2022 Fantasy Baseball Primer: Catcher
It’s so, so hard to care about or invest in catching in a standard one-catcher league. They get the fewest plate appearances because they play the least and also tend to hit toward the bottom of the lineup.
Does getting a top-tier one really make a difference? Not enough of one for me to invest early and miss out on other positions.
The tiers are pretty defined, as the top-tier options will easily outperform the tiers below them.
But the difference between the catchers in Tier 3 and Tier 5 (and beyond) really aren’t that different.
Like we have in past years, we’ll be ranking them in tiers for you using Fantasy Pros ADP, breaking down the categories they can help you in.
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A few of the biggest standouts from last season were Salvador Pérez and Willson Contreras. Pérez set new career highs in games played (161!), home runs (48!), runs (88), and RBIs (121). That came out of nowhere, despite Pérez always being a solid option at the position. Has his price swung too far the other way? Contreras also had another good season, putting up solid counting stats and a rising walk rate despite seeing his strikeout rate climb and his average fall. He’s a safe option in Tier 2.
On the flip side, we saw struggles for Mitch Garver, who regressed hard after his breakout 2019 season. He was limited to just 68 games last year, and he’s fallen out of favor with fantasy managers. That makes him a perfect buy-low candidate as he enters his year-31 season.
If we are looking at the out-of-nowhere guys who became fantasy producers in 2020, then we can look at a trio of prospects who made names for themselves as they finally got an opportunity in Tyler Stephenson, Keibert Ruiz, and Alejandro Kirk. While Stephenson and Ruiz have the jobs to themselves this year, Kirk has not one, not two, but three other catchers to compete with for playing time. But as you’ll see in his blurb, I’m still high on him and am certain he’ll have his bat in the lineup more times than not.
2022 at a Glance
The first catcher is Pérez, who is off the board at No. 32 overall, which would cost you a third-round pick. J.T. Realmuto (56) and Will Smith (68) are the next closest. For my money, that’s far too early to invest in the position when you’re passing up key contributors in stolen bases, power, third base, and saves to get a catcher.
We always want to identify potential breakout players at a position, and catcher, while boring and hard to really invest in, there are some breakout options. I feel best about Kirk breaking out, but there are a pair of rookies who I really like, but it all depends on their playing time. Adley Rutschman and Gabriel Moreno are top 5 dynasty options at the position, and both should – Rutschman will – see enough playing time this year to make a difference. Joey Bart is also a good buy-low candidate after he failed to impress with his first taste of the big leagues.
A: A no-doubt stud capable of winning you a category
B: A solid, consistent contributor
C: Won’t lose you the category, but won’t win it, either
D: You can do better here
F: You’re getting NOTHING
(*Grades listed are relative to the position and take positional depth into consideration.)
Players who just missed in ADP who I'd take above everyone after Nola in the tier above:
Francisco Mejía, Luis Torrens, Ryan Jeffers, Cal Raleigh.
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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.