2019 Preseason Rankings: Top 10 Catchers: A Few Surprises Emerge At A Shallow Spot
by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
As we’ve said with our other early rankings, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- We are still extremely early in the process so player movement, among other factors, will have an impact on these rankings as we get closer to the start of the season
- Just because a player his ranked #3 doesn’t mean you should draft him in that spot. In most cases you shouldn’t have to, it just shows the potential value they hold
- These rankings are based on our projections and expected production for 2019
Catcher simply isn’t an exceptionally deep position, given the risk of injury, the wear and tear generally helping them to wear down as the season progresses and the potential for limited AB (how many catchers play nearly everyday at this point). That’s not to say that there aren’t some strong options, but things fall off quickly. Who has the upside to make them worth targeting? Who carries too much risk? Let’s break it down:
1. J.T. Realmuto – Miami Marlins
2. Gary Sanchez – New York Yankees
3. Yadier Molina – St. Louis Cardinals
4. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
5. Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
6. Yasmani Grandal – Free Agent
7. Wilson Ramos – New York Mets
8. Danny Jansen – Toronto Blue Jays
9. Willson Contreras – Chicago Cubs
10. Tucker Barnhart – Cincinnati Reds
- Obviously we’ll have to wait and see where Yasmani Grandal lands to fully determine his value, though does anyone doubt that he’s among the better options in the league?
- One of the biggest surprises may be the inclusion of Danny Jansen, and there are questions about his playing time that could easily force him down the rankings depending on how the offseason progresses. That said the rumors are swirling that the Blue Jays will jettison Russell Martin and Jansen has as much potential as anyone at the position. Maybe he’s not your prototypical power hitting catcher, but he is developing a home run stroke (think 12-16 HR) and carries the upside of a .270+ hitter (just consider his 4.4% SwStr% at Triple-A prior to his recall for a moment). Assuming he gets nearly 400 AB, he’s going to be among the better options in the league.
- Surprised to see Willson Contreras this low on the rankings? He is coming off an extremely disappointing 2018 (.249 with 10 HR), with the power regression not a complete surprise (53.0% career groundball rate). Couple that with the swing and miss approach (12.9% SwStr%) and it’s simply no guarantee that he rebounds and returns to being among the better options in the league.
- For now we’ve slotted Tucker Barnhart as the #10 ranked catcher, a designation he does deserve after a strong 2018. That said we’d expect that to change by the next time these rankings are published, with Mike Zunino among the candidates to step up and claim the spot.
- We gave our 2019 projection for Buster Posey yesterday, discussing why he was no longer among the elite at the position. To read it click here.
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Make sure to check out all of our 2019 projections: