To help prepare for the upcoming MLB season, I’ll be providing analysis of each fantasy baseball position. To stay consistent I’ll be referencing the FantasyPros Expert Consensus Ranking from FantasyPros. I’ve found from experience that the consensus rankings give a better overall picture of positional rankings. This particular ranking provides the aggregate ADP (Average Draft Position) from Yahoo! Sports, ESPN, CBS, NFBC and RT Sports.
In this first edition we’ll be looking at the Top Catchers, the Best Value, Sleeper Pick and Potential Bust. Position rank and ADP are based off FantasyPros Catcher consensus ranking.
Top Three Catchers:
- Buster Posey, Giants (1st Catcher, 24.3 ADP)
Analysis: There’s not much debate on the top fantasy catcher, it’s Buster Posey, then there’s everyone else in the league. The 28 year old former Florida State shortstop/closer/catcher/superstar is in the prime of his career and poised for another big season. He’s a lock to hover around 20 homers with 90+ RBI and boasts a career batting average of .310. With his consistent year in, year out performance and potential for starts at first base to keep his bat in the lineup, it’s reasonable to take Posey early on in the draft. He’s a player that you can draft and not have to worry about the catcher position for the rest of the season. GTD Suggested Round: Late 2nd/Early 3rd Round
2. Kyle Schwarber, Cubs (2nd Catcher, 43.5 ADP)
Analysis: The Indiana C/OF product has a ton of potential and in that dangerous Cubs lineup should put up some nice offensive numbers. The power is there big time and having the OF eligibility gives nice flexibility and potentially extra at bats if he can play everyday. He has the highest upside of any catcher this year and could top 30 homers if all goes well, although the .143 batting average vs. lefties last year will certainly need to improve to stay in the lineup in what may be a crowded OF situation with Heyward, Fowler and Soler along with Montero primarily handling the catcher position. The video below is pretty much all you need to see regarding his potential. GTD Suggested Round: 4th round
- Brian McCann, Yankees (4th Catcher, 109 ADP)
Analysis: This is where it gets a bit tricky with the catcher position. There’s a number of names in the mix for the 3rd spot whether it be McCann, Lucroy, Perez or Martin. I give the edge to McCann with his experience and lefty swing at Yankee Stadium. Even with his batting average at coming in at .232 last year, McCann did hit a career high 26 homers and drove in 94 runs. If you can get production of 20+ homers and 75+ RBI out of the catcher position in the middle rounds, you’ll take it. GTD Suggested Round: 8th-10th round
Best Value Pick: Travis d’Arnaud, Mets (7th Catcher, ADP 145.3)
Analysis: With an ADP in the 12th round, there’s good value in d’Arnaud if he can stay healthy in a Mets lineup that should put up some numbers this season. Injuries have plagued the career of this one time top catching prospect as he still put up a respectable .268 average with 12 homers and 41 RBI in just 67 games. In a recent New York Daily News article, Mets hitting coach Kevin Long said “He’s a very dangerous hitter, there were times last year I thought he carried our offense. The sky’s the limit if he can stay healthy.” GTD Suggested Round: 10th-12th round
Sleeper Pick: J.T. Realmuto, Marlins (17th Catcher, ADP 245.0)
Analysis: I was about to select Devin Mesoraco from the Reds as my sleeper pick while he comes back from last years season ending hip injury. However, I came across across recent post from Red Reporter, which scared me off a bit. Here’s hoping Mesoraco can come back strong but I’m not ready to name him my fantasy sleeper with the lingering injury factor.
While researching, I came across a preview on Fish Stripes for Marlins 2nd year catcher, J.T. Realmuto. Realmuto showed some pop this past season with 10 homers and 47 RBI, to go along with a .259 batting average and a surprising 7 triples. The walks are a bit concerning as he only drew 19 BB in 467 at-bats last year and didn’t walk much during his time in the minors either. With the catcher job all his from the start of Spring Training, this year he’s a candidate to bump up the home run count into the 15 HR range and double digit steals are very possible, which is always a bonus from the catcher position. He’s going in the 20th round/undrafted in ADP, but is worth a look due to the high upside. GTD Suggested Round: Late Round Pick/Free Agent Flyer
Potential Bust: Matt Wieters, Orioles (8th Catcher, ADP 171.5)
Analysis: Matt Wieters big name may reel you in thinking he’s a top 10 ranked Catcher this year, but based on his injury history I’d avoid picking unless you’re getting him at a good value late in the draft. If you’re looking at his 2011-2013 seasons where he averaged 22 homers, 77 RBI and 66 runs scored per season, that’d easily be top 10 material. The last 2 years Wieters has played a combined 101 games and as noted in The Baltimore Sun, Wieters caught on back to back days just five times last season. GTD Suggested Round: 15th/16th round
Check back this week as I’ll be releasing a new baseball position preview daily.