2024 Dynasty Baseball RankingsProspect Talk

THE DYNASTY GURU’S 2024 TOP 30 DYNASTY LEAGUE CATCHER PROSPECTS #1-#10

The prospect mavens have been working hard over the past few months here at the TDG offices to bring you some of the best consensuses at least in our opinion rankings of the top and not-so-top prospects in the game that will hopefully give you a leg up on your competition that just looks at the MLB.com rankings (with all due respect of course.) If you`ve been with us for a while you will generally see the same rollout as past years, one week will focus on outfielders, next on shortstops, and so forth.

This year however we decided to break down our rankings into tiers and provide commentary for each tier as a whole with multiple Guru`s chiming in where they see fit. This will provide more than just a single voice to the readers while letting the authors offer their opinions on players they deem worthy enough to write about. Hopefully, it will be a fun, informative read and you will come away with an idea of how a certain player is looked at by the industry.

As always, our rankings are geared towards a 15-team OBP roto league with a three to five-year view on our team.

This week we`ll be looking at the catcher position.

Tier 1

1Samuel Basallo
2Ethan Salas
3Harry Ford

There`s no surprise that Basallo ranks at the top of this list and the first base list. His future as a catcher is severely in doubt, with a recent stress fracture found in his throwing arm, and well the best catcher in the league is on his team. The hope is of course that Basallo can come and and spell Adley enough to maintain catcher eligibility.

I am pretty optimistic about Harry Ford, and envision him as a JT Realmuto clone, although he is admittedly still two or three years away (Ryan).

Basallo’s the real deal, and assuming he recovers from the injury, he’ll have plenty of opportunity to maintain catcher eligibility.  Last year, only one catcher had more plate appearances as DH than Adley Rutschman, so Basallo will have plenty of time behind the plate.   I’m as excited as anyone about Salas, but I really want to see another year. That means I’ll miss out in most leagues, but it’s hard to spend draft or trade capital on someone that young.  Harry Ford has had an OBP over .400 at all three levels he’s played and steals over 20 bases.  The Mariners don’t rush too many prospects, but I don’t mind having him marinate on a roster, it will be worth the wait. (Drew Klein)

Catchers, the massive thorn in a fantasy owner’s side. What to do about that position is always a question mark, year in and year out. This top tier of catching prospects is a microcosm of that dilemma. Samuel Basallo is soaring high this offseason because he dominated at each stop he made in the minors. Across Low-A, High-A, and Double-A, his triple slash line was .313/.402/.551, with 20 home runs, and 26 doubles. His plate discipline was above average at a 12.6% walk rate and a 19.5% strikeout rate. If there was ever a catcher that I would want as the long-term solution for the position, it is him. Harry Ford and Ethan Salas I am avoiding. Ford doesn’t bring the power or bat skills I would like to see, to warrant taking a chance on him at this high of value. In 118 games last year at High-A, his batting average sat at only .257 and he hit 15 home runs. While he did have great plate discipline, with an almost even walk and strikeout rate (18.3% and 19.4% respectively), and stole 24 bases, I just can’t get behind him in this first tier. The same goes for Ethan Salas, he was aggressively pushed to Double-A by the San Diego Padres and I think people are getting overly excited by that, when in fact his Low-A numbers did not support the jump up. He played in 48 games and had a triple slash line of .267/.350/.487, to go along with nine home runs, 11 doubles, and a 25.9% strikeout rate. Were the results great for a 17-year-old, you’re damn right they were, and that is what is pushing his ranking and prospect helium this offseason, projection. It is precisely the unreliable nature of projections as to why I prefer Basallo over Salas by a good margin (Brian Labude).

Stars are shining high in this tier. If I had to choose between Samuel Basallo and Ethan Salas, I’d take the Baltimore slugger. Basallo dominated Low-A with a 149 wRC+, but didn’t stop there as he rocketed up higher and higher to a 195 wRC+ at High-A, and ending the season with a 220 wRC+ in Double-A. The last two stops were in very small sample sizes though. Either way, he finished the season displaying great power, with 20 home runs and 26 doubles in 483 plate appearances. He even swiped 12 bases on the season. Despite going across the same levels as Basallo, Salas was not as noteworthy in the offensive arena. Part of that was due to being only 17 years old, but he did manage 9 home runs and 5 stolen bases on the season. A lot of Salas’ fantasy value comes from his age compared to the levels he has moved through. He may reach the majors as an 18-year-old or even a 19-year-old. How his offensive profile develops, however, remains highly variable. So right now, I would take Basallo and run to the bank to safeguard him and his superstar bat (Daniel Labude).

Tier 2

4Tyler Soderstrom
5Kyle Teel
6Jeferson Quero
7Austin Wells
8Moises Ballesteros
9Dalton Rushing
10Thayron Liranzo

I’m glad to see Soderstrom on the top of this tier. If managers in your leagues were disheartened by his poor showing during his call-up last year, jump in and make an offer.  He strikes out too much and doesn’t walk enough, but the power is real.  And since we’ve established we’re not afraid to go all in on very young players, we must like that Thayron Liranzo hit 24 home runs with a .400 OBP in Low-A as a 19 year old.  (Drew Klein)

I’ve spoken about Soderstrom a lot this offseason and I don’t think it’s enough. He is due for a big bounce-back year at the major league level and could play first base or DH this season to allow him to focus on his hitting. If that happens, we could see the dominant hitting from Triple-A a year ago. Austin Wells has big power and showed it during his cup of coffee with the Yankees last year. He hit four home runs and had six doubles in just 19 games. He is due to receive a large chunk of the time behind the plate this season and could hit 25-30 home runs. This could see him squeeze into the top 10 overall catcher rankings at this time next year. He has real upside value sitting in the middle of the second tier. The other big value catcher in this tier is Thayron Liranzo. He hit 24 home runs and 24 doubles at Low-A last year, while maintaining good plate discipline with a 16.7% walk rate and a 26.8% strikeout rate. Looking closer, his strikeout rate was 23.9% from June 1st to the end of the season (Brian Labude).

This tier has a lot of major league or near-major league talent. Tyler Soderstrom could be a great buy-low candidate after his struggles in 2023. He still hits the ball very hard and should see a lot of playing time in Oakland, if everything starts clicking again. Maybe the most underrated name here, even though he is in the Top 10, is Thayron Liranzo. He is tall, has a big frame, and can really launch baseballs. Maybe the most telling aspect though, is he is a switch hitter with a solid approach at the plate already. He walked 16.7% of the time in Low-A, as a 19-year-old for much of the season. To top it off, he had a .400 OBP in 2023. I expect big things for him as he moves up levels in the Dodgers’ organization (Daniel Labude).

 

The Author

Ryan Epperson

Ryan Epperson

Lead prospect analyst and managing editor for The Dynasty Guru.

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