Season Preview - Catchers

Examining the top Catchers for MLB Fantasy Baseball 2018. Season outlooks, projected stats and past stats to prepare you for the coming fantasy drafts. 

Mike Zunino, C - Seattle Mariners Sn 

Season AB H Avg. HR R RBI 1B 2B 3B TB SB HBP SO BB Pts Roto
2018 (proj) 413 94 0.228 25 56 65 50 19 0 163 2 7 149 37 200.00 1575.96
2018 373 75 0.201 20 37 44 18 0 153 0 6 150 24 112.00 0.00
2017 387 97 0.251 25 52 64 72 25 0 197 1 8 160 39 221.00 396.26
2016 164 34 0.207 12 16 31 26 7 1 79 0 6 65 21 76.00 163.93

If there's a catcher who could potentially match Gary Sanchez in the power department, Zunino is as good an option as any. Last season's 25 home runs, 14 of which were hit as Safeco, is encouraging. Even more encouraging is that for the first time in his career Zunino managed to hit better than .250. Even with last year baked in, he's still just a .209 hitter over the course of five big league seasons. The raw power was never in question so if he really has turned the corner as a hitter heading into his age 27 season, Zunino could provide some nice power from the catcher position without his previously brutal downside in the average department.

Alex Avila, C - Arizona Diamondbacks Sn 

Season AB H Avg. HR R RBI 1B 2B 3B TB SB HBP SO BB Pts Roto
2018 (proj) 350 98 0.280 13 48 44 69 15 1 141 2 1 139 67 215.00 1482.97
2018 194 32 0.165 7 13 20 6 0 59 0 1 90 37 45.00 0.00
2017 311 81 0.260 14 41 49 67 13 1 138 0 1 120 62 189.00 210.86
2016 169 36 0.213 7 19 11 29 7 0 64 0 1 78 38 84.00 137.80

There's nothing safe about Alex Avila as your fantasy starter, but the move to hitter-friendly Arizona is definitely an upgrade for him. Last season he managed 14 home runs, 49 RBIs, and a .264 average while splitting time between the Tigers and Cubs. And we've seen lesser lefty bats reap the benefits of Chase Field in the past so he's certainly a strong dice roll for 2018 in the final few rounds of deep league drafts.

Gary Sanchez, C - New York Yankees Sn 

Season AB H Avg. HR R RBI 1B 2B 3B TB SB HBP SO BB Pts Roto
2018 (proj) 441 119 0.270 28 70 82 69 21 1 198 3 5 104 38 258.00 1349.33
2018 323 60 0.186 18 51 53 17 0 131 1 3 94 46 111.00 0.00
2017 471 132 0.280 33 79 90 112 20 0 251 2 10 120 40 323.00 511.96
2016 201 60 0.299 20 34 42 48 12 0 132 1 2 57 24 142.00 261.92

After bursting onto the scene as a rookie in the second half of 2016, Sanchez didn't disappoint as the Yankees starting catcher last season. His 33 home runs and 90 RBIs were tops at the position, as was his .531 slugging percentage. At just 25 years old Sanchez is already the best hitting catcher in baseball, and the addition of Giancarlo Stanton and the return of a healthy Greg Bird should mean even more RBI chances in 2018. Add in the fact that even with the regular rest often afforded catchers, the Yankees will look to utilize Sanchez's bat in the DH slot from and he's the most valuable fantasy asset at the position by a wide margin.

Willson Contreras, C - Chicago Cubs Sn 

Season AB H Avg. HR R RBI 1B 2B 3B TB SB HBP SO BB Pts Roto
2018 (proj) 382 103 0.270 17 54 61 64 21 1 160 5 4 89 41 221.00 1132.58
2018 474 118 0.249 10 50 54 27 5 185 4 13 121 53 168.00 0.00
2017 377 104 0.276 21 50 74 83 21 0 188 5 3 98 45 237.00 296.01
2016 252 71 0.282 12 33 35 54 16 1 125 2 4 66 26 158.00 211.83

Heading into his age 26 season Contreras is coming off a solid first full year behind the dish for the Cubs. While still a bit of a free swinger, his 21 home runs and 74 RBIs in less than 400 at bats is definitely encouraging for fantasy owners. He should see even more playing time this season and is a top five option at a position where fantasy value falls off extremely quickly.

Salvador Perez, C - Kansas City Royals Sn 

Season AB H Avg. HR R RBI 1B 2B 3B TB SB HBP SO BB Pts Roto
2018 (proj) 422 111 0.263 21 52 64 67 22 1 177 1 4 86 18 230.00 1112.73
2018 513 122 0.238 27 53 80 23 0 226 1 12 108 17 175.00 0.00
2017 471 126 0.268 27 57 80 101 24 1 233 1 5 95 17 284.00 333.12
2016 510 124 0.243 22 57 63 93 28 3 224 0 8 118 22 274.00 213.86

Perez's 27 home runs in 2017 marked the third straight season in which he has topped twenty dingers. Entering his age 28 season, the Kansas City backstop already has seven big league campaigns under his belt and has proven to be one of the most talented and consistent hitting catchers in the game. The only concern of note for Perez is how much a revamped Royals lineup will negatively impact could impact his numbers, as the loss of Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, and presumably Mike Moustakas, will certainly result in less RBI opportunities and may even encourage teams to pitch around him.

J.T. Realmuto, C - Miami Marlins Sn 

Season AB H Avg. HR R RBI 1B 2B 3B TB SB HBP SO BB Pts Roto
2018 (proj) 415 114 0.275 12 54 49 76 23 3 167 6 4 80 28 244.00 1068.95
2018 477 132 0.277 21 74 74 30 3 231 3 10 104 38 206.00 0.00
2017 532 148 0.278 17 68 65 112 31 5 240 8 8 106 36 328.00 500.80
2016 509 153 0.301 11 60 48 116 37 0 223 10 5 99 28 329.00 279.49

Realmuto is almost certainly headed out of Miami before the season ends, and quite possibly before it even begins. The rare catcher who runs, Realmuto has gone 28 for 38 in stolen base attempts as the Marlins everyday catcher over the past three seasons. The ability to contribute some steals and double digit homers with a solid batting average have made Realmuto one of the safer scoring options at the position, even if you aren't exactly sure where all of the production will come from. Still, as long as he's stuck in Miami it's important to note that he's playing in a lineup which no longer includes Dee Gordon, Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton, or Christian Yelich, and will undoubtedly impact his ability to drive runs in as well as the number of good pitches he sees.

Evan Gattis, C - Houston Astros Sn 

Season AB H Avg. HR R RBI 1B 2B 3B TB SB HBP SO BB Pts Roto
2018 (proj) 354 100 0.282 20 51 60 60 18 2 162 2 3 80 26 211.00 1063.53
2018 407 92 0.226 25 49 78 17 0 184 1 3 101 33 141.00 0.00
2017 300 79 0.263 12 41 55 57 22 0 137 0 4 50 18 177.00 284.53
2016 447 112 0.251 32 58 72 92 20 0 228 2 4 127 43 262.00 317.83

More of a DH than a true "catcher" at this stage, Gattis is once again likely to split playing time and be lucky to reach 300 at bats. Still, 300 or so at bats out of Gattis is still better than probably half the starting catchers in the league from a fantasy perspective. Gattis plays in one of the best offensive lineups in the game, in one of the best hitters parks, and since coming to Houston three seasons ago has a per 162 game average of just over 31 home runs and 95 RBIs, hitting at around a .250 clip.

Buster Posey, C, 1B - San Francisco Giants Sn 

Season AB H Avg. HR R RBI 1B 2B 3B TB SB HBP SO BB Pts Roto
2018 (proj) 449 133 0.296 15 62 66 90 27 1 192 3 5 59 53 285.00 1056.71
2018 398 112 0.281 5 47 40 22 1 151 3 3 53 45 159.00 0.00
2017 494 158 0.320 12 62 67 124 34 0 228 5 8 66 61 344.00 563.74
2016 538 155 0.288 14 82 80 119 34 2 235 5 3 68 64 356.00 361.31

Posey hit .320 in 2017, making it the fourth time in the last six seasons that he's finished with an average of .300 of better. That said, he belted just a dozen homers last season, his lowest total in any season in which he's played in at least 100 games. Now 30 years old, the former top option at the position just doesn't have the same pop, failing to reach 20 home runs in each of the past three seasons. He's also presently mired in one of the poorest hitting offenses in baseball, which is inflated due to the cavernous ballpark in which the Giants play half their games. While still a very good hitter, he's no longer someone we should consider elite.

Brian McCann, C - Houston Astros Sn 

Season AB H Avg. HR R RBI 1B 2B 3B TB SB HBP SO BB Pts Roto
2018 (proj) 331 99 0.299 17 47 50 69 12 1 147 1 7 70 36 215.00 1011.86
2018 189 40 0.212 7 22 23 3 0 64 0 6 40 19 62.00 0.00
2017 349 84 0.241 18 47 62 71 12 1 152 1 7 58 38 202.00 311.90
2016 429 104 0.242 20 56 58 90 13 1 179 2 7 99 54 250.00 330.58

Heading into his age 34 season, McCann is once again slated to be the Astros everyday catcher. He'll try to get back to 20 home runs this season, a total he came up just short of (18) last season for the first time since 2007, although in fairness he played in just 97 games, his lowest total since his rookie year. The batting average has fallen off some since McCann left Atlanta at the end of the 2013 season, but playing in a highly productive Astros offense and still possessing some pop keeps him on the radar at an historically weak position.

Stephen Vogt, C - Milwaukee Brewers Sn 

Season AB H Avg. HR R RBI 1B 2B 3B TB SB HBP SO BB Pts Roto
2018 (proj) 367 95 0.259 16 46 52 59 19 1 148 2 3 78 33 200.00 1011.79
2018 0 0 0.000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
2017 279 65 0.233 12 25 40 49 15 1 118 0 0 56 21 139.00 50.23
2016 489 123 0.252 14 54 56 89 32 2 201 0 4 81 35 266.00 289.12

Vogt split time between Oakland and Milwaukee last season, but without a doubt was a far more effective hitter once he got to the Brewers. He should slot in as the number one catcher for Milwaukee to start the season, but it's worth noting that there's plenty of depth behind him in Manny Pina and Jett Bandy. Still, if he can hold those two off and manage one more season of 90+ games, there's no reason Vogt can't be a productive fantasy catcher that you can get on the cheap.

Yadier Molina, C - St. Louis Cardinals Sn 

Season AB H Avg. HR R RBI 1B 2B 3B TB SB HBP SO BB Pts Roto
2018 (proj) 417 116 0.278 11 48 53 80 24 1 164 5 3 61 28 244.00 910.78
2018 459 120 0.261 20 55 74 20 0 200 4 9 66 29 175.00 0.00
2017 501 137 0.273 18 60 82 109 27 1 220 9 4 74 28 306.00 453.30
2016 534 163 0.305 8 56 58 123 39 1 228 4 6 63 39 342.00 382.92

The 35-year old Molina is coming off one of his most productive seasons at the plate in 2017. But even if he can't duplicate last year's numbers, there's still a relative level of safety in plugging Molina into your roster. A career .284 hitter, as long as he's healthy then he's a candidate to give you a handful of steals, double digit home runs, and solid run production out of the middle of an above average Cardinals lineup. Signed through 2020, his playing time may take a hit over the next couple season as the Cardinals plan for the future. But if he hits even close to the way he did last season then he's a pretty safe bet to continue as the everyday catcher.

Yasmani Grandal, C - Los Angeles Dodgers Sn 

Season AB H Avg. HR R RBI 1B 2B 3B TB SB HBP SO BB Pts Roto
2018 (proj) 220 70 0.318 11 30 34 49 10 0 102 1 1 66 31 149.00 839.74
2018 440 106 0.241 24 65 68 23 2 205 2 3 124 72 171.00 0.00
2017 438 108 0.247 22 50 58 81 27 0 201 0 0 130 40 239.00 162.19
2016 390 89 0.228 27 49 72 73 15 1 187 1 2 116 64 211.00 321.13

At one point this offseason it looked like Grandal might cede more playing to time to Austin Barnes this season, but manager Dave Roberts has been clear that Grandal should see the bulk of the catching duty in 2018. He's a decent source of power and RBIs, especially in a good hitting Dodgers offense. But owning Grandal does mean you need to make plans to offset his average, as last season's .247 mark was his best in any season in which he's seen 200 at bats, and he's definitely a strikeout prone hitter prone to slumps.

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