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.