We wrap up each week of positional coverage with our 2019 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 Jim Finch, Hunter Denson, Seth Bias and Jake Blodgett. Our four “experts” each ranked their top 20 catchers for the 2019 season.
Players marked N/R were not ranked inside the top 20 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.
*Note: Rankings were collected and posted prior to Yasmani Grandal signing with Milwaukee. Jim would have bumped him 2 spots which would place him in a tie with Sanchez and Perez. And if Seth bumps him one spot he would take the second spot on the rankings.
|9||Wellington Castillo||White Sox||10||6||12||4|
|15||Danny Jansen||Blue Jays||12||N/R||11||12|
|Honorable Mentions: Manny Pina, Francisco Mejia, Chris Iannetta, Willians Astudillo
Which catcher do you plan on owning the most stock of?
Hunter: I went deeper on my reasoning in my recent article on the South Side receiver, but Welington Castillo is too good to ignore at his current 274.33 ADP. He offers 15-20 HR without the usual hits to batting average that you see with other power-heavy catchers (looking at you Zunino) and has the luxury of DH’ing when not behind the plate. Great late value at the position who should end up as a top ten catcher.
Jim: I will be that guy reaching a round or two to land J.T. Realmuto. I’d settle for Salvador Perez, Yadier Molina or Willson Contreras – basically catchers in the next tier guaranteed full-time at bats. I know Realmuto probably won’t finish as the #1 catcher, but his track record puts him in the top-5; I like that peace of mind.
Seth: I’m all in on Omar Narvaez. He’s the clear-cut #1 option in Seattle and should be available outside the top 100 picks.
Jake: Whether it’s because of his age or a dip in power in the 2014-2016 seasons, Yadier Molina has been overlooked in fantasy the last two years. I tend to wait until the end of drafts to fill my catcher spot, and Yadi is usually my favorite bargain. Hopefully that plays out again this season.
Which catcher(s) do you plan on avoiding in the draft?
Hunter: I want no part of Mike Zunino nor Jorge Alfaro in 2019. Zunino’s insane strikeout rate (37% K%), plate discipline (17.5% SwStr%), and shift from Safeco (now T-Mobile Park) to Tropicana (23rd worst stadium for HR in 2018) all make him too volatile for me. Alfaro’s K% was barely less than Zunino’s (36.6% K%), but he managed to eclipse him (not in a positive way) in various plate discipline metrics (23.4% SwStr%, 46.9% O-Swing%, 42.9% O-Contact%). Those rates are impressively bad and make Alfaro a risky investment in 2019.
Jim: I’ll avoid all catcher in a time share such as Suzuki/Gomes, Hedges/Mejia, Barnes/Martin, McCann/Flowers, and a number of less relevant names (Vazquez/Leon). That’s not to say if the final round comes around and I have no catcher that I will not throw a dart at one of them.
Seth: I don’t plan on drafting a catcher in the top 100 picks of any draft, so that leaves out stars and most of the big names. Specifically, I’m avoiding Buster Posey and his six home runs last year. He can still make contact, but he’s more name than production of late.
Jake: Even though I really like J.T. Realmuto as a player, I think the price is going to be too high for him this season. Between his big 2018 and the hype created by all the trade talks this winter I think you will have to reach to get him, and I’m going to pass.
Who is the lowest ranked catcher you would feel comfortable with as your starter?
Hunter: I would be comfortable with Kurt Suzuki (19th on my rankings) as my starter. Even though he will share time with Yan Gomes this season, he has a proven track record of performing in limited action and will move to a better offensive park (3rd best Run Factor, 5th best HR Factor in 2018).
Jim: I’m not too jazzed on anyone outside my top-10 (W.Castillo and below). And that word “comfortable” is used loosely here as there are a few in my top-10 that even though I may draft them, I can’t say I’d be 100% comfortable with them. Basically I’m looking to go big or settle and play the wire all season.
Seth: Maybe it’s just my overall catching philosophy, but if I miss out on Narvaez, I’m quite comfortable waiting until the last round and grabbing a Danny Jansen type rookie experiment or time-share power bat like Kurt Suzuki. Even the top catchers sit once a week, often twice, so if I’m not going to pay for a star, I know going in I’m not gonna get everyday at-bats.
Jake: Danny Jansen, at 11 in my rankings, is the lowest I would be comfortable with as my starting catcher. I believe that he will emerge as a viable, though probably not spectacular, fantasy option for 2019.