2018 Fantasy Baseball: 5 and 6 Category Rankings– Catchers G-P
As popular as total points formats have become, the standard five and six category leagues are still the most popular in the genre. Total points is a lot more accurate when it comes to pegging the value of a player, but the standard categories are so easy to understand. Everyone knows the five basic categories, but the sixth usually depends on the league. Typically, it includes some element of on base percentage. Sometimes it is OBP itself and other times it is walks. Either way, there are enough of those leagues out there to take a look. For our purposes, we will include walks.
Five and six category rankings are based on the same 30 catchers we profiled in total points. We take their composite rankings in each of the categories and compile it to come up with an overall ranking. We also include their season by season totals in case there are outliers that make the average unrealistic.
Yan Gomes—Cleveland Indians
5 Category: 17
6 Category: 19
On a long enough timeline, the survival rate drops to zero. We use five year windows because you usually have one down season and one career season to consider. When you toss out 2016 and 2014 you get a pretty reasonable adjustment for where he likely will be. Is that good enough to keep the job for a team that has designs on winning the World Series? That remains to be seen.
Yasmani Grandal—Los Angeles Dodgers
5 Category: 12
6 Category: 11
The Dodgers know something we don’t. The question is what they know. Grandal will either be traded this offseason or he will be sharing the catching duties with Austin Barnes. Either way, the average becomes a lot more probable than it did before. The standard hitting and fielding numbers should favor Grandal, but the Dodgers aren’t going that direction. Again, it makes you wonder why.
Chris Iannetta—Free Agent
5 Category: 26
6 Category: 22
Value always has been and always will be a fluid thing. In the first part of the 2000s, teams loved guys that drew walks and hit home runs. Batting average was an afterthought. That appears to be changing as teams are trying to cut down on strikeouts. That might explain the Grandal phenomenon and it will likely explain why Iannetta will have difficulty finding anything more than a platoon role next season.
Jonathan Lucroy—Free Agent
5 Category: 3
6 Category: 2
Lucroy is an intriguing free agent in both fantasy and real baseball terms. If he returns to Colorado is likely worth a top three valuation. If he goes anywhere else it could be dicey. Early rumors have the Astros as interested in pairing him with Brian McCann to form a kind of super platoon. That would be interesting and would pave the way for them to use him as their primary catcher in 2019. Again, that’s interesting but wouldn’t bode well for his season long fantasy value.
Martin Maldonado—Los Angeles Angels
5 Category: 30
6 Category: 30
Maldonado saved more runs than any catcher in baseball last season. That will get him behind the dish at least 100 times next season if he is healthy. So, his 2017 numbers immediately become more relevant than the average. Still, there is no way he is worth a starter’s role in any format. However, some formats use two catchers and if you are in one of those leagues you have to consider him.
Russell Martin—Toronto Blue Jays
5 Category: 5
6 Category: 4
If we reflect on the numbers a little we will have to come to the conclusion that the rankings are a little off. For one, the 2014 season stands as an outlier that pulls the average up. He isn’t likely to produce the power numbers he had in 2015 and 2016 again. Combine those elements and we get a solid offensive player, but certainly not a top five overall catcher.
Brian McCann—Houston Astros
5 Category: 8
6 Category: 8
The Astros essentially platooned McCann with Evan Gattis last season and both were more productive on a per game basis. That being said, the days of 20+ home run seasons are likely over. We could weep and wail and think of the good old days or we can appreciate the player he is now. He is still a fantasy regular, but you can wait a little while longer to pick him up on draft day.
James McCann—Detroit Tigers
5 Category: 21
6 Category: 24
There’s a prevailing wisdom for some in the industry that a hitter becomes who he is by his fourth full season in the big leagues. McCann has improved slightly in each of the first three seasons. The improvement has been incremental and not especially encouraging. He could become a .250/15/40/50/0/30 kind of player and if he does then the Tigers will have to decide if it is good enough to move forward with. If he improves defensively as well then it just might be enough.
Yadier Molina—St. Louis Cardinals
5 Category: 6
6 Category: 7
General managers seem to resemble insurance agents more than baseball guys these days. They know the actuary tables up and down and they all say to avoid catchers in their mid-thirties. The Cardinals are that type of organization and they still bought into Molina. Fantasy owners have to think the same way and yet I still have a hard time betting against Molina. He just overcomes the odds each and every season.
Salvador Perez—Kansas City Royals
5 Category: 4
6 Category: 9
There is no greater contrast than the contrast between a five category Perez and any other format. Take away the on base element and he could be one of the top three catchers off the board. He has gotten better in each season according to just those five categories. Include walks and OBP and suddenly you are looking at a totally different player. Sure, he’s still a starter, but the bloom is fully off the rose.