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2015 Fantasy Baseball: Catcher Rankings & Tiers

The “So-Called Fantasy Experts” break out their catcher rankings and it was a tierful moment.

catcher busts

Fantasy Baseball is a cold business and you have to have a mean streak in order to succeed. There’s no time for personal attachments. Each player is only as good as what they’re going to be giving you over the seven months of the baseball season. Victor Martinez, you gave us an incredible season in 2014. What’s that you say? Your knee hurts? Get your ass down my rankings. Josh Hamilton, you have a sweet swiing and have done some incredible things with a baseball bat. Now take a seat on the pine and let’s see what this C.J. Cron kid can do. If you get too close to these players, all they will do is hurt you. I still have emotional scars from the way Mark Prior just toyed with me after a couple of fun years together. I really thought he was someone special…

With the hurt still fresh in your memory, it’s time to get rid of your attachment to names, and just use the players for their values. Our catcher rankings will help you with this process. We’ll still use names in our rankings, and we’ll say some nice things about a few players. Just remember, to avoid the tears, pay more attention to the tiers. In plain non-corny English, this means it’s not overly important which player you get from a tier, but that you do get a player from that tier.

Enough with the drama. I’m done with the tears; now onto the tiers (I realize this intro may have brought you to tears).

2015 Catcher Rankings and Tiers

Tier No. 1 — The Fantasy Elite

1. Buster Posey, C/1B, San Francisco Giants

2. Jonathan Lucroy, C/1B, Milwaukee Brewer

Posey and Lucroy both hit for average and with solid power. They also both have the added advantage of getting extra at-bats at first base. Posey played 35 games at first and Lucroy 19. I expect Lucroy to play first a lot more this season, almost in a platoon situation with Adam Lind.

 

Tier No. 2 — Solid, But Flawed

 

3. Yan Gomes, Cleveland Indians

 

4. Salvador Perez, Kansas City Rotals

 

5. Evan Gattis, Houston Astros

 

6. Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles

 

7. Devin Mesoraco, Cincinnati Reds

 

8. Brian McCann, New York Yankees

 

9. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals

2015 Fantasy Rankings & Tiers
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This group of backstops are clear cut starters in any league, and each of them have some major strengths, but each also has at least one flaw that limits their value. Gomes and Perez are probably the most complete, but just a notch below the top two options. Gomes’ numbers from last year are great, but his over-aggressive approach makes me question his batting average going forward. I expect Perez to hit for a better batting average in 2015, but the power is just a notch below a lot of his catcher brethren. Gattis, Wieters, Mesoraco, and McCann offer some serious power, but are likely to hurt you a bit in batting average. A lot of sites have Mesoraco higher, but his second half looked a lot like his previous career. Gattis gets a boost because he’ll likely be spending most of his time at DH or in the outfield. Wieters looked like he was in the middle of a true breakout before his shoulder injury, but it was in limited at-bats. I’m expecting better from McCann in 2015, but the batting average is still a question mark. Molina could conceivably bounce back to the top of this group, but age and injuries seem to have taken their toll.

Tier No. 3 — It’s All About the Upside

10. Wilson Ramos, Washington Nationals

11. Travis d’Arnuad, New York Mets

These two get their own little tier all to themselves. Each of them could easily jump to the top of Tier No. 2, but they also have something to prove. Ramos has demonstrated 25-HR power, but in only one season has he been able to play in over 100 games. If healthy he fits right in with Yan Gomes and Salvador Perez.

The pedigree is there with d’Arnaud, but until the second half of 2014 the performance hadn’t been. If he can continue that growth, he might be the best bet of any of the catchers above him to reach that elite tier.

Tier No. 4 — Not the Drop-Off

12.Wilin Rosario, Colorado Rockies

13. Yasmani Grandal, Los Angeles Dodgers

14. Russell Martin, Toronto Blue Jays

15. Dioner Navarro, Toronto Blue Jays

16. Miguel Montero, Chicago Cubs

17. John Jaso, Tampa Bay Rays

This tier offers some intrigue but is a very mixed bag. Rosario could easily move up two tiers if it was obvious he was going to start in Colorado, but right now he’s looking like a part-timer or a starter in a less friendly environment. Navarro has quietly put together two solid offensive seasons and for now looks like the DH in a stacked Toronto lineup. If it stays that way, he offers a nice value. Grandal had a nice power breakout in the second half of last season, but the batting average is still a concern. Martin gets the benefit of that Toronto lineup, but people seem to forget that he hit .248, .237, .211, and .226 in the previous four years. Martin’s BABIP Differential was also .073 higher than the previous five years. Montero is in a gradual decline that I worry could get steep real quick.

Tier No. 5 — The Filler Squad

18. Jason Castro, Houston Astros

19. Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners

20. Derek Norris, San Diego Padres

21. Stephen Vogt, Oakland Athletics

22. Kurt Suzuki, Missesota Twins

This group still have some strengths, but there’s also a little more danger. Castro looked like a catcher on the rise after 2013, but he fell back last season and now faces some competition. Zunino has definite power, but that batting average could be a huge weight. Norris and Suzuki over-performed last season and I’d be very surprised to see a repeat. Vogt? He did some real nice things last year, but I’m not sure how he fits in with Oakland. RosterResource.com has him as the starting catcher, but I think Josh Phegley could steal that job away. Vogt makes a nice play as a second catcher in deeper leagues and could surprise.

Tier No. 6 — That’s Gonna Leave a Mark

23. Nick Hundley, Colorado Rockies

24. Carlos Ruiz, Philadelphia Phillies

25. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Miami Marlins

26. Robinson Chirinos, Texas Rangers

27. Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers

28. Josmil Pinto, Minnesota Twins

29. Josh Phegley, Oakland Athletics

30. Chris Iannetta, Los Angeles Angels

I’m probably a little too hard on this group. Some of these catchers do offer a little intrigue. If Hundley is the starter in Colorado, 15+ HRs is a possibility. Ruiz may hit for enough of an average to avoid negative value. Saltalamacchia loses points because I had to type out his name… twice!

One young catcher I do like is Josmil Pinto. If he can grab the starting job away from Suzuki, he’s got 20-HR type power and has been able to hit for decent averages in the minors. Phegley has also shown power in the minors. It’s just unclear how much play he gets in Oakland and whether he can translate his power in that park. Alex Avila? Feel free to move him to No. 30. He’s Fantasy toast, just toast that still seems to have a full-time job.

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