2024 Dynasty Baseball RankingsDynasty Baseball

TDG’S 2024 PLAYERS TO TARGET: CATCHER

This is a companion piece to our 2024 Dynasty League Rankings. The opinions below are my own and do not reflect the TDG consensus.

Cal Raleigh, Seattle Mariners (AGE: 27, RANK: 8)

For the catcher position in dynasty leagues, I usually like to punt drafting or trading for them until the later rounds, as you can usually get similar value to the mid-tier guys either late or off the waiver wire. However, this last season and definitely for 2024, one of my big targets has been Cal Raleigh. You can usually get him after the first tier of catchers and he can bring value that almost matches or exceeds those top guys. 

Raleigh has never been a player that will give you good triple slash line numbers, but what he does give you is counting stats that rival, or surpass the top-tier catchers. In 2023, he hit 30 home runs and 23 doubles, which ranked first and ninth among qualified catchers. He also ranked fourth with a .762 OPS, ahead of players like J.T. Realmuto. In the offensive production department, he had 75 RBI which ranked sixth.

With Raleigh still only being 27-years-old and entering his third full season in the majors, I think his stats can actually improve from what he has shown so far. His strikeout rates decreased from 35.2% in his rookie season, to 29.4% in 2022, then to 27.8% last year. His walk rates have similarly increased year-over-year, 4.7%, 9.2%, and 9.5%. His zone swing percentage has decreased year-over-year as well, while his zone contact percentage has increased. To me, this shows he is being more selective within the strike zone and is looking for the right pitch to drive. This is also backed up by his first pitch swing rate, which dropped from 45.3% in 2022 to 35.3% in 2023. The big negative that seems to be holding him back, is his tendency to chase pitches out of the zone. In 2023, his chase rate sat at 31.4%, almost 3% above the major league average. 

If Raleigh can continue to improve his plate discipline and avoid chasing pitches out of the zone, his stats in 2024, and beyond, could really give you similar values to that of the top-tier catchers. I want all of him I can get, even if there is not a large jump in his production. The return on value is just too good to pass up. 

Tyler Soderstrom, Oakland Athletics (AGE: 22, RANK: 18)

Tyler Soderstrom is a catcher that I’m targeting while his value is pretty low after a terrible rookie season. He is still very young, just recently turning 22-years-old. If there is ever a position in baseball that takes a longer time to adjust to the major league level, it’s catchers. They have to balance their duties at the plate, with managing a pitching staff and calling a game. Usually, they can see their production suffer during this transition period, and is the reason why I want to get Soderstrom on my teams, whenever and wherever possible. 

At Triple-A in 2023, Soderstrom put up good numbers, a triple slash line of .252/.308/.526, 22 home runs, and 17 doubles. His plate discipline was hit or miss, as he didn’t walk much, 7.5% of the time. His strikeout rate was fairly average and not that worrisome, 26.3%. He forced an in-season call-up by the Athletics, showing he could be a big power bat in their middling lineup. Once up at the major league level, the balloon burst and his value really tanked from an all-time high. He had a triple slash line of .160/.232/.240, with only four extra-base hits in 45 games. The only encouraging signs that could be found over his rookie season were that his walk rate sat at 8% and his strikeout rate rose, but not extremely, to 31.2%. 

With an offseason at the major league level, I fully expect Soderstrom to have gone through and completed any adjustments he needed to, in order to get on familiar ground with the pitching staff. The next stage should be an improvement at the plate, as he should be able to now focus easier on his at-bats and not worry as much about the catching side of the game. In Triple-A he had a hard hit rate of 47.1%. If he can get back to those levels, but in Oakland, then look for him to move up the rankings and quickly. 

The Author

Brian Labude

Brian Labude

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