A few weeks ago, I was but a wee lad writing my first article for Razzball, and you were reading that article because you were either desperate for catcher advice in your fantasy league or because you just plain hate yourself. I recommended picking up J.T. Realmuto for a lengthy dice roll or Jarrod Saltalamacchia for some short term power, and we all laughed a little on the outside and cried a little on the inside.

Then Realmuto hit .500 over the course of the next week. .500, as in half of his at bats were hits. .500, as in the batting average of some of the top high school baseball prospects (except Realmuto, he hit .595 and had 119 RBI in 42 games. Found those stats by accident while searching for a picture of the Realmuto family crest.). .500, as in—OK, enough. It was only a week.

Realmuto cooled off a bit the next week, but he was still more than solid, especially for a catcher: 8-23, 0.348 BA, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 R, SB, .739 OPS. Not too shabby, even if there isn’t a ton of power there. I would like to take this time to point out that my predictions (read: ANALYSIS) for Realmuto, Salty, and Wilson Ramos were all pretty much spot on. Ok, now that we got that out of the way, we can move on.

The free agent catcher wasteland is as bleak as it has ever been. I checked the top 3 free agents by position yesterday in my CBS league, and the top 3 catchers available were: Saltalamacchia, Chris Herrmann, and David Ross. I think most of us would agree that the logical reactions to those three are “old news,” “who?,” and “really?,” respectively. It’s bad, guys. Let’s start with the catchers to stay away from, first.

 

Schlubs to Avoid

Jarrod Saltalamacchia. We’ve been over Saltalamacchia already, and his ranking is currently inflated by that early power surge. He’s back to his old self, and James McCann is back in the picture now. His luster was already gone, and now he’ll be relegated to part time duty. Do we need to go over the numbers here? No, we don’t. Stay away.

Chris Herrmann. Yes, he’s currently slashing .277/ .324 / .569. Yes. he’s ranked in the top 250 overall right now. Yes, he has 4 home runs, a couple stolen bases, and some extra base hits. But come on. He’s a 28 year old with a career major league batting average of .196, and his minor league track record isn’t much better. If you don’t believe me, check out his stats. I’ll wait. He’s also second fiddle to Wellington Castillo, so he won’t exactly be racking up the at bats this season. Don’t let some early success at the dish fool you here. Stay away.

David Ross. Lol. Feel free to pick up Ross in August after your league’s trade deadline when you’re tanking for a better draft pick (not that you would ever do that, of course).

 

Hunks Maybes?

Yan Gomes. Don’t look now, but Yan Gomes might be heating up. He might not return to his 21 homer, .278 AVG days of 2014, but a healthy Gomes can provide some much needed power when he gets going. I was originally planning on calling this section “Hunks” because I thought it was a funny compliment to “Schlubs,” but I just couldn’t do it. These guys aren’t A.C. Slaters or Uncle Jesses. It just wouldn’t be right. If Gomes finishes the year with 25 home runs and an average above .250, maybe I’ll take it back. But let’s face it. We’re hoping for lightning in a bottle and other optimistic cliches here. His .195 BABIP and recent power surge are cause for some cautious optimism. If you’re desperate, Gomes might be worth a flyer. He’s owned in less than 80% of leagues.

But then what? After Gomes, there isn’t much else out there. Depending on your league’s ranking settings, your top catchers should be some combination of these guys:

  1. Jonathan Lucroy
  2. Wellington Castillo
  3. Brian McCann
  4. Yadier Molina
  5. J.T. Realmuto
  6. Buster Posey
  7. Wilson Ramos
  8. Francisco Cervelli
  9. Savlador Perez
  10. Stephen Vogt

Gomes is 11, and Yasmani Grandal is likely owned in your league. If he’s not and none of these guys are available, he’s probably worth grabbing. He’s cold right now, though, so fair warning there. If you’re in a pinch and looking to make a move, my money is on Gomes in the short term. And then there are your true desperation catchers in deeper leagues…

 

Emergency Use Only

Tucker Barnhart. Barnhart is vanilla, and he is about as vanilla as you can get. Nothing about his past or present is really sexy. He’s just a guy. But if you are still struggling to let go of Russell Martin or Derek Norris, he might be better than you guy you have right now, at least for a couple weeks. He doesn’t have much pop, and he is probably going to hit around .250. But he’s the guy now that Devin Mesoraco is out, and can we really keep waiting for Russell Martin. Grab Barnhart as a short term warm body only.

Carlos Perez. Geovany Soto went down today, and he looks like he is going to be out for awhile. Perez hasn’t hit for much this year, but he put up decent numbers at every level of the minors. With Soto out, he should get first crack at being the everyday guy behind the dish. Like Barnhart, Perez is an emergency only option who won’t offer much pop. He might offer a better average than Barnhart, but then again, he might not. He’s still only 25, so he may be able to turn it up a notch with some regular major league at bats. But he might not. He’s an unknown right now, and he is as much risk as he is anything else. If you are truly going to consider a guy like Perez, you’re probably the most desperate team in your league. You can add him to your scout team for a week or two and see how he does. No one is going to swoop in and steal him from you.

 

 

 
  1. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    Nice piece. Dealing with exactly this problem!

    In a 12 team weekly roto league, I’m really grasping at straws. My “good” catcher is indefinitely on the DL (Darnaud) + I’m now stuck with the pair of Ruiz and Ross as my C1 and C2.

    On the waiver wire are the guys below. Would you place Ross and/or Ruiz (who I like solely for keeping my catcher AVG somewhat afloat) with any of these? Really just looking for someone with playing time who won’t kill my AVG ratio.

    Tucker B.
    Carlos Perez
    Herrmann
    Vazquez
    Navarro
    AJ Pier. / Flowers

    Thanks!

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @Duda Want to Build a Snowman?:

      Thanks.

      And yikes, that list is tough to look at on its own. The problem with both Ross and Ruiz is that they’re both part time players at this point in their careers. They’re both only going to end up starting around 80 games a piece (Ross on pace for 85, Ruiz on pace for 71).

      Herrmann is hot right now, but he’s sitting behind Wellington Castillo on the depth chart now that he is back, and his career numbers suggest this hot streak isn’t likely to continue. He’s playing more and hitting better than Ruiz/Ross right now, though.

      Perez is a guy I like, and I think he can turn it on. Take a look at his numbers in his young career. He hit pretty well at every level of the minor leagues. Just two years ago, in his last full season at AAA, he slashed .282 / .337 / .423. I’d take a flyer on him, personally.

      Barnhart is just a guy. His only appeal is that he is the regular starter for the Reds now.

      As a Red Sox fan, I love Vazquez behind the dish, but I don’t know that he is ready to be a legit fantasy contributor. Maybe if he gets hot, but he focuses on defense. And he is splitting time with Hannigan while they ease him back from Tommy John surgery.

      Navarro/Avila and AJ Pier/Flowers all take points away from each other because they split time. As if fantasy catchers weren’t bad enough, we’re now getting the fantasy football RB by committee approach from some teams.

      Long story short, none of these guys are GREAT options, but I would replace Ross with Perez. You’re probably hurting yourself right now with two part time catchers.

      • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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        @mikeMaher: thanks for the detailed feedback. I’d been planning to take Herman but I think you’re absolutely right in the analysis. Perez it is!

        Seperately – what do you think of Darnaud’s hopes at returning shortly and putting in a solid line rest of season? Thinking of just dropping him to DL a recently dropped Peralta.

        • mikeMaher

          mikeMaher says:
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          @Duda Want to Build a Snowman?:

          It sounds like he will be back in June. They’ll probably ease him back in once he gets back to the Show, though. He will definitely be back, so the real question is can you count on him to produce enough to warrant keeping him? I’m not so sure you can.

  2. BigUps! says:
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    I’m in a h2h 12 team points league, with 2 catcher spots. Currently, i have Curt Casali and Tommy Joseph…but I have Gattis waiting for C eligibility.

    Question is, who do I drop when Gattis takes on the C role?

    thanks!

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @BigUps!:

      Casali, but take the time waiting for Gattis to get eligibility to make sure Joseph is going to play enough. It is looking like he might be in a platoon situation.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @BigUps!: casali plays quite a bit more than joseph.

      • mikeMaher

        mikeMaher says:
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        @goodfold2:

        Tommy Joseph got called up a week ago. He’s starting against a right hander today, too.

  3. Biff says:
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    Yan Gomes or Molina? Will Molina offer anything other than OBP? Yeah, prolly not so much

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @Biff:

      Molina is the safer pick at this point.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @Biff: hit his first homer of the year just now.

  4. Mike says:
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    Where do you rank Evan Gattis once her gets Cather Eligibility?

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @Mike:

      Top 5 easy.

  5. ashtray says:
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    The way things are this year I’m better off carrying no one at catcher.

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @ashtray:

      I actually thought about this the other day and wondered if things had gotten so bad that the numbers might work out better if you started a guy you knew wasn’t going to play. Probably not, but if things get any worse…

  6. Dusty says:
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    Grandal or Gattis?

      • Alex says:
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        @mikeMaher: What if you’re needing OBP boost, still Gattis?

        • mikeMaher

          mikeMaher says:
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          @Alex:

          Grandal has the better OBP track record, obviously, but he isn’t getting on base this year so far (.286 OBP). If we’re talking PURELY OBP for ROS, then Grandal is probably going to end the year with a higher OBP. But if we’re comparing the two across the board, I’m going Gattis.

  7. What happens in Vegas... says:
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    I have Weiters and have been offered either Castillo or McCann for my Jeanmar Gomez. I have 5 closers so Gomez is expendable.

    Which C will put up better stats ROS, McCann or Castillo.

    OR, I can pickup Gattis? How do you rank those 3 ROS… is Gattis close?

  8. TTRA1N says:
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    Drop Grandal for Cervelli?

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @TTRA1N:

      I would

  9. Hal Incandenza says:
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    Thanks for the post.

    Does Hermann’s appearance at a couple of OF positions intrigue you? It did for me, albeit only in a league where roster size allows for a second catcher to try to get more GP from the position. I could also use any help in BA that I can find, and I didn’t get Realmuto.

    • Hal Incandenza says:
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      @Hal Incandenza: I admit I haven’t seen Hermann play, but an Arizona catcher that plays some OF reminded me of Hammock.

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @Hal Incandenza:

      Thanks for reading.

      It doesn’t only because I don’t expect him to keep it up. What I do like about that is that it can mean regular playing time for him while he is hitting. Not many better catchers than Herrmann available right now as far as BA goes, but don’t expect him to keep it up all season

  10. Scooter G says:
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    You like Realmuto over R Martin in obp h2h Ros ?

    Thanks

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @Scooter G:

      I do. Realmuto isn’t going to walk much (I think he has 3 right now?), but Martin isn’t hitting a damn thing right now. He has a sub .250 OBP for the season so far.

  11. Nittanychris says:
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    ROS only, standard 5×5 Roto Cats, who do you prefer…Grandal or Wieters?

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @Nittanychris:

      That’s close. My gut says Wieters.

  12. Natty Boh says:
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    I like the concept of the article. And, I drafted Realmuto! ….and Kurt Suzuki ugh. 15 team league.

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @Natty Boh:

      Thanks! And congrats, you can ride the Realmuto Rail with me while it lasts!

  13. Wywyz says:
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    Offer Castro to get Rodon and Realmuto?

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @Wywyz:

      Which Castro are we talking? Starlin? I guess it doesn’t matter. I would offer every Castro available for Rodon and Realmuto.

  14. goodfold2 says:
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    i had perez in a 30 man league as a backup to d’arnaud, he started year as starting catcher, playing at least 2/3 of the time. but his hitting was so awful (pretty sure under 500 OPS) i dropped him once it was clear he was only playing half the time for the heir to the apple throne (herrmann), and that was before he went crazy, i remember him having some sort of power in his MIN days, albeit MAYBE 2 good days last august or something like that. but it was enough. beef welington for some reason pretty much (going back to last year) gets off more days than any other producing hitter catcher.

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