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2022 Catcher Ranking Tiers (Fantasy Baseball)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Mar 17, 2022
J.T. Realmuto

J.T. Realmuto once again headlines a shallow catcher position in 2022.

I hate catchers.

Like, I despise them. But they are part of fantasy, so we have to talk about them.

There’s a valid argument this year for investing in one of the top guys, and I get it, to a point. However, the cost of taking one of them means that you are passing on valuable players at other positions who can help you more consistently.

You want consistent playing time at the position, but you don’t want a player who is going to play a lot and actively hurt you. 

It’s a delicate balance, but one we are here to help with.

As always, when it comes to rankings, tiers are the best way to go about them, as it allows you to group a set of players together so that you know when you need to take a specific player at a position before that tier runs out.

We’ll take a look at catcher ADP based on FantasyPros composite ADP and break them down into tiers for you so you know when to grab the guy who you like.

We should note that these tiers are based on a 12-team standard roto league, so adjust accordingly for your league scoring.

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Tier 1: The Locks

If you want one of the staples, you need to be willing to invest early. Personally, I wait on catcher, but I get the appeal of investing early and getting a safe bet who gives you a leg-up on your competition. All three guys in this tier can do that.

For me, Realmuto is going to give you the best across-the-board production, so he’s my No. 1. If Smith can continue to develop, he’ll be what Realmuto is now, without the steals. As for Perez, well, he’s earned the right to be a top-three catcher given his 2021, but I’m not expecting 40 home runs again. 

Tier 2: The Next Best Things

Contreras is a great pick if you want a catcher with a solid floor and playing time without paying as hefty of a price tag. If we shift to OBP leagues, Grandal enters the top tier and is probably ahead of Smith ever so slightly. He just has an elite and unique blend of power and eye at the plate.

Varsho is a cheat code this year, as he’s going to get his playing time in the outfield. But with the eligibility, you’re going to take the 18 steals or so that he’ll give you. I have questions about the overall hit tool, though.

Ruiz may have the safest floor of anyone not in the top tier. There’s also room for growth for him to take a leap into the top tier. He’s been undervalued as a prospect for some time now, and he provides a great batting average floor with some pop.

The Blue Jays have a logjam at catcher for sure, but Kirk has one of the best offensive profiles at the position and won’t cost you a ton. What’s more, he should get plate appearances at designated hitter, too. The Blue Jays aren’t as tied to Randal Grichuk as you may think.

Stephenson is another young catcher who has the opportunity to run with the job and return top-10 value at the position now that he’s the man in Cincinnati. He has a great power profile for the park.

d’Arnaud is what he is, but that’s fine for the position. You won’t need to play the stream and chase game all year if you take him.

Tier 3: Value is a Concept

A bounceback for Garver? I like the chances. He went from being drafted in the top five at the position to an afterthought. That’s the type of guy I like to target.

Vazquez will likely volume his way into being a top-12 catcher at the position. There’s no upside, but it’s fine.

Murphy disappointed last year, but he’s still young and has just as high of a ceiling as we hoped for in 2021. It’s a good buying opportunity.

Sanchez wasn’t let go by the Yankees, so that’s a good sign, right? Big power and, well, big power.

Narvaez gets a nice bump in OBP leagues. Rutschman can hopefully get the call early enough to matter. If he’s up within the first month, he goes to Tier 2. I’m not worried about any transition time for him. He’s big-league ready.

I’m not a Bart fan. I question the overall offensive game and he strikes out too much for my liking without doing enough to offset it. Zunino can give you a nice power boost if you’re lagging.

Tier 4: These Are Real Players

I tend to end up with a lot of players in this tier with Stassi and Barnhart leading the way. I wait in one-catcher leagues, so I just want players who aren’t horrible and play a lot. They both fit that mold. Stallings does, too, who is essentially the same player as Barnhart.

Molina is like Vazquez where he can volume his way into top production. He’s made a career out of it, and can hopefully give it one last go. With Varsho starting in the outfield, Kelly is a nice target for managers who wait. Pairing him with d’Arnaud is a great combo for two-catcher leagues.

I’m all in on Kirk, but I still believe a move happens where Jansen and Moreno also have value this year, too. Jansen was solid down the stretch last year.

I liked Diaz with the Pirates, and I’ll take a catcher who is going to play 60 percent of the time and starts for the Rockies. Volume doesn’t always mean productive. Just ask McCann managers from last year.

I end up with a lot of Heim, and he’s one of my favorite breakout picks. It’s a small sample, but there’s a lot to like from his profile last year.

Alfaro and Nola will split time in San Diego, and I don’t mind pairing them in a two-catcher league. Haase isn’t as talented as Varsho, but he’s able to play some outfield to give him closer to 40 percent playing time than 33 percent.

Key Takeaways

  • Catcher is bad once again. It’s also hard to invest in one early because they still return less value than any other position and rarely finish inside the top 100 players.
  • Tier 2 has a lot of good fallback options if you don’t take one of the elite guys. There are a lot of high-floor guys here and some specialists who can help you out in areas that you need help in once you get a sense of your roster construction.
  • If chasing the bounceback is your game, Tier 3 is your lane. Garver, Sanchez, Murphy, and Bart all have a chance to return a lot of value on their draft position given their respective upsides. 
  • As I mentioned, I wait at the position regularly in one-catcher leagues (ban two-catcher leagues, folx). I end up with a lot of Stassi, Barnhart, Kirk, and Kelly. I have a few shares of Ruiz, but only because he fell to a place I was comfortable taking him. Don’t pass up value at other positions in the draft for a catcher. I promise you that it’s not worth it.

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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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