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2015 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Catcher

Felipe Melecio ranks the top 20 fantasy baseball catchers heading into 2015.

Buster Posey

It’s here, it’s almost here; pitchers and catchers finally report! Soon, players will be starting their team regiments as they get ready for another exciting season of baseball. That also means fantasy owners everywhere, if they haven’t already, will be coming out of hibernation and start planning and scouting for their upcoming fantasy baseball drafts. Best way to start is by ranking every player by their respective positions. We will begin by ranking the top catchers in fantasy baseball.

Because of the many formats that are out there in the fantasy baseball landscape, these rankings will attempt to consider both head-to-head and 5×5 roto leagues.

BEST OF THE BEST

There is no doubt, Buster Posey owns this position. He simply is the best, all-around hitter coming into the 2015 campaign. He can hit for average and power, can drive in runs, and has the best approach at the plate, without question. Best of all, the Giants will give Posey more chances to play at first base to aid him in the rigors of catching on a day-to-day basis.

Currently, Posey is being taken as the 25th-30th player in drafts at this time. Having Posey on your squad provides the peace of mind that at least one of your hitting positions is pretty much locked up for the rest of the season:

Buster Posey’s Projections
R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
67 19 75 1 0.299 0.368 0.177 0.75

DEEP SLEEPER

Not the best position to rely on power, but there are some guys with some serious pop. In terms of Isolated Power (ISO–a stat that measures power), there are five guys that are projected (per Steamer projections at fangraphs.com ) to finish the season with an ISO of .188 or higher. That is right in line with other sluggers such as Adrian Beltre and Justin Upton.

Rockies’ catcher Wilin Rosario best personifies this category as he’s projected to bounce back by Steamer. The problem is that Rosario’s defense is still questionable and he might be part of a three-man carousel at two positions in Colorado: first base and catcher. There’s also concerns over his horrid 2014 campaign, but the lack of power might be attributed to a wrist injury he was dealing with throughout the year.

Another concern is his high Strikeout Rate (K%) that he posted in the past, but he was able to post a K% below 20 percent in 2014 and is expected to do the same in 2015.

At any rate, Rosario is a nice sleeper candidate, especially if he does get the plate appearances he needs to be productive. But the power seems to be legit for the upcoming year and can be a bargain at catcher once the top-tier guys are gone.

Wilin Rosario
R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
37 14 45 2 0.278 0.349 0.21 0.27

HOME RUN POWER

Evan Gattis is projected to finish with 28 home runs, leading all catchers in this category. But the best part of his 2015 prospects is that he will predominantly be playing at DH or in the outfield. That is great news for a guy that’s supposed to be a top-tier catcher in fantasy. Not having to crouch down for a majority of the season will help Gattis maintain consistent power over the course of the season.

Strikeouts will be a concern, diminishing his value in leagues that deduct points for that stat. This will ultimately hurt owners at batting average in roto leagues, but it’s clear to see that the potential to hit close to 30 home runs justifies Gattis as a top five catcher this season.

Evan Gattis
R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
68 28 79 1 0.243 0.328 0.216 0.26

AVERAGE

Aside from Posey, Yadier Molina and Jonathan Lucroy are projected to hit for a .280+ batting average as both players have reached that mark in the last three years.

ON-BASE PERCENTAGE

Some leagues are starting to use OBP instead of batting average and once again, Posey is projected to lead all catchers in this category for the upcoming season. Nevertheless, there are a few others that can post respectable on-base percentages:

TOP 12 CATCHERS (Projections from Steamer)

1. Buster Posey, Age: 28, Catcher/First Base (C/1B) 

2. Jonathan Lucroy, 28 

R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
56 12 58 5 0.282 0.344 0.150 0.75

Lucroy finished the season as our top-hitting catcher of 2014 and finished as our 13th best, overall player. Might see more time at first base, keeping him fresh throughout the season.

3. Evan Gattis, 28 

4. Yadier Molina, 32

R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
47 10 51 3 0.284 0.331 0.134 0.56

A solid, reliable pick, Molina can still display pop in his bat and won’t hurt your batting average.

5. Devin Mesoraco, 26

R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
48 18 55 3 0.246 0.332 0.196 0.42

Former highly touted prospect finally put together a good season at the plate. Will be looking to cause more damage this year, especially in the power department.

6. Matt Wieters, 28

R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
54 17 56 3 0.246 0.311 0.172 0.47

Coming off elbow surgery, he is supposed to be ready for Opening Day. Projections are souring due to injury concerns and past, disappointing history, but short 2014 campaign leaves one to be overtly optimistic.

7. Brian McCann, 31 

R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
62 24 70 3 0.251 0.333 0.194 0.54

Left-handed bat plus short porch in Yankees Stadium right field will always give value to McCann’s game. As long as he can continue to hit 20+ home runs and drive in runs, he has a spot in our top 10.

8. Yan Gomes, 27

R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
51 16 57 2 0.257 0.324 0.178 0.26

Many are high on Gomes to repeat his performance from last season. The power seems legit, but so is the lack of plate discipline, which will no doubt affect his batting average.

9. Wilin Rosario, 26

10. Salvador Perez, 24

R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
52 14 58 1 0.274 0.321 0.151 0.35

Perez, despite his advanced game on defense, is still a raw product on offense. He has the tools to hit for power and average, but poor discipline at the plate has prevented him from reaching his full potential. Regardless, still an intriguing pick at this position.

11. Travis d’Arnaud, 26

R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
51 17 58 2 0.251 0.325 0.177 0.49

It seems we have been waiting forever for d’Arnaud to live up to the hype he received as a prospect with the Blue Jays’ organization. He might be closer to taking that next step, but he’ll have to prove it to owners before he climbs up the catcher rankings.

12. Wilson Ramos, 27

R HR RBI SB AVG wOBA ISO BB:K
46 16 54 1 0.269 0.330 0.169 0.43

Ramos suffered through a hand injury last season, but should finally be healthy entering 2015. He still has enough pop in his bat to be a steady source of power. Plus he does a good job at keeping his strikeouts in check, helping those owners in points’ leagues.

NEXT TEN

13. Yasmani Grandal, 26, C/1B

Good: Great plate discipline…good pop in bat…former highly-touted prospect

Bad: One year wonder?…kills batting average…

14. Russell Martin, 32

Good: Great on-base skills…scheduled to hit second in Toronto’s lineup

Bad: Fluky 2014?…wrong side of 30…

15. Miguel Montero, 31

Good: Good approach at the plate…projected to post decent on-base percentage

Bad: Power might be disappearing…low batting average

16. Mike Zunino, 24

Good: Possesses serious power…still developing as a hitter…

Bad: Awful discipline leads to terrible average and on-base percentage…

17. Jason Castro, 27

Good: Decent pop…still has untapped upside

Bad: Bad plate discipline saps at batting average

18. Derek Norris, 26

Good: Good plate discipline…decent upside

Bad: Will be playing in San Diego…

19. John Jaso, 31

Good: Good BB:K…listed as Rays’ primary DH

Bad: Unimpressive counting stats

20. Chris Iannetta, 31

Good: Can post high on-base percentage

Bad: Lacks pop… does not hit for average

THE REST OF THE SCRAP

Alex Avila might have some pop…Kurt Suzuki has a good understanding of the strike zone…Dioner Navarro is listed as the everyday DH in Toronto…Jarrod Saltalamacchia might have decent power to give…Francisco Cervelli might be able to post a high BABIP that could result in some decent production…

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