2019 Prospect Rankings: Catcher

Back by popular demand, Paul Hartman and Andy Germani return to bring you their prospect rankings for the 2019 season. In addition to the rankings, we pose a number of questions to our two “experts” to give you an idea of who they are targeting and avoiding, and why. While these rankings are primarily for those of you in keeper and dynasty leagues, some of the players could make a potential impact in 2019.

Note that players marked N/R were not ranked by that particular person. Players are also ranked using their primary position, so those that played multiple positions will not be duplicated elsewhere in our rankings.

Rank Player Paul Andy
1 Francisco Mejia 1 1
T2 Keibert Ruiz 3 2
T2 Joey Bart 2 3
4 Danny Jansen 4 5
5 Daulton Varsho 7 4
6 Andrew Knizner 5 7
7 Zack Collins 8 6
8 Ronaldo Hernandez 9 8
T9 M.J. Melendez 10 9
T9 Willians Astudillo 6 13
T11 Sean Murphy 12 10
T11 William Contreras 11 11
13 Austin Allen 15 12
T14 Andy Yerzy 16 15
T14 Will Smith 14 17
T14 Miguel Amaya 13 18
17 Diego Cartaya 18 14
18 Connor Wong 20 16
19 Anthony Seigler 17 20
20 Bo Naylor 19 19

Who is your favorite prospect to break out in 2019?

Andy: For some reason, at least to me, it feels like Andy Yerzy has been around a lot longer. Maybe it is because he has been a sleeper type for me for a few years. He has the raw power to be an impact catcher for fantasy, 21 homers in a total of 117 games his last two seasons. I tend to not get too excited about catchers, especially ones that are as far away as Yerzy, but I would keep an eye on him as he climbs the ladder.

Paul: William Contreras is often overlooked in that ridiculously strong Braves system, but I suspect that is going to change this year. The 20-year-old catcher saw time in High A last year after hitting 11 home runs with a .293/.360/.463 line in A ball. His big brother hit 11 homers at 20 when he played A ball but hit just .248/.320/.423, and we know how that turned out. Really, it’s the package though of a solid approach, potentially plus power, and excellent defense that makes Contreras a strong future bet to make a fantasy mark behind the plate. 

What prospect (if any) could make a surprising Contribution to fantasy teams in 2019?

Andy: With Russell Martin out of the way, Danny Jansen could be in line for a starting role sooner rather than later. He didn’t show a ton last season in the majors, but he could be a decent batting average with not too many strikeouts.

Paul: After choosing Carson Kelly here last year, I’m doubling down with one of my favorite catcher prospects, Andrew Knizner. Since being drafted in 2016, all Knizner has done is hit at every level from Rookie Ball to AAA! Across 3 seasons, and nearly 1000 plate appearances, Knizner has batted .310 with just a 12% K rate. It will take a Yadier injury to get Knizner to the big leagues this year, but he’d be ready to produce at least average production right away. 

What lesser-known prospect should fantasy owners put on their radars now?

Andy: Diego Cartaya was one of the top J2 signings last season, and while he does profile as a nice defender he can hit too. You will be waiting probably 5-6 years for him, but he is one of the few guys on this list not on the cusp of the majors I would own. I want upside in a catching prospect, not safety.

Paul: A second-round pick from 2017, Luis Campusano is another guy hidden in a deep minor league system. While he has hit for next to no power thus far, there is plenty of time for his big raw power to show up. At 19 years old, Campusano hit .288 in A ball with just a 15% K rate. He may be overlooked a little while longer, but his time will surely come.

What prospect can you see slipping down the rankings owners may want to avoid/trade?

Andy: I have trouble seeing a true slide candidate because of the landscape of the position. The top handful could have dreadful seasons, but will still likely be at or around that area next year. Then you get into a lot of dart throws where the difference between 11 and 20 is miniscule. If I had to pick one I am going to have to agree with Paul and say Zack Collins. He is high because of the pedigree, but another year or two of the strikeout numbers he is putting up, he could be a career minor leaguer or bench bat.

Paul: I really like the potential numbers that Zack Collins could provide. In fact, he could be a fantasy monster in OBP leagues if he can make even a slight improvement in his contact issues. Of course, sticking behind the plate could be a problem too with his defensive shortcomings. It just seems like it could all fall apart a little too easily for me.

*****

2019 Prospect Rankings
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Andy Germani

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I am a lifelong Pittsburgh sports fan and a graduate from Penn State. Baseball was my first love and I still play to this day in an adult baseball league. I always love helping people with their questions on Twitter so feel free to follow me and ask questions.