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2020 Catcher Rankings - Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Leagues


Spring Training is upon us! Pitchers and catchers have reported and we finally have some box scores to desperately over-analyze. The catcher position can really be a headache for dynasty owners trying to plan for the future. Needless to say, it is not a position that many MLB teams count on for offense, leaving fantasy players out in the cold searching for even the smallest boost to their overall stat line. On top of that, catcher is arguably the hardest spot on the diamond to play and tends to destroy an athlete's body much quicker than other non-pitching positions. More often than not, dynasty players avoid all but the best catching prospects in drafts, and are willing to take on more statistical warts than normal simply to fill the position with a player guaranteed to start games. Let's see if we can't alter that mentality and steal some value for you this year.

Outside of a couple high-end hitters such as Gary Sanchez, J.T. Realmuto, and Willson Contreras, catcher is a veritable desert. An out-of-nowhere campaign from Mitch Garver breathed a little life into the position in 2019, giving fantasy players hope of finding a breakout in 2020 that can turn the tide of their season. While the current state of the position might not be glowing, the future is as bright as ever thanks to the introduction of 2019 #1 overall pick Adley Rutschman and the continued production of 2018 #2 overall pick Joey Bart. The diamonds in the rough, however, lie outside of the obvious choices, often hiding in plain sight.

All preseason long, RotoBaller has you covered with the latest rankings for all fantasy baseball league types. Here we present our dynasty rankings for the catcher position, put together by rankers Ellis Canady, Nicklaus Gaut, and Pierre Camus. Analysis is provided by yours truly, Kyle Brown. Check out our analysis of all other positions as well, coming soon!

 

Catcher Dynasty League Rankings

In case you missed it, our very own "Big Pick Nick" Mariano was named the #1 overall most accurate industry expert ranker for the 2018 season!

Rank Tier Player Name Position Pierre Nick G Ellis
1 1 Gary Sanchez C 68 72 79
2 1 J.T. Realmuto C 84 55 83
3 2 Willson Contreras C 83 192 97
4 2 Yasmani Grandal C 198 108 157
5 3 Mitch Garver C 191 131 210
6 3 William Smith C 232 143 186
7 3 Adley Rutschman C 291 252 213
8 3 Joey Bart C 295 243 227
9 3 Sean Murphy C 235 278 256
10 3 Salvador Perez C 332 179 311
11 4 Francisco Mejia C 273 325 260
12 4 Carson Kelly C 313 288 259
13 4 Danny Jansen C 298 266 319
14 4 Jorge Alfaro C 333 261 340
15 5 Tom Murphy C 380 256 #N/A
16 5 Wilson Ramos C 370 232 354
17 5 Omar Narvaez C 354 295 337
18 5 Roberto Perez C 379 303 #N/A
19 5 Christian Vazquez C/1B 422 224 392
20 5 Tyler Stephenson C 348 #N/A #N/A
21 6 Buster Posey C 430 239 441
22 6 Yadier Molina C 408 306 411
23 6 Keibert Ruiz C 372 400 361
24 7 Travis D'Arnaud C/1B 433 368 #N/A
25 7 Mike Zunino C 418 #N/A #N/A
26 7 Willians Astudillo C/1B/3B 484 354 #N/A
27 7 Yan Gomes C 435 #N/A #N/A
28 7 Kurt Suzuki C 472 398 #N/A
29 7 Ronaldo Hernandez C 448 #N/A #N/A
30 7 Zack Collins C 452 #N/A #N/A
31 7 Chance Sisco C 453 #N/A #N/A
32 7 M.J. Melendez C 454 #N/A #N/A
33 7 James McCann C 515 #N/A 364
34 7 Robinson Chirinos C 480 430 #N/A
35 7 Austin Hedges C 464 #N/A #N/A
36 7 Daulton Varsho C 402 529 #N/A
37 7 Alex Avila C 471 #N/A #N/A
38 7 Andrew Knizner C 446 536 #N/A
39 7 Shea Langeliers C 501 #N/A #N/A
40 7 Victor Caratini C/1B 502 501 #N/A
41 7 William Contreras C #N/A 546 #N/A
42 7 Tucker Barnhart C 646 475 #N/A
43 7 Manny Pina C 658 #N/A #N/A

 

Tier One

When Gary Sanchez is on the field, he absolutely torches the ball. His career average exit velocity sits at 91mph, which explains the robust .518 career slugging percentage. One would think that the ability to DH once in a while would have helped keep him healthy, but Sanchez has already dealt with a bevy of injuries in his first five seasons. Regardless, Sanchez is still just 27 and his ability to provide a massive amount of home runs for your fantasy team in 2020 and beyond is undeniable. If he ever manages to stay on the field for more than 130 games, a 45-HR season is absolutely in the cards. Simply put, Sanchez is the only catcher in the majors who currently possess the kind of in-game power necessary to lead the league in home runs.

While that outcome is unlikely, it speaks to the upside potential that comes with owning Sanchez. He won't provide much of anything in terms of AVG, but the HR, R, and RBI totals will dwarf the average production most teams get from the catcher position. When it comes to building a dynasty, having above-average production at every position is essential, making Sanchez the top dog at catcher until some new young buck comes along to take his spot.

J.T. Realmuto is a rare breed of catcher. Power, speed, contact, and defense are all above average skills for the Phillies backstop. In addition, he has been able to play 125 games or more for five consecutive seasons, no small feat for a cacher. Realmuto turns 29 this year, so he should still be able to provide dynasty teams with a few more years of decent production, assuming his health holds up. With a sprint speed in the 89th percentile, the 5-10 stolen bases Relamuto provides are likely to be a part of his game for the foreseeable future, a-la Jason Kendall. Compared to other positions the overall stat line won't be jaw-dropping, but Realmuto won't hurt you in any category. Heck, he has even managed to increase his home run total every year that he has been in the league. Realmuto is a great anchor at backstop for any dynasty team in win-now mode.

 

Tier Two

Willson Contreras has been a fantasy mainstay for several years now. He is one of the few catchers that can provide your team with 20+ HR without sacrificing much in AVG (career .267). Contreras's hard-hit rate skyrocketed to 41.5% in 2020, up from a career mark of ~34%. This spike is supported by a four-year improvement in launch angle, a career-best barrel rate of 11.5%, and a trend in his plate discipline profile that suggests Contreras is getting more aggressive, swinging at more pitches in the zone (and out of the zone).

Originally more of a line-drive hitter, Contreras has increased his FB% and decreased his LD% for four consecutive seasons and appears to have bought into the prevailing philosophy among MLB hitters that more fly balls will lead to more home runs. In 2019, Contreras produced the lowest contact rate (69.2%) and his worst swinging-strike rate (15.1%) of his career, but all that uptick in aggressiveness did was net him a career-high of 24HR in only 105 games. At just 27, Contreras has a great shot to give dynasty owners a couple of .275/30 seasons in the next few years and could easily find himself in tier one after 2020.

Yasmani Grandal has been one of the most consistent catchers in baseball for the past four seasons. At 31, he is going to age out of fantasy relevance in the not-so-distant-future, but for at least a couple more years he should have no issue providing fantasy owners with the .240/25 seasons that they have come to expect. The move from Milwaukee to Chicago should be a positive one for Grandal as it will allow him to see some time at DH, giving his aging body a few days of respite from his time behind the dish. Grandal's hard-hit rate has been steady for several seasons, maintaining an average above 40%. You won't get credit for his excellent OBP in standard 5x5 leagues, but his 17.2% walk rate and excellent OBP skills will allow him to score more runs than your average catcher, especially with all the powerful bats hitting around him for the White Sox.

 

Tier Three

This is the tier where it really starts to get interesting. Is it better to chase elite production in the future or fall back on mediocre but reliable outputs from some old standbys? Mitch Garver is the only true standout from this tier that will provide elite production in 2020, assuming his 97th percentile hard-hit rate wasn't a mirage. The underlying metrics on Garver's 2019 are very positive. With an xSLG and xwOBA both above the 90th percentile, there are plenty of reasons to bet on Garver's power for 2020 and beyond. With all the prodigious mashers around him in the Twins lineup, Garver should have no problem putting up run and RBI totals similar to that of Realmuto and Sanchez. Mitch has a real shot at 40 HR if he can put together a full season of plate appearances.

Will Smith's first major league home run was a walk-off. Two weeks later, he smashed another walk-off dinger. All in all, Smith managed to mash 15HR in just 196 PA. He posted an excellent barrel rate of 10.6% with an xWOBA of .369. Granted, the MLB sample size for Smith was small, but he was absolutely spectacular last season. Despite the low BABIP of .264, Statcast isn't bullish on his ability to hit for average, giving him an xBA of only .225 for 2019. That said, the power is real and has been on display in the minors for quite some time. Between AAA and the MLB last season, Smith hit 35HR in 116 games. Smith will turn 25 during the 2020 campaign and will be hitting in the stacked Dodgers lineup for several seasons to come. Smith resembles Mitch Garver in terms of profile, but he's four years younger, making him a little more valuable long term.

Adley Rutschman hit .411/.575/.751 in his junior season at Oregon State. That is pure madness. Oh yeah, Adley Rustchman also hit over .400 in his sophomore season. This kid can flat out play. The Orioles selected him #1 overall and his first taste of the minors was solid, but I am not going to put much stock in the 37 pro games played after a grueling college baseball season. Rustchman is a future MVP and you should do everything you can to get him on your dynasty team. Don't let the prejudice against catchers keep you from drafting him in the top five of your FYPD this season.

If you don't want to wait for Rutschman to develop, Joey Bart is going to be your dynasty catcher of the future. Between A+ and AA last year Bart put together a triple slash of .278/.328/.495. Bart has shown plenty of contact ability in his minor league career, which was one of the only concerns about his game when he was drafted #2 overall in 2018. Buster Posey is well on his way to spending more at first base and Bart should have no problem ascending to San Francisco to take over catching duties for Posey as early as 2021.

After scorching AAA to the tune of 10HR in just 31 games, Murphy came up for a cup of coffee and completely held his own at the MLB level. Slated to start the season as the A's primary backstop, Murphy will be a decent source of power for fantasy owners in 2020 and will likely have a stranglehold on the catcher position in Oakland for the foreseeable future.

 

Tier Four

Carson Kelly established himself as the backstop of the immediate future in Arizona last season with an above-average offensive campaign. Kelly managed to pop 18HR in 111 games with a .245 average. That is not too shabby for a catcher that wasn't on most dynasty radars at the beginning of 2019. The trade from St. Louis to Arizona opened up an opportunity for playing time that simply wasn't available with the Cardinals thanks to the presence of Yadier Molina. Kelly possesses a fantastic eye at the plate, only swinging at 25% of pitches outside of the zone. Still just 25, Carson is unlikely to be supplanted by prospect Dalton Varsho given Kelly's excellent framing abilities (88th percentile) and ability to get on base (.348 OBP). Kelly is a great under-the-radar option in all formats this year and will be a reliable backstop for several seasons to come.

Danny Jansen was a popular sleeper pick in 2019, having put up excellent minor league numbers in both 2017 and 2018. Unfortunately, Jansen flopped last year thanks to a .230 BABIP and a .207 average. He did manage to hit 13 HR and with just a little more luck on balls in play this season he could easily put up a decent .245/.330/.440 season for the Jays. Jansen will be 24 to start the 2020 campaign and there is still some room for future development.

 

Tier Five

Tyler Stephenson is the future at catcher for the Cincinnati Reds. It took him a couple of seasons to find his groove in the minor leagues, but everything came together in 2019. Stephenson is the type of catcher that can hit for a decent average and good on-base percentage, though it may take a little time in the MLB for the power to fully materialize. In 89 games at AA last season, he showed off some pretty impressive plate discipline numbers with a walk rate of 10.2% - his third straight season over 10% - against a strikeout rate of just 16.5%. Barring an unexpected collapse in AAA to start the year, Stephenson is likely to end the year as the starting catcher for the Reds and establish himself as the franchise cornerstone at the position.

Christian Vazquez came of out nowhere last year and managed to hit 23 taters for the Red Sox at age 29. That is the first time since 2011 that Vazquez has ever hit more than 10 HR in a season. It's worth mentioning that Vazquez was in A-ball in 2011. Is Vazquez likely to repeat that power output in 2020? Likely not. His hard-hit rate (47th percentile) and exit velocity (41st percentile) were both well below the league average. That said, no one is coming to take his job in Boston until Connor Wong is ready to take over, making Vazquez a reliable option to hold down your catcher position this season while other options mature in your farm.

 

Tier Six and Lower

Keibert Ruiz has lost some shine from his star with a couple of unspectacular campaigns in 2018 and 2019. The contact skills remain elite and there is plenty of time for the rest of the tools to come together for the future Dodger backstop. The Dodgers tend to get their players to learn multiple positions to help deal with the glut of talent on the club, so it isn't hard to imagine Ruiz and Will Smith both learning to play 1B in the future to help keep their bats in the lineup and their knees intact. 2020 is a big year for Keibert's development and he will need to tap into some power to really challenge Smith for playing time.

Daulton Varsho is currently listed as a catching prospect for Arizona, but with the emergence of Carson Kelly last season, it is safe to assume that the Diamondbacks will end up using his incredible athleticism somewhere else on the diamond. Varsho is the rare type of catcher who has the athleticism and speed to play center field and swipe more than 20 bases in a season. His time in AA last season was extremely encouraging as he managed to hit 18 HR and steal 21 bases to go along with a .301/.378/.520 triple slash. Varsho will likely see enough time at catcher to maintain the eligibility for a couple of seasons after he makes his debut, but with 20/20 potential it's not hard to see why the Diamondbacks would want to keep his legs as healthy as possible.

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2020 IDP Rankings - Top 120 Defensive Players for Fantasy Football

Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's updated 2020 fantasy football rankings (top 120) for IDP formats. For those of you who are not familiar with fantasy football IDP leagues, these are formats where individual defensive players (IDP) are drafted by fantasy managers and accrue points for defensive stats like tackles, sacks, interceptions, etc. Our... Read More


Josh Hayes' 2020 Best Ball Avoids (Premium Content)

All other Premium Tools can be accessed on the premium dashboard. The fantasy football season upon us! For those fantasy players looking to get an edge on their 2020 leagues, best ball formats are an awesome way to get an early look at where players are being drafted in terms of ADP, and which players... Read More


Nick Mariano's 2020 Late-Round Fliers (Premium Content)

All other Premium Tools can be accessed on the premium dashboard. We’re intentionally sidestepping the term “sleeper" because I don’t want to get wrapped up in debates over these guys not being “under the radar” enough. I may still throw it into the SEO field, though...no regrets. Instead, let’s discuss some late-round fliers at running... Read More


Justin Herbert - Fantasy Football Rookie Spotlight

As fantasy football players and NFL fans, every year we get excited about the NFL draft. It is a time of hope where a franchise's luck can change for the better or for the worst. This rings especially true for the teams that decide to select a quarterback. The starting quarterback of an NFL team... Read More