Preliminary 2021 Rankings: Top 10 Catchers (Where To Rank The 2020 Breakouts, Any Surprises? & More)

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As you view these rankings keep in mind that they are extremely preliminary and will change as we continue our evaluations and projections for 2021. They will also be expanded here on the site, with even deeper rankings and more in-depth analysis available via our draft guide (ordering information is coming soon!)

With that said, let’s get to the rankings:

RankPlayerTeamQuick Thoughts
1) J.T. RealmutoFree AgentWe all know he's the elite catcher in the game, regardless of where he plays. It will be interesting to see where he ultimately lands, especially now that the Mets are out of the running.
2)Will SmithLos Angeles DodgersThe Dodgers have continued to use both Will Smith and Austin Barnes, but 2021 should be the Smith show. He's shown an elite approach (5.7% SwStr%, 18.2% O-Swing%) and the potential to hit for even more power (6.5% HR/FB). That's a great combination, and it may not be long before he emerges as the elite as his position.
3)Salvador PerezKansas City RoyalsPerez hit .333 with 11 HR in 156 PA, but it's hard to envision him maintaining that type of production given his abysmal approach (47.2% O-Swing%) and regression in his luck (.375 BABIP). That alone gives reason for pause, but what if the power (25.6% HR/FB) also regresses?
4) Yasmani GrandalChicago White SoxGrandal struggled in his first season in Chicago, hitting .230 with 8 HR. That said he still showed a strong approach (23.2% O-Swing%) and the power was still there, so a rebound should be likely.
5)Christian VazquezBoston Red SoxVazquez showed that 2019 wasn't a complete aberration, hitting .283 with 7 HR over 189 PA. Maybe he's not that good, especially since his power could regress (his average home run was just 395 feet). He may be more .260/20 overall, but there's still value there.
6)Sean MurphyOakland A'sWhile Murphy has hit .237 over the past two seasons, he's consistently gotten on base (15.0% walk rate) and shown an ability to hit for power (!1 HR). The AVG should improve, and with the power that's a catcher you are going to want to target.
7)Austin NolaSan Diego PadresNola seemingly came out of nowhere, but he's shown an ability to pair a strong approach (8.1% SwStr%, 24.0% O-Swing%) with enough power. It's possible Nola shares playing time with Francisco Mejia, but with the higher upside he's the player to target.
8)Mitch GarverMinnesota TwinsAfter an injury plagued season it's easy to be down on Garver (he only appeared in 23 games). He struggled when on the field, but how much stock do you put in it given the missed time? There's ample power, even though he isn't going to match his '19 pace.
9) James McCannNew York MetsThere are questions about his power (HR/FB of 18.6% and 26.9% the past two years) and his AVG (.339 BABIP in '20). That said he's proven capable of hitting for a decent enough AVG with some power, putting him on fantasy maps.
10)Gary SanchezNew York YankeesObviously this ranking seems low for Sanchez, but there are a lot of potential negatives hanging over him. Will he maintain his playing time (especially with his defensive questions)? Will he be able to make consistent contact? Can he hit for a decent AVG? There are far too many questions at this point.

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant, Brooks Baseball

Make sure to check out all of our preliminary 2021 rankings:

PositionDate Updated
Catcher--
First Baseman11/09/20
Second Baseman11/16/20
Third Baseman11/30/20
Shortstop12/07/20
Outfielder--
Starting Pitcher--
Relief Pitcher--

3 COMMENTS

  1. Hello Professor,

    Will the Draft Guide be available in mid January as usual? Also, how/where can I sign up for it?

    Thanks for your feedback,

    Barry

  2. I second the “No d’Arnaud” sentiment. Roster Resource has him batting cleanup in the Braves lineup. Sounds like lots of runs/rbis/etc. to me.

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