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You’re the monster preparing for your fantasy draft, and I’m Dr. Frankenstein telling you it’s all going to be OKAY.

If you are one of our beloved loyal Razzball readers, you know by now that this site tends to discourage you from taking catchers early in fantasy drafts. The argument is simple: the difference between a top 5 catcher and a 5-15 range catcher is negligible. At other positions, the difference is much more significant. Plus, there are always surprises who end up either getting drafted later or picked up on waivers who put up top 10 catcher numbers.

Some years ago, a younger Grey with what we can only assume was a less prominent mustache wrote about his draft strategy for punting catchers. I’ll wait here while you give it a look. Go ahead. It’s the same website, so I won’t get in trouble. I might even get some kind of bonus for encouraging clicks or something.

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The concept is simple. In most leagues, the difference between a top 5 catcher— one who might get taken in the top 25 to top 50 of your league— and a waiver wire catcher pickup is minuscule compared to other positions. You can get away with punting the catcher position because even the best catchers don’t have huge impacts on their teams.

I have a big CBS league draft coming up this weekend, so I looked at CBS Fantasy points for 2016, and 15 different first basemen outscored Buster Posey, the top catcher. Also, 21 outfielders, 11 second basemen, 13 third basemen, and 8 shortstops outscored Posey. That is nearly 70 players who outscored the absolute BEST option available at catcher, and we are not even including the 30 or so starting pitchers who outscored the BEST catcher, which would put the top option at catcher out of the top 100 players.

Buster Posey’s ADP right now is around number 43. In our Razzball Writers League that drafted last week, he went at 97. Be more like the Razzball Writers in that league and less like the schmos who are overpaying for catchers.

Last season, I took J.T. Realmuto somewhere around the 20th round, hoped for the best, but also figured I might be streaming catchers at some point in the season. Instead, Realmuto rewarded me with a top 5 season at his position. Did I get lucky? Yes. Will that always happen? No. Would I have been fine if Realmuto didn’t work out and I had to do some catcher streaming? Absolutely.

If you read the Frankencatcher Reports I wrote last year, you already know that. There was a period where Jarrod Saltalamacchia was the hottest hitting catcher in the league. Remember that? It happened. I was there and we talked about it at the time. We knew it wouldn’t last, but we did get a few fun weeks out of it.

Now that we’re about 450 words into this, let’s at least include some Frankencatcher substance here…

Sandy Leon

A lot of people are looking at Sandy Leon’s slash line last year and getting giddy while projecting those numbers out over a full season instead of the 252 ABs he had last year. I beg you, do not be so foolish. Allow me to scare you away from making such a mistake.

Exhibit A. Let’s take a stroll through Splitsville:

Month Batting Average
June .467
July .355
August .306
September/October .213

Now, for a while there, he was an unstoppable force at the plate, as his June and July indicate. But those numbers demonstrate how he came back to earth over the course of the season. Did he wear down from being overworked? Sure. Maybe. But was his career average heading into last season below .250? Yup.

Not enough to scare you away yet? Ok, how about this:

Still not convinced? Ok. His BABIP last year was .392. Three. Freaking. Nine. Tee. Two. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict he doesn’t repeat that number. And while Spring Training does not mean much of anything, I will point out that he is hitting .143 so far this Spring, just because that evidence supports my claims above.

Oh, and one last thing. He is competing with a young prospect who the Red Sox love for playing time and for the starting spot. And even if he ultimately wins the job, Christian Vazquez is probably going to start three times a week.

Injury Update

Just as the Ian Desmond news was settling in for the Colorado Rockies, their fans, and those of us who drafted Ian Desmond in early draft leagues, Tom Murphy went down:

Bummers all around. It is never a good day in fantasy when a Rockies hitter goes down. Just last week, Grey went over Tom Murphy in his Catchers to Target, 2017 Fantasy Baseball piece, which focuses on, you guessed it, catchers to target later in the draft, after the “top guys” are all taken.

Now, losing Murphy for 4-6 weeks (but, if we are being honest with each other, probably longer) is not like losing Buster Posey for the entire season, so everyone relax. But it still stings for those of us who were going to try and be savvy and take a flyer on Murphy in the 24th round. Plus, the good news is that now we get to talk about Murphy in a future Frankencatcher post, when Sandy Leon is hitting .220 and you are looking to go streaming.

Catcher Rankings

For those interested in my rankings, here are my top 25 catchers as of right now:

Rank Player Name Team
1 Buster Posey SF
2 Kyle Schwarber CHC
3 Willson Contreras CHC
4 Gary Sanchez NYY
5 Jonathan Lucroy TEX
6 J.T. Realmuto MIA
7 Evan Gattis HOU
8 Salvador Perez KC
9 Brian McCann HOU
10 Russell Martin TOR
11 Stephen Vogt OAK
12 Yasmani Grandal LAD
13 Welington Castillo BAL
14 Matt Wieters WSH
15 Cameron Rupp PHI
16 Yadier Molina STL
17 Wilson Ramos TB
18 Austin Hedges SD
19 Francisco Cervelli PIT
20 Derek Norris WSH
21 Andrew Susac MIL
22 Tom Murphy COL
23 Travis d’Arnaud NYM
24 Yan Gomes CLE
25 Devin Mesoraco CIN

 

If you want to talk fantasy football or have players you want Mike to feature, hit him up on Twitter at @mikeMaher or post a comment below!

 

  1. jeff says:
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    Thanks for the Catcher list. No Flowers or Suzuki on the list?

    Question for anyone – sorry, it’s not Catcher related. In an NL only 10 team keeper league auction ( $260), would you trade a $7 Swanson and a $20 Fowler for a $32 Freeman? I’m looking for more power heading into the draft. I own Renden ($17) and J. Turner ($1) for the other corner positions…but Freeman might be expensive. Thoughts?? Much appreciated!!

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @jeff:

      I would, especially with how first base looks this season.

      Flowers and Suzuki are OK, but neither really have any upside. We know who they are at this point, and they’re just guys.

  2. Rock D says:
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    Contreras over Sanchez. That’s an interesting one just on the fact that Contreras is still raw behind the dish and can only get his ABs if he catches. Sanchez bat on his off days will still get to DH.

    But I do love the idea of punting the catcher position all together. They actually bring down your average and only contribute maybe 2 or 3 counting stats per week.

    • Rock D says:
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      @Rock D: in head to head at least. Roto might be a different story

      • mikeMaher

        mikeMaher says:
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        @Rock D:

        I like Contreras better for all around, but Sanchez could end up being better. We’ll see. For right now, I am taking Contreras over him. But, like you said, I am not usually getting either one of them in my leagues because they both go way too early.

  3. RD says:
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    Great post!
    I was going to target Murphy in all my drafts,
    His injury showed me once again take catchers last.
    Last year I took Chirinos with my last pick and he broke his arm week one.
    Ended up with Realmuto not bad.
    Doing the same this year.

  4. Brian says:
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    Just an FYI that Derek Norris was released and, I think, is still currently a free agent.

    • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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      @Brian: yeah somebody in WAS town finally got around to watching that OAK/KC playoff game from a few years ago that norris allowed 6 steals in like 5 innings or some shit. none caught.

  5. LenFuego says:
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    I really do not get how Evan Gattis and Brian McCann, both on Houston, can be 7th and 9th at catcher. At least one of them, and probably both, are simply not going to get enough at-bats to justify top 10 rankings. The Astros signed Carlos Beltran in the offseason, who should get the lion’s share of DH at-bats, so there are not many at-bats to reclaim there. And I have heard nothing about a potential trade.

  6. Lt says:
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    Great write up. Do rankings in weekly leagues change anything? I was thinking maybe Vogt moves up or American League hitting catchers in general move up in a weekly with the DH position available to them? Vogt or McCann or Gattis? I’ll be waiting for sure on catcher but I’ve never done a weekly league only daily. I’m focusing on Vogt late just wanted an opinion. Thanks I’ll be reading.

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