2018 Fantasy Baseball: Generation Next– Catchers
Thirty players is a lot of players to profile at every position, but there are always players that slip through the cracks for one reason or another. Usually it is because they are young and have not built up enough of a track record. Sometimes it is because they have been backups and are poised to become regulars. Either way, we don’t want to expose them to the ranking system, but we also don’t want to completely ignore them. So, we include them here in their own special article.
We are still utilizing the total points system because it allows us to look at their per game production. Of course, even that is not necessarily analogous to the other catchers because they may have come into the game as a pinch hitter or defensive replacement late in the game. So, we will not rank them, but we will include the same formula as before.
Total Bases + Runs + RBI + SB + BB + HBP – SO – CS – GIDP = Total Points
Jorge Alfaro—Philadelphia Phillies
Sample size is the bane of our existence. In a little more than a month of action, Alfaro hit five home runs and hit over .300. That’s the good news. The bad news is that his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was well over .400. Catchers, in particular, usually do not see their career average in that category come much over .300. So, either Alfaro will need to improve in other categories (like contact) or he will look rather ordinary in 2018 by comparison. However, beating out Cameron Rupp should not be much of a challenge.
Austin Hedges—San Diego Padres
Hedges was a remarkable +20 in 2015. That was 20 runs in only 56 games. Hedges comes out much worse in a total points environment because he strikes out a lot and also carries a very low average. His power is intriguing in a five-category format and there is always the chance that he can develop better contact skills. His defense will keep him in the lineup in the meantime, so he is a decent flier option late in the draft.
Caleb Joseph—Baltimore Orioles
Joseph has been a consistent defender over the years, but his 14 runs served as a career high despite the fact that he played in more games in 2014 and 2016. It’s hard to say how much these offensive numbers really mean given the fact that he served as a defensive replacement for a number of those games. Welington Castillo decided to opt out of his player option, so the job belongs to Joseph unless they bring in someone that they consider to be a better hitter or re-sign Castillo.
Bruce Maxwell—Oakland Athletics
Maxwell has two strikes against him even before you look at his performance. First, he was the first ML player to kneel during the national anthem following the whole Trump vs. NFL controversy. That alone would likely mean little, but he also had a gun charge a few weeks following that. The combination is not promising for a player with marginal numbers. He could develop into a solid everyday catcher, but it is also possible the Athletics may think he isn’t worth the headache. Politics should always fall far and away from fantasy sports, but occasionally they collide. We only mention it here as it pertains to potential drags on his playing time.
Omar Narvaez—Chicago White Sox
In the mid 1980s, the Reds were embarking on their own rebuilding period following the retirement of the last of the Big Red Machine. They had two young shortstops that were highly touted. One was Kurt Stillwell. Many were convinced that he was going to be the next Dave Concepcion. The other was Barry Larkin. We know how history turned out. The White Sox have two young catchers that could both make it. Neither of them could make it. It is more than likely that only one will make it. The top 30 rankings pegged Kevan Smith as that guy, but it is really only because he has more of a track record. Narvaez has just as much of a chance as Smith to take over.