To say the sports world is different than it was just last week would be a massive understatement right now. The world as a whole is a different place and we’re all trying to deal with it a day at a time. In some type of effort to give some distractions to everyone, I’m going to be doing a top 200 cheat sheet for rankings for fantasy baseball and a positional breakdown of how I see it.
Both the cheat sheet and articles will be on both websites and free to read for everyone, regardless of subscription status. Everyone on staff at RotoCurve and DraftManager greatly appreciates you being a part of the team and we wouldn’t be here without you guys. This is kind of a first for me, so any feedback is very welcome and hopefully we can talk in Slack or Twitter about the upcoming season, even though we don’t know when that is. Most importantly, stay safe out there and let’s get through it all together.
Note – All ADP data comes from fantasypros.com
We’re starting at catcher which isn’t exactly the most fun and exciting position in fantasy, but we’ll work our way to the sexier positions. There’s a pretty strong argument that if you don’t snag one of the top three or four catchers, you may as well be the last to take one. There’s really only a select few difference makers but the nice aspect is you’re not paying a super high premium via ADP data at this point. For this position, we’re only going 12 deep but as the positions get deeper, so will the ranks.
1. J.T. Realmuto, Phillies ADP of 78th overall
2019 Stats – .275/.493/.820 25 HR 83 RBI 36 2B 9 SB
It’s not hard to see why Realmuto is number one as he was fourth the position in average, home runs and OPS while leading in at-bats last season. He even chipped in nine stolen bases, which is quite the feat for a catcher. He was a workhorse last year with the second most games played and is still only 28 years old. Realmuto will continue to bat in the top half of the order and be a main cog in the Phillies offense, making him an easy plug and play into your lineup.
2. Gary Sanchez, Yankees ADP of 119th overall
2019 Stats – .232/.525/.841 34 HR 77 RBI 12 2B 0 SB
Sanchez led the position in home runs despite having under 400 at-bats, and that is definitely the upside in Sanchez. It doesn’t hurt that he hits in the middle of a loaded lineup so the counting stats can be a little easier to come by. The general consensus is always that Yankee Stadium is a big boost but there is an interesting note on that – according to ESPN Park Factors, Yankee Stadium dropped from sixth in HR factor in 2018 to 25th in 2019. The 28% K rate for Sanchez was also a career high but the reward is too good to pass up if you didn’t take Realmuto.
3. Yasmani Grandal, White Sox ADP of 147th overall
2019 Stats – .246/.468/.848 28 HR 77 RBI 26 2B 5 SB
Grandal is coming off a career season and shifting leagues but that shouldn’t be much of a reason to dissuade you from taking him as the third catcher. Still just 31 years old this season, Grandal complied 632 plate appearances last year and the White Sox are looking for him to handle their pitching staff this year. 2019 saw him compile a 2.4 WAR and he’s widely considered a stout defense catcher. That’s not why you draft him but that means he’ll be on the field a ton (second in at-bats in 2019) and brings a strong all-around profile.
4. Willson Contreras, Cubs ADP of 154th overall
2019 Stats – .272/.533/.888 24 HR 64 RBI 18 2B 1 SB
Last season was a bit of an odd one for Contreras. He only played in 105 games but led the position in OPS among catchers with at least 100 games played and set a career high in home runs and smashed his slugging mark. His K rate was a career high but nothing too crazy above his average of 23.3% and his extra base percent was a career high 10.8%. Despite his shortened season, he finished as the C8 in points leagues last year and with a normal workload he should be in great shape to finish top 4-5 easily this season.
5. Mitch Graver, Twins ADP of 177th overall
2019 Stats – .273/.630/.995 31 HR 67 RBI 16 2B 0 SB
Can we get this man even 450 at-bats, if not 500?? Garver finished as the C5 with only the 24th most at-bats at the position since he split time with Jason Castro. The latter appeared in 79 games compared to 93 for Garver and with Castro gone, we have a chance at him accumulating the at-bats. He completely smashed in limited playing time and no other full time catcher (100 games or more) had an OPS over .890, let alone approaching 1.000. Especially with a shortened season on the horizon, ranking him fifth seems like the floor for Garver this year with upside.
6. Salvador Perez, Royals ADP of 198th overall
2018 Stats – .235/.439/.713 27 HR 80 RBI 23 2B 1 SB
Perez is coming off Tommy John surgery after missing the entirety of the 2019 season and is a bit of an unknown. One aspect that keeps him in the upper end of the position is he has at least 496 at-bats in every season since 2013. To put that in perspective, on Realmuto and Grandal had more than 496 last season. When you get to this point in the ranks, one of the best abilities a player can bring is just playing a lot so you don’t have a dead spot constantly. If you get a .240 average, 450 at-bats and 20 homers this is a fine, if unspectacular play.
7. Will Smith, Dodgers ADP of 230th overall
2019 Stats – .253/.571/.907 15 HR 42 RBI 9 2B 2 SB
Smith came flying out of the gates last season and was a dynamo in just 54 games, racking up the 16th most homers and the second-highest OPS if he played enough games. There’s some questions this season due to splitting time with Austin Barnes and plenty of questions about how real this performance was. Between 2017-2019 in the minor leagues, Smith totaled 54 homers in 233 games so perhaps the power should be considered real. Prior to 2019, he never hit above .233 in those two seasons so a .253 average might be a bit high. Combine that with splitting time more than the fantasy owner would like and Smith has a good mix of risk and reward.
8. Wilson Ramos, Mets ADP of 218th overall
2019 Stats – .288/.416/.768 14 HR 73 RBI 19 2B 1 SB
Ramos is probably the closest thing you can find as far as an old reliable option at this juncture, even though he will be limited as far as what he brings. You need to have some power at other spots since Ramos has never topped 22 home runs (2016) but he’s not had an average below .260 in any season but one in his career. Since he’s not a drain on strikeouts either (no more than 101 ever and only above 80 once), the batting average is a nice bonus this late from this position. It really just depends on the team you’ve built prior to this stage as far as fit for Ramos.
9. Christian Vasquez, Red Sox ADP of 284th overall
2019 Stats – .276/.477/.798 23 HR 72 RBI 26 2B 4 SB
It was a career season for Vazquez in about ever way possible. He set career marks in games, at-bats, home runs, doubles, OPS and slugging by massive amounts. Of particular note was the home runs since he hat a total of 10 in 750 career at-bats before that. That’s a reason to be leery as is the second half of the year for Vasquez. The batting average dropped by 49 points to .250 and the OPS dropped from .852 to .738. For a player that never had this kind of track record, it can be a red flag more than just simple regression over the course of the season. The Boston lineup is still potent but losing Mookie Betts isn’t going to help either. A pick this late is hard to waste, but Vazquez could easily not pan out and you’ll need another solution.
10. Carson Kelly, Diamondbacks ADP of 276th overall
2019 Stats – .245/.478/.826 18 HR 47 RBI 19 2B 0 SB
Finally out from behind Yadier Molina in St. Louis, Kelly had a solid first full season as a primary catcher. He was a top 15 player at the position and the hope is he takes another step forward after what amounted to a rookie season. The team does have Stephen Vogt but considering Kelly was a piece in the Paul Goldschmidt trade last offseason, Kelly should be given every chance to keep the job. If he approaches 400 at-bats and fulfills some of his prospect potential, this sleeper pick could pay off.
11. Francisco Mejia, Padres ADP of 340th overall
2019 Stats – .265/.438/.754 8 HR 22 RBI 11 2B 1 SB
You may as well swing for the fences at this stage and Mejia represents that type of chance. Austin Hedges has proven nothing as an offensive player so far in his career with a .201 average through 1,268 plate appearances and Mejia is a former highly regarded prospect. Still just 24 years old, Mejia hit for a good average in limited action and it’s always important to remember that catcher can have a steep learning curve. He’s never shown the most pop through the minors with a total of 58 bombs but he also hit .295 through 527 career games. If any power comes, he could vault near the top five.
12. Omar Narvaez, Brewers ADP of 281st overall
2019 Stats – .278/.460/.813 22 HR 55 RBI 12 2B 0 SB
When you have a player who has significant splits, you want them to be worse to lefties since they just see a lot less of them and that’s the case with Narvaez. He hit RHP to the tune of a .289 average and 20 of the 22 homers came against that split. Brought to Milwaukee to replace Grandal, he’s slated to get the bulk of the playing time here. It was super encouraging to see his average translate in a much bigger sample since he played 132 games in 2019. He’s never played more than 97 and could be a steal this late if you’ve waited.