J.T. Realmuto leads the way at the shallowest position on the diamond
If you have been reading my other fantasy baseball positional rankings for 2020, you know I am a big believer in position scarcity theory and the extension of that theory being multi-position eligibility. But the catcher rankings is where that ends.
Like most years, catcher is weak. We don't even make it through the top 10 catcher options before we hit players unlikely to notch 75 runs and RBIs combined. Even my top option, J.T. Realmuto's 25 home runs, nine stolen bases, and .270 average is good, but not great. As long as Gary Sanchez continues to hit in the heart of the Yankee order, he's going to mash HRs. But he hit .232 last year and a worse-than-Mendoza .186 the previous season. Do you think you can identify enough battle-title contenders to balance that out?
I would rather punt the position and spend my draft capital elsewhere. Yadier Molina is both a frequent and repeat member of my fantasy baseball teams. You can get him late too. He has a mixed league ADP around 200 and is the perfect example of a catcher that won't hurt you. Don't expect him to hit 20 HRs as he did two seasons ago. However, a career .284 hitter, he should once again wind up in the .270 range with right around 100 RBIs+runs combined.
Of course an ADP around 200 is still a late-teens rounds. Depending on your league rules and format, you might want to just "stream" catchers all year based upon games likely to be played and righty/lefty matchups each week. Or if you have to grab someone super late, consider James McCann. He has an ADP close to 350. The White Sox acquired Yasmani Grandal so McCann's playing time will see a huge hit. However, McCann was actually the No. 7-ranked catcher last year, after hitting .276 with 18 HRs. Don't expect that again, but something like his 2017 season when he hit .253 with 13 long balls is conceivable.
- The one catcher I seem to like far more than the ECR (experts consensus ranking, below) is Kurt Suzuki. I'm scratching my head as to why the experts don't like him more. I get it -- he's going to hit closer to .250 than .300, he's not going to hit 20 home runs, and his major league stolen base totals this year might be as high as yours and mine. He's technically behind Yan Gomes on the Nationals' depth chart. But I've always liked Suzuki. He'll give you about 300 ABs and play a few games a week, hit around .260, notch around 100 Runs+RBIs combined, and produce double-digit HRs.
Do I really need to give you more notes? Or even list a sleeper? I've got 50 frickin catchers below! Not doing it. The one player below however whose extremely deep ranking I am most likely to change is Jacob Stallings. He's getting a little too much hype for my tastes, but as a 29-year-old rookie last year he hit .268/.341/.402 in 164 at-bats with six home runs and 12 RBIs. He's slated to be the Pirates' No. 1 catcher and is likely to build on those numbers this year. Of course, baseball history is littered with catchers that looked good during their cup of coffee and then proceeded to fall flat on their faces. At the same time, catcher is one position that the Pirates always seem to scout well. Between now and Opening Day, Stallings is likely the first player I will be moving up about 20 spots.
Check out my top catchers below for yourself. Let me know your thoughts!
ADP - Average Draft Position
— Rankings by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.