Welcome to the 2016 Catcher Projections and Profiles for the National League, a part of the “So-Called” Fantasy Experts Fantasy Baseball Draft Package.
Catcher has typically been viewed as one of Fantasy Baseball’s thinnest positions. I’m not so sure that holds true this year, especially in the National League. While Buster Posey is pretty clearly the top dog, there is a large group of mid-level catchers that have the potential to approach his numbers in at least a couple categories. Of course the bottom tiers do get a little ugly in two-catcher leagues, and even more so if you’re playing in an NL-only league.
We’ll delve into draft strategy plenty this spring, but the question at hand is if it’s worth the cost to grab Posey early, or if you’re better off with a couple solid options much later in the draft. I think we can all agree you don’t want to wait too long and basically get locked out of the position. The bottom tier of catchers, not only won’t help your Fantasy teams, but in many cases can hurt them.
I like Posey, and his numbers are very good across the board, not to mention a level of confidence he brings that no other catcher can match. I’m not sure his numbers are so far above his peers, though, that it makes the high cost of acquisition worth it. As far as value goes, I’d rather wait until much later in the draft and pair up two catchers like Nick Hundley and Wilson Ramos, or any of that big middle tier. One definite thing is that if you do want posey, you’ll have to jump early, as he’s going off the board as the 20th player chosen in early NFBC drafts.
What follows are the 2016 Catcher Projections and Profiles for the National League. The players are listed alphabetically to make it easy to find the player you’re looking for. We’ve used the 20-game played threshold for position eligibility. If a player did not play 20 games at any position, we used the position they played the most games at. We also list players at the position they are most likely to be drafted at.. For instance, Kyle Schwarber played more games in the outfield, most Fantasy owners will be using him to fill a catcher slot. We’ve profiled enough catchers for deep mixed leagues and up to 12-team NL-only leagues.
2016 Catcher Projections and Profiles for the National League
Welington Castillo, Arizona Diamondbacks
Castillo saw action with three teams in 2015, but it’s when he arrived in Arizona that he caught fire, blasting 17 HRs in just 274 at-bats. While he has shown power in the past, his 18.8 HR/FB% is likely unsustainable going forward. The good news is that his .263 BABIP was also a bit low. With regular playing time, an average in the .250 range with 20 HRs and 65-to-70 RBIs is not out of the question. Castillo will go late in drafts and makes an excellent cheap play in two-catcher leagues. – Doug Anderson
Francisco Cervelli, Pittsburgh Pirates
Cervelli had a solid year in 2015 as he was a Top 10 catcher in his first year as an everyday starter. His near .300 batting average was a result of a .359 BABIP, which seems poised to regress given his unexceptional batted ball profile. In 2016, Cervelli should once again be near the top of the catcher heap in terms of plate appearances, which will support his counting stats. Cerveli’s career in both the majors and minors suggest he should continue his steady performance, but there appears to be very limited upside. He fits in well as a second catcher in two-catcher mixed leagues, since he seems more like a Top 20 catcher than a Top 10 catcher. – Fabian Taylor
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