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1. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
A 53-point dip in OPS is cause for concern, but Posey can rebound. Where those six stolen bases came from is beyond explanation, though. The power numbers might continue on a slow decline, but Posey will likely be among the first catchers to go off the board. Don’t be surprised if he plays more first base than usual, as, at 30, Posey could be on the verge of hitting the Joe Mauer stage of his career where keeping him behind the plate is counterproductive to what he offers at the plate.
2. Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees
Wow! Sanchez did things in his first extended stint in the bigs that no other player has ever done. The conundrum for Fantasy owners is in trying to determine how close he can come to replicating it in 2017. After all, in his 313 Triple-A plate appearances Sanchez hit just 10 home runs as compared to his 20 in 229 Major League PA. The outrageous numbers he posted mean if you’re buying in you’ll have to draft him very early, meaning a profit will be virtually impossible. He’ll be a fine option at catcher in 2017. It’s just a matter of how much you want to pay.
3. Jonathan Lucroy, Texas Rangers
Lucroy was traded in the middle of the season and played at a high level in Texas, belting 11 homers, with 31 RBI, 19 runs and a .276 average in just 47-games. There is the possibility that he gets time at first or DH on days when he is not catching. He should without question be drafted as a top three catcher this season.
4. Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs
Last year, Contreras hit 12 home runs in just 252 at-bats with a .282 average … and he’s just 24 years old. Contreras has 20 home run ability, and when you combine that with near 60 runs and RBIs and that nice average, you have a Top 5 catcher.
5. Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals
We love Salvador Perez because of the volume he gives you at the position, playing 138, 150, 142 and 139 games in his past four seasons, respectively. However, his second-half numbers have dipped across the board in those seasons, too. After the first five catchers, they’re all similar. At least Perez will play almost every day for you.
6. J.T. Realmuto, Miami Marlins
Realmuto offers a unique combination of power and speed that is very alluring for his position. A very high BABIP last year indicates the batting average is certainly due to take a hit. Realmuto won’t be one of the very top catchers off the board, but he certainly can be taken as your No. 1 guy if you wait until the few top-notch guys are gone.
7. Evan Gattis, Houston Astros
Gattis had a big power season hitting 32 homers and driving in 72 runs, while hitting .251. But his playing time will be a concern as he currently does not have an everyday job. Brian McCann is penciled in as the starting catcher, but he will sit against lefties in favor of Gattis. Gattis could see time at DH, 1B and maybe even some outfield. If he sees 400 plate appearances he is a near lock for at least 20 homers.
8. Russell Martin, Toronto Blue Jays
With the exception of an aberrant 2014, Martin is what he is. Expect 15 to 20 home runs and a painful batting average. He may challenge the Top 10 as a catcher, but Fantasy owners have plenty of younger options with more upside. Feel free to settle. Just realize that’s what you’re doing.
9. Welington Castillo, Baltimore Orioles
Castillo has solid 20-HR potential, but it’s going to come with major batting average risk. He strikes out a ton and it took a .337 BABIP last season to get his average to .264. Draft him as a last-ditch effort to squeeze a bit of value out of your second catching slot.
10. Stephen Vogt, Oakland Athletics
Vogt usually offers decent batting average and counting stats along with 15 HRs or so, which isn’t bad for a catcher at all, especially in leagues that use two.
11. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
Molina had a nice bounce-back season, but if not for his being a catcher, there wouldn’t be any value in Fantasy. Molina can hit near .300 again, but he won’t reach double-digit home runs and the runs and RBIs will check in around 50 each. That puts him as a high-end C2, but that’s it.
12. Brian McCann, Houston Astros
The Astros’ catching scenario is a great mystery heading into the 2017 season. The simple logic says McCann will hit against righties, while Gattis handles the lefties, but I question if the Astros want to leave a great power bat on the bench so often, especially given the fact that Gattis hit 22 homers off of righties last season. McCann has hit 20 homers in nine straight seasons, but his K-rate has climbed in three straight seasons. He is a starting catcher in Fantasy, but the risk of busting is there.
13. Yasmani Grandal, Los Angeles Dodgers
Like better than expected results from a blind date, Grandal’s .581 slugging percentage after July 1 came out of nowhere. As long as the Dodgers protect him against lefties, the 235-pound Grandal may finally hit above his weight this season.
14. Matt Wieters, Washington Nationals
The signing of Matt Wieters is interesting since the Nationals signed Derek Norris this offseason, too. Wieters will get the majority of the time behind home plate, which is good for his numbers but bad for the pitching staff as he’s one of the worst pitch-framers in the game. He’s a fringe Top 12 option at the position.
15. Austin Hedges, San Diego Padres
He’s here for defensive purposes. Move along.
16. Travis d’Arnaud, New York Mets
Travis d’Arnaud unquestionably has the talent to pop 15 to 20 home runs if he can ever stay healthy. Unfortuantely, that is a very big ‘if” for him, especially over the last two seasons. In his limited action last season, he hit the ball on the ground too much, and he is going to have to reverse that trend. You may not have to pay much to get him as your second catcher this season, but it’s hard to seemingly count on a decent return, so he is an apparent risk no matter where you get him.
17. Francisco Cervilli, Pittsburgh Pirates
Cervelli is mainly an empty average at catcher. He’ll be worthy of a C2 spot in two-catcher leagues, but that’s about it given his low counting stats across the board.
18. Yan Gomes, Cleveland Indians
2014 is looking more and more like the outlier for Gomes. Will split time with Roberto Perez behind the plate, but he’s worth rostering in a two-catcher league.
19. Wilson Ramos, Tampa Bay Rays
Ramos finally broke out with the power potential we always knew he had, and then goes out and tears his ACL. Ramos will represent a possible bargain at the catching position, but that’s because you may have to wait until May to use him. With the time off it’s hard to know if he can pick up where he left off in 2016. Pay for his 2013-2015 seasons and be pleasantly surprised if you get more.
20. Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners
He could hit 20 homers for you, which is valuable at catcher. He could also hit below .200.