While it doesn’t exactly set my heart all a-flutter, sorting through my catcher rankings this year hasn’t been quite the absolute torture it was in recent years. On a relative scale, there are quite a few catchers I’m intrigued by, if not exactly excited. We’re by no means in a period where I put too much weight on position scarcity when it comes to the catcher position but I do think there are enough potentially useful bats, that it’s not an automatic punt until the last two rounds.
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Draft Strategy at the Catcher Position
As you’ll see ahead, my 2022 catcher rankings rely pretty heavily on upside and potential. The top of my catcher rankings will be quite similar to most others, with maybe a few minor differences. The further down the rankings you get though, the more I value the possibility of a player breaking out in one category or another. For example, I likely have Mitch Garver, Gary Sanchez, Austin Nola, and Tom Murphy higher than most analysts.
While I readily acknowledge that any or all of them could flop, I think the chance their breakout potential is worth more than the “safety” of catchers like Tucker Barnhart or Danny Jansen. The variance, once you get past the top three catchers, is minimal, meaning there’s very little risk in taking a shot on hitters with at least a glimmer of upside.
These catcher rankings are based on 15-team two-catcher leagues so there is the potential to run out of players with positive value. In one-catcher leagues, you might reach a tad on the top three to get a small edge, but there’s enough potential in the rest of the field to wait until the end rounds and not bypass better hitters at other positions. In two-catcher leagues, I definitely want to get one of the top 10 and then try to beat other managers to the punch on a Tom Murphy or Joey Bart type in the end game.
It was just in 2019 that Mitch Garver hit .273 with 31 home runs and 70 RBIs. He’s had some health issues since then, but for the price (176 ADP in NFBC), he offers a nice combination of a pretty high floor with the chance to produce close to what the top few options do.
For deeper leagues, I’m a big fan of Austin Nola. The arrival of Jorge Alfaro complicates matters a bit, but Nola has the pop to put up 20+ homers and isn’t gonna kill your batting average while doing it. Nola makes for the perfect second catcher in NL-Only Leagues where getting two useful bats can be a pretty big advantage.
Sean Murphy still has some prospect luster and he did pop 17 homers in 2021, but it came along with a .216 batting average. The A’s lineup is likely going to thin out real fast after the lockout ends putting the kabosh on another 59-RBI season. Unless Murphy can bounce back in the batting average department he’s nothing more than a poor man’s Mike Zunino. His 241 ADP is not overly ambitious, but even so I’d rather draft other positions and just wait until the last few rounds.
2022 Mixed League Catcher Rankings
Again these rankings were formulated with 15-team two-catcher leagues in mind.