Top 15 Catchers (2019): OBP Formats: Who Rises & Who Falls?

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Obviously when we change the format of our leagues the rankings need to be altered. One of the popular changes going to day is the move away from AVG and towards OBP as a league category. So who rises and who falls?

As with AVG formats, here are a few things to remember as you review the rankings (and if you want to see even deeper rankings, make sure to order our 2019 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide that includes a Top 30 for OBP formats, by clicking here):

  • A player being ranked #3 doesn’t mean you should draft him in that spot. In most cases you shouldn’t have to, it just shows the potential value that he holds.
  • These rankings are based on our projections and expected production for 2019.

Who are the names we should trust?  Who should be ignored? Let’s dive in and take a look:

  1. J.T. Realmuto – Miami Marlins
  2. Gary Sanchez – New York Yankees
  3. Yasmani Grandal – Milwaukee Brewers
  4. Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
  5. Yadier Molina – St. Louis Cardinals
  6. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
  7. Danny Jansen – Toronto Blue Jays
  8. Willson Contreras – Chicago Cubs
  9. Francisco Cervelli – Pittsburgh Pirates
  10. Tucker Barnhart – Cincinnati Reds
  11. Carson Kelly – Arizona Diamondbacks
  12. Robinson Chirinos – Houston Astros
  13. Omar Narvaez – Seattle Mariners
  14. Austin Barnes – Los Angeles Dodgers
  15. Welington Castillo – Chicago White Sox

Thoughts:

  • While the top of the rankings go relatively unchanged, the most notable flip is Yasmani Grandal jumping up one spot to #3 over Salvador Perez.  The latter once showed promise in his ability to get on base, but with a rising strikeout rate and a non-existent walk rate (3.5% for his career, 3.1% in ’18) he’s never going to be able to post a strong OBP (he hasn’t been above .297 since 2013).  Grandal, on the other hand, should get an opportunity to play regularly, has nearly as much power potential and owns a career .341 OBP (.349 in ’18).  That type of advantage makes the change obvious.
  • One of the biggest risers on the list is the Pirates’ Francisco Cervelli.  He doesn’t necessarily have the power potential that others have, though his 12 HR in 404 PA last season is more than enough when you couple it with a career .362 OBP (.370 or better in five of the past six seasons).  In other words he could easily post the best OBP among catchers, and as long as you make up his 8-10 HR that he’s short compared to others there’s a lot to like.
  • Robinson Chirinos is another catcher who rises, albeit slightly, thanks to an ability to get on base consistently.  Over the past four seasons he’s posted walk rates of 10% or better three times, including an 11.0% mark in ’17.  Now in Houston the outlook looks strong, as he’ll be supported by a strong lineup and should get an opportunity for regular playing time.
  • One of the biggest fallers is Welington Castillo, who owns a career .318 OBP.  Any advantage he had in his at least decent average gets wiped away by his lack of walks (especially since he may not hit more than 14-17 HR).
  • We’ve already talked about our concerns with Wilson Ramos, which you can read by clicking here, but they are actually worse in OBP formats.  A questionable approach should lead to more strikeouts, and it’s often led to a walk rate below 5.0 % (despite a 7.7% in ’18 he had been at 5.0% or lower in four of the previous five seasons).  You add that to the other concerns we had and he falls just short of this list.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

1 COMMENT

  1. Love the site and analysis. But Wilson Ramos has had a pretty good OBP since his breakout in 2016 when he got LASIK surgery. In 2016, it stood at .354 in 523 PA (4th behind Lucroy, Posey & Realmuto) and last year he had .358 in 416 PA (behind Cervelli & Posey). He was recovering from his gruesome injury for much of 2017 and more injuries sidelined him for part of 2018. Are you baking the injury risk into his projections? I’ve read your profile, but not sure I would take your 7-15 over him in any format.

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