Update Rankings (April 25): Top 15 Catchers: Lucroy Falling, Contreras’ Risky Outlook & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We are three weeks into the season so there have obviously been changes to our preseason rankings.  Who has shown signs of improving?  Who has struggled and thus has a cloudier outlook?  Let’s take a look at how things currently stand (Note: The number in parenthesis represents the player’s ranking in our final draft guide update):

1. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants (2)
2. J.T. Realmuto – Miami Marlins (4)
3. Jonathan Lucroy – Texas Rangers (1)
4. Brian McCann – Houston Astros (7)
5. Yasmani Grandal – Los Angeles Dodgers (11)
6. Willson Contreras – Chicago Cubs (5)
7. Matt Wieters – Washington Nationals (8)
8. Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals (6)
9. Austin Hedges – San Diego Padres (19)
10. Travis d’Arnaud – New York Mets (13)
11. Stephen Vogt – Oakland A’s (9)
12. Russell Martin – Toronto Blue Jays (10)
13. Evan Gattis – Houston Astros (12)
14. Wellington Castillo – Baltimore Orioles (14)
15. Yadier Molina – St. Louis Cardinals (15)

 

Injured:

  • Gary Sanchez – New York Yankees (3)

Thoughts:

  • Jonathan Lucroy has gotten off to a terrible start and also has routinely found himself on the bench in favor of Robinson Chirinos (22 PA). While we would expect Lucroy to solve his issues, especially since he’s not striking out (7.7% strikeout rate) and has suffered from terrible luck (.182 BABIP, compared to .309 for his career).  Still, the Rangers’ willingness to sit him down is a concern and something to monitor.  If he continues to sit his upside will be capped, and therefore his ranking will plummet.
  • While Willson Contreras has produced solid numbers (.269 with 2 HR), his 32.1% strikeout rate courtesy of a 19.0% SwStr% is a significant concern. He needs to make an adjustment (Whiff% of 25.00% against breaking balls and 41.38% against offspeed pitches), and quickly, or opposing pitchers will continue to expose him.  For now we will keep him near the top, but he has a significant “bust” warning associated to him.
  • Austin Hedges has shown that the power surge he displayed at Triple-A last season was for real (5 HR in 57 AB), the question is going to be if he can solve his current strikeout issues (29.0% strikeout rate courtesy of a 13.1% SwStr%). He was at 15.3% at Triple-A in ’16, so there definitely is hope, and it’s easy to envision him improving on his 13.95% Whiff% against Hard pitches.  At this point consider him a catcher on the rise (and you could argue he belongs a spot or two higher on the rankings).

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

Make sure to check out our Preseason 2017 Prospect Rankings:

Top 50 Prospects1-50
Catcher1-10
First Base1-10
Second Base1-10
Shortstop1-10
Third Base1-10
Outfielders:1-1011-20
Right Handed Pitchers:1-1011-20
Left Handed Pitchers:1-10

3 comments

  1. Mark says:

    Lucroy has been a frustrating ride thus far. A small part of me says it’s time to move on to a younger talent and who it works out (12 team auction keeper)

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