Catcher is a position that has a very different real-life value compared to fantasy value. In terms of fantasy value the best bet is to find a catcher that does not catch all the time. Full Time catchers often need to take days off and rarely play over 140 games a season even when healthy. So drafting a guy like Joe Mauer makes great sense, he will have catcher eligibility all year but will maybe only see a handful games behind the plate at best; as he has shifted over to first base for the Twins. They want to keep his bat in the line-up as much as possible and this move will make that happen. Carlos Santana our second overall catcher also has a real chance to move to third base, the Indians are thinking the same thing – they want his bat in the line-up.
Now, we still have Buster Posey as our overall number one catcher and he will play catcher pretty much every day. The reason he is there is because he is the only catcher to finish inside the top 50 over the past two seasons (which was two years ago). The main take away from that should be that catchers often do not finish inside the top 100 let alone the top 50 once a season has ended. That means to me wait on catcher.
Second Best at Position – Carlos Santana
Carlos Santana has always been a favorite of mine as he can produce power numbers out of a position that historically you are just hoping does not hurt you. As stated above the Indians trying to move him to third not only helps him due to eligibility but should yield more at bats for him.
Power Champion – Evan Gattis
In less than 400 plate appearances Evan Gattis hit 21 homeruns a season ago. If you spent any time watching him you know that he is swinging for the fences and the Braves have already said he should be the everyday catcher this season (more at bats) and will be batting clean-up. The talent that surrounds him should give him protection in the order as well.
Must Have Sleeper – Yan Gomes
Since Santana is going to play more third base that means someone has to catch and that someone is Yan Gomes. In less than 300 at bats last season he hovered around 300, hit 11 homeruns, drove in 38, and scored 45 times himself. With a full accompaniment of at bats this season I do not expect his numbers to double but increase by 1.5 is very realistic and since he is going so late you might be looking at a top 5 catcher you can get after pick 200!
High Upside Potential – Matt Wieters
This former top prospect is now 27 and should be right in the middle of his prime. When coming up scouts were expecting monster numbers but his average certainly is nowhere there yet. So his average will not be there but this guy has the power and the counting stats to really help any fantasy team. If you miss out on the top catchers Matt Wieters is certainly a guy to target due to his RBI and homerun potential plus there is still some upside that he has even at age 27.
Cheap Speed – Jonathan Lucroy
If you, for any reason, think you can draft a catcher late that will help with steals you are crazy. So I will just say this Jonathan Lucroy led all catchers in steals last year with 9 and he has a good chance to led all again this year (and I am projecting him to get 6).
Cheap Power – Jason Castro
The truest cheap power is J.P. Arencibia but again he ends up doing more harm than good for most fantasy teams. So I turn to Jason Castro who has an average draft day position of 150 and last season he hit 18 homeruns in 435 at bats. Castro is actually a sneaky sleeper, if you miss out on Gomes I suggest grabbing him due to the power but also an average that could be top 5 for all catchers by the end of the year.
Draft Day Advice
Wait on this position and take two if needed to play the match-up game in roto or daily leagues.