Updated Rankings (June 1): Top 15 Catchers: Lucroy & Contreras Plummet & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We are two months into the season so there have obviously been changes to our 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 previous rankings update):

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

Injured:

  • None

Thoughts:

  • The biggest questions facing Gary Sanchez is his strikeouts (22.0%) and popups (24.0% IFFB). Those are fair numbers to point out, but he’s not chasing pitches outside the strike zone (27.5% O-Swing%), isn’t benefitting from luck (.313 BABIP, 22.5% line drive rate) and is posting a believable HR/FB (16.0%).  While he’s not quite as good as he showed last season, there’s little reason to think that he’s anything besides one of the best.
  • It’s hard not to slot Salvador Perez near the top of these rankings, as his production supports that of a Top 5 option (.263 with 11 HR and 29 RBI). However we also can’t ignore the obvious risks involved in investing in him.  His plate discipline has been abysmal (44.3% O-Swing%) and he’s clearly swinging for the fences (52.7% fly ball rate).  That said it’s not like he’s benefited from luck (.301 BABIP), nor is his HR/FB an unbelievable mark (14.3%).  While he may not be able to maintain this type of pace, there’s obviously a lot to like.
  • We’d like to see better plate discipline from Austin Hedges (36.9% O-Swing%, 14.9% SwStr%), but there’s reason to believe that he’ll improve upon his .209 average (.235 BABIP). He’s also proven that last year’s power surge was very much for real (9 HR, 18.8% HR/FB), despite playing half his games in Petco Park.
  • Obviously Jonathan Lucroy has been among the biggest disappointments of 2017 (.265 with 3 HR). However he’s actually showing elite level plate discipline (2.9% SwStr%, 28.7% O-Swing%), but when he’s making consistent contact it’s been rather weak (24.6% Hard%).  Maybe he needs to take a more aggressive approach, and given his track record (.309 career BABIP, compared to a .267 mark in ’17) there’s every reason to believe he’ll get there.  Now is actually the time to try and buy, as opposed to lose hope, despite his drop in the rankings.

Sources – Fangraphs

Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:

Position
Posted
CatcherApril 25
First BaseApril 26
Second BaseMay 1
Third BaseMay 4
ShortstopMay 8
Outfield--
Starting Pitcher--
Relief Pitcher--

16 comments

  1. Floyd The Barber says:

    In a points league, you’d rather have Hedges over Gattis?

  2. Brad says:

    Which players get the biggest bump in OBP leagues?

  3. Charles Leroy says:

    Does Wilson Ramos crack the top 12 after he returns from injury? Thanks!

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Not initially, as he’s going to be limited to DH’ing and may not play every day. He will likley get there, in time, though

  4. Gern says:

    Reaching my self-imposed limit on pitchers in a 12 team, head to head, annual league.and Reed is there in FA.

    I have:
    Scherzer, Nola, Hamels, Gonzalez, Leake, Vargas, Lynn, Kluber, & Bundy

    Osuna, Kimbrel, Wilson, Knebel

  5. Alex says:

    This is a current rankings list, not a rest of season rankings list, correct? If so, it makes sense. Rest of season, though, I’d definitely have Lucroy higher, for as you said he still shows fine plate discipline and we know what he’s capable of. His numbers haven’t shown up, but I think they will in the end. No clue what’s up with him now, but I’d be willing to ride him out over the likes of d’Arnaud, Castillo and Hedges.

  6. Blue JA says:

    Now that Tom Murphy has been activated, where would he rank?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Wouldn’t shock me to see him get right into the Grandal range, but I’d start him a little further down (think Lucroy territory)

  7. Trevor says:

    Was offered Lucroy and J. Gray for Wellington Castillo, Altherr and R. Iglesias. Would I be giving up too much? Kind of like Lucroy’s potential to break out of slump.

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