’m taking Realmuto as my #1 catcher option, even with the bonus of a few stolen bases. There will be better value much later in the draft, or maybe on waivers.
Yasmani Grandal: Dodgers
We move on from a top-5 option at the position to a player who is arguably a top-10 option (10th for me). Grandal put together a nice 2017 campaign, reaching 22 home runs in 482 at-bats. 2016 was slightly better, having hit 27 homers in 457 at-bats. The emergence of Austin Barnes down the stretch last year leads me to believe the days of 450+ at-bats are gone for Grandal as a member of the Dodgers. Don’t draft Grandal as your #1 option. The at-bats of a full-time starter probably aren’t going to be there.
I don’t have any problems with Grandal being the 10th catcher off your draft board if you’re planning on scooping up Barnes as well, using them as a platoon. Unfortunately in standard leagues, a platoon at the catcher position isn’t something you can afford to do, especially in leagues with a shallow bench. That roster spot is much more valuable rostering another pitcher or a better bat as opposed to an extra catcher.
Jonathan Lucroy: Free Agent
Placing Lucroy on the “do not draft” list kind of feels like cheating based on him not signing a deal anywhere yet. Regardless of that, Lucroy has not been the same player the last two seasons that he was during his career in Milwaukee. Lucroy is a reason not to assume a player going to Coor’s Field is going to carry a lot of fantasy value. Once he landed with the Rockies last year he only hit 2 home runs with 13 RBI over the course of 46 games.
It’s clear Lucroy’s days as a top-5 catcher option, once arguably the best, are behind him (12th on my list). I look for Lucroy to have a bounce back season in 2017, but I can only see that happening as a back-up somewhere. His power numbers won’t look great at season’s end, but look for the average to rebound. Lucroy is a guy to keep an eye on, possibly making a waiver claim for, once the season starts, but there’s no reason to take him in the draft, regardless of the round. I’d rather draft a guy with a higher ceiling in the late rounds (Alfaro, Mejia, Sisco), than take a washed-up Lucroy.
Let’s roll the dice – guys to take a late round flyer on.
- Robinson Chirinos, Rangers
- Wilson Ramos, Rays
- Tucker Barnhart, Reds
Now that I’ve given you my side of the catcher position, let’s hear yours! Leave your fantasy questions in the comment section below or on Twitter, @KennyGarvey. Catch you next week as I give you my “do not draft” list of first base options!
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