Can you believe some fantasy baseball leagues have two catcher spots? After looking at our 2021 catcher rankings, you’ll wonder if you should even have one backstop, never mind two. The one bit of good news is that the relative lack of top-tier talent means there are a lot of potential sleepers because it takes 12 players have a top 12…right?
Heading into this season, we list six catchers who stand out above the rest. Most sites aren’t as excited about Gary Sanchez, but few catchers possess his power potential, so, despite his obvious drag on batting average, we like his upside. He’ll likely go lower than we have him ranked, but that presents value if you’re just looking for homers.
It’s important to remember that just because catcher is a top-heavy position, you don’t need to reach. Even J.T. Realmuto, who’s ranked much higher overall than other catchers, isn’t worth drafting in the first five rounds. There will likely be some surprise breakouts at the position, so even though the top six is generally more reliable and/or has more upside, they might not provide enough differentiation to be worth drafting as early as some might think.
Some of the most interesting sleepers are Daulton Varsho and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. At one point this spring, both were listed atop of their respective teams’ depth charts at positions other than catcher — Varsho in the D-backs’ outfield and Kiner-Falefa as the Rangers’ shortstop. That’s the ideal situation for a catcher-eligible player (especially in the AL thanks to the DH), as you don’t have to worry as much about the mandatory off-days almost all catchers deal with. Both can also steal double-digit bases, which is extremely rare for catchers. If they play most days, they’ll have considerable value.
Mitch Garver has some bounce-back appeal, while Tom Murphy, who didn’t play last year, is back after hitting 18 HRs in just 76 games in 2019. As always, there are some veterans who can provide passable numbers (James McCann, Wilson Ramos), as well as some younger players with upside (Jorge Alfaro, Carson Kelly). Rookie catchers rarely pan out, but Alejandro Kirk and Joey Bart are both interesting if they get playing time.
Ultimately, if you don’t get one of the top six backstops in the middle rounds, you might as well wait until late to grab one or two sleepers. Reaching for a catcher just doesn’t make sense, so unless you really like someone (Travis d’Arnaud? Austin Nola?), consider this position an afterthought.
We’ll be updating the catcher rankings throughout the spring, so check back for the latest player movement.
Fantasy Baseball C Rankings: Catcher Tiers, Sleepers, Draft Strategy
Rankings based on 5×5 H2H leagues with Rs, HRs, RBIs, SBs, and Batting Average as hitting categories.
Position eligibility based on Yahoo’s default settings
|Rank||Player (bats)||Age (as of 4/1)||Team||Other Pos.||Tier|
|1||J.T. Realmuto (R)||30||Phillies||—||1|
|2||Will Smith (R)||26||Dodgers||—||2|
|3||Salvador Perez (R)||30||Royals||—||2|
|4||Yasmani Grandal (S)||32||White Sox||1B||2|
|5||Willson Contreras (R)||28||Cubs||—||2|
|6||Gary Sanchez (R)||28||Yankees||—||2|
|7||Sean Murphy (R)||26||A’s||—||3|
|8||Christian Vazquez (R)||30||Red Sox||1B||3|
|9||Daulton Varsho (L)||24||D-backs||OF||3|
|10||Travis d’Arnaud (R)||32||Braves||1B||3|
|11||Mitch Garver (R)||30||Twins||—||3|
|12||Isiah Kiner-Falefa (R)||26||Rangers||3B, SS||3|
|13||Austin Nola (R)||31||Padres||1B, 2B||3|
|14||Jorge Alfaro (R)||27||Marlins||—||4|
|15||Tom Murphy (R)||29||Mariners||—||4|
|16||Wilson Ramos (R)||33||Tigers||—||4|
|17||Carson Kelly (R)||26||D-backs||—||4|
|18||James McCann (R)||30||Mets||—||4|
|19||Omar Narvaez (L)||29||Brewers||—||4|
|20||Buster Posey (R)||34||Giants||1B||4|
|21||Alejandro Kirk (R)||22||Blue Jays||—||5|
|22||Max Stassi (R)||31||Angels||—||5|
|23||Yadier Molina (R)||38||Cardinals||—||5|
|24||Danny Jansen (R)||25||Blue Jays||—||5|
|25||Yan Gomes (R)||33||Nationals||—||5|
|26||Martin Maldonado (R)||34||Astros||—||5|
|27||Pedro Severino (R)||27||Orioles||—||5|
|28||Elias Diaz (R)||30||Rockies||—||5|
|29||Francisco Mejia (S)||25||Rays||—||5|
|30||Joey Bart (R)||24||Giants||—||5|
|31||Ryan Jeffers (R)||23||Twins||—||5|
|32||Jacob Stallings (R)||31||Pirates||—||6|
|33||Tucker Barnhart (L)||31||Reds||—||6|
|34||Tyler Stephenson (R)||24||Reds||—||6|
|35||Roberto Perez (R)||32||Indians||—||6|
|36||Victor Caratini (S)||27||Padres||1B||6|
|37||Keibert Ruiz (S)||22||Dodgers||—||6|
|38||Dom Nunez (L)||26||Rockies||—||6|
|39||Chance Sisco (L)||26||Orioles||—||6|
|40||Mike Zunino (R)||30||Rays||—||6|