Ugh, catchers. I know right? Don’t worry, I’m right there with you. This position is annually the most frustrating in our fantasy baseball world and hasn’t really been exciting since the days of Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez. And while I’m not saying those days will return, the future does look bright with the young crop of catchers that will be gracing a diamond near you in the very near future. But without further ado, here are my top-40 dynasty catcher rankings as we enter the 2021 season.
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Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Catcher Rankings
Is JT Realmuto‘s time as the lead dog about to come to a close? Anointing a catching prospect as the next big thing at this position is always risky business, but Adley Rutschman looks like the real deal. He has at least the same level of power as Realmuto with a better hit tool that could lead to an average in the .280-.310 range annually.
If it’s not Rutschman atop this pile in the next few years, it’s because the Dodgers finally came to their damn senses and unleashed Will Smith. Seriously, this needs to happen. Pound for pound, Smith was the best offensive catcher in the shortened 2020 season but the playing time concerns are holding him back from threatening for the top spot.
Smith and Rutschman are far from the only intriguing young options at this position. Two more that sit 10th and 11th respectively are Sean Murphy and Alejandro Kirk. This was supposed to be Kirk’s breakout season after looking impressive in his brief time with Toronto last season, but it looks like we’ll have to wait on that after Toronto brought in George Springer and others, pushing Kirk out of the DH spot. He’s one of the best pure-hitting catchers in baseball though, so now is a great time to buy in dynasty leagues.
Murphy, on the other hand, is far less flashy than the names I’ve mentioned so far. But that’s okay. What’s so intriguing about Murphy is his job security. We could see this defensive maestro take home a few gold glove awards before he hangs up the cleats. That’s job security 101 right there. He’s no slouch at the plate either and could settle in as a .270ish hitter that flirts with 20 homers annually. If you want a solid long-term option that won’t cost you an arm and a leg in trade, Murphy is the backstop I’d target right now.
Without question, the hardest catcher to rank right now is Gary Sanchez. There’s no questioning the power Sanchez brings to the table. Year after year, Sanchez scalds the ball, ranking among the league’s elite when it comes to hard-hit rate, exit velocity, and barrel rate, but the contact rates and strikeouts mask all of that. Not knowing what Sanchez we’ll get from year to year makes him a highly-volatile option. However, the fact that Sanchez could put up 30-plus homers in any season still keeps him in the top-10 fantasy catcher discussion.
As for some non-Rutschman catching prospects, Austin Wells, Tyler Soderstrom, and Francisco Alvarez are three I’m extremely excited about. All three possess the tools to hit for a high average with plenty of power as well. However, both Wells and Soderstrom might not stick behind the plate long-term. This is something to keep in mind when targeting them in dynasty leagues, but their potent bats will play anywhere.
That same sentiment goes for Daulton Varsho as well. While we’d love to have his potential 15/15 production in our catcher slot, there’s a high liklihood he doesn’t have catcher eligibility in a few years. But for now, Varsho should retain catcher eligibility in 2021 and probably in 2022 as well. With the buzz surrounding him right now, it’s not a bad time to try and sell-high.
Media Credit: Baseball Savant, David Dennis/Icon Sportswire
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