THE DYNASTY GURU’S 2020 TOP 50 DYNASTY LEAGUE CATCHERS, #21-40
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
Without further ado, it’s time to begin our 2020 consensus rankings by looking at the league’s 21-40 finest catchers in dynasty leagues.
21) Travis d’Arnaud, Atlanta Braves (Age: 30, Previous Rank: NR)
D’Arnaud entered the 2018 season coming off a career year that had fantasy owners optimistic that he could live up to his 1st round draft pedigree. That hope came crashing down as the oft-injured catcher tore his UCL and opted for Tommy John surgery. After 11 games in 2019, the Mets had finally decided to move on, releasing him after a horrid start to the season. Two days later he was a Dodger, which ended with one at bat. Tampa Bay gave him a shot as a backup to Mike Zunino and he flourished, matching his career high in home runs at 16. Signing a two-year deal with Atlanta in the off season may cut down his at bats but will probably help him stay healthy as he splits time with Tyler Flowers. Similar numbers can be expected from the backstop in 2020. (Paul Monte)
22) Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants (Age: 33, Previous Rank: 10)
The descent has been quick and painful. There were many who bet on the bounce back last year after the hip surgery; they lost. The decline in the batting average all the way down to .257 was the most troubling, as you could always rely on a high floor from Posey in that category. The power is gone, and Oracle Park won’t help bring it back. Posey has two years remaining on his 8-year $159M deal, but Joey Bart is expected to debut this year as the Giants continue to rebuild their roster. It’s tough to see an owner reaching for Posey in a startup draft, and although the catcher ranks are a disaster the further you get down the list it may be tough for him to stay in the top 25 one more year. (Paul Monte)
23) Tyler Stephenson, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)
The path of a catcher drafted out of High School is filled with obstacles, and Stephenson, like many before him, hit some bumps in the road. Struggling to stay healthy after being drafted 11th overall in 2015, he has put together two consecutive healthy seasons. He has taken advantage of that health and checked several boxes on the developmental checklist, posting his best offensive season and following it up with an impressive Arizona Fall League debut. Tucker Barnhart will begin the season as the starter for a Reds team that has playoff aspirations, but should Barnhart struggle we may see Stephenson make his MLB debut earlier than some would expect in 2019. The final step will be getting the raw power that sits in his 6’4” frame to show itself in game action; if that power comes, he could be a steal at his current price. (Paul Monte)
24) Francisco Alvarez, New York Mets (Age: 18, Previous Rank: NR)
If signing as a High School draftee is fraught with challenges, imagine signing a 16-year-old, which is exactly what the Mets did on July 2, 2018. Fast forward 18 months and Alvarez has shot up the prospect rankings with an extremely impressive debut. After a very short stint in the Gulf Coast League, the then 17-year-old catcher was assigned to the Appalachian League where he was the youngest batter in the league. This did not stop him from posting a 129 wRC+ in 35 games. There is little concern about his defensive skills, which increases his fantasy value even more. Rutschman and Bart will keep the top of the prospect list warm in 2020 but it would not be a surprise to see the young Mets catcher up there to begin 2021. (Paul Monte)
25) Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals (Age 37, Previous Rank: 14)
The fact that Yadi could be the father of the player slotted directly above him speaks to the numbers he has been able to produce over his long career. At 37 years old he still finds himself in the top 25 rankings at catcher for dynasty leagues. After just missing a top 10 finish in redraft rankings in 2019 it would be tough to expect improvement as Father Time continues to chase Molina down. You can expect a batting average that will hover around .270 and a slight bump in power after dealing with thumb injuries last season. Win-now teams would be smart to check in on his availability as the cost should be minimal. (Paul Monte)
26) Zack Collins, Chicago White Sox (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 23)
Collins landed in the 26th spot of our rankings just over a week before the White Sox decided to sign Edwin Encarnacion. Sure, this is dynasty, Collins is young and E5 signing a one-year deal is just a blip in the road. The White Sox now have 5 catchers on their 40-man roster, two are in Triple-A, so Collins looks like he will stick on the big club even though he has two options remaining. Collins may not start 2021 with catcher eligibility and that will hurt. He’s been an OBP monster in the minors but struggled in his debut in 2019. It’s tough to see the silver lining in the short term. (Paul Monte)
27) Chance Sisco, Baltimore Orioles (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 29)
As we move further down the list of any position, warts get bigger and bigger. Sisco has amassed 345 at-bats over the last three years, and while the .203 career batting average is not great, this is the catcher position. The power that Sisco possessed as a prospect came through a bit more in 2019 as he managed to hit eight home runs. Locked into the strong side of the platoon in a good hitters park makes him a decent catcher in two-catcher leagues, especially those with daily moves. He should get his first full season in the majors, and that may allow him to settle in. If all breaks right, we could have a 15 home run catcher. (Paul Monte)
28) Robinson Chirinos, Free Agent (Age 35, Previous Rank: 28)
Chirinos has been a very consistent performer over the past three seasons, hitting 17 or 18 home runs and hitting for an average right around his career average of .234. The difference this year is he is without a team and at 35-years-old it may be unlikely that he sees another season with over 400 plate appearances. Colorado would be a great place for Chirinos to finish up his career and there are some rumblings that he could end up there. Wherever he ends up, he will be cheap come draft day and likely undervalued for what he can give you over the next couple of seasons. (Paul Monte)
29) Roberto Perez, Cleveland Indians (Age: 31, Previous Rank: NR)
From 2014 to 2018 Perez had hit a total of 21 home runs. In 2019, he hit 24. The increases were huge in all statistical categories, large enough that he finished the year as a top-15 catcher. He will regress, but the question is how much. Early projections have him ranging from 13 HR (Steamer) to 21 HR (Mastersball). For dynasty purposes, he seems to have a couple of years of value left in him, but offseason ankle surgery might slow him at the start of spring training, and the Indians did trade for Sandy Leon in early December. Perez should get the same opportunities he had last year as the Indians #1 catcher. (Paul Monte)
30) Alejandro Kirk, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
Kirk did not start the 2019 season on many top prospect lists, but an aggressive push by the Blue Jays saw the catcher finish the season in High-A. After signing as an 18-year-old in 2016 he was involved in a car accident where he suffered a broken hand and missed significant time. He has progressed quickly on the offensive side, putting up impressive numbers wherever he has played. He will need to work on his defensive abilities (as well as conditioning) as he continues to grow, as he has a bit of Willians Astudillo in him. 5’9” 220 is his listed weight, and I need his scale, because if he’s 220 I’m…well, closer to what my driver’s license says my weight is. It’s worth noting that Kirk finished 8th on our own Jordan Rosenblum’s “Top 3030 Hitting Prospects by Peak MLB wOBA Projections.” (Paul Monte)
31) Andrew Knizer, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 24, Previous Rank: NR)
Drafted in 2016, Andrew Knizner draws comparisons to Kurt Suzuki and Russell Martin. Over four minor league seasons, he has netted a .303/.369/.461 batting line. With his quick bat skills, he is a line-drive hitter to all fields with some pop in his bat. With a low strikeout rate, he projects to be a .270-.280 hitter with double-digit home run power.
Last year, he ranked as TDG’s 9th best catching prospect, and prior to the 2019 season, his talent convinced the Cardinals to trade Carson Kelly, making him heir apparent to Yadier Molina. He had a cup of coffee with the Cardinals in 2019, and entering the final season of Molina’s contract, the time is nearing for him to fully take over the reins as the next catcher in St. Louis. You will want him on your roster when that opportunity arrives. (Steven D. Jaeger)
32) Willians Astudillo, Minnesota Twins (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 17)
Last year, based in large part due to his contact skills, virtually non-existent strikeout rate, and fun personality, Willians Astudillo was one of the trendiest picks heading into the pre-season. But during the season, he was blocked by Jason Castro and Mitch Garver, and dealt with some mid-season injuries causing him to struggle to contribute. As a result, he only accumulated a completely forgettable .268 with 4 homers and 21 RBI. This year, Astudillo enters as Garver’s primary backup, which will allow him the opportunity to bump up his counting stats. With a current composite ADP in the 400s, there can certainly be some value here given his high batting average upside and low double-digit home run potential. Just don’t draft him expecting much else. (Steven D. Jaeger)
33) Diego Cartaya, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 18, Previous Rank: 43)
After signing with the Dodgers in 2018, Diego Cartaya has drawn comparisons to Salvador Perez. He posted a solid .281/.343/.432 in his first professional season in 2019. Most notable was his production in the Arizona Rookie League, where he produced a .296/.353/.437 line, along with three home runs and 10 doubles in just 36 games. He possesses above-average contact skills, patience and pitch recognition, along with some gap power. The main drawback is that his power potential may be limited given the lack of lift in his swing.
At only 18 years old, he ranks as one of the best prospects in the Dodgers system. Unfortunately, his arrival time may be three or four years out, and a lot can happen in that time span. Definitely a name to watch in dynasty leagues, just not for 2020. (Steven D. Jaeger)
34) Miguel Amaya, Chicago Cubs (Age: 20, Previous Rank: 37)
Miguel Amaya is billed as one of the top prospects in the Cubs farm system and has represented them the last two years in the Futures Games. This may be more indicative of the lack of young talent in the Cubs farm system than an indication of Amaya’s skill level.
During the last three minor league seasons, he has failed to show much of anything to get excited about, compiling a composite line of .243/.334/.375. Amaya struggles with being overaggressive. He has shown double-digit home run power over the past two seasons, hitting 12 in 2018 and 11 in 2019, which offers at least a glimmer of hope that he may develop into a multi-category contributor someday. But for now, that day appears to be a long way off. (Steven D. Jaeger)
35) Ivan Herrera, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 19, Previous Rank: NR)
This kid can flat out play, and so far, has gone virtually unnoticed in dynasty league conversations. Over 592 minor league at bats, he has amassed a .284/.374/.405 line. While he likely won’t ever develop into a major power threat, he has compiled 11 home runs, 99 RBIs, and scored 92 runs. As an 18/19-year-old, he has exhibited a plate discipline and contact rate far beyond his experience level. Herrera’s talent and ability likely played a role in the Cardinals’ decision to trade Carson Kelly, and while Knizner is undoubtedly the heir to Molina, if he doesn’t perform Herrera may not be too far behind. Keep an eye on him in dynasty leagues. (Steven D. Jaeger)
36) Bo Naylor, Cleveland Indians (Age: 19, Previous Rank: 36)
Bo Naylor maintains his ranking from TDG 2019 catcher rankings. In 2018 rookie ball, he finished with a .274/.381/.402 line. This resulted in him starting 2019 as one of the youngest players in A-ball, skipping low-A entirely. On the surface, Naylor’s numbers suggest he struggled, particularly by ending with only a .243/.313/.421 line.
But his 2019 stat line shows the promising future he may have in store for dynasty team owners. He is a plus hitter with average power and is unquestionably a superior athlete. This was displayed by his ability to lead the Midwest League in triples (10) in 2019. He also hit 11 home runs and 18 doubles, pulling down the baseball equivalent of a triple-double as a catcher! Naylor also has 12 career stolen bases, showing his speed ability. Some in the industry suggest that this athleticism may move Naylor off of catcher and perhaps to second or third base, but either way, he will eventually work his way into a major league lineup. When that happens, dynasty leaguers will want to have him in their lineup. (Steven D. Jaeger)
37) Ronaldo Hernandez, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)
Ronaldo Hernandez cracks TDG’s catching top 50 for the first time, ranking #7 on TDG’s 2019 catching prospect list. His career development has been back and forth. Drafted in 2014, Hernandez had to switch positions from third base to catcher, which slowed his progress. In 2018, he took low-Class A by storm, hitting .284/.339/.494 with 21 home runs. He also won the Midwest League Home Run Derby. Then, in 2019, he digressed in the Florida State League.
Hernandez possesses plus raw power and above-average contact skills, meaning there is potential here. In addition, the best thing going for Hernandez is the lack of catching depth ahead of him in Tampa Bay. He is likely only a year or so away from an MLB-ready job and is worthy of keeping an eye on during that time for dynasty league players. (Steven D. Jaeger)
38) Sam Huff, Texas Rangers (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
Sam Huff is another player on this list who has excellent athleticism for a catcher. That, coupled with plus power, could result in a solid top-tier dynasty league catcher. Over the past two seasons, he has amassed 46 home runs and 15 stolen bases, a rare combination for any catcher. A drawback of his game is his lack of plate discipline, as he does strike out a lot and walk very little (156-33, respectively, in 2019). In fact, he has a career strikeout rate. of 31.4%.
Huff gained some fantasy notoriety in 2019 by earning MVP honors at the Futures Game with his game-tying home run. He also was named Baseball America’s Texas Ranger Minor League Player of the Year. Huff is a name that needs to stay on your radar in dynasty leagues as long as he remains a catcher. (Steven D. Jaeger)
39) Tom Murphy, Seattle Mariners (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 39)
Another player holding his rank from 2018, Tom Murphy was traded to the Seattle Mariners at the beginning of the 2019 season. In large part, Murphy had a solid year in a part-time role. He proved that his power numbers could exist outside of Colorado, smashing 18 home runs, and hitting for a .273 batting average in only 281 at-bats. But the batting average is an outlier, and over a full season, recent years suggest that fantasy owners should expect 15 to 20 home runs with a batting average struggling to reach .230. He may be serviceable in deep, multi catcher leagues, but in one catcher dynasty leagues, better and safer options should be available. (Steven D. Jaeger)
40) Ryan Jeffers, Minnesota Twins (Age:22, Previous Rank: NR)
Jeffers possesses above-average power and a solid approach at the plate. Though many thought the Twins reached for him in the second round of the 2018 draft, he was one of only 22 players to hit double-digit home runs and one of four to do it in less than 80 games in the Florida State League in 2019. He will likely start 2020 in Double-A and is expected to arrive in the majors at some point in 2021. A name to monitor. (Steven D. Jaeger)