2018 Preseason Rankings (OBP): Top 15 Catchers: Who Are The Risers & Fallers?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The trend for fantasy baseball leagues has been to move away from the “standard” scoring systems (aka one that utilizes average) and instead use a more “modern” metric (like OBP or OPS).  So what happens to the rankings when we change the categories, utilizing OBP instead of AVG?  Let’s take a look, starting off with the catcher position:

1) Gary Sanchez – New York Yankees
2) J.T. Realmuto – Miami Marlins
3) Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
4) Evan Gattis – Houston Astros
5) Russell Martin – Toronto Blue Jays
6) Brian McCann – Houston Astros
7) Willson Contreras – Chicago Cubs
8) Robinson Chirinos – Texas Rangers
9) Jonathan Lucroy – Free Agent
10) Tyler Flowers – Atlanta Braves
11) Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
12) Alex Avila – Arizona Diamondbacks
13) Welington Castillo – Chicago White Sox
14) Mike Zunino – Seattle Mariners
15) Yasmani Grandal – Los Angeles Dodgers

Thoughts:

  • The biggest riser on these rankings is the Rangers’ Robinson Chirinos (who fell outside our Top 15 in standard scoring formats). While he hit .255 last season, his .360 OBP placed him fourth among catchers with at least 300 PA (behind Buster Posey, Alex Avila and Tyler Flowers).  The strong mark came due to an 11.0% walk rate, and while he did swing and miss too much (13.0% SwStr%), he stayed within the strike zone (27.2% O-Swing%) and that should allow him to continue getting on base.  Couple that with the power surge (17 HR) and there’s suddenly a lot to like.  Even if you expect a regression in his OBP, he should be able to maintain a solid mark.
  • Russell Martin is the other player who took a big jump (going from #13 to 5). While he’s never going to hit for a strong average, he has power and also has proven capable of routinely getting on base.  Last season he carried a 13.7% walk rate, helping him to a .343 OBP (.350 for his career).  His power is right there with most of the field (think 20 HR if he stays healthy), so the advantage he grabs in the OBP department sends him sky rocketing.
  • Salvador Perez is one of the biggest fallers on the rankings (he was #5 in standard formats) and that’s due to his clear inability to draw a walk (3.6% for his career). When he was maintaining a strong average it was easier to overlook, but since he’s “evolved” into a power-centric approach he’s become your generic low average option (think Mike Zunino).  Sure there’s some power, but he’s no different then the rest of the options.

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Rankings:

Position
Standard League
OBP League
Catchers03/14/1802/02/18
First Basemen01/08/1802/09/18
Second Basemen01/15/1802/13/18
Shortstops03/21/1802/27/18
Third Basemen03/09/1803/06/18
Outfielders1-20: 03/18/18

21-40: 03/19/18
1-20: 03/12/18

21-40:
Starting Pitchers1-20: 03/24/18

21-40: 03/24/18
--
Relief Pitchers02/12/18--

6 comments

  1. MJ says:

    Uhm….Austin Barnes could/should be top 5. Especially given the fact this is about on-base. Outside of the top three you have listed, I am gambling on Barnes winning the starting job and Grandal getting traded. Given 450-500 at bats, Barnes could easily be an overall top five catcher.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I don’t see it. Granted, he carry a good OBP but he doesn’t supplement it with power or speed (IMO). Plus, as of today it’s impossible to project him for that many AB

      • MJ says:

        I should point out my league is all about at bats, on base and slugging. We don’t care about counting stats.
        Given that, and given that Barnes started 13 of 15 post season games…I am targeting him in middle rounds as opposed to overspending on other catchers. Posey and Sanchez are the only two worthy of reaching for imo.

  2. Chris says:

    OBP roto league, I have Lucroy and Ramos. Not sure which one to cut. Lucroy might not be signed by the time I have to make the cut which is even worse.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I prefer Lucroy, but I agree that a little bit of clarity as to where he signs would help make me more comfortable with it

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