My fantasy baseball catcher rankings for the 2022 season align with what you might find almost anywhere else. Well, maybe not throughout, but at least at the top of my rankings that seems to be the case. Don't expect to find any big surprises in my top dozen catchers.
However, as we venture into two-catcher league territory, things take a bit of a detour. I have at least three young catchers I'm willing to gamble on this season more than some other experts. So let's start with the biggest discrepancy between my rankings and the ECR (Expert Consensus Rankings), William Contreras.
I don't have Contreras in my top 25. However, for leagues where it is worth drafting/rostering three catchers, Contreras is well worth picking before your rival owners do. Be aware, however, that we are talking about William Contreras, the young catcher for the Braves, not his older brother Willson, the 29-year-old backstop for the Cubs. Same position, same last name, heck same initials, and they are brothers. It can be confusing but don't get them mixed up.
But while Willson is the more established major leaguer, William is quite the nifty catching prospect in his own right. Only 24, the younger Contreras was rushed to the big club last year even though Atlanta was in a pennant race as injuries struck the catcher position. At the time, he was hitting .290 with nine home runs in 171 plate appearances at AAA. He went on to bat .215 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs in 163 at-bats for the Braves. He might start this season in the minor but if he has a .873 OPS at AAA like he did last year, it won't be long before he's in the show.
Alejandro Kirk on the other hand has a chance to be the Blue Jays' Opening Day catcher. The 23-year-old is having a great spring (.625 with a 1.825 OPS in the early going) so far. If he gets the starting nod, he'll bat near the bottom of a loaded Toronto lineup but he should still be able to put up decent numbers. I'd pencil him in for an acceptable average and double-digit homers, with a possibly even higher ceiling.
The young catcher with the highest ceiling however this season is probably Baltimore's Adley Rutschman, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 draft. He is near the very top of everyone's prospect rankings. He's only had 185 plate appearances at AAA but they are eye-opening for a catcher. Like Contreras, Rutschman has shown an ability hit both for average (.312 at AAA) and power (9 HRs, .896 OPS). Whenever he arrives in Baltimore, he's likely ticketed for a prime spot in the order sooner rather than later, making him even more valuable in fantasy. Rutschman is dealing with a minor injury and will likely start the year back at AAA. But I would be shocked if he's not up with the Orioles by the All-Star break. In two-catcher leagues, I'd grab those that will be on Opening Day rosters. But in single-catcher leagues that have a deep bench, I can't help but be drawn in by the alluring upside of Rutschman.
Looking for something a little less shiny and a little more reliable? Take a gander at my C rankings below for others worth considering.
2022 Fantasy Baseball: Catcher Rankings
— 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.