End of the Season ’18: Top 25 Catchers To Own In Dynasty Leagues

Brennen Gorman ends the season by breaking down the top 25 catchers to own in dynasty leagues.

(Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

2018 End of the Season Positional Dynasty Rankings

The season may have ended, but dynasty baseball never stops.

Top 25 Catchers Top 60 Outfielders
Top 30 First Basemen Top 90 Outfielders
Top 30 Second Basemen Top 30 Starting Pitchers
Top 30 Shortstops Top 60 Starting Pitchers
Top 30 Third Basemen Top 90 Starting Pitchers
Top 30 Outfielders Top 50 Relief Pitchers

The Top 25 Catchers

Rank Player Team Age Change
Tier One
1 J.T. Realmuto Miami Marlins 27 +2
2 Gary Sanchez New York Yankees 25 -1
3 Willson Contreras Chicago Cubs 26
4 Wilson Ramos Free Agent 31  +3
Tier Two
5 Francisco Mejia San Diego Padres 23 -2
6 Salvador Perez Kansas City Royals 28 -1
7 Danny Jansen (P) Toronto Blue Jays 23 +1
8 Joey Bart (P) San Francisco Giants 21 UR
9 Keibert Ruiz (P) Los Angeles Dodgers 20 -1
10 Willians Astudillo (P) Minnesota Twins 27 UR
11 Buster Posey San Francisco Giants 31 -6
Tier Three
12 Yasmani Grandal Free Agent 29 UR
13 Carson Kelly St. Louis Cardinals 24 +3
14 Welington Castillo Chicago White Sox 31 +6
15 Austin Allen (P) San Diego Padres 24 +9
Tier Four
16 Daulton Varsho (P) Arizona Diamondbacks 22 +4
17 Yadier Molina St. Louis Cardinals 36 -1
18 Austin Barnes Los Angeles Dodgers 28 -8
19 Francisco Cervelli Pittsburgh Pirates 32 UR
Tier Five
20 Andrew Knizner (P) St. Louis Cardinals 23 +5
21 Sean Murphy (P) Oakland Athletics 24 UR
22 Ronaldo Hernandez (P) Tampa Bay Rays 20 UR
23 Jorge Alfaro Philadelphia Phillies 25 -12
24 Mike Zunino Seattle Mariners 27 -12
25 Victor Caratini Chicago Cubs 25 -2

Brennen’s Thoughts

Tier One

  • J.T. Realmuto saw the bump to top catcher despite playing on one of the league’s worst teams. He led all catchers in runs and was in the top four at the position for RBIs, home runs, and average. He may have traded off some speed for power in 2018, but is otherwise the same catcher he has always been. Barring a trade, Realmuto will be in Miami for another two years, but this year established that even on a low production team Realmuto can still perform at the top of his position.
  • Gary Sanchez should level out at about 30 home runs and a .250 batting average, he was dampened by injuries in 2018, but his strikeout problem goes further back than just this past season. So long as he is on a potent offense and playing in Yankee field, he has the highest power ceiling of any catcher.
  • Willson Contreras had a baffling season in that he essentially replicated his 2017 numbers, but had a dramatically lower average. Looking into his monthly splits, an unlucky August and September is to blame. Otherwise, Contreras performed as expected and should continue to be looked at as one of the game’s premier catchers.
  • In 2016, Wilson Ramos received Lasik eye surgery and he accredits it for turning his game around. In his first full season back from his 2016 season-ending injury, Ramos returned to form. Ramos is still only 31 years old and should be a stable source of production for the next several years – age is the only knock against Ramos from being #2 behind J.T. Realmuto.

Tier Two

  • Francisco Mejia had a rocky season, starting slowly in Triple-A before booming in Triple-A, then getting held in Triple-A, before getting traded to San Diego where he played in Triple-A until near the end of the season when called up where he performed forgettably. Mejia is still the top offensive catching prospect and should get a better look next season even against Austin Hedges. He has the best chance of making the jump to Tier One of any catcher on this list.
  • The next closest in that regard would be Danny Jansen who is likely still a year away from fantasy relevance with Russell Martin still on the payroll. Jansen has astounding plate discipline and should have a higher floor than Francisco Mejia.
  • The 2018/2019 offseason hype machine is beginning and at Pitcher List the most hyped catcher is sure to be Willans Astudillo of the Minnesota Twins. Astudillo had a slow climb through the minors, but four teams later has found early success in the Majors. Astudillo has hit or come close to hitting .300 at nearly every level of minor-league play, but it was not until 2018 that he finally developed a power stroke to pair with his sub 5% strikeout and walk rates.
  • Between a season-ending hip surgery, age, and chance to end up at first base, Buster Posey is on the track to a steep decline. His power plummeted this past season and his only saving grace was his batting average. He will be on a subpar San Francisco for the remainder of his career further degrading his value. He should be back in the spring, but his long-term stock took a hard hit.

Tier Three

  • Yasmani Grandal is a free agent this offseason and for back-to-back years finished his season in the top-10 of catchers, having held off Austin Barnes for the majority of starts. Grandal is still relatively young (29) and should get a chance to be the starting catcher wherever he lands. He will be a consistent source of a power with only a slightly below average batting average somewhere in the .240s. He still has room to grow if he continues to slash his strikeout rate.
  • Perhaps the boldest pick on this list, Welington Castillo was suspended for 80-games last season, having tested positive for PEDS. Castillo is a career .260 hitter and has consistently hit home runs in the mid to high teens since 2014. At number 14 on the list, these ranks are about short-term plays, which fits the bill as Castillo is in the final year of his contract with Chicago and is set to provide a stable return to owners.
  • After a successful season in Double-A ball with 22 home runs and a .290 batting average, Austin Allen is poised to make a massive jump in these rankings. He did not miss a beat between High-A and Double-A with his season-to-season numbers a mirror reflection. He will have to get traded or move position (or Francisco Mejia change position), but Allen will soon be classified as too talented not to find a roster spot.

Tier Four

  • Despite a sterling 2018 season, Daulton Varsho has not risen to Double-A ball, yet. If he succeeds in 2019, he will skyrocket up these rankings. Varsho hit .286/.363/.451 with 11 home runs and 19 stolen bases in just 80 games in High-A last season.
  • Rumors of Yadier Molina’s demise continue to be exaggerated with Molina finishing as the second best catcher in 2018 at age 36. He has one year left on his contract with St. Louis at which point the team may finally decide to call it quits with budding stars like Carson Kelly and Andrew Knizner waiting in the wings. Use him while you’ve got him, if you’re contending in 2019, do not be afraid to trade for him.

Tier Five

  • Ronaldo Hernandez continued to hit as he has the past two years, but had a breakout in the way of 21 home runs and 10 stolen bases in Single-A ball. He has a long way to go to prove he belongs in a higher tier, but 2018 set him on the track to elite status with a 15% strikeout rate and 7% walk rate.
  • Jorge Alfaro was always going to strikeout, but a 36.6% clip is wildly higher than expected. Alfaro consistently struck out in the mid-20% range in the minors and with a 46.9% O-Swing rate in 2018, there is little hope he will come close to the success he had in the minors. He has power upside, but I would not count on a repeat of his .262 batting average.

Brennen Gorman

A lifetime Tigers fan (oh boy) getting ready to watch some good minor league baseball for the next few years. Liquor lawyer by trade, consumed by baseball statistics for pleasure? Yep. Seems about right.

7 responses to “End of the Season ’18: Top 25 Catchers To Own In Dynasty Leagues”

  1. King Donko says:

    How much does D. Jansen’s rank shift in OBP leagues?

    • Brennen Gorman says:

      He’d get a huge boost, probably not in 2019, but in 2020 he’d be a favorite to lead all catchers in OBP.

  2. Nicholas Gerli says:

    You have Ramos listed as a Washington National. Could definitely see him ending up there again, but not yet!

    I think Realmuto and Sanchez should be their own tier.

    I like the young guys you have in the 6-10 range. A big fan of Willians Astudillo, especially in a batting average league. He has a very high floor.

    What’s the ETA on Joey Bart?

    • Brennen Gorman says:

      Yikes – no clue how that happened, so 2016 of me.

      I had considered keeping Realmuto in his own tier, then the next three in Tier Two.

      I think late-2020 is a real possibility if he hits the ground running.

  3. theKraken says:

    Catching prospects are for suckers… just saying. If I could trade a catching spec for Buster Posey, then I would! Most of those specs will not be able to handle the rigors of the position and will give zero full seasons or Austin Hedges-esque production in the best case. If you can get one worthwhile season out of any of these guys, then you have to take it. There is just no future with most catchers except in rare exceptions. A lot of the best production comes from guys that take a winding route to a starting role – very rarely does a prospect ascend to the ranks of top C in MLB. The smart money is on buying the dips.

  4. Myles Nelson says:

    Curious on your thoughts on Keibert Ruiz’s future in general. Was looking forward to reading more about him but saw nothing in the notes.

    • Brennen Gorman says:

      I am still crazy high on Keibert Ruiz. I think it took him some time to adjust to Double-A ball, but by July 15 was back to his top-class plate approach batting .310 and a 13:10 K:BB rate the remainder of the season. I see Ruiz, Danny Jansen, and Joey Bart in a prospect league of their own (Astudillo is only technically still a prospect).

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