“Minor League Marauders” – Catcher Rankings


Catcher is a premium defensive position that takes serious developmental time both physically and mentally. On their journey through the minors, catchers often do not focus heavily on their offense as there are a great deal MLB catchers that make it to The Show solely on their defensive prowess. This fact of catcher development puts fantasy owners in a bit of a conundrum. 

The general rule for investing in catching prospects for your dynasty or keeper league is… DON’T. Catchers usually spent more time on the farm than other positional prospects and focus devote much of their time to refining their defensive craft. Due to this fact of the prospect pipeline, this list is shorter than others.

There are fewer fantasy relevant catching prospects and they all come with more serious risk. Offense simply isn’t a priority for many backstops, which makes finding a strong contributor of the future that much more value. There is high risk associated with investing in catching prospects, but if you can find a Buster Posey-like backstop that can stabilize your roster… what a luxury!


1) Francisco Mejia (CLE)

Age: 21 Bats/Throws: S/R Height: 5-10 Weight: 175 ETA: 2018

Heralded for the fifty game hit streak he carried through a large portion of last season in A-Ball, Mejia is the Indian’s catcher of the future. He only converted to catching full time a few years ago and hasn’t been perfecting his craft for long, so his defense still needs some work, but he has a cannon of an arm and there are no concerns about his defense long term.mejia1280_i4e013qa_huia2idaAt the plate, Mejia is a switch hitter with plus bat speed from both sides. From the right side, he has an all fields oriented, line drive approach while his left-handed swing has some loft and offers more power potential. Overall, he has the makings of a future All-Star catcher that hits over .300 with fifteen home runs. It appears Mejia will spend this season in Double-A where he will continue to mash while focusing on adding polish to his defensive fundamentals.

2) Jorge Alfaro (PHI)

Age: 23 Bats/Throws: R/R Height: 6-2 Weight: 185 ETA: 2016

Alfaro is a physically imposing catching prospect with elite raw power at the plate. His problems have come due to the swing and miss and a troublesome strikeout rate. However, he did improve upon this last season as he made some encouraging swing adjustments:

jorge-alfaro-1-3

At the expense of some power, he cut down his stride length and focused on getting his stride down on time.

jorge-alfaro-3

A leg kick hindered his timing on off-speed pitches.

 

alfaro-2-strike-approach

And with two strikes, he exaggerated the front foot down early mantra and focused on putting the ball in play.

Alfaro’s double plus bat speed produces loud contact when he makes it and he is an above average runner for a catcher. Defensively, Alfaro has elite arm strength and his blocking and receiving have steadily improved but remain only average. He has superstar potential if he continues to address his contact deficiency and the floor here is a power hitting backstop with an empty batting average.

3) Zack Collins (CWS)

Age: 22 Bats/Throws: L/R Height: 6-3 Weight: 220 ETA: 2019

zack-collins-white-sox-hitting-minicamp-slide.jpg

Collins was drafted 10th overall in the 2016 MLB Draft thanks to his elite bat. He is a natural hitter with a patient, advanced approach at the plate and great pitch recognition. He possesses plus bat speed and both his power and hit tools grade out as plus. It is on defense where Collins has his skeptics. He has an average arm but his blocking and receiving skills are below average and need serious improvement, which leaves many evaluators doubtful of his ability to stay behind the plate long-term. Collins’ bat will carry him as he profiles as a middle of the lineup type of hitter, and if he can stay behind the plate he offers an elite fantasy asset.

4) Chance Sisco (BAL)

Age: 22 Bats/Throws: L/R Height: 6-2 Weight: 195 ETA: Late 2017

 Sisco is known for his natural feel for hitting and consistent hard contact from the right-handed batter’s box. He has a line drive oriented swing and demonstrates average game power. On defense, Sisco is a work in progress.960_Sisco_Cliff_Welch_MiLB_1944eqbl_zgquncoi.jpg He has improved his blocking and receiving to a serviceable level but his arm remains below average. Nonetheless, the Orioles plan is for him to become their catcher in a year or two. Sisco has the makings of a .280 hitting run producer in the fifth spot in a future Orioles lineup.

 

5) Tom Murphy (COL)

Age: 25 Bats/Throws: R/R Height: 6-1 Weight: 220 ETA: 2016

Murphy got a cup of coffee at the end of last season with the Rockies and impressed by hitting five home runs in his forty-four at-bats.  He is a fringe-average defensive catcher with an above average arm that projects to stay behind the plate. Offensively, he is a pull-heavy power hitter with an aggressive approach that will lend itself to 20 plus home run output with a low batting average. Murphy will compete for the starting job in Spring Training and is expected to split time with Tony Wolters this season for the Rockies. Playing half of his games at Coors Field offers a value prop for all fantasy owners and 20 plus home runs from your catcher is a juicy option.

6) Carson Kelly (STL)

Age: 22 Bats/Throws: R/R Height: 6-2 Weight: 200 ETA: 2018

No one doubts Carson Kelly’s ability to catchghnz4tnr. He is a great receiver with a plus arm and is well-respected for his game and pitching staff management. In the batter’s box, Kelly has solid pitch recognition and some power to the pull side but only fringe-average bat speed and the swing tends to get long. He should supply some power with an empty batting average and carry a respectable on-base percentage.  He is a quality future option at catcher as the Cardinals view him as Yadi Molina’s successor in St. Louis.

7) Jose Trevino (TEX)

Age: 24 Bats/Throws: R/R Height: 5-10 Weight: 195 ETA: 2018

lqaezjkuAfter playing third, second, shortstop, and catcher in college and his first season in a pro, Trevino began catching full-time in 2015 and has found a home. He is known as a strong leader and game manager, and his defense grades are above average with a plus arm. Named the Rangers’ 2016 Minor League Play of the Year, Trevino has a compact swing that boasts strong contact skills as he drives doubles to all parts of the field. Trevino is slowly working his way through the minor league system and he could contribute a solid average and run production for fantasy owners once he carves out a consistent role with the Rangers.

8) Austin Barnes (LAD)

Age: 27 Bats/Throws: R/R Height: 5-9 Weight: 195 ETA: 2017

Not many 27-year-olds are still considered prospects, but Barnes is in that minority. He doesn’t have any particularly flashy tools but rather is an all-around baseball player that can impact the game in a variety of ways. Barnes appears slotted in for the backup catching job in Los Angeles this season but has the ability and athleticism to also play second base, third base, and the corner outfield. He will contribute a respectable on-base percentage and batting average with a handful of home runs and stolen bases sprinkled in. It is nothing outstanding but it won’t hurt you. He won’t play every day but his positional flexibility will likely earn him plate appearances and provide some value to fantasy owners as soon as this season.

9) Chase Vallot (KC)

Age: 20 Bats/Throws: R/R Height: 6-0 Weight: 215 ETA: 2020

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Vallot is a behemoth power hitting catcher that is raw on both sides of the baseball. At the plate, he has plus raw power with all of the inherent contact and strikeout issues, but when he finds a pitch he can pull the ball travels a long, long way. On defense Vallot is well below average. He blocking and receiving are poor and he has a decent arm, but many evaluators don’t believe he will stay behind the plate long-term. If he doesn’t, his prospect value drops rather significantly. For now, he is a young catching prospect with plenty of work to do, and if he finds a way to stay behind the plate on defense his power offers a strong asset for fantasy owners.

10) Jacob Nottingham (MIL)

Age: 21 Bats/Throws: R/R Height: 6-3 Weight: 200 ETA: 2018

Almost everything stated above about Chase Vallot also applies here to Nottingham; but, the latter is one year older. Nottingham is an aggressive pull heavy power hitter with contact issues and a severe strikeout problem and his overall defense behind the plate is fringe-average at best. If he can improve the defense and stay behind the plate he has potential to become a power producing catcher, but that is a big IF. He is looking for a home long term if it’s not behind the plate and there is a chance he moves to the outfield or first base if the Brewers are not pleased with his defensive progress this season.

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Major League Fantasy Football 2017 League Openings

(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Show: Join guest host Lenny Melnick, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday February 26th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #76 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we break down both East divisions. We will discuss potential lineups, rotations, bullpens, and any minor league potential for each team along with a heavy fantasy spin.

Our guest’s this week will be Andrea Lamont, and Hernan Batista. Hernan is a frequent guest on our shows, and an experienced MLFB league member. Andrea is a former member of the website rotoxperts, an experienced female fantasy baseball connoisseur, and is married to the Legend Lenny Melnick. Amongst other things she does baby sit Lenny and change his diapers. Lets say she is the brains of the operation. Andrea will join us from 8-9pm EST.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

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(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday March 5th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #77 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we break down both Central divisions. We will discuss potential lineups, rotations, bullpens, and any minor league potential for each team along with a heavy fantasy spin.

Our guests this week are Hernan Batista, and Jesse Ellison. Jessie is the owner of Ellison Baseball Instruction in S.E. VA. You can visit his organization at ebicamps.com. Hernan is a frequent guest on our shows, and an experienced MLFB league member.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”



Categories: Baseball Writers, Catcher, Fantasy Baseball, Major League Fantasy Sports, Minor Leaguer Projections, MLFS Authors, Position Rankings, Roster Strategy

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