Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fantasy Focus: 2016 Catcher Rankings

The commissioner in my fantasy league announced at the end of the season that he plans to go from a standard 5X5 format to 6X6, replacing BA with OBP and SLG% while keeping R, HR, RBI, SB.  On the pitching side, he replaces W with QS and adds K/9.  The reasoning for OBP, SLG% and QS is fairly obvious.  His reasoning for K/9 is it potentially adds value to non-closer relievers making them rosterable in some cases.

The new changes significantly devalue leadoff hitter types who maintain a high BA and SB's but struggle to draw walks because of their lack of power and position at the top of the lineup.  Using using OBP and SLG as 2 of 6 categories also makes it easy to figure out who has value.  You simply have to look up OPS as a single category.  You can keep 1 eye out for SB's but since they are now 1 category out of 12 instead of 10, it makes it much more palatable to just punt the category.

With that background let's dive into the final 2016 catcher rankings.  I have simply listed the catchers with 200 or more PA's in order of OPS:

1.  Gary Sanchez, Yankees- 1.032.  How does a guy go from hitting 10 dingers in 313 PA's in AAA to hitting 20 in 229 PA's in the major leagues?  As a RH hitter in Yankee Stadium, no less!  I think Gary Sanchez is likely to be overvalued on fantasy draft day next spring!

2.  Jonathan Lucroy, Rangers- .855.  Big bounceback season for Lucroy.  Solid bet for 2017 too.

3.  Wilson Ramos, Nationals(FA)- .850.  Ramos had a great season that ended a week early due to torn ligaments in his knee.  Probably won't be read for the start of 2017.  Worth drafting and stashing on your DL.

4.  Sandy Leon, Red Sox- .845.  Leon was a surprise and likely a flash in the pan.  Stay away on draft day!

5.  Wilson Contreras, Cubs- .845.  Unlike Leon, Contreras is the real deal.  With David Ross retiring, he should be the undisputed full time catcher for the Cubs next year.  He will be valued highly on draft day and likely worth the investment.

6.  Evan Gattis, Astros- .826.  Gattis caught about 50 games last year so will retain Catcher eligibility for 2017.  Who's doesn't want 32 dingers out of their fantasy catcher?

7.  Yasmani Grandal, Dodgers- .816.  If he can stay healthy, Grandal may be just getting started.  Tremendous offensive potential here.

8.  Buster Posey, Giants- .796.  Down year for Buster.  Remains to be seen if he can find his power stroke again.  Still not a bad option.  Ranking here is more of a testament to how much deeper the catcher position has become in the last 2 seasons.

9.  Yadier Molina, Cardinals- .787.  How many more productive years does Molina have left?  He looked like he was about done in 2015 but had a nice bounceback in 2016.

10.  Tyler Flowers, Braves- .777.  The question here is how many PA's he'll get in a season.

11.  JT Realmuto, Marlins- .771.  The only MLB catcher with double digit HR's and SB's.

12.  Nick Hundley, Rockies- .759.  Any starting position player for the Rockies is going to have fantasy value just on the basis of the park they play in.

13.  Cameron Rupp, Phillies- .750.  Rupp had a nice season, but is he the Phillies' catcher of the future?

14.  Brian McCann, Yankees- .748.  The OPS is not so great, but still good for dingers.

15.  Welington Castillo, D'Backs- .745.  He alway seems to kill the Giants, but apparently not the rest of the league.

15.  Salvador Perez, Royals- .725.  Hits dingers but doesn't draw walks.


  1. Ah, Sanchez... So I had McCann as my catcher at the beginning of the season. He was going nowhere so I waived him and picked up Ramos, who wasn't even drafted, off waivers. Traded Ramos for Pomerantz who was have a very good season to replace my 5th starter (forget who).

    Picked up Sanchez on waivers... He absolutely tore it up for me. And I had no idea who he was, I just needed a catcher. He finished out the season as a top-100 player and helped me finish second, barely losing in the Championship, this year. Wonder if he'll do it this year.

    1. I also picked Ramos off the FA list a few weeks into the season. He was great for me until the last week of the playoffs when he went down with the injury.

      If you look at Sanchez' minor league record, he's a good hitter with some definite pop. I think he'll most likely settle into the 20-25 HR/full season range which is still pretty good.

  2. I have Willson Contreras in a keeper league for the next two years. I like to see this high of a ranking. They way he turned on Kershaw to hit it out was beautiful.