Defining a bust for the catcher position is difficult since most catchers aren’t on MLB rosters to hit like Mike Trout. They are there for their defensive prowess.
Realistically, how bad does a catcher have to hit to be relegated into the bust category?
For the purpose of this article, a bust will be defined as catchers who will not return their draft value where they are picked.
As a disclaimer, catcher is a position where you take whatever value you can get, so don’t be afraid to take a risk at this position.
Take a look at our 2016 Catcher Rankings after reading the article to reassess your draft strategy at the catcher position.
2017 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Busts
Wilson Ramos, Tampa Bay Rays (ADP: 241.7)
Ramos tore his ACL in his right knee in 2016. That’s a big injury for catchers, but Ramos is ahead of schedule in his comeback at the time of writing this article. He should be ready to start at DH by late May, and he should be able to return to catching soon thereafter. Because of this injury, Ramos is getting drafted late in drafts, creating a huge discrepancy between his 2016 stats and his 2017 draft position.
Some might bet on his knee and take him for the discounted price, but my main issue with Ramos is that he has been a hot starter for most of his career. For his career, Ramos has a wRC+ of 111 in the first half of the season and a wRC+ of 88 in the second half. His injury puts in question what kind of season Ramos will have.
The only comparable player that has been in a similar timing situation in recent memory was Kendrys Morales in 2014. Morales, a hot starter himself, signed late and never really got his bat going without regular reps during the preseason. Look for Wilson Ramos to have 2014 Kendrys Morales issues as his BABIP regresses from a career high of .327. Ramos is a front-runner to be a 2018 sleeper for me, but for now he will be a 2017 bust.
J.T. Realmuto, Miami Marlins (ADP: 129.3)
Realmuto wont be a bust because of poor play. He’s in the bust category because of where he’s being taken in drafts. With an ADP of 91.5, Realmuto looks like a steal at catcher, but the issue is that the other catchers getting drafted around him provide much more value.
Two other catchers have an ADP near Realmuto’s and they are Yasmani Grandal and Salvador Perez. Lets look at their projections:
|2017 Fantasy Pros Projections||ADP||Runs||HR||RBI||SB||AVG|
Outside of Stolen bases and average, Realmuto doesn’t look like the seventh catcher off the board, right? While stolen bases and batting average are hard to find categories for catchers, they can be found at other positions later on in the draft. Guys like Elvis Andrus, Keon Broxton, Rajai Davis, and Jose Peraza can nab you steals near this pick if you wanted them.
When it is all said and done, Realmuto is a high floor/low ceiling player. You get what you get with him, and that makes him less valuable than the higher ceiling players, Grandal and Perez. Grandal and Perez could both return more value at this pick.
Sandy Leon, Boston Red Sox (ADP: 275.7)
Sandy Leon was basically just a farm hand who had a couple of really cold gas station cups of coffee in the MLB before last season. Leon’s 2016 wasn’t bad as he ended with a .310 batting average, but he never really produced much power (seven home runs) or speed (zero SBs and only eight SBs in the minors since 2007).
Leon’s only Fantasy value in standard scoring is his average, but that is dependent on repeating last year success. Even that would be hard to accomplish for him since he rode a .390 BABIP to his .310 average. For comparison, Corey Seager had a .308 BA with a much more reasonable BABIP of .355. D.J. LeMahieu had a BABIP of .388 and won a batting title with his .348 BA.
Leon’s numbers look much better than they really were. He had around 30% of his hits in 20% of his at-bats (25 hits in 55 at-bats) and in that span he had a .558 BABIP. Leon came crashing back down to earth in the second half and revealed his true self. His .341 BABIP in the second half is more sustainable than the .558 he put up in the first half, but it still will likely not be that high again. Leon hit six of his seven home runs in the second half and saw his runs and RBIs double as his playing time increased. Those are positive signs in a fluky year.
In reality, Sandy Leon’s 2017 season will be much closer to Carlos Ruiz’s 2016 season; .264/.365/.348 slash as a back up because he can easily slide down the depth chart that he currently sits on top of. Christian Vazquez is younger and better defensively. Blake Swihart isn’t nearly as good behind the plate, but he offers much more value with his bat than Leon.
With his limited offensive upside, I don’t think Leon is even worth having on your roster since he will have a hard time returning value if you take him in the draft. For me, this makes him a bust in 2017.
|2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit|
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