On Saturday’s episode of FanRag Fantasy Baseball, I provided a brief overview of the catcher position for 2018.
It’s probably no surprise to anyone that, in 2017, catchers collectively produced a lower batting average, got on base at a lower rate and hit for a lower Iso than hitters as a whole (excluding pitchers). Major leaguers stole a total of 2523 bases, but catchers stole only 80 (or 3.2 percent) of those.
Hitters as a whole finished 2017 with a .259 Avg. Of catchers with at least 250 plate appearances, only Buster Posey (.320), Christian Vazquez (.290), Austin Barnes (.289), Kurt Suzuki (.283), Kevan Smith (.283), Welington Castillo (.282) and Tyler Flowers (.281) hit .280 or higher. Among all hitters with at least 250 PAs, 28 percent had an Avg of at least .280, as compared to 17 percent of catchers.
While major league hitters collectively had a .329 OBP, only Barnes (.408), Posey (.400), Alex Avila (.387), Flowers (.378), Omar Narvaez (.373), Robinson Chirinos (.360), Willson Contreras (.356), Chris Iannetta (.354) and Suzuki (.351) had a .350 mark or higher. Among all hitters with at least 250 PAs, 31 percent had an OBP of at least .350, as compared to 22 percent of catchers.
The typical hitter posted an Iso of .175, and there were 15 catchers, or 37 percent, with at least 250 PAs who had an Iso of .190 or higher. The rate for all hitters is 53 percent.
No catcher had as many as 10 steals. Yadier Molina led the position with nine.
Catchers who hit for power but don’t offer much in Avg or OBP have been among the most popular fantasy options at the position, but don’t overlook the impact that players like Barnes, Vazquez and the White Sox tandem of Narvaez and Smith might offer. Granted, not every hitter who produced in a given category last year will do so again in 2018, but these four in particular appear to have the skill set to repeat their 2017 feats. I also like Tucker Barnhart’s chances to improve on last year’s .270/.347/.403 slash line.
For more on the catcher position, check out the most recent episode of the show.