Catcher 2024 Fantasy Rankings

Reggie Hildred-USA TODAY Sports

We are in the midst of a Catcher Renaissance. I can’t remember the last time the position was this deep. Mainly because I have a terrible memory for instantly recalling such things, but also because I just don’t think we’ve seen this kind of quality at the position in years. It is led by a mix of under-30 superstars and veteran studs who remain dominant into their early- and mid-30s. Of course, a positional renaissance doesn’t come just from strength at the top. The expanding middle class is loaded with potential gems, many of whom will become the next wave of stars at the position. There were 12 catchers under age-30 who posted a 100 or better wRC+ last year and 15 in that age range (with a lot of overlap, of course) who hit at least 13 HRs.

You can maneuver through the rankings and decide how you want to attack catcher. If you miss out on the studs, there is plenty of alluring backfill, especially for 1-C leagues. But even in 2-C leagues, I can easily identify at least 24 guys I’d gladly take 2 of meaning I’m golden in a 12-teamer and probably set up well even in a 15-teamer as many of those 24 will be taken in time to ensure I’m not picking over the last six for either of my options. I’d expect my catcher portfolio to be very diversified across my multiple leagues, especially compared to last year when I had 912 shares of Tyler Stephenson. OK, I didn’t play 912 leagues… who do you think I am, Justin Mason?!


Changelog

  • 3/19/2024 – Danny Jansen injury; a handful of ranking shifts in the middle tiers
  • 3/5/2024 – Added Ivan Herrera, Grandal/H.Davis updates, some ranking shifts
  • 2/28/2024 – ADP and Projected $ Value Update
  • 2/12/2024 – Updated Sanchez, Grandal, and Mejia
  • 1/22/2024 – Added Miguel Amaya, boosted Raleigh a bit
  • 1/4/2024 – First Release

Superstars

These are the foundational studs that are building blocks for your team. There is an opportunity cost to taking a C this early, but the upshot is often worth it as this group brings a lot to the table.
Superstars
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
1 Adley Rutschman BAL C 54 $19
2 Will Smith LAD C 85 $17
3 William Contreras MIL C 78 $23
4 Willson Contreras STL C 136 $13

I might be too anchored on the notion of Adley Rutschman being a switch-hitting Buster Posey, but nothing in his first two seasons has pushed me away and I feel confident that we haven’t seen his best work yet. The rising depth at the position keeps me from aggressively chasing him in drafts, though I have no issue with him being the clear #1 (53 ADP, 23 picks clear of #2 Realmuto).

Is Will Smith an upper tier bargain at this point? He’s not forgotten or anything, but at 86 ADP he is the 4th C off the board which feels too low. The other 3 hitters in LA’s top 4 are all firm first rounders. And yes, they are better than Smith and I’m not advocating for a 1st round C, but it seems like the guy hitting behind Betts-Ohtani-Freeman should be firmly in the Top 75. While those 578 PA from 2022 will likely end up as a career-high, he can still do a ton of damage in ~500 PA.

A strong 97-game run in 2022 announced William Contreras on the fantasy landscape and with an even better performance in his first full season (141 gms), he has now passed big brother Willson thanks to a fantastic .285 AVG that easily paces the catching field since 2022 (Kirk’s .270 is 2nd, min. 500). The AVG is the only real separator between ’em and while I do believe in William as a stronger bet than Willson in that category, it’s volatile enough that Willson is still good enough to join him in the top tier.

Willson Contreras made up for his slow start (.215 AVG thru June) with a blistering hot second half that included a .339 AVG for a third straight excellent season. He hasn’t veered much from .250/20/5 over the last 3 seasons and there’s no reasons to believe he won’t do something very similar again this year.

Bankable Studs

They aren’t that different from the top tier… they just have a little more uncertainty than the Top 4.
Bankable Studs
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
5 J.T. Realmuto PHI C 74 $16
6 Sean Murphy ATL C 142 $9
7 Salvador Perez KCR C/1B 132 $20

J.T. Realmuto remains top of the class for SBs at catcher after lapping the field with 16 — 2nd place had 8. At age-33, the AVG might not recover (.252 was a career low) and he’s likely to stay in the bottom half of the order (86% of PA in 5th-6th-7th last yr), yet he is still a great bet for at least a 15 HR/10 SB campaign.

I’m buying low on Sean Murphy. He is the 9th catcher off the board in Fall/Winter drafts (149 ADP). A horrendous September (.451 OPS) tanked his 2nd half and makes it look like a huge collapse after his .999 OPS in the 1st half. Instead of looking at a .999/.585 OPS split by half, I see an .899 through August and then that meltdown September when he was a part-time player and I’m just not going to judge him too harshly on 55 bad PA at the end of an otherwise excellent season.

Despite dropping to just an 86 wRC+, Salvador Perez still posted a Top 10 season at the position (7th to be exact). There is some bottom out potential at age-34 with his modest plate skills (0.16 K/BB, worst in MLB since 2021, min. 1000 PA) and power dip (-44 pts to .167 ISO), but I think he can volume his way to the finish line even if the output remains underwhelming. By the way, the 1B eligibility isn’t valuable. Outside of occasional injury fill-in, it’s rarely ever worth playing a catcher-eligible player anywhere but catcher.

Rising Power

We move into more specific groupings here meaning the pure rank number is a lot less meaningful. If you aren’t drafting a Top 7-10 C (your Bankable Studs might go deeper than mine), then you are slotting someone into your team construction so don’t be afraid to go for your guy.

This group is straightforward: power bats with substantial upside and risk. Some of these guys will be among the stars at the position while a couple will probably hit sub-.200 for the year.

Rising Power
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
8 Cal Raleigh SEA C 139 $16
9 Yainer Diaz HOU C/1B 110 $14
10 Jonah Heim TEX C 174 $11
12 MJ Melendez KCR C/OF 296 $16
13 Francisco Alvarez NYM C 148 $16
14 Bo Naylor CLE C 164 $3
15 Logan O’Hoppe LAA C 153 $16
17 Ryan Jeffers MIN C 251 $1
21 Shea Langeliers OAK C 243 $3

Am I underrating Cal Raleigh or is the market overrating him? I’m just not getting there as the 7th C off the board. I believe in the power and maybe it’s enough to just smother the meager AVG output? As long as you realize that the .211 from 2022 is in play and plan for it, he can definitely fit a team nicely. That said, if he drops the AVG and OBP then a 75/75 R/RBI repeat will be tough. There are similar profiles in this tier that come cheaper so I’d rather wait if I’m going to take on this kind of risk. Jan. 22 Update: OK, y’all have sold me on him, I’m jumping the Big Dumper up a bit.

Eric Longenhagen highlighted Yainer Diaz during our AL Prospect Extravaganza last March and was a major reason why I was a big time advocate for Diaz in early-June when Yordan Alvarez got hurt. He had a solid .758 OPS in sporadic playing time (92 PA) to that point before exploding in a full-time role: .284 AVG, .873 OPS, 20 HR from June 12th on. The market is incredibly excited about Diaz so while I am a fan, his 107 ADP (5th C) combined with the newfound position depth has me leaning away from him in early drafts. He’s the luxury option in this group with AVG upside as long as his BABIP cooperates.

Jonah Heim is suffering from a bit of Sean Murphyitis where a disaster month (.434 OPS in August) really weighs down his line. He was returning from a wrist injury and played only 14 games so it’s hard to hold any of it against him. He didn’t fully rebound in September (.675) but it was still a 241-point improvement and more of a standard issue down month. It does follow a 2022 where he cratered in Aug/Sept. which might have some concerned that he can’t hold up over a full season, though a .167 BABIP was the major culprit there. The 2023 season was a breakout with an insane RBI rate (95 in 501 PA!), an All-Star bid and Gold Glove win, but a full season of the upper register we’ve seen in 2022-23 would make him a Top 3 C.

MJ Melendez only had 10 games at C so he doesn’t qualify everywhere. Sign me up in leagues where does, though. He is kind of a reverse Murphy if I can continue to stretch that comparison throughout this piece in that he took just a .644 OPS into August before reeling off an .861 OPS in his final 195 PA. Now just because it was the last two months doesn’t mean he will carry over that success, but I bring it up for that who might not have paid much attention to Melendez and might be inclined to judge him off the composite .713 OPS.

Isn’t Francisco Alvarez just a cheaper Raleigh? What am I missing here? FA: 25 HR, .228 ISO, .310 wOBA, .222 BABIP | CR: 30 HR, .224 ISO, .326 wOBA, .273 BABIP — the key difference seems to be 50 pts of BABIP that may or may not hold for Raleigh. Bring in Langeliers (22 HR, .208 ISO, .290 wOBA, .246 BABIP) and you’ve got high-medium-low options of the same all or nothing power profile. All three had a 13% Barrel rate and 41%-44% HardHit rate. Their Fall/Winter draft costs are 7th C for Raleigh, 10th for Alvarez, and 19th for Langeliers. I think what I’m realizing is that I’m not just going to have Raleigh anywhere this year.

Bo Naylor was a 2nd half find behind the dish, clubbing 10 HRs and swiping 5 SBs after the break with a .252/.362/.531 line in 174 PA. He was a 17 HR/12 SB per 500 PA guy in the minors so while he’s in the Rising Power category, don’t sleep on the sneaky speed (79% SB% in 1727 MiLB PA). The speed component and an excellent 13% BB rate separate him from big brother Josh and while I am cautious about buying too heavily into young Cs, Bo’s upside and a post-150 ADP make him appealing.

A late-April shoulder injury cut down Logan O’Hoppe after a fast start (.886 OPS in 59 PA), costing him 4 mos. and likely lingering a bit upon his return (.759 OPS in 140 PA), but the small sample was still enough to raise his profile on the fantasy landscape. His 14 HRs and .264 ISO (exactly .264 before and after the injury, too) stood out and earned him a spot in this tier. The Angels seem ready to hand him the full-time job so even if the AVG lags, he should be able to hit 20 HRs in 400+ PA.

Why isn’t there more hype for Ryan Jeffers? I know the last time he hit 14 HRs (2021), they came with a meager 83 wRC+,but the 14 in 2023 came with a much more complete profile, including improved K and BB rates as well as 55 points of wRC+! A 90-pt surge in BABIP up to .359 no doubt played a role, but he was unquestionably a better hitter and yet the 27-year-old isn’t getting an ouce of digital ink this offseason. He seems primed for his first 100-gm season after the strong 2023 and if you’re a believer, his post-250 ADP as the 21st C off the board is a low-risk investment.

Shea Langeliers is the cheap option for this power-heavy tier with his team context and heavy swing-and-miss profile holding him back a bit. His 29% K rate is highest in this group and comes with just a 7% BB rate (tied w/O’Hoppe for 2nd-lowest), but if you want 20 HRs with a low-.200s AVG, he is a strong bet to lock that in for you.

Contact Kings

These 3 are looked at as AVG assets, a rarity at the position. They’ve shown glimpses of power upside that if developed would put them in contention to be among the best Cs in the game.
Contact Kings
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
11 Gabriel Moreno ARI C 153 $12
18 Alejandro Kirk TOR C ▲3 261 $2
20 Keibert Ruiz WSN C 172 $10

Gabriel Moreno’s season certainly doesn’t jump off the page with just 7 HR, 50 RBI, and 33 R, but his .284 AVG was 2nd at the position (min. 350 PA) while his 6 SBs tied for 3rd-most with the Contreras brothers (the Contreraii?). He turned up the power in the playoffs with 4 HRs in 70 PA hinting at some upside as he continues to develop. This is a good example of where the raw ranking number isn’t fully indicative of my interest in him as I’d take him ahead of at least half the Rising Power group. I just think it’s more valuable to group guys into more specific tiers after the studs at the top so you can fit players into your build. Moreno really only stands out in AVG, but if you are looking for someone who’s breakout would take him into the Top 5, he’s a worthy bet. He’s the 11th C off board with a high floor so as long as you aren’t in dire need of power, Moreno is one to target.

Alejandro Kirk was Moreno before Moreno! Although, he may serve as a cautionary tale on this profile type and explain why Moreno is so fairly priced. The market was hot on Kirk after his 2022 breakout (.285 AVG, 14 HR, 63 RBI in 541 PA) only to be saddled with a disappointing .250/8/43 in 422 PA. The down season fueled concerns of overhype based on the bulk of his breakout being a 2-month run in May-June of ’22 (.344/.435/.605, 10 HR in 184 PA). Since then he has a 97 wRC+ in 717 PA, good for 13th among Cs (min. 400 PA) despite maintaining a near-1.0 K/BB ratio. Both he and Moreno are heavy groundballers which helps w/their AVG but curbs the power upside.

Maybe I should have Keibert Ruiz over Moreno because we saw his power breakthrough last season. Well, it was more a of home run breakthrough than a power one. His career-high 18 HRs in 562 PA were 11 clear of his 2022 total (in 433 PA) and he even raised his AVG 11 pts to a solid .260 mark. But his power profile didn’t improve that much. His Barrel rate jumped just 2 pts (6%) and was still just 25th percentile. His Hard Hit rate actually dropped and was in the 12th percentile. I am still interested in a 25-year-old switch hitter who’s 11% K rate is the best among Cs and 7th leaguewide since 2021 (min. 500 PA). There is a breakout path to .275/25 and as the 14th C off the board, he can fall a bit shy of a 2023 repeat and still be a positive pick.

New Wave

This group ranges in age from 25 to 29 so they aren’t prospects anymore, but they’ve either had significant prospect hype, done something at the big league level, or both which makes them intriguing for 2-C leagues as their upside is 1-C league viability.
New Wave
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
19 Henry Davis PIT OF ▲6 237 -$4
22 Luis Campusano SDP C 191 $10
23 Austin Wells NYY C ▲3 291 -$3
24 Patrick Bailey SFG C 358 -$2
32 Connor Wong BOS C ▼1 341 -$2
34 René Pinto TBR C 353 $2
35 Freddy Fermin KCR C 407 -$8

With a whopping 2 innings behind the dish, Henry Davis only qualifies in the rare league that requires just a single game to be eligible. In spite of that I inlcuded him to get in front of what I’m certain would’ve been multiple comments asking where I’d rank him among his soon-to-be fellow Cs. The Pirates announced they are putting the 24-year-old back behind the dish even before the Endy Rodriguez injury so you can draft him with the idea that he will qualify shortly after the season beings depending on your league’s in-season requirements. The 2021 #1 overall pick was a stone’s throw from a 20 HR/10 SB full season pace in his debut and let’s be honest, he didn’t play all that well (76 wRC+ in 255 PA) meaning it wouldn’t take a ton of improvement to reach or exceed that pace in what should be his first full season of work. Mar. 5th update: The Pirates have said newcomer Yasmani Grandal will get plenty of PT but manager Derek Shelton did say that him catching 100+ games is “not going to happen”. This definitely cuts into some of the hype surrounding Davis’s return to C, especially since he doesn’t yet qualify there. What we don’t know is whether or not that means Davis will get starts in the OF again when he isn’t catching or just head back to Triple-A to catch daily. His early Spring Training production has been off the charts with 3 HR in his first 18 PA which certainly aids his case to head north with the team. You might want a third C on the roster if you’re taking him with the plan of him becoming your C2. There are plenty of scenarios where Davis pans out with the bat enough to hold an OF spot even if he doesn’t end qualifying for C until a good bit into the season.

Luis Campusano peaked at #26 on the 2022 Top 100 Prospects list and showed the first glimpses of paying off that hype this past season a sharp 134 wRC+ and 7 HR in 174 PA. He could’ve been in the Contact Kings group with his 14% K sitting 4th among Cs since 2022 (min. 200 PA), but I thought the sample was too small. I won’t pretend Moreno 453 PA in that time is a massive sample, but it is 2x Campusano’s which was enough to draw the line. If I miss out on Moreno, I’m happy to slot Campusano in and hope he’s ready for the full season breakout because even if not, a 17/.270-type season is well worth his post-200 ADP.

Austin Wells made a little noise in his September sip of espresso (I feel like you need at least 100 PA for a cup of coffee… these are arbitrary lines and don’t matter, I just like that espresso description for tiny Sept. samples), popping 4 HR with 13 RBIs in 75 PA. He is a well regarded prospect who could be a strong fantasy C if the Yankees commit to him as at least the strong side platoon option. He had 16 HR/12 SB per 400 PA so he might have some sneaky speed to offer, too.

I promise I’m not ranking Patrick Bailey higher just because he was a complete stud in one of my OOTP franchises this past year. Although bringing it up certainly makes me look a bit guilty because otherwise you wouldn’t have even known about that. Do you want to see his stats from his MVP season in 2029? OK OK, nevermind. Bailey usurped former #2 overall pick Joey Bart thanks to brilliance behind the dish as his 17.4 Framing Runs were tops in MLB, aiding him to 13 DRS (3rd behind only Moreno and Kirk). It didn’t matter that he posted just a 78 wRC+ as that matches Bart’s career mark in 503 PA and comes with the premium glove. A 28% K rate raises some concern but his league average SwStr and Zone Contact rates suggest a chance to cut into the strikeouts and let’s not forget that he’s essentially learning on the job with his equal 14 game/60 PA samples at both AA and AAA are all the high minors experience he had before joining the Giants. That also means it could take a little longer so there’s a wider ranger of outcomes, but that risk is easily covered with his post-350 ADP (28th C).

In deeper 2-C leagues, Connor Wong likely floated around to several teams as his success was spread out across the season, resulting in a 9 HR/8 SB bottom line despite striking out exactly a third of the time in 403 PA. Are the poor AVG and sub-.300 OBP worth a tinge of pop and smattering of SBs? It probably depends on league depth.

The 27-year-old René Pinto packed a little punch in his 105 PA last year with 6 HR plus another 9 in his 160 Triple-A PA and he is penciled in as the Rays starter right now. But there’s a lottt of swing-and-miss and not many walks to offset the Ks so if he does somehow carve out 350-400 PA, it could be a tough ride that heavily flirts with a sub-.200 AVG. In fairness, the upside is a legit run at 20 tanks.

The presence of Freddy Fermin allows the Royals to comfortably DH Sal Perez without just losing any semblance of production from the position. He hit .269 with 13 HR per 500 PA in the minors (1673 PA), including 20 HR in just 422 PA at Triple-A. His 2.1 Framing Runs obliterated Perez’s hot -9… in fact, Perez has been positive just once in his career and it was an eye-popping 0.3 back in that supercool 2020 season that definitely counts and isn’t super stupid. The return of Vinnie Pasquantino could make the 1B starts rarer for Perez meaning I’d only project Fermin for 250-300 PA.

Small Sample Standouts

This category is pretty self explanatory. These guys don’t rack up the playing time, but they make the most of it when they are healthy and playing.
Small Sample Standouts
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
16 Mitch Garver SEA C 178 $12
26 Gary Sánchez MIL C 373 $1
27 Danny Jansen TOR C ▼5 268 $0
28 Travis d’Arnaud ATL C 393 $1
29 Tom Murphy SFG C 528 -$6

Small Sample Sammy strikes again! Mitch Garver has a penchant for dominating in ~350ish PA samples. While he wasn’t able to top that magical 2019 when he hit 31 HRs in just 359 PA, he smacked 19 in 344 this past season with a 138 wRC+ and only the volume (or lack thereof) held him back on the C rankings as he finished 15th. He has big boy power that can play anywhere, but I can’t complete this write-up without mentioning that he’s moving from 5th-best Park Factor for righties to the 30th (although the specific HR factor only drops from 5th to 19th).

We have seen full seasons from Gary Sánchez (at least by C standards) so he’s not in this tier because he has collected a bunch of sub-300 PA seasons, but rather because he dominated in 267 PA last year and might be eyeing a 2nd straight low volume season if he signs somewhere with an established starter. He didn’t rank too high despite the 19 HRs because they came with a meager .217 AVG, but that’s fine a return for a post-400 pick. I’ll check back in on him when he signs. Feb. 12th update: Landing in MIL doesn’t do a ton for his playing time, but their excellent work with catchers could help make Sánchez a more dynamic backstop as framing and blocking have always been a shortcoming for him. Barring an injury that thrusts him into a bigger role, I wouldn’t expect much more than another 250-275 PA with power and little else.

I didn’t realize Danny Jansen is entering his 7th season, it feels like he is still relatively newish. The problem is that just 1 of them saw him play at least 100 games (2019). That hasn’t stopped him from posting a Top 10 HR total at the position since 2021 with 43. His 754 PA are far and away the lowest of the group with the next lowest total being Cal Raleigh’s 1132 (59 HR). At age-29, we can still dream on him reaching 100+ games again, as both he and Alejandro Kirk can make a case for extended playing time at DH to get both bats in the lineup. Mar. 19th update: Jansen was hit by a pitch and suffered a fractured wrist, adding yet another injury to his snake-bitten career. He is out for a minimum of 2 weeks and I’d plan for another 2 of recovery. The depth at catcher makes him a tough draft in most league formats, but I’d gladly add him upon return.

Travis d’Arnaud is kind of running a 1 up, 1 down pattern lately with 144, 79, 120, and 83 wRC+ totals the last four seasons and while 2020 is a small sample, 3 of the 4 seasons have sub-300 PA totals. Even at age-35, I can’t rule out a return to 2022 (120 wRC+, 18 HR in 426 PA) and thankfully you aren’t paying for that with an ADP well outside the Top 300.

It was a magical 159 PA sample for Tom Murphy last year, clubbing 8 HRs with a 140 wRC+. It helped the 33-year-old snag a 2-year deal with the Giants where he will back up Patrick Bailey. I love Bailey so I’d be surprised if Murphy found anything but standard backup playing time.

Solid Vets

Established players who fall into that WYSIWYG category. This tier isn’t devoid of upside, but chasing it will likely prove futile in most cases. It’s probably better to just land on them at the end of their ADP range as opposed to seeking them out at the draft table.
Solid Vets
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
25 Tyler Stephenson CIN C/1B 226 $2
30 Elias Díaz COL C 253 $1
31 Jake Rogers DET C ▲6 323 -$1
33 Yan Gomes CHC C 357 $0
36 Christian Bethancourt MIA C 466 $0
37 Christian Vázquez MIN C/1B 501 -$6
43 Yasmani Grandal PIT C/1B ▼4 516 -$10

I’m still a big Tyler Stephenson fan, but he really didn’t move forward as I’d hoped last year with just an 85 wRC+ in a career high 517 PA. The added depth at the position has cut into his appeal, too. If he develops some power, it can really play up in that park and the breakout could finally happen, but there are many intriguing options throughout the position so he’s more of an “in the mix” guy than “my pick to click” like he was last year. As a multi-leaguer, I’ll have a share or two especially because you draft 3-4 Cs in Draft Champions leagues juuuust in case!

In his 3rd full season as the Rockies starting catcher, Elias Díaz volumed his way to a strong season. His 14 HRs weren’t even a career high (18 in 2021) but the 72 RBIs were and his .267 AVG was tied for 4th at C (min. 400 PA) and a big help toward his 12th ranked season. He’s boring but affordable and anytime you play in Coors, there’s always a decent chance at a major outlier season in several offensive categories.

Maybe Jake Rogers could’ve made the end of the “Rising Power” tier because while he is 29 years old, he only has 620 career PA and his 365 was nearly 3x more than he had in his other two seasons (sub-40 gms in 2019 and 2021).

Yan Gomes rode a .267 AVG and 63 RBIs to a strong season last year playing the 2nd most games of his career (116). He is currently setup to be the starter in Chicago so he could have another 100 games on tap. That said, I’m not betting on either the AVG or RBI total to repeat and thankfully, neither is the market so he’s a solid enough backup pick in leagues where you’re going 30+ Cs deep (such as the aforementioned Draft Champions which are 50-round Draft & Hold format).

Christian Bethancourt has been able to carve out a few pockets of relevance in 2-C leagues over the last two seasons. He started hot in 2023 with an .870 OPS but didn’t find the .700 OPS mark again until landing directly on it in September. He can probably find another couple pockets in Miami if he’s given 300+ PA again.

Remember when Christian Vázquez ran a bit? He reeled off 27 SBs from 2017-2021 living between 4 and 8 per season, but he’s just 2-for-6 the last two seasons and we’re baseball eons away from that 23 HR 2019 (remember the Rabbit Ball?) so even if you think his 65 wRC+ wil improve, it’ll probably be around the 85 from 2021-22 with a backup’s volume assuming Jeffers stays strong.

I still remember when I learned the phrase “Dead Cat Bounce”. Who the hell came up with that as the best descriptor of a temporary uptick in performance which according to Investopedia (there’s just a “pedia” for everything, isn’t there?), it’s based on the notion that even a dead cat will bounce if it falls far enough and fast enough. Yasmani Grandal was a go-to catcher for me throughout the bulk of his career including the last two years when he posted a 74 wRC+, but at age-35 it’s hard to see him doing anything more than a standard DCB given the complete evaporation of his power (.087 ISO). I miiight make him my 4th C in a Draft Champions league if he signs somewhere where playing time seems possible, but I can’t even think of that dream spot off the top of my head right now so it’s likely just over. Feb. 12th update: OK maybe Pittsburgh isn’t a dream spot, but it does offer an avenue for some real playing time. We don’t know if the Pirates will commit to Henry Davis playing 6 days a week and instead it could be more a of 55/45 split behind the dish with Grandal catching lighter share, but also supplementing his playing time some 1B/DH work if his bat moves back toward pre-2022 levels (121 wRC+ from 2012-21).

Lottery Tickets

The full on gambles who exist as 2-catcher league fodder at best. There are pockets of upside and 1-2 could be Waiver Pickup of the Year types, but you’re not even touching this tier unless you play the 50-round Draft Champions format.
Lottery Tickets
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
38 Nick Fortes MIA C ▲5 492 -$5
39 Blake Sabol SFG C/OF 558 -$20
40 Miguel Amaya CHC C 477 -$9
41 Sam Huff TEX C 664 -$17
42 Iván Herrera STL C 428 -$10
44 Kyle Higashioka SDP C 586 -$5
45 Luke Maile CIN C 710 -$9
46 Carson Kelly DET C 676 -$8
47 Francisco Mejía TBR C 745 -$17

Nick Fortes was one of my late round potential gems last year after 9 HR and 5 SB in 240 PA during the 2022 season, but he fell apart and failed to reach either threshold despite jumping to 323 PA (6 HR/4 SB). A 28-pt drop in BABIP and halving of his HR/FB rate to 6% no doubt fueled the fall off. Bad luck or extended playing time exposing his flaws? Probably a mix of the two and his Depth Charts projection of an 88 wRC+ with 10 HR/6 SB makes sense to me.

I was a Blake Sabol believer last year and the Rule 5 utilityman did pretty well in deeper 2-C leagues with 13 HR and 4 SB in 344 PA. The problem is that he doesn’t play particularly good defense at C or LF so the Giants might not deem his 92 wRC+ worth holding onto when not bound to do so by the rules (Rule 5 guys must stay on the roster all year or be returned to the original team… I realize the majority of y’all know this, but not everyone does).

Pardon me for leaving Miguel Amaya off the initial list as he is penciled into the backup role with the Cubs and deserves mention. He’ll be behind a 36-year old Yan Gomes, too, so it’s not impossible to envision a larger share of playing time if Amaya pops off and/or Gomes doesn’t maintain his solid 95 wRC+ from last year (73 in ’22).

I’m a bit of a Sam Huff truther. Not enough to push him up the ranks and advocate taking him in a buncha leagues, but in the annoying way where I’ll talk about how “in” I was on him if he breaks out only to realize this was the year I didn’t take him in any of my 3-4 Draft Champions leagues. He can absolutely mash and if his career 33% K and 7% BB rates can move closer to the 28%/11% we’ve seen in 620 Triple-A PA then we might really have something, especially because he would probably earn some looks at DH/1B (when Lowe needs a breather) to get his bat in the lineup.

Iván Herrera should be the backup to Contreras and could get some extra looks behind the dish with Contreras DH’ing (30 starts there last year). Herrera is a 24-year-old prospect with some acclaim who tore up Triple-A with 10 HR, 11 SB, and a 147 wRC+ in 375 PA, not to mention a 1.0 K:BB ratio. He’s a solid 3rd C in Draft Champions leagues and would definitely be someone to go out and get if something happened to Contreras that opened up more PT for Herrera.

Kyle Higashioka will try to go full Khris Davis by hitting exactly 10 HRs for the 4th straight season. Make no mistake, Davis’s quartet of .247 AVG seasons is far more impressive, but I always love the symmetry of someone landing on the exact same number in a category 4x in a row.

It is admittedly remarkably niche, but I could see going for Luke Maile in 2-C NL-Only leagues and just hoping the park and lineup can deliver a nice little plus offering in 200-225 PA.

Could Carson Kelly get back to 2021’s level (104 wRC+, 13 HR)? Sure, but is it likely enough that I’m taking a shot on him in any format? No, no it is not. His best bet is to push back toward his 2021 and become a viable waiver wire pickup in 2-C leagues.

The problem with Francisco Mejía is that he just can’t really catch and that will likely be reflected in his free agency. I’d be floored if he was brought in to be a starter somewhere. Hell, I’d be surprised if he was made the short end of even a 60/40 split. I think it’s more of a 25-30% stake somewhere meaning 40-50 games and there isn’t that much desire for 100-150 PA of 87 wRC+. Mejía has signed a minor league deal with the Angels, but that doesn’t change his outlook for me. Update: I missed that he went back to TBR. Thanks to mark in the comments for letting me know!


Full Rankings Without Tiers

No tiers. Just the rankings.
Full Rankings Without Tiers
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
1 Adley Rutschman BAL C 54 $19
2 Will Smith LAD C 85 $17
3 William Contreras MIL C 78 $23
4 Willson Contreras STL C 136 $13
5 J.T. Realmuto PHI C 74 $16
6 Sean Murphy ATL C 142 $9
7 Salvador Perez KCR C/1B 132 $20
8 Cal Raleigh SEA C 139 $16
9 Yainer Diaz HOU C/1B 110 $14
10 Jonah Heim TEX C 174 $11
11 Gabriel Moreno ARI C 153 $12
12 MJ Melendez KCR C/OF 296 $16
13 Francisco Alvarez NYM C 148 $16
14 Bo Naylor CLE C 164 $3
15 Logan O’Hoppe LAA C 153 $16
16 Mitch Garver SEA C 178 $12
17 Ryan Jeffers MIN C 251 $1
18 Alejandro Kirk TOR C ▲3 261 $2
19 Henry Davis PIT OF ▲6 237 -$4
20 Keibert Ruiz WSN C 172 $10
21 Shea Langeliers OAK C 243 $3
22 Luis Campusano SDP C 191 $10
23 Austin Wells NYY C ▲3 291 -$3
24 Patrick Bailey SFG C 358 -$2
25 Tyler Stephenson CIN C/1B 226 $2
26 Gary Sánchez MIL C 373 $1
27 Danny Jansen TOR C ▼5 268 $0
28 Travis d’Arnaud ATL C 393 $1
29 Tom Murphy SFG C 528 -$6
30 Elias Díaz COL C 253 $1
31 Jake Rogers DET C ▲6 323 -$1
32 Connor Wong BOS C ▼1 341 -$2
33 Yan Gomes CHC C 357 $0
34 René Pinto TBR C 353 $2
35 Freddy Fermin KCR C 407 -$8
36 Christian Bethancourt MIA C 466 $0
37 Christian Vázquez MIN C/1B 501 -$6
38 Nick Fortes MIA C ▲5 492 -$5
39 Blake Sabol SFG C/OF 558 -$20
40 Miguel Amaya CHC C 477 -$9
41 Sam Huff TEX C 664 -$17
42 Iván Herrera STL C 428 -$10
43 Yasmani Grandal PIT C/1B ▼4 516 -$10
44 Kyle Higashioka SDP C 586 -$5
45 Luke Maile CIN C 710 -$9
46 Carson Kelly DET C 676 -$8
47 Francisco Mejía TBR C 745 -$17





Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and Content Director for OOTP Perfect Team. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

33 Comments
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srpst23
3 months ago

So what you’re saying is that in a 12 team 1 catcher auction, paying more than $1 for a catcher would be a bad idea.

montrealmember
3 months ago
Reply to  srpst23

Exactly what I would do. For a buck you can get a decent catcher….for sure

synco
2 months ago
Reply to  srpst23

Yes. What you’re hoping for out of your catcher is 20 HRs without being too much of a drain on your BA. In recent years (not just this one) there’s been a lot of dudes who can fill that role. It’s the deepest and most boring catcher has been in a while.