2017 Rankings: Top 15 Catchers (Lucroy Barely Takes Top Spot & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The days of Buster Posey being the clear top catching option have come and gone.  Not only is he joined in the top tier by two players, he’s been knocked out of the top spot (though just barely)!  The second tier also isn’t far behind, and with numerous high power option filling out the rankings the need to reach for one of the better catchers simply isn’t there.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth owning, but the price tag obviously plays a significant role.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at how our rankings currently stand:

1. Jonathan Lucroy – Texas Rangers
2. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
3. Gary Sanchez – New York Yankees
4. J.T. Realmuto – Miami Marlins
5. Willson Contreras – Chicago Cubs
6. Matt Wieters – Free Agent
7. Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
8. Brian McCann – Houston Astros
9. Tom Murphy – Colorado Rockies
10. Stephen Vogt – Oakland A’s
11. Russell Martin – Toronto Blue Jays
12. Yasmani Grandal – Los Angeles Dodgers
13. Evan Gattis – Houston Astros
14. Travis d’Arnaud – New York Mets
15. Welington Castillo – Baltimore Orioles
 


Thoughts:

  • I could easily make the argument for slotting Tom Murphy ahead of Brian McCann, and likely would if Murphy was locked into a full slate of AB.  Even with 350-400 AB he has the potential to hit 20+ HR playing half his games in Coors Field.  Aside from playing time, strikeouts are also going to be a significant concern.  If he got that under control we’re talking about a potential Top 5 option instead of your “prototypical” catcher.  You certainly don’t have to draft him as the ninth catcher off the board, making him an excellent late game play.  We’ll look at him in detail in the coming weeks.
  • We are still waiting to see where Matt Wieters lands via free agency, which will have an influence on his ranking.  That said he’s shown power and also has more upside in the average department (18.3% strikeout rate, 24.2% line drive rate and .265 BABIP led to a .243 average last season).  Time will tell, but he should be among the better options.
  • Yasmani Grandal broke out with significant power last season (27 HR in 390 AB), but he struggled with strikeouts (25.4%) and an abysmal line drive rate (16.1%).  The power is nice, but those two factors make it impossible to think that he’ll be able to hit for even a decent average.
  • One of the players who just missed being on this list is Wilson Ramos, who would’ve been a shoe-in had he been healthy.  As it is, if he’s only going to miss the first month you could make the argument that he’d be a Top 12 option.  The unknown in regards to his status, though, keeps him on the outside looking in.
  • We all know the type of upside that Travis d’Arnaud has, but injuries continue to plague him.  We know he’s going to lose at least a little bit of playing time, with Rene Rivera likely catching Noah Syndergaard on a regular basis.  That’s not a major negative, but if d’Arnaud doesn’t hit his playing time is going to diminish more and more.

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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 Base01/23/17
Third Base02/06/17
Shortstop02/13/17
Outfielder12/05/16
Starting Pitcher12/13/16
Relief Pitcher01/02/17

5 comments

  1. Bbboston says:

    Given the results of the poll, can you please explain the reason you placed Lucroy above posey?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’m planning on doing a full article to discuss this in the near future. For me Lucroy has the power advantage (especially now playing in the AL, where Texas could look to use him as the DH to keep his bat in the lineup) while the average should be similar (both will likely be in the .280-.290 range). They actually are pretty similar players, so the AL advantage tips it in that direction

  2. Alex says:

    I just get this feeling that Evan Gattis is going to make it to the top 10 this year. I know McCann and Beltran are in Houston, and that essentially presents a triumvirate of power as three guys share two spots or so, but Gattis is bound to out-pop many of the backstops ahead of him. If he gets playing time, that is…

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      It wouldn’t shock me, but the questionable playing time at this point does keep him suppressed for me. I wouldn’t mind “settling” if I had to, but it’s tough for me to trust him.

  3. Conor says:

    Where would Schwarber fall on this list? Yahoo is still giving him the C elig, which could really spice things up no?

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