Extremely Early 2017 Rankings: Top 10 Catchers

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all know that catchers tend to be power first options, so a catcher who has the potential to hit for a strong average has value because it’s harder to find.  How about a catcher with the ability to steal a few bases?  Those are nearly impossible, but even rarer is a catcher with the potential to hit for average and power while also chipping in speed.  Keep that in mind as you look at these rankings (keep in mind these will also be expanded as we grow closer to draft day as well):

1. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
2. Jonathan Lucroy – Texas Rangers
3. Gary Sanchez – New York Yankees
4. J.T. Realmuto – Miami Marlins
5. Willson Contreras – Chicago Cubs
6. Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
7. Evan Gattis – Houston Astros
8. Brian McCann – Houston Astros
9. Russell Martin – Toronto Blue Jays
10. Yasmani Grandal – Los Angeles Dodgers

Thoughts:

  • Surprisingly, from Perez down are fairly interchangeable at this point as high power, low average options.  There was a time where Perez offered more than just power, but that’s what he’s morphed into at this point.  We took an in-depth look at him recently, explaining why, which you can read by clicking here.
  • While Gary Sanchez still comes in at #3, don’t expect him to replicate the unbelievable success he had upon joining the Yankees in ’16 (.299 with 20 HR).  In regards to his power, keep in mind he posted a 40.0% HR/FB rate (obviously an unsustainable mark).  He was also prone to the strikeout (13.0% SwStr%), putting his average in question.  There’s going to be a regression, so make sure you don’t overpay.
  • Realmuto’s spot on these rankings is probably a bit of a surprise, but he’s that catcher who brings the potential for average, power and speed.  While he’s not going to slug 30 HR, could he become a potential 15/15 catcher (he had 11 HR and 12 SB last season)?  Throw in an ability to hit for a strong average and he brings a skillset that’s simply not found at the position.
  • Willson Contreras is yet another young catcher who has the potential to make a significant impact.  He may not have the power potential of some of the other catchers (54.3% groundball rate), but the potential to hit nearly .270 gives him an edge thanks to the ability to find power at other positions.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings:

Position
Last Updated
Catcher01/09/17
First Base01/16/17
Second Base11/07/16
Third Base11/14/16
Shortstop11/21/16
Outfielder12/05/16
Starting Pitcher12/13/16
Relief Pitcher01/02/17

4 comments

  1. Braden says:

    Where does Ramos fit when back and healthy?

  2. bbboston says:

    Rotoprofessor; I’m part of an AL Only 11 team 5×5 auction league with two required catchers and 8 allowable keepers.

    So normally, I don’t buy into wins above replacement, but in the AL only league don’t these higher rated catchers take on extra value?

    • bbboston says:

      The Wins above replacement comment probably needs further explanation. Normally, I just chase the highest performing players on a price risk adjusted basis, given that no team can fill its roster with positive players. However, in our league structure (2 catchers), reducing or removing sink holes of performance may be just as important. At the point where salary cap is increased, catchers take on a greater importance with dumping. So, it seemed to me, if you want to win in the stretch run, you must get performance from the position and with just 4-5 guys who can help your numbers, the premium value for the position appears to be real. Thoughts?

  3. Rotoprofessor says:

    Braden – He could be as high as #6, though there’s going to be a regression in his numbers from last season. The big question right now is how much time he’s going to miss.

    bbboston – Yea, in an AL-only league with two catchers their value does increase a bit. I still wouldn’t go nuts, but if it comes down to two borderline options, the catcher would get a little extra value.

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