It’s mid-March, and we here at the Razzball Deep League Department have taken a look at late-round outfielders and each of the infield positions, which can only mean one thing… it’s time to move on to catchers.  I know, I’m already bored too, but think of how good it’ll feel getting it checked off our list.  There were some epic catcher disappointments last year (don’t get me started on the team where I drafted both Mitch Garver and Omar Narvaez) from all fantasy tiers – my most successful teams catcher-wise were in leagues where I splurged on Willson Contreras and/or grabbed Austin Nola at the very end of drafts or auctions.  I’ve found myself with a few shares of Contreras again this year, and while I’m sure there will be several mid-range options who end up paying off this year, I’m once again waiting until late in many drafts to fill the position with whatever’s left.  So, let’s take a look at some of those leftovers – guys that are being drafted all the way outside of the top 300 players according to NFBC ADP – to see who we might be able to find that could be of interest to those of us in NL-only, AL-only, and other deep leagues.

Tom Murphy.  I was high on Murphy last year as a cheap power flyer, but a foot fracture ended his season before it even began.  While he has shown that power in the past, including hitting 18 homers in just 76 games in 2019, he’s never shown any consistency at the plate.  This year it’s even harder to guess how much he’ll play for the Mariners, let alone if he’ll be able to produce at all when he does after such a long layoff.  I’m certainly not counting on him, but I have grabbed him as a bench player in a couple of leagues in case he puts things together.

Pedro Severino.  In his time with the Orioles, Severino has kind of become the epitome of a 2nd catcher who won’t hurt you while hopefully providing just enough production to justify having him in your lineup.  I don’t have anything else interesting to say about him either good or bad, so I guess this blurb has come to an end!

Alejandro Kirk.  Kirk’s fantasy stock has been rising a little with his solid spring, and don’t forget he actually started a playoff game at DH last year.  The verdict’s still out on whether he starts the season with the Blue Jays or in triple A — he never played above high A before his promotion last year, and even if his solid spring continues it would be hard to argue that he couldn’t use more defensive seasoning.  He hit well consistently in the minors, though, and doesn’t have much other than a disappointing Reese McGuire in his way to part-time MLB duty, so this will be a situation to monitor.  Also, he looks like a giant human meatball, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Elias Diaz.  Looks like he’ll get some/maybe even most of the playing time for the Rockies, so I suppose that alone should put him on the deep-league radar.  He’s a career .248 hitter over parts of six seasons, but he did have a surprisingly nice 2018 in part-time duty with the Pirates (.286 BA/.339 OBP/10 homers in 82 games) so I’m kind of liking him as a cheap deep league grab.

Kurt Suzuki.  I’m not sure if Suzuki’s ADP went up or down after his trade to the Angels, because he’s so far off the radar either way, with an ADP of #467.  He may not play a ton if Max Stassi is healthy, but sometimes a timeshare situation isn’t an entirely bad thing if you’re just looking for someone who won’t drain your batting average (which as you’ve probably noticed, many catchers are wont to do).  2 homers and a steal from one player would be a great fantasy day, but unfortunately that is the amount of production Suzuki had in 33 games last year.  In leagues deep enough where you’re counting on a few extra runs and RBI without taking that average hit from your catcher position, though, Suzuki might at least be better than nothing.

Victor Caratini.  Caratini came to San Diego basically as Yu Darvish’s personal catcher, but may be a guy to keep a deep-league eye on depending on how hurt Austin Nola is, and how the Padres choose to deal with it if Nola looks to miss extended time.  When Caratini’s gotten playing time he hasn’t completely sucked, which is high praise for a catcher currently being drafted just outside the top 550 players overall.

 
  1. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    Super helpful list for those of us who try and bargain bin both catchers in 2C twelve teamers! What do you think of Stallings this year? Seems like another easy $1 catcher who you can roster and not think about until you find the next austin nola on waivers, right?

    • OaktownSteve says:
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      I love Stallings this year. I took him as my C1 in the Albright DC of Doom. Glove keeps him in the line up (runner up for GG last year). Worked on his offense all off season. Good athletic catcher. Has hit in the middle of the lineup in the spring. Lots of up arrows.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Stallings was my absolute end-of-draft go to guy last year, so honestly one of the only reasons I didn’t mention him was just an effort to mix it up a little bit. Definitely fits right in with this list; the floor’s not too low and the ceiling might be a. little higher than people think.

  2. OaktownSteve says:
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    I think Dom Nunez is actually the better of the two Rockies catchers. Gets the strong side of a platoon. Looks like the plan for them is for it to be at least 50/50 with Nunez having a much better upside. Going 300 picks after Diaz too.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      You may be right, and if they do end up splitting time both could ultimately have some value — could be one of those situations where since they’re both theoretically getting the best matchups for themselves they’ll end up having as much or more value than if they were playing more and getting exposed to more unfavorable hitting situations. I guess my gut is pointing me closer to Diaz just because, while still a small sample size overall, he has proven he can hit at the major league level while we haven’t seen that from Dom at all yet. You’re right; Dom’s ADP is insanely late for someone with upside though — he’s risk free but could be a guy who is barely even on the NL-only radar now that ends up as a mixed-league option this year — good call.

  3. Cheese Wiz says:
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    I’m dumpster diving in a deeper NL Only.

    Diaz is gone, but Caratini, Stallings, and Narvaez are sitting out there.

    I was going to grab Narvaez hoping for the upside and can just grab whoever might be leftover if he flops again.

    Thoughts?

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Yeah, I’d take Narvaez there; I don’t know what the heck was going on with him last year but if he gets even close to how he was hitting in 2019 he could be huge in an NL only league. And the great thing is that if he tanks again it’ll be easy for you to quickly move on to the next live body on the waiver wire like you said… I think one of the reasons he was such a team-killer last year is that many of us felt invested in him and were afraid to cut him figuring he was about to break out. Obviously that never happened, and it was made worse by the fact the Counsell obviously thought that as well, since he never really benched him… it was just brutal getting that 0 for 4 at the top of your fantasy lineup day after day after day…

      • Cheese Wiz says:
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        Thanks for the reply!

        My intuition is to basically just give people a pass on 2020 and not weigh a lost season too heavily.

        Who knows what all people were having to deal with last summer between a pandemic, a strange season, the video review issue, or whatever else… They get one mulligan.

  4. Rick Brown says:
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    Hey Laura,
    What do you think about Ryan Jeffers? RosterResource has him down as the #1 catcher,but I’m not so sure with Coolwhip’s boy being there.
    Thank,RICK

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Ha, Jeffers and Stallings were actually the two names I’d originally jotted down to mention at the end of this post that I ended up cutting out just because I was afraid the catcher post would be so dull that no one would even bother reading that far. (Last year I remember my catcher post being so long that I actually had to apologize to Donkey Teeth before turning it in!) Anyway, I do like Jeffers as a dart throw with some relative upside, as long as one prepares oneself for the possibility of Mr. Garver getting it back together this year and rendering Jeffers almost completely useless. I think even if he’s just a back up and only playing a couple times a week he fits the bill for a guy who won’t hurt you and could help a bit though, and anything on top of that will be gravy.

      • Rick Brown says:
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        I hope so.I grabbed him in a 20 team league and dropped Narvaez-not sure that was a good idea.But I like the Twins lineup better than the Brewers.

      • FrankGrimes says:
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        Which starting pitchers might you target after pick 450 ?
        I grabbed Puk and Kremer at the 32/33 turn.
        All the guys in your pitching post are gone lol

        • Laura Holt

          Laura Holt says:
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          Hey Frank, funnily enough I was just pondering that very question as I’m at about that point in a 50-round slow draft right now. That’s a nice value on Puk; who knows if he’ll come through for you but at least there’s some definitely upside there! Slim pickings, right? I thought I might take a flyer on DeSclafani this year but I haven’t been able to pull the trigger, even at the end of a draft… had him on a couple teams last year and he was just so brutal. Still think there’s a chance he could have a moderate rebound in SF though. Merrill Kelly? Not getting my hopes up after the thoracic outlet surgery, but who knows. I also have one share each of Austin Gomber and Michael Wacha — again, not getting my hopes up, but as you know, in the 550-600 ADP range which they’re both in there’s not exactly a lot to choose from!

          • FrankGrimes says:
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            Nice thanks. Gotta love the deep leagues haha.

  5. Vash says:
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    Tyler Stephenson. I was thinking he took a step towards being a useful fantasy catcher the past couple of seasons…

    I don’t see much love and am wondering why? I am always looking for a diamond, and too me he has the age, he has the size, he has the hitting skills. It’ depends on playing time and the power I guess?

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Hey Vash! I think it’s the playing time that is the biggest issue; it seems like the Reds pretty much see Barnhart as almost an everyday guy. Also, I think he’s just completely under the radar, or at least the Casali moving to the Giants is completely under the radar. I actually like Stephenson as, say, a #2 catcher in an NL only league at the least, so I think that’s another nice deep-league call. No way he’s gonna hurt you, and he has some legit upside and might be some help in deep leagues even if he doesn’t get a ton of playing time. And if the Reds wise up and actually let him play more, or if Barnhart gets hurt, Stephenson could suddenly be on the mixed-league/shallower radar.

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