Tier 1: JT Realmuto, Gary Sanchez
Tier 2: Yasmani Grandal, Mitch Garver, Willson Contreras
Tier 3: Will Smith, Salvador Perez, Wilson Ramos
Tier 4: Yadier Molina, Christian Vazquez, Omar Narvaez, Carson Kelly, Buster Posey, Jorge Alfaro, Francisco Mejia, Sean Murphy, Tom Murphy
Unlike with many other positions where the tiers blur together, the catcher tiers are quite distinct. We’ve got an unquestioned top two at catcher with JT Realmuto and Gary Sanchez. This duo will be drafted within the first eight rounds. The tier 2 group sits clearly a notch below, but they’re formidable in their own right. They will head off draft boards in the 9-12 round range.
The tier 3 group contains interesting options, with rising star Will Smith leading the group. Salvador Perez used to sit among the elite catching options until he missed the entire 2019 season due to injury. The group wraps up with the perennially underrated Wilson Ramos.
The tier 4 catchers have a bit of everything, with a grizzled veteran (Yadier Molina), top prospect (Sean Murphy), and recently improving regulars (Christian Vazquez, Omar Narvaez, Carson Kelly). For reasons outlined below, you not only can start a tier 4 option, but you SHOULD do so…unless a higher tiered player remains available in your draft late.
The catcher position should be treated the same way as kickers in fantasy football – punt! The top catchers are always overdrafted in leagues, and injuries hit the position more so than any of the other hitters. Catchers also suffer through the most annual variance in statistics among the position players, so you often receive less than what you pay for. Let other teams snag the top catchers in early to mid rounds, and spend one of your last draft picks among whoever remains available. Very importantly, don’t be afraid to ride the catcher carousel – i.e. swapping out guys as needed. And who knows, you may stumble upon a gem on the waiver wire. Mitch Garver appeared out of nowhere last year to hit 31 bombs. Guys will emerge again this year, as they do every season. Go cheap at catcher and focus on fortifying your other positions.
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