Uncategorized

THE DYNASTY GURU’S 2020 TOP 50 DYNASTY LEAGUE CATCHERS, #1-20

WELCOME BACK!!! Despite a scorching hot stove (I can’t believe the player you’re thinking of did or did not sign with the team you thought they would!), January and February can be some of the darkest months of the year (figuratively and literally). But fear not, restless readers. The Dynasty Guru is here to the rescue.

While you were celebrating the holidays and ushering in the New Year, our brave group of writers has been ranking, debating, re-ranking, re-debating, and re-re-ranking over 600 players for dynasty leagues. The fruits of our efforts will be filling January and February with the deepest, most thoroughly and painstakingly selected dynasty baseball rankings on the internet. We have top-40s, top-50s, top-125s, top-200s, and of course top-500s (of course!).

The Dynasty Guru’s hard-working staff has spent countless hours crafting these rankings, and we hope you enjoy and continue to support our efforts.

So I hope you enjoy the package that the TDG team has put together here. And if you do, I hope that you will make a donation to show appreciation for the content you’ve seen here at the Dynasty Guru and share our content far and wide. You can do that through the field below. All donations are truly appreciated. 

Donate To TDG

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $5

Without further ado, it’s time to begin our 2020 consensus rankings by looking at the league’s top-20 finest catchers in dynasty leagues. A few names reign supreme in the wasteland of fantasy catcher, but between a bunch of young studs emerging along with some stable vets, catcher is actually interesting!

1. JT Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies, (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 1)

In 2019, Realmuto continued his streak of improving year over year with another stellar performance, posting his first-ever 5+ fWAR season. Hitting in a great park and possibly with a little help from the ball, Realmuto posted his fifth consecutive career-high in homers, runs, and RBI. In last year’s comments, I wrote that I expected Realmuto to hit double-digit steals once again, but unfortunately, he fell just one shy of that mark (though still an improvement over his three in 2018). There was a lot of debate for the #1 spot, but with his power/speed combo Realmuto ultimately won out for the second year in a row on our rankings. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

2. Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees, (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 2)

In an injury-stubbed 2019, Sanchez was still able to top 100 games for only the second time in his career. The impressive part was that even in just 106 games, Sanchez was able to post a career-high 34 homers, topping his previous high of 33 in 2017. It seemed as though the ball may have changed Sanchez’s approach to sell out for power, however, as his walk rate dropped 3% and his strikeout rate increased 3%. In the current Yankees lineup, he doesn’t need to be the OBP horse he was in his first couple of seasons, but those holes were enough to keep him from jumping up to the top slot. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

3. Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs, (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 3)

2019 was Contreras’ best season to date. A big part of that was his hard-hit rate, which took a tumble in 2018 and really stunted his stat line but improved to 41.5% last year. Due to his low launch angle (6.5 degrees), he really needs to hit the ball harder for good things to happen, and that’s exactly what he was able to do in 2019. It’s risky to rely on that profile form year to year, as we’ve seen with him, but Contreras does have the ability to repeat it. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

4. Adley Rutschman, Baltimore Orioles, (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)

The first overall pick in the draft from last season, Rutschman is an advanced college bat that should be able to shoot up the minors and pop up in Baltimore in no time. Although his debut stat line in 2019 isn’t very exciting, there are plenty of reasons to be encouraged. His .351 OBP is a strong mark for his first taste of pro ball, and almost half of his hits went for extra bases. He covered three levels of the minors and walked at a rate of over 12% at each stop showing his advanced feel for the strike zone. Debuting in the top five of positional rankings isn’t easy, even at catcher, but the potential is just too juicy not to love. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

5. Yasmani Grandal, Chicago White Sox, (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 7)

Grandal has been a wildly consistent staple behind the dish for a few years now and joining his third team in three years, 2020 should be no different. Last season, Grandal added to his already impressive arsenal by walking at a career-high 17% rate which lead to him posting the best OBP of his career at .380. Guaranteed Rate Field isn’t the hitter haven that Milwaukee is, but with him hitting around the likes of Abreu, Encarnacion, Moncada and the like, I’m not sure it’s going to matter. He’ll post massive counting stats again and will continue his run of consistency as a fantasy player. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

6. Will Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers, (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 21)

The Dodgers farm system is loaded with catchers but their volume play seems to have paid off, because as soon as Smith debuted he started mashing the ball at an unbelievable rate. It’s a small-ish sample size of 54 games but it’s enough to analyze his batted ball profile and it’s rather insane. Smith posted a launch angle of 23(!) degrees, which is over double the league average. Paired with his above-average 90 miles an hour exit velocity and you have the recipe for 15 homers in 54 games. With both above-average pop time and framing, there shouldn’t be any question about his ability to stay at the position. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

7. Mitch Garver, Minnesota Twins (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 40) 

Mitch Garver was the breakout player at the position, tallying 4 times as many homers in 2019 as the previous two seasons combined, all in 33 fewer games. It didn’t take long for Garver to unseat Everyone’s Favorite Tortoise, Willians Astudillo, and claiming the starting job for himself until he ran into an injury down the stretch. Garver’s success came from punishing the baseball with a barrel rate in the top 4% of the league and a hard-hit rate in the top 3% of the league. Coming into the season with not much competition at the position, Garver should have plenty of leash to go off once more. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

8. Joey Bart, San Francisco Giants, (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 9)

The pride of the catcher position, until one year later when Rutschman came along, Bart has posted a couple of very good seasons on the farm reaching Double-A just one year after being drafted. Bart followed up his solid second season of pro ball with a stellar showing in the Arizona Fall League as well. Able to hit for power, average, OBP, and now adding steals to his arsenal (although still with some work to do on those only swiping 5 in 9 attempts), the potential for Posey 2.0 is a lazy comp, but also a very accurate one. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

9. Omar Narvaez, Milwaukee Brewers, (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 30)

We’re not supposed to talk about our personal rankings in these comments but, being the rebel I am (eat it, Ian), I’m going to do it anyway. I fought really hard to get Narvaez in the top ten for two reasons, one because I had the comments for 1 through 10 and I really wanted to write it, and two because he’s awesome. I get that his defense was less than good (literally ranking dead last among catchers last year) but that doesn’t matter all that much in fantasy outside of position eligibility. Narvaez launched 22 bombs last season in Seattle, which is not an easy feat even with a juiced ball. Now taking his skills to Milwaukee, a 30-dong season should be within reach for Narvaez and I am pumped. No matter what type of league you’re in, Narvaez is a great bat to have as his double-digit walk ability makes him a rare average and OBP talent at the catcher position. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

10. Sal Perez, Kansas City Royals, (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 4)

Perez had been a top 5 staple until he lost all of last season due to Tommy John, which is the reason for his fall to the bottom of the top ten. Given his track record pre-injury, it’s possible this is a very low ranking. Also considering he’s a 30-year-old catcher coming off major surgery, this could also end up being a high ranking by season’s end. Giving Perez the benefit of the doubt, however, his track record is solid enough that he’s a solid target at the position who should post a line close to, .250/300/450 with 20+ homers and as many RBIs as the Royals’ weird line up will allow. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

11. Daulton Varsho, Arizona Diamondbacks (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 15) 

This prospect crushed Double-A pitching throughout all of 2019, wrapping the year up with a 159 wRC+ and 18 dingers, while playing a position that typically does not bring incredible offensive production to the table. That will garner some attention. Varsho has the ability to be a top-five dynasty catcher within the next two to three years if he is able to stick defensively at catcher. The emergence of Carson Kelly as an above-average catching option certainly makes it feel like Varsho is destined for the outfield. Despite that, he is still a wonderful hitting prospect that should rake at whichever position he ultimately ends up at. This situation reminds of Kyle Schwarber from a couple of years ago, and I think Varsho could end up being Schwarber-like. (Joseph Garino)

12. Fransisco Mejia, San Diego Padres (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 5)

Quite possibly one of the most polarizing names on our entire catcher list, Mejia has been a prospect worth watching for quite a while. 2020 seems like it is going to be Mejia’s first shot at a full season behind the plate for the Padres. Steamer currently has Mejia projected for a .257 batting average and a .307 OBP. His 80-grade arm is going to keep him behind the plate, and within the next couple of years he should be able to tap into his hit and power tools. I think the ceiling here is Salvador Perez and the floor is probably somewhere close to Martin Maldonado. (Joseph Garino)

13. Sean Murphy, Oakland A’s (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 20) 

This 25-year-old catcher should assume most of the catching duties in Oakland for the next few years. One of my baseball biases happens to be giving an edge to players that play for smart organizations. The A’s have been embracing the launch angle revolution and with big league coaches, Murphy has the potential to hit 20+ HR in any given season. Even in the biggest home run year of all time, only eight catchers hit more than 20 HR. Murphy could be joining that list as early as 2020 and has proven that his hit tool could be of great benefit to owners by hitting .308 in Triple-A throughout 2019. We could be looking at a .275/.350/.450 catcher with great defensive grades. (Joseph Garino)

14. Carson Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 25)

One of the main pieces in the Paul Goldschmidt trade, Kelly had been stuck behind Yadier Molina for years but was finally given a full time shot in 2019 as the Diamondbacks starter. Kelly ran with this opportunity and posted a .826 OPS which was the 5th highest in baseball amongst catchers (minimum 300 PA.) Kelly is the reason previously mentioned D-Backs prospect Daulton Varsho might end up in the outfield. Varsho’s bat is much more valuable than Kelly’s and the D-Backs might be inclined to move the best bat into the position that will bring more PA. It would not surprise me if Kelly jumped into the Top 10 by this time next year. (Joseph Garino)

15. Danny Jansen, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 6)

Jansen came into 2019 as one of the hottest young Catchers in the game. The only word to describe his 2019 campaign would be disappointing- posting a .640 OPS and 68 wRC+ is not a good start to any career. But that does not mean Jansen should be forgotten. Despite his 2019 numbers, we should remember that it was only 384 PA and crazy things can happen in small samples such as this one. I do not think a 68 wRC+ is Jansen’s true talent level, but his 116 wRC+ in 2018 (95 PA) is probably closer to his production ceiling. Steamer has Jansen down for a .756 OPS in 2020 and that number seems just right. It’s reasonable to expect 300-400 PA behind the plate for this young catcher with reasonable offensive production for the next three to five years. (Joseph Garino)

16. Wilson Ramos, New York Mets (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 8)

After looking at a couple of young calves, we are now looking into the old buffalo. Ramos has been a consistent offensive force behind the plate since his Nationals days. After signing a deal with the Mets last offseason, Ramos posted a 14 HR season with a 105 wRC+ and THE FIRST STOLEN BASE OF HIS CAREER! It is reasonable to expect Ramos to continue producing at a high level for at least the next two years while seeing regular PA behind the plate for the Mets. If you’re entering a win now period in your league and need an option behind the plate, slotting Ramos into that spot and forgetting about it for the rest of the next couple seasons would not be the worst play in the world. (Joseph Garino)

17. Jorge Alfaro, Miami Marlins (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 12)

The Marlins wanted a catcher back in the J.T. Realmuto deal and that is what they received. Alfaro followed a solid 2018 season with a strikingly similar 2019. Despite these two seasons, Steamer has Alfaro regressing in 2020 as he enters his age-27 season. Considering Alfaro’s .406 BABIP in 2018 and .364 in 2019, it is difficult to see Alfaro posting a season better than his 2018 and 19 seasons anytime in the future. His name probably holds more value in trades than it would in your lineup. (Joseph Garino)

18. Christian Vasquez, Boston Red Sox (Age: 29, Previous Rank: NR) 

Talk about a breakout season- Vazquez transformed into one of the best offensive catchers in Baseball after changing his swing before the 2019 season. A career-high .798 OPS and 23 HR (His previous career high was 5!) has made me a big believer in Vazquez moving forward. He is entering his age-29 season, but his swing change has turned him from unviable in Fantasy formats, to one of the most valuable Major League ready catchers in the game. There is still reason for caution here as it was only one season, but other swing changers have shown that these launch angle leaps are real and should be treated as such. (Joseph Garino)

19. Keibert Ruiz, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 11) 

2019 was not an incredible year statistically for Ruiz. Despite a .659 OPS at Double-A in 2019, Ruiz walked more than he struck out (BB% of 9 and K% of 6.8). This is a very encouraging sign moving forward, and the Dodgers felt this was true as well by moving him to Triple-A to finish the season. Ruiz will be more valuable in average leagues but should be viable in any fantasy format depending on playing time. Should the Dodgers choose to move Ruiz, his value could shoot up tremendously. Will Smith is going to be the number one option behind the plate for the next couple of years, but Ruiz should be valuable no matter where he goes. (Joseph Garino)

20. Luis Campusano, San Diego Padres (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR) 

A monster season at High-A Lake Elsinore has Campusano joining the top of the incredible Padres farm system. At age 20 he posted a 148 wRC+ and a .906 OPS while walking 10.7% of the time and striking out 11.7% of the time. Incredible plate discipline coupled with a solid bat and power ability could turn Campusano into one of the most valuable dynasty catchers by the end of 2020. He should start the season at Double-A for the Padres and could be up by the end of the 2020 season if Mejia takes a step back. 2021 is the expectation, but this might be your last chance to grab Campusano before he becomes untouchable. (Joseph Garino)

 

 

The Author

Keaton O. DeRocher

Keaton O. DeRocher

Keaton O. DeRocher is a Data and Tech Consultant in Chicago, Senior Baseball Writer for The Dynasty Guru and writer for Over The Monster. A voice on Dynasty's Child podcast and on the Over The Monster podcast network. Lover of bat flips, brunch, and Bombay Sapphire. His High School batting average was .179 and he lead the team in strikeouts. Follow him on Twitter @TheSpokenKeats

2 Comments

  1. Marshall Echols
    January 2, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    I love this time of the year! Can’t wait to see the rest of the lists!!

  2. Jeffrey
    January 5, 2020 at 8:33 am

    If Victor Caratini had an everyday gig would he be top 40?

Previous post

Santa Musings and A List of Five Players to Watch

Next post

THE DYNASTY GURU’S 2020 TOP 50 DYNASTY LEAGUE CATCHERS, #21-40