March 29th, 2018
by Des Boodam
To me, the catcher position is in fantasy baseball is like the kicker position in fantasy football. Pretty much a crap shoot from top to bottom, with very few consistent performers and even less skill or strategy required when evaluating who you will take. In my expert league, which has a $500 buy-in, which I have two of the past three seasons, I have never rostered a full-time catcher.
My spot start strategy for the whole season has paid off and I likely won’t deviate from that this season. I do have a few key pointers however as we embark on our fantasy baseball journey this season. Buster Posey, thus far is the only catcher that has “consistent” value. Most leagues know this, and every year somebody over pays for his production, but hey at least they have the best catcher and have no worries for the entire season (barring injury of course).
Part of the problem with catchers especially in ROTO leagues is that they are usually rested once out of every 5 games meaning at most they’ll start 130 games, and might pinch hit in the other half of the games they don’t start. Not cool in roto in my opinion. You get 162 games at the catcher position, so most managers are going to waste a draft pick on a catcher leave 32 games on the bench.
That’s stats for 32 games gone!! Only two catchers recorded over 500 ABs all season. This should be concerning and because most catchers bat near the bottom of the line-up and are injury risks, spending big at this position is not advised. I’ll target one catcher – draft him late, and usually in about two-three weeks I get tired of how much he’s getting rested and I’ll start spot starting for the rest of the season.
I’ll play matchups and figure out who’s starting, and hope for some counting stats. By the end of the day I’ll leave 4-5 games on the table recording 25 games of stats at that position than the next guy. That’s 100 ABs and maybe 10-15 extra runs, RBIs and 3-4 extra HRs. It’s a big deal. My two biggest thoughts on who to draft, are Catchers that have 1B eligibility and actually play 1B…. this increases their overall ABs.
Secondly, American league catchers that hit well, like Gary Sanchez or Brian McCann will often DH… this is a good thing, but not good enough for me to waste a draft pick on.
#1. Gary Sanchez – New York Yankees
Power hitter in a good park who will DH
#2. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
Will rack up the counting stats, and get run at 1B. Just a bit too soft for me.
#3. Wilson Contreras – Chicago Cubs
I think he could have the best season at catcher in 2018. Will get consistent playing time.
#4. Yasmani Grandal – Los Angeleas Dodgers
He would be way better with more playing time, but Austin Barnes is a great backup who allows Grandal to be rested.
#5. J.T. Realmuto – Florida Marlins
Led all catchers in ABs last season, so that has to count for something. Gets run at 1B too.
#6. Yadier Molina – St. Louis Cardinals
Molina has digressed over the years but still gives you speed and had the 2nd most RBIs last season amongst back stops
#7. Brian McCann – Houston Astros
In a solid time-share with Evan Gattis and is getting up there. Hope for the best expect the worst
#8. Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
Can’t argue with 27 bombs and 80 RBIs, but runs and a sub 3 OBP is a line-up killer
#9. Mike Zunino – Seattle Mariners
I like Zunino for HRs, and that’s about it. Had fewer runs and RBIs than Perez but a higher OBP
#10. Travis D’Arnaud – New York Mets
Waiting on him to breakout – if he does, RBIs will be the best contribution.