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Who Provides the Best Value at Catcher? (2019 Fantasy Baseball)

Mar 14, 2019

Danny Jansen is a popular sleeper at the catcher position

We recently asked our writers for their best values at closer entering the 2019 fantasy baseball season. Similar to relief pitchers, adept fantasy owners tend to wait on drafting a catcher. While there are some intriguing names at the top of the catcher rankings entering the new year — looking at you Realmuto — there are always diamonds in the rough at the position. We’ve asked our writers for their favorite values at catcher to help you with your fantasy baseball drafts.

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Who Provides the Best Value at Catcher?

Wilson Ramos (NYM)
“After Ramos and Yadi Molina, there is a major drop-off in terms of usefulness. In fact, after that point, you might be better off leaving the position empty. Ramos has been a tremendous hitter when healthy, and while durability is a concern, he is going to contribute in four categories, which only Yadi and J.T. Realmuto offer at the position. If he can stay healthy for a full season, he has the upside to finish as a top two fantasy catcher.”
– Bobby Sylvester (@bobbyfantasypros)

“Despite being a top-seven fantasy catcher heading into the 2019 season, Ramos’ ADP at ~140 is simply too low for the value he provides. Ramos appeared in 111 games last season, compiling a .306 average with 15 homers and 70 RBIs between playing for the Rays and Phillies. This output came after a forgotten and injury-plagued 2017 for Ramos but, even so, he is just two years removed from another fantastic season in which he slashed .307/.354/.496 for the Nationals with 22 long balls and 80 RBIs. Ramos will have all of the opportunity in the world this season batting in the middle of the Mets’ lineup and, assuming he can stay healthy, is a sure bet to far exceed fantasy value from where he is currently being drafted.”
– Dan Tursky (@Tan_Dursky)

Danny Jansen (TOR)
“Since February 1, Jansen has an NFBC ADP of 189, which makes him a great value pick at fantasy baseball’s thinnest position. The 23-year-old is fully expected to serve as Toronto’s primary backstop this season after the team jettisoned Russell Martin over the winter. Jansen played in 31 big league games last season and posted a triple-slash line of .247/.347/.432 to go along with three home runs. His calling card is his ability to get on base, which helped make Jansen the 42nd ranked prospect by Baseball America this offseason. Catcher is mostly a dumpster fire this year so if you don’t get one of the top guys it would be wise to consider Jansen.”
– Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma)

Francisco Cervelli (PIT)
I’m not sure any catcher comes at much of a bargain, but Cervelli makes a nice placeholder if punting the desolate position. Only Ramos bested his .355 wOBA among catchers who logged at least 200 plate appearances last season, and Cervelli’s .378 OBP led them all with help from a 12.6% walk rate. His highest fly-ball rate (41.7%) since 2013 led to a career-high 12 homers in 104 games, so he can at least be a steady hand when healthy.
– Andrew Gould (@andrewgould4)

Austin Hedges (SD)
“While I would have gone with the other guys if they weren’t already named, I think targeting Hedges as your C2 in two-catcher leagues is a wise play. Everyone loves Francisco Mejia, but he likely won’t stick at catcher. Think about it — why has it taken him this long to unseat Yan Gomes, and then Hedges for a half last year? Meanwhile, Hedges is a cheaper version of Mike Zunino — shows some pop, but with a minimal batting average. If Hedges plays at least 120 games, he has 20-homer upside. His counting stats should also see a significant boost hitting in the much-improved Padres’ lineup. Oh yeah, and you can get Hedges 100 picks later than Zunino, enabling you to target other upside arms or power bats in the middle rounds after you (hopefully) snagged a top-six catcher as your C1.”
– Carmen Maiorano (@cmaiorano3)

Willians Astudillo (MIN)
“If your plan is to punt at catcher, you will need to use a late pick on the position. The punt a catcher strategy usually means that you are going to mix and match at the position all year which is not a bad way to handle the catcher position. After the first three guys are off the board, the gaps start to increase at the position at a wide margin. If you are taking late fliers at the position is might as well be a choice with potential upside. Willian Astudillo, in a small sample size, had the top OPS and ct% of any catcher in the month of September. His minor league history shows excellent contact skills which will lead to him holding his own in batting average, and any additional pop he provides will be an added bonus. Astudillo hit 13 homers last year over 379 at-bats, and he hit three in September with the Twins in 93 at-bats. Eligible at catcher with the ability to play other positions, Astudillo could be a nice late-round selection based on what the other late-round catchers will provide. He just needs to find regular at-bats for the Twins.”
– Aaron Hudson (@fantaseelineup)

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