Please don’t ask if this is a ranking for next year. It’s not a ranking for next year. It’s me recapping last season. Please, for the love that all is holy, understand this. It’s all I ask of you. Well, that and shower me with praise. The latter isn’t hard, the former is. Also, remembering which is the ‘latter’ and which is the ‘former’ is hard too. Quibbles and semantics, my good man and five lady-mans. It wouldn’t be fair for me to preseason rank the players, then rank them again in the postseason based on my opinion, so these postseason top 20 lists are ranked according to our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater. It’s cold hard math, y’all! Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2023 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

1. William Contreras – Catchers sucked this year. I know we say this about catchers every year. Or at least I do, but A) That’s not true. Catchers were great last year. B) I said they great. C) There’s no C. This year: Woof, daddy, wha’ happened? There was only one catcher who was close to top 100 overall and, if you had a good week-plus, you were a top 20 catcher for the season. There was only 12 catchers who were a positive value. Most of them failed to return value, and quite a few were huge drains. Guys like Alejandro Kirk, Yasmani Grandal, Gabriel Moreno and Danny Jansen were drinking Dran-O. Daulton Varsho was pretty awful, and made this list. Jays had three terrible catchers! The Contrerasses had two good Contreras. William being the top catcher really was like being the tallest midget. By the way, Contrerasses aren’t related to Cal Raleigh, even though it’s hard not to see the ass in the name. Preseason Rank #8, 2023 Projections: 62/23/77/.247/1 in 446 ABs, Final Numbers: 86/17/78/.291/6 in 540 ABs

2. Adley Rutschman – This year the “draft top catchers” goof-heads and “love a shiny new toy” hopheads got together and told you to draft Adley because he was going to be so great. He went at 60 ADP and returned nowhere near that value. Catcher is a good place to go to lose fantasy value. There, and on the Rockies in road games. Preseason Rank #5, 2023 Projections: 79/18/61/.271/5 in 491 ABs, Final Numbers: 84/20/80/.277/1 in 588 ABs

3. Cal Raleigh – One of my bigger mistakes was dropping Raleigh in July — was it as big as his butt? Who’s to say but this tape measure? — but (speaking of which) I picked up Willson Contreras, which shows you a lot about catchers. They can be picked up in most leagues every day if you want. When someone tells you to draft a catcher high, they think you’re playing in a much deeper league than you are, nine out of ten times. This isn’t meant to denigrate. Shallower leagues have their only difficulties. Preseason Rank #13, 2023 Projections: 53/20/60/.219/1 in 412 ABs, Final Numbers: 78/30/75/.232 in 513 ABs

4. Will Smith – The big takeaway from me for most of these catchers is a lot of them got a ton of at-bats, but Will Smith did not. He wasn’t lacking much, about two weeks’ worth of at-bats, but that’s usually his thing — getting at-bats. Someone tell Dave Roberts to close the Barnes door. Preseason Rank #4, 2023 Projections: 71/25/83/.258/1 in 503 ABs, Final Numbers: 80/19/76/.261/3 in 464 ABs

5. J.T. Realmuto – Kinda nailed Jerry Tomato’s projections. The secret is banging on the “57” on his neck. Preseason Rank #3, 2023 Projections: 66/17/73/.266/15 in 481 ABs, Final Numbers: 70/20/63/.252/16 in 489 ABs

6. Jonah Heim – Hol’ up, hol’ up, hol’ up! Hit ’em with the Heim had 95 ribbies?! He had round the same runs and homers as I projected, and 30+ RBIs? What on earth? I know the Rangers’ lineup was good, but “Jonah Heim gets 95 RBIs” good? C’mon! Preseason Rank #15, 2023 Projections: 56/18/62/.216/2 in 417 ABs, Final Numbers: 61/18/95/.258/2 in 457 ABs

7. Salvador Perez – After his 48-homer season in 2021, he hit only 23 homers in 2022. This year he was either going to look like a 48-homer guy or a 23-homer guy or somewhere in the middle, I projected for the middle and it was not accurate. Preseason Rank #1, 2023 Projections: 68/31/83/.257/1 in 564 ABs, Final Numbers: 59/23/80/.255 in 538 ABs

8. Willson Contreras – I projected him for 23 homers and he had 20, but you might remember in May the Cards’ manager, Oli Marmol, was having issues with Contreras and actually had the third base coach hold him three times at third on balls that flew out of the park. Preseason Rank #7, 2023 Projections: 74/23/68/.247/5 in 422 ABs, Final Numbers: 55/20/67/.264/6 in 428 ABs

9. Sean Murphy – This is a situation where my projections look pretty accurate, but if he got 130 more at-bats as my projections said, he might’ve be been the best catcher in all of fantasy. I’m farting in the general direction of Travis d’Arnaud, the French Terminator. Preseason Rank #12, 2023 Projections: 66/20/73/.244/1 in 502 ABs, Final Numbers: 65/21/68/.251 in 370 ABs

10. Yainer Diaz – Highest per game value, and if the Astros or Dusty would stop trying to make Martin Maldonado a thing, Yainer might’ve been a top three catcher this year, even after not starting the season with the team, and really only starting for three months. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 51/23/60/.282 in 355 ABs

11. Daulton Varsho – You might be thinking to yourself, “You wrote an overrated post for Varsho and he’s showing up 11th for the position. Looks like you’re not as smart as you are handsome!” Varsho was going at 30th overall in drafts (HAAAAA!!!! HAAAAAA!!! WHAT!!!! HAAAA!!!) and ended up around 230th overall on the Player Rater. Singing, “Hello Dolly!” Because he was one of the biggest busts. Preseason Rank #2, 2023 Projections:  71/22/81/.242/13 in 521 ABs, Final Numbers: 65/20/62/.222/16 in 527 ABs

12. Keibert Ruiz – Four more homers is not nothing, but I was pretty damn close with his projection and ranking, which makes me think I did my rankings pretty good last year. But again we’re seeing a huge amount of at-bats from catchers this year, like I pointed out in Will Smith’s blurb. It might be because the weaker the lineup, the more chance a decent catcher sees DH time. Preseason Rank #14, 2023 Projections: 54/14/59/.261/3 in 404 ABs, Final Numbers: 55/18/67/.260/1 in 523 ABs

13. Elias Diaz – Favorite of mine because Rockies play him and he’s good at least half the time, which is more than a lot of catchers can say. Everything else to say of note, Elias? “The last time a Rockies’ catcher was bad was Yorvit Torrealba, and Torrealba was also Jeter’s manager and girlfriend.” Uh, thanks, Elias. Preseason Rank #16, 2023 Projections: 36/16/48/.237 in 378 ABs, Final Numbers: 48/14/72/.267/1 in 486 ABs

14. Francisco Alvarez – This is about this year and not next, but if they give me Fran-Al in drafts next year, I’m gonna be all about it. His power is so huge. Give him another 100 ABs and he’d have 30 homers. As a rookie! Preseason Rank #24, 2023 Projections: 34/15/44/.246 in 324 ABs, Final Numbers: 51/25/63/.209/2 in 382 ABs

15. MJ Melendez – Similar to Varsho, you can think this isn’t that bad, but you’re forgetting there were some absolute loons drafting Melendez in the top 100 overall. Michael Jordan Melendez was more like Sam Bowie Melendez. Look at Grey working in some fantasy basketball (seamless segue!). Preseason Rank #9, 2023 Projections: 74/22/66/.229/3 in 486 ABs, Final Numbers: 65/16/56/.235/6 in 533 ABs

16. Mitch Garver – After Yainer Diaz, he was the highest per game value. They were also two unranked guys. Yainer can’t be put on me or anyone. No one knew to rank or draft him. Mitch don’t kill my vibe, but he could kill my vibe if I chose to get too down on myself for not seeing how good Garver is on a per at-bat basis. He might not play much, but he’s always good when he does play. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 45/19/50/.270 in 296 ABs

17. Shea Langeliers – Said like Jeff Foxworthy ‘You might be a redneck,’ schtick, “If you appear in more than one Buy column as a catcher, you might be worth a top 20 catcher.” Preseason Rank #20, 2023 Projections: 46/17/54/.224/1 in 394 ABs, Final Numbers: 52/22/63/.205/3 in 448 ABs

18. Tyler Stephenson – This one hurt me because I drafted him expecting a bounce back. Reds have a great stadium, but they really get some super disappointing bats some years. Or two years. Ahem, Jonathan India. Preseason Rank #10, 2023 Projections: 61/16/67/.284/1 in 443 ABs, Final Numbers: 59/13/56/.243 in 465 ABs

19. Yan Gomes – Unlike Yainer or Mitch, Gomes was unranked, and it’s more of a shrug vs. a finger snap with a “Damn, I missed that.” Yan can cook, but Yan can’t hit. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 44/10/63/.267/1 in 382 ABs

20. Ryan Jeffers – This list has Jeffers on it, because he was movin’ on up for about two weeks this past year. Still more than Alejandro Kirk! Preseason Rank #29, 2023 Projections: 41/13/44/.211 in 314 ABs, Final Numbers: 46/14/43/.276/3 in 286 ABs