[brid video=”193982″ player=”10951″ title=”GarySanchez”]

After going over the top 10 for 2018 fantasy baseball and the top 20 for 2018 fantasy baseball (clickbait!), it’s now time to turn our lonely eyes to you, Mr. Robinson Chirinos.  To paraphrase The Refreshments from their should-be smash hit, Fonder and Blonder, “Who said absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Pitches are thrown to catchers, but that doesn’t make my heart grow fonder.”  Later in that song, they sing, “I’ll be scratchin’ it down,” which sounds like it applies to all baseball players.  Or as the rhyming dictionary has never said, applies to oranges.  Any hoo!  The projections noted in the post are my own, and I mention where tiers start and stop.  I also mention a bunch of hullabaloo, so let’s get to it.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2018 fantasy baseball:

1. Gary Sanchez – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until here.  I call this tier, “Gary Sanchez is the best ATM.”  Of course, ATM in this case means at this moment.  Not what it usually means for a Dirty Sanchez, which is ass-to-mouth.  *intern whispers in my ear*  An ATM is a bank cash dispenser?  Are you saying you’re going ass-to-mouth with a bank teller?  *intern whispers again*  Are you saying those machines in front of banks are called Ass-to-Mouths?  Why are you walking away pissed off?  I was asking you a question!  As for Gary Sanchez, I’m not drafting him, watch the video for more.  2018 Projections:  83/30/95/.279/2 in 527 ABs

2. Willson Contreras – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Molina.  I call this tier, “‘To yacht’ is to bunting as ‘to catch’ is to punting.”  We’re still punting at this point.  The difference between the 2nd ranked catcher last year (Molina) and the 10th (B. “In” McCann) was $13.  The difference between the 2nd best OF and 10th best was $18.  The difference between the 2nd 2B and 10th was $15.  Difference for shortstops was $15.  Difference between 10th best catcher (Still in McCann) and 20th best was $5.  Difference between 10th best 1B and 20th best was $11.  This pattern continues through the positions.  There’s very little difference between top catchers and ones you can grab off waivers in mixed leagues, or just draft very late.  I haven’t even mentioned the total influx nature of catchers.  Catchers have a bad case of influxenza.  In 2016, Lucroy was the best catcher in baseball, last year he was 25th best.  The position is demanding so injuries happen, or guys just sit out every third day.  Don’t fall into the position scarcity trap.  Contreras is solid, but likely not that different than, say, Austin Barnes.  2018 Projections:  73/24/82/.276/6 in 504 ABs

3. J.T. Realmuto – He feels on the verge of being one injury or down year from Gary Sanchez away from being the top ranked catcher.  If I had to fault anything, and it’s really nitpicking as they say at the dog groomer, Realmuto might’ve fell a little in love with the home run, and his line drives were down, so instead of being a 15/10/.310 catcher, he might be a 17/10/.280 one.  Though, he’s heading into his prime and I could easily see him being a 20/10/.300 catcher instead of either of the first two options.  In other words, he could be solid-boring, with emphasis on either solid or boring.  2018 Projections:  86/19/58/.283/9 in 521 ABs

4. Salvador Perez – If I weren’t all about the catcher punt, Perez is actually good value compared to, say, Contreras or Sanchez.  Last year, Sal P. had 27 HRs and 80 RBIs in only 129 games, due to an injury.  He usually is one of those catchers that catches upwards to 140 games a year.  Then again (I’m about to reverse everything I just wrote), Perez is getting older (ain’t we all?) and might not be up for those 140+ games played seasons anymore.  Either way, I’m still punting.  2018 Projections:  55/26/75/.264 in 510 ABs

5. Buster Posey – It’s likely blasphemy how low I’ve ranked Posey.  Or at least to the Cal bears in San Fran, and I’m not talking Berkeley alumni.  However, if the trends equal the ends, he’s going to be a present-day Joe Mauer at catcher.  A fan favorite who inspires women to wear bulky sweaters to games and barely hits ten homers with a decent average.  That .320 average last year was buoyed by a high BABIP (.347), but he did up his line drive rate and hold steady on other peripherals, so I think his average can buoy again.  But there will never be another David Buoy.  Then again, Buster Posey will never be a Young American again either.  Or be Under Pressure at the plate, thanks to the Buster Posey rule.  2018 Projections:  69/12/80/.309/3 in 509 ABs

6. Yadier Molina – This is weird (not really), but five of the top six catchers are all slated to hit cleanup or fifth.  It’s weird (a little, but still not really) because none of these guys, aside from Sanchez, are really cleanup hitters, and even Sanchez is likely better suited for the three-hole with Judge hitting 4th.  I told you weird (not weird).  Speaking of weird (not weird), Molina’s had a bizarre offensive career.  If every player were Molina, we’d have no idea what anyone was going to do from year to year.  His home runs over the last seven years:  14, 22, 12, 7, 4, 8, 18.  Trying to find the median there is the world’s hardest SAT math question.  Don’t say 7!  It’s a trick!  Molina’s averages and steals are also as predictive as Al Gore’s weight compared to how much meat Al eats.  “I’m now going vegan.”  *five months later* “And now I weigh 275 more pounds.”  2018 Projections:  54/16/67/.266/6 in 472 ABs

7. Wilson Ramos – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Zunino.  I call this tier, “Bingo Bango Bongo.”  We’re done punting at this point.  By the way, I was surprised at no point during the football season someone didn’t play the National Anthem in the middle of a play to get a player with the ball to kneel.  “Ooh, he’s running down the sidelines and could get a touchdown!  Wait, the PA is playing the National Anthem and he’s stopped at the twenty to kneel!”  Any hoo!  Now, we’re onto golf.  Bingo Bango Bongo is a game where you get a point for the first player to get on the green, another point for in the hole, and some other crap.  I don’t know, I don’t play golf.  This Bingo Bango Bongo tier doesn’t relate to a golfing green, it’s whichever player is available closest to draft spot 220 overall.  Yes, that’s about how deep we are now, and it’s time to draft.  As for Ramos, I go over him in the video.  2018 Projections:  52/21/68/.254 in 445 ABs

8. Welington Castillo – This offseason I said this, “Signed with the White Sox, where he will (ington) take over catcher duties and I said duties and now I’m laughing.  Screw you, ‘duties’ word, you are too funny.  As of now, Boeuf Welington will be batting fifth behind Avisail and Abreu, but that could change with offseason moves.  Either way, I don’t see Castillo’s value getting a dramatic boon.  Hehe, boon sounds like boobs and poon combined.  Nice boon!  And now I’m arrested.”  And that’s me quoting me!  2018 Projections: 56/21/62/.241 in 407 ABs

9. Mike Zunino – He had a breakout season last year without suddenly going by the name, Michael Zunino.  See, Nicholas Castellanos, it’s possible!  Last year looks like it was the year to own Zunino, so if you have a DeLorean at your disposal, go for it!  The power is real, but he hit .251 with a .355 BABIP with a 36.8% strikeout rate.  That makes me want to snort nerd laugh.  Snert?  2018 Projections:  51/27/69/.217/1 in 446 ABs

10. Jorge Alfaro – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until d’Arnaud.  I call this tier, “Black Crowes or Beastie Boys?”  I’ve long contended that when the Beastie Boys first emerged, they were the most surprising group to have lasting appeal.  (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party) screams one-hit wonder.  Even the parentheses are doofy.  Then they went and had a long career.  On the other hand, Black Crowes had a huge first studio album.  They were about to become the saviors of ROCK AND ROLL!  Well, rock ‘n roll is now dead.  By the tier name, I mean these guys don’t have long track records, but will they be the Black Crowes or Beasties?   As for Alfaro, already went over my Jorge Alfaro fantasy.  It was scribbled on a window at Harvard.  2018 Projections:  43/18/61/.232/3 in 507 ABs

11. Austin Hedges – I owned Hedges last year.  One such hedge was, “I told you to draft Odor in every league, but it’s not my fault he was bad, he was unlucky.”  I also owned Austin Hedges, and I can confidently say that if he wasn’t benched at one point I would’ve dropped him anyway, and this was a deep league.  He was diagnosed with a concussion in July, but I’m not sure that explains how awful his 18-homer season was last year.  He had the 12th worst OPS last year, a .262 OBP (third worst in majors), a .214 average (12th worst), but only the 22nd worst strikeout rate.  Lowercase yay!   He could back into a Zunino-type season, or he could back into a dumpster and no one would know the difference.  2018 Projections:  41/21/58/.215/3 in 408 ABs

12. James McCann – J. “In” McCann just doesn’t have the same ring, but I didn’t lower him because of that.  *looks guilty AF*  Okay, maybe a lowered him a little because of that!  Ugh, I can’t stand your interrogating!  If catchers weren’t boring as crizzap, McCann might’ve received a sleeper post from me.  He cut his strikeouts by 7%, had a slightly low BABIP for him and still hit .253 (hey, for catchers that’s not bad), and he’s only 27.  He made a bunch of lousy contact, however, and, while I do think he could have a five+ steal season, a 20+ homer season seems to be a pipe dream like Pookie from New Jack City might have. 2018 Projections:  56/16/61/.260/3 in 481 ABs

13. Travis d’Arnaud – Yeah, d’Ude has been getting more rope than a rodeo clown.  That’s right, when sabermetricians talk about Barrels with d’Arnaud, they’re not talking about him making solid contact, they’re talking about how often this clown jumps inside a barrel.  2018 Projections:  42/17/60/.261 in 383 ABs

14. Jonathan Lucroy – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Iannetta.  I call this tier, “Dirty old men.”  I was thisclose to putting Molina in this tier, and I could see any of the catchers in this tier ranked where Molina is currently and him moving down here by season’s end.  Am I saying it’s a toss up between these catchers?  Yes, like tossing cookies.  You have to remember the difference between a 6th ranked catcher and a 13th ranked catcher is a two-week hot streak.  As for Lucroy, well, speaking of Molina, if Lucroy takes Yadier’s route in his career, Lucroy will hit over 20 homers again after going from 24 homers to six last year.  Lucroy was so limp last year, a Palmeiro-sized shipment of Viagra sent to him in Coors couldn’t even ignite Lucroy.  In 142 ABs in Coors, he hit two homers.  Scooter Gennett just called, he’s hanging out with Mark Whiten and they’re laughing at you.   When Lucroy signs, I could move him and his projections.  UPDATE:  Remember when Gary Sanchez realized he had a, uh, nut allergy to foul tips?  That’s the hit Lucroy’s value takes going to Oakland.  He could barely hit a home run in Coors, and now he’s up against it in the field MC Hammer and Charley O built?  Well, I wasn’t owning him prior to this, and I’m definitely not touching him now.  2018 Projections:  54/12/53/.273/3 in 435 ABs

15. Yasmani Grandal –  It must be the air in SoCal, because Dave Roberts pulled a patented The Sciosciapath move last year by replacing a perfectly decent catcher (at least for fantasy).  Grandal had 50/22/58/.247 in 129 games, then, by the time of the World Series, Yasmani was only seen on a milk carton.  Since Grandal also made five million dollars last year, he was eligible to be on a carton of the top 2% milk.  UPDATE:  Dave Roberts announced Grandal would be the starting catcher, against at least righties.  I.e., the Dodgers would’ve won the World Series if they started Grandal.  For more, see Austin Barnes’ update.  2018 Projections:  49/20/64/.249 in 413 ABs

16. Evan Gattis –  El Osso Buco had reverse splits year, never getting a veal for lefties, but he’s likely to braise his average vs. lefties.  We’ll see what marrow holds.  This was brought you by the patrons of the Feast of St. Rocco.  Playing time is currently muddled for Gattis like a sprig of mint in a mojito, but, if he’s healthy, I’d guess he gets 400+ ABs with his usual power.  You’re obviously drafting him on the chance he backs into one of his 25-home run seasons, but after last year, confidence is Nilla on the vanilla.  2018 Projections:  45/18/58/.249 in 412 ABs

17. Brian McCann – Earlier I was talking about how McCann was the 1oth best catcher last year.  His stats:  47/18/62/.241/1.  You might B. “In” McCann, but you’re not going to luck into a Sanchez.  2018 Projections:  41/16/54/.244 in 391 ABs

18. Russell Martin – If the first half of this list had a random commonality of batting cleanup or fifth, this tier is like, “Don’t worry, guys, I can turn this lineup over.”  Well, except for Lucroy, he should hit higher than 8th (maybe, depending on his team).  My favorite Martin is Lawrence.  My favorite Martin who is within driving distance of St. Lawrence College is Russell, but it’s a narrow field.  2018 Projections:  50/18/59/.224/2 in 420 ABs

19. Chris Iannetta – He’s taken the path of every catcher to ever leave the judgmental eyes of The Sciosciapath.  Last year, he hit 17 homers, after a bunch of middling in the middle of Orange County years.  Now, he returns where he found the most success, Coors.  Iannetta still hit below .200 one year in Coors, so it’s not the cure-all, but it’s worth a flyer to see if it’s a tad curative.  2018 Projections:  41/18/54/.242 in 329 ABs

20. Tyler Flowers – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Maldonado.  I call this tier, “You in a two-catcher league?  Okay, then have at it.”  The tier name is pretty self-explanatory.  I would’ve drafted a first catcher by now in a mixed league.  If you’re in a two-catcher league, draft another guy in this tier.   As for Flowers, I go over him in the video.  2018 Projections:  51/14/54/.263 in 374 ABs

21. Robinson Chirinos – Uh-oh, Chirinos! finally broke out last year with 17 HRs and a .255 average in only 88 games.  If he were 24 years old, I’d be all over him, but he’s going to be 34 years old this year.  Yeah, uh-oh, indeed.  2018 Projections:  41/15/50/.240/1 in 351 ABs

22. Alex Avila – Signed with the Diamondbacks.  Makes me want to sing Magic Stick by 50 Cent because the Diamondbacks got the Alex stick.  He gets the baddest licks.  (What?  What?)  Allllllex.  Last year, he had 14 homers in 112 at-bats, but that was with a HR/FB% that was way above his norm.  Avila feels like one of those players that gets ~15 homers in 450 ABs or 120 ABs.  (What?  What?)  Allllllex.  2018 Projections:  43/15/51/.236 in 364 ABs

23. Matt Wieters – Was surprised to see him exercise his $10 million option.  Kidding.  Of course, he exercised it.  He’s getting $10 million to suck.  He’s like the greatest porn star of all time.  2018 Projections:  44/14/55/.231/1 in 418 ABs

24. Christian VazquezSandy Leon bums out my Vazquez enthusiasm — envazquesiasm?  Hmm, maybe not.  Leon doesn’t bum it out that much though, because neither of the Red Sox catchers seem like they can hit ten homers if he were hitting off a tee placed at 2nd base.  2018 Projections:  51/8/49/.274/8 in 434 ABs

25. Martin Maldonado – In the last bit of news for Maldonado from September, it said that he was lifted for a pinch hitter in a close game, after homering twice.  The Sciosciapath is:  If every crazy move Joe Maddon did went wrong.  2018 Projections:  39/15/44/.212 in 409 ABs

26. Chance Sisco – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Joseph.  I call this tier, “(Fill-in player’s name) just hit a homer on my bench because I never know when this motherfudger is playing.”  From this tier someone will emerge who lucks into everyday playing time due to an injury to their platoon partner, and also from this tier:  a bunch of vomit.  As for Sisco, tomorrow starts here.  Or tomorrow Caleb Joseph is playing and you’re cursing Showalter for not playing Sisco.  2018 Projections:  41/12/44/.251/2 in 363 ABs

27. Francisco Mejia – Unlike other guys in this tier, Mejia doesn’t have a platoon partner, he has a starting job in Triple-A.  As of now, at least.  That could change in Spring Training, because in front of him is Yawn Gomes and Roberto Perez, who I think is a Latin way of saying “placeholder.”  2018 Projections:  35/14/39/.271/3 in 343 ABs

28. Austin Barnes – Hard to (handle now!) say how close Grandal is in the rearview mirror.  My guess is Barnes won the starting catcher job in September and is not about to give it back, but if he struggles in April, Grandal’s the starter again.  UPDATE:  Dave Roberts announced that Barnes had not won the starting catcher job in the playoffs, i.e., the Dodgers lost the World Series because of Austin Barnes.  2018 Projections:  38/7/32/.282/4 in 274 ABs

29. Yan Gomes – Like the Dakota Pipeline, today I am putting the Indians together.  Gomes is also on the outside looking in on Roberto Perez, as of right now, but once Terry Francona stops drinking Tito’s vodka that should change.  2018 Projections:  36/11/40/.242 in 289 ABs

30. Carson Kelly – He’s the heir to Yadier’s throne, Yadiheir?  That’s not bad actually.  I don’t know how much Kelly plays this year, but I bet if Molina goes down with an injury, there’s going to mad rush to the waiver wire grabbing Kelly like he’s handing out fudge.  2018 Projections:  22/7/26/.270 in 201 ABs

31. Stephen Vogt – No foolsies, here’s how I ended up ranking Vogt here.  *ranks Vogt 18th overall, looks at his stats, moves him down five spots, thinks again, moves him down another five spots, lowers head on desk, falls asleep, dreams about Giancarlo carrying me in his arms over a puddle, wakes in a drool puddle*  Frank Voila!  2018 Projections:  33/10/37/.263/1 in 272 ABs

32. Manny Pina – I wonder if he’d do better on another team.  Not because he’d get more ABs, but because he’s on the Brewers and his name sounds like a concession stand at a Jimmy Buffett concert.  2018 Projections:  30/9/34/.268/3 in 241 ABs

33. Cameron Rupp – If he were on a team with a DH, I think he could be as valuable as Gattis.  As it stands, or crouches, as the case with a catcher is, Rupp’s gonna struggle to get 220 ABs.  2018 Projections: 25/11/30/.235/1 in 208 ABs

34. Devin Mesoraco – Being behind Tucker Barnhart on the depth chart is ugly, which I guess is appropriate for Mesoraco.  2018 Projections:  29/11/36/.226/1 in 220 ABs

35. Kurt Suzuki – If he didn’t explode for 19 homers last year, I wouldn’t have even ranked him at all.  Before last year, he was averaging 6 homers a year and now, you can put him out to pasture; he’s buried behind Flowers.  2018 Projections:  25/7/28/.277 in 221 ABs

36. Sandy Leon – The treasure of the Sandy Leon is he’s solid for the 250 ABs he gets.  That he only gets 250 ABs is the booby trap in the treasure.  Of course, ‘booby trap’ is said like Short Round, though, so it’s still kinda fun.  2018 Projections:  32/8/36/.243 in 247 ABs

37. Caleb Joseph – In an interview, Joseph said about catching, “A catcher has to be [a psychologist]. There are certain guys who need a pat on the back, and there are certain guys who need a kick in the pants.”  Now we know his PhD isn’t a Player Hitting Degree.  2018 Projections:  28/8/34/.250 in 221 ABs

38. Tucker Barnhart – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until the end of the list.  This tier I call, “You didn’t punt; you fell asleep during your draft and auto-picked.”  These guys have the starting job for their team, and I have no more positives to say about them.  As for Barnhart, he’s the starter in front of Mesoraco.  The Reds should just use a platoon called Barn-Hard-to-look-at.  2018 Projections:  25/5/38/.267/3 in 353 ABs

39. Francisco Cervelli – How many points do you get in your league for pitch framing?  Oh, wow, that much?  Then draft Roberto Perez, and not Cervelli.  2018 Projections:  34/3/29/.242/3 in 342 ABs

40. Jeff Mathis – I wanted to rank Herrmann, but there was only room for Mathis.  Plus, I didn’t want to deal with a gender-neutral bathroom.  2018 Projections:  27/3/30/.220/1 in 287 ABs

41. Roberto Perez – “I’m not sure if Luis is coming to the wedding.”  “Oh, really?  Okay, well, for now just put the name Roberto Perez down on the table chart.”  If you’re reading all 3500 words of this post, you’ll know what I’m saying.  2018 Projections:  27/5/34/.211/1 in 264 ABs

42. Tom Murphy – Last year, he hit 26 homers!  Wait, that’s not what he did, that’s what we expected him to do.  Murphy only had 26 plate appearances last year and had one hit.  Now, he might not even be in a blahtoon.  2018 Projections:  31/12/38/.212 in 223 ABs

43. Jason Castro – This guy is the answer to the question, “What makes you think the Twins aren’t trying to win?”  2018 Projections:  37/11/34/.214/2 in 431 ABs

44. Tony Wolters – If hindsight is 20/20, you’ll know to stay away from Wolters.  2018 Projections:  32/3/38/.242/3 in 301 ABs