This has long been the punt position in one catcher leagues, but maybe that isn’t the right option any more. The rarity of a specimen like Gary Sanchez changes the way this position is viewed in 2018, but it’s not just about him. The bottom third of this position is essentially below replacement value at most positions. I’m targeting someone in the top 5 in most leagues, so I don’t have to make those categories up in some other area.

Here’s a look at my early rankings for the catcher position this year:

Stock up:

Evan Gattis

Houston Astros v Arizona Diamondbacks
Christian Peterson/Getty Images

Early reports suggest that the Astros plan on Gattis being the primary designated hitter this year exclusively with Max Stassi being the backup catcher. Why is this such a big deal? The knock on Gattis last year was his 325 at bats while the Astros started McCann most of the time at catcher and held on to Carlos Beltran as their primary DH most days. If this guy gets 500 at-bats, he is going to mash and outperform his value dramatically. It’s worth pointing out that his OPS last year was .580 as a DH as opposed to .878 when he played the field. This doesn’t concern me as he’ll likely get much more comfortable with the role.

Stock down:

Jonathan Lucroy

Lucroy
Associated Press

Lucroy had to send so many owners over the edge last year as he was rated just about as highly as Buster Posey by most of the experts coming into 2017. He hit 18 fewer homers, 41 RBIs, and his average dropped 27 points from his monster 2016. The projections show for a slight rebound, but I would buy his 2015 numbers, which barely make him an option in a one catcher league, instead of those gaudy 2016 stats. If you never invest in catchers, you could do worse as a late round gamble, but that is the only way I invest.

 2018 Catcher Rankings

1. Gary Sanchez

2. Buster Posey

3. Wilson Contreras

4. Evan Gattis

5. J.T. Realmuto

6. Salvador Perez

7. Wilson Ramos

8. Mike Zunino

9. Yasmani Grandal

10. Jonathan Lucroy

11. Yadier Molina

12. Wellington Castillo

 

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Featured Image Courtesy of Jeffrey Becker/USA Today Sports

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