My 2018 Fantasy Baseball catcher rankings page isn’t just your normal “wham, bam, top-35 catcher rankings” page. This page is comprehensive, packed with a ton of information that’s going to help you in your drafts – and probably well into the upcoming MLB season.
In this article, you’re going to read about which players changed teams this offseason. Of course, you’ll get my top 35 Fantasy Baseball catcher rankings, as well as a breakdown of which players are eligible to be drafted as catchers because of their position eligibility. (Do you play in a league that requires 20 or 10 games played at the position? That’s a big difference!) We also share a list of the current Average Draft Position over at the NFBC, which is where ballers go to earn some money.
Additionally, I share a list of three 2018 Fantasy catcher busts I’m worried will underperform their Average Draft Position. But don’t worry, I also list a handful of Fantasy catcher sleepers I think will outperform their ADP. Similarly, I choose a couple catchers I believe could have breakout seasons – that means they could go from mid-round picks this year to early round picks next year!
Use these rankings to assist you run your own free one-man Fantasy Baseball mock draft!
Anyone that plays Fantasy Baseball likely collected baseball cards when they were kids, and they were always searching for those great rookie cards. We get older, but not much changes! We’re still looking for the best 2018 Fantasy rookie catchers, so I share my favorites later on in this piece. I also share a couple catcher prospects we should be keeping our eyes on.
If you don’t get a rookie, then you want sleepers and breakouts, of course. But don’t forget about some 2018 catcher bounce-back candidates! These backstops had a rough 2017 season, but they could bounce back in 2018 to provide some solid value!
Are you aware of which catchers with injuries you should be keeping an eye on this spring? We got you covered there, too.
Finally, I discuss some Fantasy Baseball catcher draft strategies you should consider employing this season.
Along the way, I’ll share some links to great Fantasy Baseball resources, including some that I placed in my Top Free Fantasy Baseball Draft Tools article! That page has been building for about five years now, and I’d love to hear about some free Fantasy draft tools I might not have known about! Tweet me @DavidGonos or leave a message in the comments on that page! Or both!
2018 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Rankings
These rankings are for 12-team standard Mixed 5×5 Rotisserie leagues that use two catchers in their starting lineups.
Buster Posey Photo Credit: Dirk Hansen
2018 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Draft Strategy
You can’t attack the catcher position the same way you do other positions, so here are a handful of Fantasy Baseball draft strategy tips for drafting catchers in 2018.
In most Rotisserie leagues, you are forced to draft two catchers for your lineup, which can be troublesome because this position usually produces some of the least quality hitters in the majors, outside of pitchers! (We discuss Head-to-Head leagues later, as they usually only have to draft one catcher for their starting lineups.)
So why do I love this position so much? Full transparency, I was a catcher in high school, and I’ve always had a soft spot for the guys that wear the tools of ignorance in the majors.
First of all, catchers have a unique perspective of the game on the field, as they’re the only players that face the entire playing field. They usually make the pitching calls, set up the defensive alignment, and they orchestrate where the ball goes after it’s hit. Their faces are rarely seen, and they’re the only players that have to help warm up other players.
I have compared them to offensive linemen in the past because they are usually the smartest guys on the field, even though they get a minimum of credit.
Catchers are involved in every facet of the game, including pitching, hitting and defense. This makes them great managers because they understand how to handle position players as well as pitchers. This is evidenced by the current MLB managers that used to be catchers (names in bold indicate World Series champions as managers):
- Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves
- Joe Maddon, Chicago Cubs
- Ron Gardenhire, Detroit Tigers
- J. Hinch, Houston Astros
- Ned Yost, Kansas City Royals
- Mike Scioscia, L.A. Angels of Anaheim
- Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics
- Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants
- Scott Servais, Seattle Mariners
- Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals
- Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay Rays
- Jeff Banister, Texas Rangers
- John Gibbons, Toronto Blue Jays
Take note – 13 of the 30 Major League Baseball managers in 2018 were catchers in their playing days. And the last four World Series champions were managed by former catchers! Heck, there were just TWO teams in the past NINE seasons to win the World Series without a former catcher as their manager (Boston in 2013 with John Farrell, and St. Louis in 2011 with Tony La Russa).
What does this have to do with Fantasy Baseball catchers? Not much. But you just got learned!
5 Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy Tips For Drafting Catchers
If you use these draft tips, you’ll draft like Buster Posey hits!
1. Avoid Really Young Catchers
Remember that catchers aren’t on the same schedule as other young hitters trying to make it in the majors. They’re forced to learn twice as much in the minors as their non-masked friends, as they develop several parts of their game. A young catcher has to learn a pitching staff and major defensive responsibilities along with hitting, which is much different from a lot of the catch-and-throw positions around the diamond. Even in-season, while hitters are learning pitchers, a catcher must learn opposing pitchers and hitters.
2. Target Young Catchers That Are Battle-Tested
Once catchers do get the call, see some major-league pitching for a few runs through the league, and they weren’t chewed up and spit out, then consider them for their second season. Last year, I pointed out how both Willson Contreras and J.T. Realmuto were worth investing in after big second halves of 2016. Similarly, Austin Barnes’ .419 on-base percentage in the second half last season was best among all catchers with at least 130 plate appearances in that span. Plus, just five catchers had more RBI than Cincinnati’s Tucker Barnhart (31) in the second half of last season. Note that both Barnes and Barnhart both have “barns” in their name – oh, and both are around 27 years old, without a ton of major-league games under their belts.
3. Drafting 2 Good Catchers is Usually Better Than Drafting 1 Great One
Catchers are risky early round picks because they are exposed to more chances at injury than any other position, when you add in foul tips, groin injuries and home-plate collisions. What’s worse than having an injured catcher miss a couple weeks because he’s on the 10-day disabled list? How about having an injured catcher that doesn’t go on the DL, continues to play through the injuries, but in a limited fashion. Managers will oftentimes decide that an injured catcher that can still play great defense is better than losing their bat and body behind the plate to the DL, so they’ll be asked to play through injuries more than other positions.
Drafting two good catchers is smarter than drafting one great catcher and either a good catcher or a sleeper catcher because you mitigate the risk better. Your higher pick can be used on a better player at another position, and you can still come out with the best Fantasy catching tandem by getting two decent catchers near Rounds 13-15. You won’t have the same risk tied up in just one awesome catcher that could get injured and cost you more than losing a catcher picked in Round 13.
4. Keep a Close Eye on Injuries
Since catchers get nicked up throughout the season more than other players, and they are often asked to play through them, even if it hurts their hitting stats, you should expect them to miss more games during the week. Over the past three seasons, only three catchers averaged over 500 at-bats per season (and from 2014-2016, there were just two). It’s quite rare for a catcher to tally 600 at-bats.
An average of 12 players at each infield position have averaged over 500 at-bats in the past three years, compared to just THREE for catchers.
5. Be the Last To Draft a Fantasy Catcher In H2H Leagues
This isn’t to say you should draft the last catcher – you should just draft a catcher after everyone has drafted at least one. The difference between the best catchers in H2H and the 10th- or 12th-best Fantasy catcher isn’t big enough to forego getting one of the best players at another position. Grab your catcher right before other people begin thinking about drafting their backup catchers.
It’s a little risky, but prefer to treat catchers like kickers in fantasy football. Ride the hot hand and adjust on the fly, no sense wasting a high pick on one.
— Jeffrey Michael (@schroeder8170) February 7, 2018
Speaking of starting just one catcher, here’s my take on how I’m very much against one-catcher Rotisserie leagues, even though many people have come to know as normal because they play on ESPN.
2018 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Position Eligibility
The players listed below played catcher in at least 20 games last season, but they are also eligible at other positions listed. Here’s a shout-out to Grey Albright over at Razzball.com for coming up with the list of games played by position from the 2017 MLB season.
- Austin Barnes, L.A. Dodgers — 55 games at catcher, 21 games at second base
- Chris Hermann, Arizona Diamondbacks – 35 games at catcher, 24 games at outfield
- Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants – 99 games at catcher, 38 games at first base
The players listed below played catcher and another position in at least 10 games last season (as did the players above), but they are also eligible at other positions listed.
- Alex Avila, Arizona Diamondbacks – 78 games at catcher, 19 games at first base
- Russell Martin, Toronto Blue Jays – 83 games at catcher, 10 games at third base
- Austin Romine, N.Y. Yankees – 67 games at catcher, 12 games at first base
2018 Fantasy Baseball Catchers Offseason Movement
Since the season ended in 2017, with the Houston Astros celebrating their World Series win, a lot has changed! I have listed out several of the more notable players that are playing with different jerseys after some offseason movement. I used MLB’s free-agent tracker and ESPN’s transactions page.
Remember that when you’re dealing with players on new teams, you’re looking at possible changes in Fantasy value for several reasons.
They’re now working with an entirely different coaching staff that might find how to fix some mechanics at the plate – or a coaching staff that doesn’t know how to handle them.
They’re working with a new lineup around them, which Sabermetricians will tell you doesn’t matter. However, if the team they were on got him 600 at-bats because of their prolific offense, and this new offense stinks up the place, then he’s likely to have as many opportunities to score you points in the counting categories.
They’re playing in a different league altogether, like moving from the American League to the National League, or vice-versa. This affects pitchers a little more than hitters, but remember that a catcher that comes from the NL to the AL could now receive some at-bats at the designated hitter spot. Plus, their offense will likely be more productive with an extra hitter in their lineup.
Finally, and most importantly, they could be going from a ballpark that favors hitters or pitchers to one that favors the opposite. Here’s a link to ESPN’s Ballpark Factors page to see which stadium ranks closer to Coors Field (1st) or Minute Maid Park (30th).
- Alex Avila went from Chicago Cubs to Arizona Diamondbacks
- Curt Casali went from Tampa Bay Rays to Texas Rangers
- Wellington Castillo went from Baltimore Orioles to Chicago White Sox
- Tim Federowicz went from San Francisco Giants to Houston Astros
- Chris Gimenez went from Minnesota Twins to Chicago Cubs
- Bryan Holaday went from Detroit Tigers to Miami Marlins
- Chris Iannetta went from Arizona Diamondbacks to Colorado Rockies
- Ryan Lavarnaway went from Oakland A’s to Pittsburgh Pirates
- Jose Lobaton went from Washington Nationals to N.Y. Mets
- Raffy Lopez went from Toronto Blue Jays to San Diego Padres
- Miguel Montero went from Toronto Blue Jays to Washington Nationals
- Rene Rivera went from Chicago Cubs to L.A. Angels
- Alberto Rosario went from St. Louis Cardinals to Arizona Diamondbacks
- Hector Sanchez went from San Diego Padres to San Francisco Giants
- Andrew Susac went from Milwaukee Brewers to Baltimore Orioles
- Chad Wallach went from Cincinnati Reds to Miami Marlins
- Russell Wilson went from Texas Rangers to N.Y. Yankees
Several catchers remained free agents as of mid-February:
- A.J. Ellis
- Ryan Hanigan
- A.J. Jimenez
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Carlos Ruiz
- Geovany Soto
- Chris Stewart
2018 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Average Draft Position at NFBC
This ADP for catchers is based on 12-team, traditional 5×5 Rotisserie league drafts over at the NFBC, which is now powered by SportsHubTech. Remember that ADP for leagues that use just one catcher in the starting lineups (like ESPN) will be much different. In the NFBC, they require two starting catchers in Fantasy lineups.
- 2.09. Gary Sanchez, N.Y. Yankees
- 5.09 Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs
- 6.03 Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
- 9.07 Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals
- 9.12 J.T. Realmuto, Miami Marlins
- 13.03 Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
- 13.07 Evan Gattis, Houston Astros
- 14.10 Wilson Ramos, Tampa Bay Rays
- 14.11 Wellington Castillo, Chicago White Sox
- 15.04 Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners
- 15.09 Austin Barnes, L.A. Dodgers
- 16.07 Jonathan Lucroy, Colorado Rockies
- 18.12 Brian McCann, Houston Astros
- 19.05 Yasmani Grandal, L.A. Dodgers
- 21.04 Robinson Chirinos, Texas Rangers
- 22.10 Jorge Alfaro, Philadelphia Phillies
- 23.05 Christian Vazquez, Boston Red Sox
- 24.10 Austin Hedges, San Diego Padres
- 25.05 Travis d’Arnaud, N.Y. Mets
- 25.06 Tyler Flowers, Atlanta Braves
- 25.07 Chris Iannetta, Colorado Rockies
- 27.09 Tucker Barnhart, Cincinnati Reds
- 28.10 Chance Sisco, Baltimore Orioles
- 28.11 James McCann, Detroit Tigers
- 28.12 Russell Martin, Toronto Blue Jays
- 29.04 Matt Wieters, Washington Nationals
- 29.07 Stephen Vogt, Milwaukee Brewers
Below are all Fantasy picks beyond 30 rounds of a 12-team draft.
- Kurt Suzuki, Atlanta Braves
- Manny Pina, Milwaukee Brewers
- Jason Castro, Minnesota Twins
- Alex Avila, Arizona Diamondbacks
- Yan Gomes, Cleveland Indians
- Martin Maldonado, L.A. Angels
- Tom Murphy, Colorado Rockies
- Francisco Cervelli, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Bruce Maxwell, Oakland Athletics
- Devin Mesoraco, Cincinnati Reds
- Cameron Rupp, Philadelphia Phillies
- Tony Wolters, Colorado Rockies
- Carson Kelly, St. Louis Cardinals
- Nick Hundley, San Francisco Giants
- Victor Caratini, Chicago Cubs
- Caleb Joseph, Baltimore Orioles
- Mitch Garver, Minnesota Twins
- Chris Hermann, Arizona Diamondbacks
- Blake Swihart, Boston Red Sox
- Sandy Leon, Boston Red Sox
- Roberto Perez, Cleveland Indians
- Kevin Plawecki, N.Y. Mets
- Josh Phegley, Oakland Athletics
2018 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Busts
Nothing hurts worse than spending a high-ish draft pick on a catcher, only to watch him stumble and bumble through a horrible season. When we talk about busts, I’m not saying, “These guys are the worst guys ever and you are a dummy for drafting them!” When I say busts, I’m saying, “I don’t like where these guys are getting drafted at – I would like to own them, but with a later pick if possible. If I can’t draft them there, then I’m fine with someone else spending a higher pick on them.” I don’t know who I’m saying this to, but I hope they listen.
Here are a couple catchers I believe will have a tough time producing enough value to justify their current ADP.
Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals (ADP 13.03)
The sweet spot for drafting catchers from an age/experience factor is when they’re not young and they’re not old. Does that make sense? Young catchers have too much to learn in every facet of the game, usually keeping them from excelling at the plate, and old catchers are usually kept around longer because of their ability to handle staffs, not hit. Molina had a huge 2017 season, and he says he plans to keep playing for another three years.
Molina will turn 36 years old this summer, but remember that he has been logging major-league innings behind the plate since he was 21 years old. That’s 6,700 plate appearances, but more importantly, he has put on a ton of wear on his knees from sitting in the crouch for 1,747 games. Do you realize he has already played more games at catcher than any other active player, and he sits 18th on the all-time list? Plus, this fella plays in the NL, which means he can’t even get days off to bat as the DH! Drafting him in Round 13 isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, considering you’ll be letting nearly 150 players go off the board before him. But taking him ahead of catchers with bigger upside is probably my biggest issue. He’s coming off one of the best years of his career – and you’re going to pay 2018 draft bucks for his 2017 value.
Wilson Ramos, Tampa Bay Rays (ADP: 14.10)
Who picks a “bust” 14 rounds into any draft? OK, so this isn’t groundbreaking, but I do think there are much better catchers to be had even this late.
Coming off his first season in St. Pete, Ramos is one of the few bright spots in the Rays’ lineup. Unfortunately, throughout his career, Ramos has been more injury-prone than Evel Kneivel, and catchers by nature see more chances at getting dinged up.
2018 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Sleepers
Ahh yes. Sleepers. The siren song that often sends the ships of Fantasy Baseball owners careening into the jagged rocks of the stormy seas. We all want players that outproduce their draft value, and we sometimes risk building a steady, solid lineup in hopes of obtaining these players.
Definition: sleeper : noun
1. a person or animal who is asleep.
2. a fantasy player drafted in the late rounds (or undrafted) this season, but plays well enough to become a mid-round pick next season.
The weird thing about Fantasy catcher sleepers is that some of them are old compared to other sleepers. Don’t let age-ism cost you a solid second catcher. Here are a couple 2018 Fantasy Baseball catcher sleepers to think about late in your drafts:
Yasmany Grandal, L.A. Dodgers (ADP 19.05)
The Dodgers are very happy with Austin Barnes behind the plate, which makes Grandal an expensive cheerleader in the dugout. Did you know there were just six catchers that had better Fantasy seasons than Grandal last season? Draft him late while you can because the Dodgers would be wise to ship him to another team – that will probably be in a much better hitter’s park, to boot. The Cuban is just 29 years old, with 49 home runs combined in the past two seasons, which tie him with Salvador Perez for second among catcher sin that span, behind just Gary Sanchez.
Tucker Barnhart, Cincinnati Reds (ADP 27.09)
Taking Barnhart with one of your final draft picks is a great move because he has already proven to be capable against major league pitching – and he’s a demon defensively. People are leery of him because of the presence of Devin Mesoraco and because he’s not going to crush 20 homers anytime soon. Considering you’re going to pick up homers and RBI in the first 15 rounds of your drafts, Barnhart makes for a perfect C-2 with upside. The Reds are starting him at catcher, at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park, and so should you.
2018 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Breakout Candidates
Finding catcher breakout candidates is tricky because so very few catchers end up getting drafted in the first 10 rounds of Fantasy drafts, rightfully so.
Definition: breakout: noun
1. a forcible escape, typically from prison.
2. a sudden advance to a new level.
2. a fantasy player drafted in the middle rounds this season, but plays well enough to become an early round pick next season.
For instance, if we were going by our current definition, Gary Sanchez, Willson Contreras and J.T. Realmuto are recent examples of breakout catchers in the past couple years.
Evan Gattis, Houston Astros (ADP 13.07)
What could possibly be better than drafting a slugging designated hitter with catcher eligibility on the highest-scoring offense of 2017? I’ll tell you. Drafting him in Round 13. Just 10 catchers had more RBI than Gattis’ 55 last season, and every one of them had at least 10-percent more at-bats than he did. Look at those power numbers before he dealt with injuries in 2017, and you can see why he’s a breakout candidate again in 2018.
Austin Barnes, L.A. Dodgers (ADP 14.09)
Grandal’s ADP is depressed because he’s losing playing time to Barnes, justifiably so again, but Barnes doesn’t provide the same pop as the man he’s replacing. He’s playing in a pitcher’s park, too. So why the breakout prediction? Barnes is a 28-year-old catcher that has matured both in front and behind the plate at the same rate, and with the added confidence of being the starter, he could be a .280-15-860 backstop, which is close to what J.T. Realmuto did in 2017.
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2018 Fantasy Baseball Rookie Catchers Rankings
Drafting rookie catchers in Fantasy Baseball is like picking your high school sweetheart in the fourth grade… That sounds much creepier than I meant it to. My point is – Fantasy catchers without much major-league experience are often overwhelmed at the position because they have more duties than any other rookie. Add that to the fact they’re suddenly playing in front of 35,000 people every day, living in a major metropolitan area, and dealing with pitchers whose fate rests in their mitts, and you can see even more reasons to avoid rookie catchers. But… if you want to move forward with this plan of yours, here are my three favorite rookie catchers for the 2018 Fantasy Baseball season.
1. Francisco Mejia, Cleveland Indians
Getting overly excited about a rookie catcher in Fantasy Baseball is dangerous, even if it’s a player like Mejia, who many people consider the best catching prospect in the game. He’s a switch-hitter who – even as a rookie – should strike out less frequently than both of the Indians’ current catchers, Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez. It’ll be interesting to see if the Indians can make space for his bat (second or third base, maybe?). Otherwise, he’s going to be back at Triple-A to start the season. Put him on your watch list, though, so you can grab him when he gets the call.
2. Jorge Alfaro, Philadelphia Phillies
Before you go crazy for the rookie hitting in Citizens Bank Park that notched an .874 OPS in 29 games last season (with five homers and a .319 batting average), remember that he had just a .649 OPS in 4 games at Triple-A. His 113 strikeouts at that level, compared to just 16 walks, are something he needs to fix before Fantasy owners should invest.
PHI Phillies #6 Fantasy Baseball Dynasty League Prospect: Jorge Alfaro (2 STARS): C, Age: 24. Was in MLB for extended stay in 2017. Had .318 Avg. with 5 HR. Don't be surprised to see him as PHI starting C in 2018.
— Baseball Analyst (@FanBallAddict) November 9, 2017
3. Chance Sisco, Baltimore Orioles
Much like Matt Wieters before him, Cisco’s reputation as a top prospect preceded him at Camden Yards. He played well in his short stint last season, but not enough to warrant choosing him in 12-team leagues just yet. Sisco might be more of a “I’ll draft him when he’s 28 years old” kinda guy.
4. Tom Murphy, Colorado Rockies
It’s weird he’s still considered a rookie, right? He has played in more than 10 games, but less than 22 games in each of the past three MLB seasons. Getting hit by a bat last spring, breaking his arm, which pretty much derailed his 2017 season. Then he stunk it up in Triple-A, and now he’s yesterday’s news. Then again – a 26-year-old rookie catcher with promise in Coors Field as a late pick? I like it!
2018 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Prospects
Some Fantasy Baseball players like to play the long game – which means drafting in dynasty leagues. Unless you have very deep rosters, like a farm team with space for over eight players, I wouldn’t worry about drafting any catching prospects this year. I’d rather spend my dynasty roster spots on big hitters at other positions.
- Carson Kelly, St. Louis Cardinals
If we believe Molina’s time as the Cardinals’ starting catcher is coming to a close soon, and we do, then Kelly becomes the eventual replacement behind the plate for the Redbirds. He posted a .834 OPS at Triple-A last season, and FanGraphs has him ranked second on their 2018 Top 100 KATOH Prospects list, which produces a WAR forecast over a player’s first six seasons in the majors. So be patient!
- Victor Caratini, Chicago Cubs
He’s a pretty good hitting prospect, but this 24-year-old (soon to be 25) is also not going to break into the Cubs’ lineup anytime soon, with Willson Contreras starting at catcher and Anthony Rizzo starting at first base.
- Kelbert Ruiz, L.A. Dodgers
These guys crap out good Fantasy catchers like one of those old time good-Fantasy-catcher crapping machines from the ‘20s. You know the ones. The time table on this hard-hitting Venezuelan backstop has him arriving in a couple years. I would have him ranked higher if not for the Dodgers’ current catching stable – and Dodger Stadium.
2018 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Bounce-Back & Rebound Candidates
What 2018 Fantasy Baseball catchers lack in awesome rookies, they more than make up for with stellar rebound candidates! These are former Fantasy stars (or solid starters at least) that have a shot at rebounding with big 2018 seasons. Remember that we’ve already discussed Grandal!
Jonathan Lucroy, MLB Free Agent (ADP 16.07)
At just 31 years old, this veteran backstop has a lot left in the tank. But he’s coming off easily his worst season in the majors – and he played in 123 games! You don’t expect a .300 batting average and 20 homers out of your Fantasy catchers, but it’s hard to digest just six homers, with a .265 average (the latter is acceptable from a 25-HR catcher). Lucroy crumbled in his contract year, so let’s see what he does when he’s pissed and underpaid in 2018. Remember that he hit 24 home runs, with 81 RBI and a .292/.355/.500 slash line in 2016. FanGraphs’ Paul Sporer got him in Round 15 in an early CBS mock draft.
Russell Martin, Toronto Blue Jays (ADP 28.12)
Doesn’t it feel like Martin has already had three or four MLB careers already? First he was the hot Dodgers’ prospect with a strange 60 stolen bases in his first four seasons, then he became a slugger with the Yankees, before heading back to the NL with Pittsburgh for a couple more seasons. Finally, he joined Toronto to become a beast among Fantasy catchers, with 43 HR and 151 RBI in his first two seasons up north! But he disappointed last year, as did Lucroy, and now Martin is a bargain-bin backstop at age 35, with shoulder issues. The Jays will pay him another cool $20 million in 2018, but he’ll be hitting in a revamped lineup. He’s worth a reserve pick, for sure.
Notable 2018 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Injuries
These players were either dealing with some injuries to end the 2017 season, or they incurred injuries in the offseason.
- Tyler Flowers, Atlanta Braves – Wrist
The former White Sox catcher had arthroscopic debridement surgery on his left wrist (his non-throwing hand) in October, so he should be fine for 2018. He’s a borderline Fantasy starter in two-catcher leagues when he’s healthy.
- Devin Mesoraco, Cincinnati Reds – Foot
Add a foot injury from being hit by a pitch last season to Mesoraco’s long list of ailments over the past few years (including hamstring, hip and shoulder). He’s a former top-10 Fantasy catcher, but boo-boos make us say bye-bye.
- Francisco Cervelli, Pittsburgh Pirates — Quadriceps
Injuries add up on older catchers, and Cervelli has been collecting them like they’re bitcoins. A quad injury ended his 2017 season early, but he should be fine for 2018.
As you can tell through this long-winded discussion about the position Fantasy owners probably hate more than middle relievers, I still consider the 2018 Fantasy Baseball catcher rankings darn important! It’s one position where you can bet there’ll be some painful Fantasy busts, along with some surprising sleepers and breakouts. Those two facts combined means your Fantasy Baseball draft strategy for catchers should be to wait on them, fill out your lineup elsewhere early on, then grab some potentially good players late. If they stink the place up, you can cut them without much cost, and pick up a hot starter with promise!
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.