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2019 Fantasy Baseball: NL Catcher Profiles and Projections

If you read our profiles for the American League catchers, you know pickings are pretty slim at the position. Our NL Catcher Profiles offer a few more reasons for optimism, but the catcher position will still be a challenge in 2019.

We like to think of our Fantasy Baseball Player Profiles as the magazine we all love to flip through when it hits the newsstand. The only difference is this magazine is free and will be updated all the way up until Opening Day. As news happens and jobs are won and lost, we’ll update these profiles and all of the other associated content in our draft kit.

Each of our NL Catcher Profiles shows statistics for the last three seasons, a three-year total, an extrapolation of those three-year totals out to 600 at-bats, as well as our projections for the 2019 season. We also show you the games played at each position from the 2018 MLB season. Players are sorted alphabetically by last names. After you digest these, head on over to our Fantasy Baseball Rankings to see how these catchers compare to each other.

We’ve tried to include all players that will be relevant in standard mixed leagues and all the way down to 12-team NL-Only leagues. If you don’t see someone you think belongs, give us a heads up in the comments at the bottom of the page.

If you’re like us you can’t wait until spring to get the 2019 fantasy baseball season started? Well, you don’t have to. Leagues are already forming at, so head on over and start or join a league today.

NL Catcher Profiles and Projections

Jorge Alfaro, Philadelphia Phillies

Jorge Alfaro 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

Alfaro is a catcher that looks really enticing at first due to his former top prospect status and performance during his Major League career thus far. That is, until you look deeper into his metrics. Firsly, take a look at those BABIP marks above. Those are insanely high and not sustainable. That paired with his paltry plate discipline doesn’t make me overly confident that he’s going to hit above .230-.240 or so. He should be good for 15 or so home runs, making him a decent NL-Only option, but I wouldn’t count on him as my starter in a single catcher league – Eric Cross

Alex Avila, Arizona Diamondbacks

Alex Avila 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

There have been a few seasons during his career where Alex Avila was a positive fantasy asset at the catcher position. 2018 was not one of them. After two season of ridiculously high BABIPs, Avila bottomed out. His .165 average was a serious drain and he didn’t produce enough power to even come close to offsetting it. The Diamondbacks have no clear answer at catcher, so Avila will likely be a part of the equation in 2019. That doesn’t mean he has to be part of your fantasy team. The combination of his low batting average and a fair amount of at-bats is not a good thing, even in NL-only leagues. Leave him for the vultures and let someone else kill an entire category. There’s just not much reward to go with this huge risk. – Doug Anderson

Austin Barnes, Los Angeles Dodgers

Austin Barnes 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

What a difference a year makes. Barnes was the darling of Dodger fans in 2017 and fantasy owners were starting to get attached as well. Then 2018 happened and his .205 batting average did not make up for his lack of speed or power. Now with Yasmani Grandal out of town Barnes has a direct path to the starting catching gig. To his credit, he does have a minor league track record of solid batting averages and excellent on-base percentages. A .270-plus average with 8-to10 HRs and 45-to-60 runs scored is not out of the question. Barnes will probably have half of 2019 to prove it though, as prospect Keibert Ruiz will soon be knocking on the door. NL-only owners may be able to sneak a little second catcher value out of Barnes, just be ready to cut bait if he isn’t hitting for average right away. – Doug Anderson

Tucker Barnhart, Cincinnati Reds

Tucker Barnhart 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

A lot of times, looking for a catcher that won’t kill you is the way to go. Tucker Barnhart falls squarely into that category. He makes enough contact to maintain an average north of .250 and usually approaches double-digit home runs. His solid plate discipline gives him a little boost in OBP leagues as well and the improving Cincinnati lineup should have Barnhart around 100 R+RBI yet again in 2019. He’s not quite starter worth in one catcher leagues, but Barnhart makes for a solid starting option in NL-Only leagues and two-catcher leagues. – Eric Cross

Victor Caratini, Chicago Cubs

Victor Caratini 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

Caratini came up to the majors regarded as more of an offensive catcher. True to form his numbers thus far in his career have been offensive. The struggles of Willson Contreras gave Caratini more playing time than expected, but he failed to capitalize. He did also manage to gain enough time at first base to qualify there as well. Caratini will fill the same role in 2019, and though he’s yet to show it, does offer a little more with the bat than most backup catchers. If Contreras were to get injured Caratini would offer limited value in NL-Only formats. – Doug Anderson

Curt Casali, Cincinnati Reds

Curt Casali 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

Every other year or so Curt Casali makes us think there may be a little more offense in his bat than we thought. In 2016 he popped 10 homers (accompanied with a .186 average). Then last year he decides to go and hit .293 in a fair number of at-bats. Tucker Barnhart is a horse and doesn’t miss many games, but Casali is a decent fill-in if Barnhart goes down with injury. In catcher speak that means he may not ruin your team. Until that happens you can safely keep Casali on your free agent list and away from your fantasy team. – Doug Anderson

Francisco Cervelli, Pittsburgh Pirates

Francisco Cervelli 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

Cervelli decided to give this whole launch angle thing a try and evidently it agreed with him. His HR/FB percentage only went from 9.3 to 11.4. Nice, but not an extreme change, The real change came in an increase in FB% from 27.1 to 41.7. So he hit more fly balls and more of those fly balls went out of the park, probably explained by a career-best 88.4 exit velocity. Unfortunately Cervelli made multiple trips to the DL due to concussion related issues., something he’s dealt with throughout his career. It’s not often you project a career-year for a 33-year-old catcher, but if he can catch 120-plus games, Cervelli seems to be on target for just that. He’s not an elite option, but Francisco Cervelli is one of the safe options that could give us more than we think in 2019. –  Doug Anderson

Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs


Willson Contreras 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

Talk about a letdown. Contreras flashed it all in 2017, hitting for power and average, in addition to sound defense. In the world of catchers Contreras was not terrible in 2018, but it was a long way from what we were expecting. It’s really hard to account for the disappointing season. Most of his peripherals were similar to those he put up in 2017. The two numbers that stand out are a HR/FB% that dropped from 25.9% to 9.3%, and a Hard% that fell to 29.1% from 35.5%. So which Willson Contreras will we get in 2019? You have to think the HR/FB% will bounce back closer toat least the 23.5% he put up in 2016. The additional homers clearing the fence will also boost the average to a more respectable level. Sadly the state of the catcher positions means Contreras still sits somewhere close to the top 5. Don’t reach too far, but a bounce-back from Conteras will give you a leg up on your competition. Once you’ve filled out your corners and a couple of outfield studs, don’t be afraid to grab Contreras in the middle portion of your draft. – Doug Anderson

Travis d’Arnaud, New York Mets

Travis d'Arnaud 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

Remember when d’Arnaud was a cant-miss catching prospect bound for greatness? Pepperidge Farm remembers. Well, below-average contact skills and a plethora of injuries have kept that from happening so far and d’Arnaud is now in his age-30 season. To make matters worse for him, he’s now a back-up with Wilson Ramos in town. He should hit for enough average and pop to be in consideration for a starting spot in two-catcher NL-Only leagues, but that’s about it unless Ramos gets hurt. – Eric Cross

Elias Diaz, Pittsburgh Pirates

Elias Diaz 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

Elias Diaz got more at-bats than expected due to Francisco Cervelli’s repeated trips to the DL. To say he took advantage is an understatement. Evidently Diaz watched Cervelli’s launch angle induced power breakout and followed suit, bumping his FB% up almost 6.0 percentage points. His HR/FB% also leaped from 2.2 to 13.2. Not so quick on anointing him catcher of the future though, he’d never hit more than six homers at any previous level. Diaz is a nice second catcher in NL-Only leagues, but expecting him to repeat 2018 is not wise. –  Doug Anderson

Tyler Flowers, Atlanta Braves

Tyler Flowers 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

Hey, where’d that solid batting average go? That was a major part of Flower’s fantasy value. Sorry Mr. Flowers, a .227 average and eight dingers aren’t as appealing to the fantasy world as a .281 average and 12 homers. Due to past history, I’m more inclined to project an average north of .260 than something closer to his 2018 numbers. Add in 8-12 homers and you have a solid NL-Only starting option or a 2nd catcher in two-catcher leagues. Yes. Brian McCann is in the picture, but Flowers is expected to make more starts for the Braves and should approach 300-350 at-bats. – Eric Cross

Yan Gomes, Washington Nationals

Yan Gomes 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

The Nationals brought in both Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki to split the catching duties in 2019. While these are both two solid catchers, it caps both players fantasy value. Gomes has proven to be a consistent source of power (for a catcher) and should have no problems getting into the teens again for homers in 2019. But with below average contact skills and plate discipline, it’s hard to feel good about projecting a respectable average. Due to the timeshare, Gomes is nothing more than an option for NL-Only or two-catcher leagues. – Eric Cross

Austin Hedges, San Diego Padres

Austin Hedges 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

The San Diego catching situation is one we’ll be watching close in Spring Training. The Padres like Hedges for his defense. Fantasy owners like him for his power. Hedges has hit 32 homers over the last two seasons, albeit with batting averages that hurt a little bit. Then there’s the presence of Francisco Mejia, who the Padres traded for at the 2018 deadline. Mejia’s defense is shaky at best, but he’s by far the best hitting catching prospect we’ll see in 2019. A conservative guess has Hedges catching three out of five games, with Mejia getting the other two, plus possibly  a game a week or so in the outfield. Of course there’s also been talk the Padres are contemplating trading Hedges for pitching. As it stands now, both Hedges and Mejia are both limited to NL-only leagues or potential stashes in the reserved rounds of mixed league drafts. That could change when we have a better idea how the Padres will handle this situation. – Doug Anderson

Chris Iannetta, Colorado Rockies

Chris Iannetta 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

As long as Iannetta plays half his games in Colorado he probably needs to be rostered in most formats. His .178 road average in 2018 should be warning enough, though, if he ever leaves Coors Field. Iannetta will likely get the bulk of the playing time early in 2019 for the Rockies, but Tom Murphy has more offensive upside at this point and Tony Wolters is better defensively. Feel free to draft Iannetta as a second catcher late in drafts and stream him when Colorado plays at home. Just be quick with the hook if he starts to lose playing time. There’s a very limited amount of fantasy value remaining in the bat of Chris Iannetta. – Doug Anderson

Carson Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks

Carson Kelly 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

We thought Carson Kelly was the heir apparent to Yadier Molina. Nobody told Molina that because he’s still playing at a high level. Now it looks like Kelly will get his shot in Arizona if he’s ready. Despite the prospect pedigree, Kelly’s minor league numbers are rather pedestrian, and he’s looked terrible in his 131 Major League plate appearances. Kelly has a bit of pop, so the four HRs projected may be on the low side, but a batting average north of .240 may be a challenge. Until he shows something in the majors Kelly is nothing more than a second catcher in NL-only leagues and not one of the better ones at that. – Doug Anderson

Andrew Knapp, Philadelphia Phillies

Andrew Knapp 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

If you’re drafting Andrew Knapp, you’re either in a two-catcher NL-Only league or are related to him. Philadelphia’s backup catcher showed he could hit for a decent average in the minors, but doesn’t have much pop and is likely to only start around two times a week. Nothing to see here, move on. – Eric Cross

Erik Kratz, Milwaukee Brewers

Erik Kratz 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

Kratz is 39 years old. His career best is 26 RBIs. He’s hit a combined 12 home runs over the previous five seasons. You see where I’m going with this right? Kratz did hit 1.000 with a 2.500 OPS in 2017, so he’s got that going for him. – Doug Anderson

Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves

Brian McCann 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

All good streaks must come to an end. Last season ended a 12-year streak of hitting 18 or more home runs for Brian McCann dating back to his first full season in Atlanta back in 2006. While the power has been consistently good, McCann’s average has been sub-.250 more often than not and he hasn’t cracked 100 games played since the 2016 season. You might look to the low BABIP marks and think positive regression is coming, but due to McCann’s utter lack of speed, those  BABIP marks aren’t too far off. Now that he’s splitting time with Flowers, McCann’s value is limited to NL-Only and two-catcher formats. – Eric Cross

Francisco Mejia, San Diego Padres

Francisco Mejia 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

Although the Major League numbers don’t show it, Mejia is one of baseball’s top catching prospects and it has nothing to do with his glove. Throughout his minor league career Mejia has avoided the strikeout issues many young sluggers deal with, and hit .300 or better at multiple stops along the way. It would be a lot easier to get excited about Mejia if Austin Hedges wasn’t also in town. Mejia’s defense may limit him to less than half-time play and it’s hard to get in a groove with that type of sporadic play. Even with the murky outlook fantasy owners would be wise to grab Mejia as their second catcher even in mixed leagues. There are only a handful of catchers with his offensive upside. – Doug Anderson

Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals

Yadier Molina 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

Would somebody tell Molina he’s old and was supposed to start declining several years ago. We thought that decline was already happening in 2014 thru 2016 when he hit a combined 19 homers, but now he’s hit 18 and 20 in the last two seasons. It’s hard not to expect a decline in a 37-year-old catcher, but there’s nothing in his peripherals that points to one. In fact his .261 average can mostly be explained away by a .264 BABIP, the lowest he’s had in 12 seasons. Someday Molina will age, but for now he sits safely among the top seven or eight catchers in fantasy. – Doug Anderson

Tom Murphy, Colorado Rockies

Tom Murphy 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

At one time Murphy was regarded as one of the better hitting catching prospects in baseball. That image is fading fast. After hitting just four homers in 154 minor league at-bats in 2017, the power bounced back a bit last season with 17 in 264 plate appearances. That power still hasn’t shown up in Colorado and his defense is not strong enough to earn him PT on its own. The Rockies have no clear direction at the catcher position, so Murphy certainly has a chance to grab a slice of it. If he does fantasy owners might be able to get some cheap power as a second catcher in NL-only leagues. Anything more than that looks extremely unlikely as he enters his age-28 season. – Doug Anderson

Manny Pina, Milwaukee Brewers

Manny Pina 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

The Brewers seem to have a lot of luck with players everyone else sees as Quad-A players. Jesus Aguilar had the bigger numbers, but Pina has been a success in his own right over the last couple years. Expect more of the same in 2019. He’ll get a little more than half of the starts, pop close to double-digit homers and put up an average that won’t hurt your team. He’s borderline second catcher in 12-team mixed leagues and a reliable option in deeper formats. There may never be a Manny Pina breakout, but at the catcher position safe and boring is about all you can ask for. – Doug Anderson

Kevin Plawecki, New York Mets

Kevin Plawecki 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

Don’t even think about drafting Plawecki in any format. Unless that format is an NL East-Only two-catcher league. With Travis d’Arnaud and Wilson Ramos on the roster, there are not many available at-bats for Plawecki and he could even start in Triple-A. – Eric Cross

Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants

Buster Posey 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

Is it me or is Buster Posey following the career path of Joe Mauer almost to a T? 2018 was the fourth year in a row of declining home run totals and also the lowest full-season batting average of his career. Is it just the inevitable decline we should expect to see in an aging catcher, or can we attribute his struggles to injury? After all, he did undergo offseason surgery to repair an impingement, torn labrum, and damaged cartilage in his hip. Even with those issues affecting him, Posey did hit the ball hard in 2018, with a career-high 36.3 Hard%. Most of his hits just went up the middle or the other way, as the hip obviously affected his ability to pull the ball. Early reports on Posey’s recovery are positive, but he’s obviously a player we’ll be watching in Spring Training. The good news is that there’s no talk of moving him away from the catcher position, and it won’t cost as much to roster him in 2019. A bit of a rebound from Posey is not out of the question, but smart fantasy baseball owners will only pay for what he did in 2018. – Doug Anderson

Wilson Ramos, New York Mets

Wilson Ramos 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

The stocky Venezuelan catcher has been one of the top offensive backstops in the game over the last few years. While playing for basically every team on the east coast, Ramos has averaged 16 home runs, 62 RBI, and a .298 average over the last three years, and that’s while only playing in 64 games in 2017. In that three-year period, 22 catchers have reached 1,000 plate appearances, including Ramos. Out of those 22 catchers, he ranks 1st (tied) in average, 6th (tied) in ISO, 7th in home runs, 2nd in SLG, and 2nd in wRC+. What more could you want from your starting catcher. Draft Ramos with confidence as a top-5 catcher. – Eric Cross

J.T. Realmuto, Miami Marlins

J.T. Realmuto 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

Maybe it’s because he plays down in Miami or that he doesn’t have the sexy power upside like Gary Sanchez, but J.T. Realmuto gets no love as one of the top fantasy backstops in the game. The 2018 season was his third consecutive season hitting .277 or higher and his HR total climbed for the third consecutive season. Overall amongst catchers, he finished 4th in home runs, 1st in runs, tied for 3rd in RBI, and his .277 AVG trailed only Wilson Ramos and Buster Posey for catchers with at least 100 games played. He might not run as much as he used to, but his rock-solid consistency across the board cannot be understated. For 2019, the supporting cast around him figures to be subpar once again, but with some young players on the rise, there’s at least a little promise for some help around him. Realmuto is very deserving of being one of the top catchers drafted in 2019. – Eric Cross

Kurt Suzuki, Washington Nationals

Kurt Suzuk 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

You’d never guess it, but Suzuki has been one of the most consistent catchers over the last several seasons. He’s working on a five-year stretch of 49 or more RBI and the added power he’s shown recently is a nice little bonus. But unfortunately, he’s likely to split time with Yan Gomes and fall out of consideration as a starter in 12-team mixed leagues. For those of you in NL-Only or two-catcher leagues, he still makes for a desirable target to to his consistent offensive contributions. – Eric Cross

Chad Wallach, Miami Marlins

Chad Wallach 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

Before you ask yourself “Who the heck is Chad Wallach?”, he’s the man in line for much more playing time if/when JT Realmuto gets dealt. That is, assuming the Marlins don’t bring in a catcher in the deal, which they very well might do. Even if he does end up as the starter, Wallach is only in NL-Only consideration with lower upside. – Eric Cross

Tony Wolters, Colorado Rockies

Tony Wolters 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections

Wolters is an athletic catcher, as evidenced by seeing a bit of action at second, third, and in the outfield. He’s never quite put that athleticism to use at the plate though, even if last year’s .170 average can mostly be blamed on a .189 BABIP. Wolters offers no power, but could swipe a handful of bags with enough playing time. He’ll compete with Tom Murphy to back up Chris Iannetta. If Wolters found his way to significant playing time the best we could hope for is kind of an Austin Barnes lite… Impressive I know. Wolters is likely going undrafted, even in two-catcher NL leagues, but could sneak in a bit of value if Iannetta goes down with an injury. –  Doug Anderson

Enjoying these NL Catching Profiles? For more great rankings, strategy, and analysis check out the 2019 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit. We’ll be adding more content from now right up until Opening Day!

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