Full rosters have reported to camp and spring games are beginning soon. Some of you have already begun your drafts while others are in full preparation. It can be difficult to sift through all of the various publications to make sense of their projections for the coming season. So, what we are doing in this space is combing all of them to come up with an aggregate projection. Most of these projections are done by computer, so they all come fairly close to each other anyway.
J.T. Realmuto– Philadelphia Phillies
Projection: .272/23 HR/72 Runs/75 RBI/7 SB
Realmuto takes the first spot for the second season in a row based primarily on his advantage in playing time. He will likely amass more runs and RBI than his counterparts in addition to an extra steal or two. He may or may not also have first base eligibility depending on the format. If you play in a six category format you might have to bump him down a peg or two.
Salvador Perez–Kansas City Royals
Projection: .253/26 HR/61 Runs/78 RBI/2 SB
Someone has to drive in runs for the Royals. Since they have no one to speak of at first base there is always the possibility of Perez playing some there in addition to designated hitter. As long as your league doesn’t count walks or OBP you are okay.
Yasmani Grandal–Chicago White Sox
Projection: .239/25 HR/73 Runs/74 RBI/3 SB
Grandal will play up in six category leagues because he is projected to lead all catchers in walks. That will also obviously help his OBP. When players move to new teams there is always a bit of a guess as to how ballpark effects will impact them. The White Sox should have one of the better offenses in the AL.
Gary Sanchez–New York Yankees
Projection: .242/31 HR/65 Runs/76 RBI/1 SB
The only question with Sanchez will be playing time. For one, he always seems to have nagging injuries that keep him from playing an entire season. Secondly, the Yankees will play Austin Romine as often as possible because of Sanchez’s shaky defense. Adjust accordingly.
Willson Contreras– Chicago Cubs
Projection: .258/18 HR/54 Runs/58 RBI/3 SB
Every position is unique and one of the unique qualities at catcher is the lack of separation between the top guys and the next tier. Contreras was rumored to be on the move during the winter, but that hasn’t happened. Who knows what direction the Cubs are going in these days.
Will Smith– Los Angeles Dodgers
Projection: .227/20 HR/52 Runs/58 RBI/3 SB
Fantasy titles are won on successful risks. No one wins playing it safe and Smith is a classic boon or bust pick. In his first month he was the reincarnation of Mickey Cochrane. In the second month he was the reincarnation of Bob Boone. Projections have him somewhere in the middle.
Wilson Ramos–New York Mets
Projection: .272/15 HR/48 Runs/56 RBI/1 SB
Ramos represents a player that narrowly missed my book (more info below). He has seemingly been around forever and he produces decent numbers year after year. He would be a solid pick if you choose to punt catcher. At his age there is always the danger that he will tumble off the cliff.
Mitch Garver–Minnesota Twins
Projection: .254/18 HR/54 Runs/55 RBI/1 SB
Every winning team has that guy that comes out of nowhere and has a season considerably out of context with their career norms. Garver was that guy for the Twins last season. Now he has the catching duties all to himself. He likely will be exposed with the league having a book on him.
Christian Vazquez–Boston Red Sox
Projection: .260/13 HR/51 Runs/53 RBI/5 SB
Computer modeling has to take the aggregate. This is the aggregate version of Vazquez, but it’s been a long time since we’ve seen him. There is so much up in the air with Boston, but what we do know is that they won’t be quite as good as they’ve been the past two seasons offensively.
Buster Posey– San Francisco Giants
Projection: .273/10 HR/53 Runs/52 RBI/2 SB
On a long enough timeline the survival rate drops to zero. There is nothing quite as insidious as the memory of a great player. I’m fairly certain that Posey will be a Hall of Famer some day. He is still one of the best defensively, but the bat just isn’t there anymore.
Yadier Molina–St. Louis Cardinals
Projection: .262/12 HR/45 Runs/51 RBI/4 SB
You can trace these pages and other pages back several years and find someone that told you that this would be the season where Molina finally loses it offensively. Mind you, he’s not perfect. He has a low walk rate and his power has never been consistent, but he consistently produces otherwise. I’m going to stop projecting his demise.
Carson Kelly– Arizona Diamondbacks
Projection: .247/16 HR/47 Runs/51 RBI/1 SB
Baseball is a unique sport. In almost every other sport, the team that gets the best player in a trade usually wins the trade. The Dbacks showed you can give up a superstar and win the trade by bringing back three or four solid players. Kelly is solid, but his durability helps him play up. His rate statistics won’t help you, but you can do a lot worse overall.
Travis d’Arnaud– Atlanta Braves
Projection: .255/14 HR/43 Runs/48 RBI/1 SB
Everyone has that favorite singer or actor that produces a great album or film and then disappears. Then, they come back and do it again five years later. That’s d’Arnaud. I’m not sure what you’ll get, but since he’s sharing time with Tyler Flowers he might not get the same amount of time as the guys above him.
Kurt Suzuki– Washington Nationals
Projection: .265/13 HR/37 Runs/45 RBI/1 SB
Suzuki is great for rate statistics (as long as you aren’t worried about OBP). At this point, he could be a decent platoon partner with another lesser catcher. He will share time with Yan Gomes, so his counting numbers won’t be there. Still, when you tumble out of the top twelve you are likely looking at a fantasy bench slot anyway.
Omar Narvaez– Milwaukee Brewers
Projection: .263/12 HR/42 Runs/44 RBI/1 SB
Narvaez plays up considerably in six category leagues. His main issue is on the defensive end. Two organizations have given up on him despite strong offensive numbers for a catcher. As pitch framing because more and more valuable, his playing time could diminish.
Author’s Note: The Hall of Fame Index Part II is coming soon. Keep an eye out here for a link so you can pre-order the book. It will be available electronically with some limited availability in paperback.