2023 Catchers

(Photo by John McCreary/Icon Sportswire)

by Curt Brooks

This year’s catcher pool consists of 28 backstops with a combination of sufficient skill and enough playing time to earn positive Rotisserie dollar value; this is almost the same number as last year. BABS strongly suggests not waiting to fill your catching positions in a two-catcher league.

Overall, BABS sees a slight shifting of PT, as 10 are projected for more than 500+ PA, three more than last year. We now see a total of 17 Mid-time (M) catchers, nine less than in 2022, and 26  Part-timers (P), almost identical to last year. So, you will have choices to complete your roster.

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ADP R$ CATCHERS Pos Tm PT Pw Sp Av * Rg Sk Inj Ex Ag Rg RISK
27 $26 Realmuto,JT 2 PHI F p SB a 0.00
154 $8 Raleigh,Cal 2 SEA M P+ Rg+ INJ e 4.00
52 $19 Smith,Will 20 LA M PW a * 0.00
63 $17 Perez,Salvador 20 KC F PW a inj- 1.00
96 $13 Contreras,Willson 20 STL F PW a Rg+ inj- 1.25
186 $7 Jansen,Danny 2 TOR P PW a INJ 3.00
40 $22 Varsho,Daulton o982 TOR F PW s 0.25
61 $18 Rutschman,Adley 20 BAL F p a * Rg+ EX 2.00
123 $11 Contreras,William 20 MIL F p a e 1.00
126 $10 Murphy,Sean 20 ATL F p a 0.25
193 $6 D Arnaud,Travis 2 ATL M p a 0.00
563 -$4 Zunino,Mike 2 CLE M P+ Rg+ -A INJ 6.25
96 $13 Kirk,Alejandro 20 TOR F a * e 1.00
131 $10 Stephenson,Tyler 2 CIN F a INJ e 4.00
184 $7 Ruiz,Keibert 2 WAS M a Rg+ e 1.00
467 -$2 Nola,Austin 2 SD P a 0.00
525 -$4 Gomes,Yan 2 CHC P a 0.00
561 -$4 Mejia,Francisco 2 TAM M a inj- e 2.00
256 $3 Grandal,Yasmani 20 CHW M p * Rg+ INJ 3.00
350 $0 Fortes,Nick 2 MIA P p EX 2.00
744 -$7 Pina,Manny 2 OAK P p Ag 0.25
741 -$7 Lee,Korey 2 HOU P p SB -A EX 5.00
255 $3 Moreno,Gabriel 2 ARI P AV -P EX 3.50
245 $4 O Hoppe,Logan 2 LAA P * EX 2.00
359 $0 Diaz,Elias 2 COL M 0.00
375 $0 Trevino,Jose 2 NYY M e 1.00
640 -$6 Alfaro,Jorge 2 BOS P 0.00
562 -$4 Jeffers,Ryan 2 MIN P PW Rg+ -A INJ e 7.00
730 -$7 Zavala,Seby 2 CHW P PW -A EX Rg- 5.50
751 -$7 Collins,Zack 2 PIT P PW * -A EX 5.00
1000 -$10 Huff,Samuel 2 TEX P PW Rg+ -A 3.00
236 $4 Abrams,CJ 6 WAS F SB -P EX 3.00
248 $4 Vazquez,Christian 2 MIN M a -P 1.25
598 -$5 McGuire,Reese 2 BOS P a -P e Rg- 2.50
98 $13 Melendez Jr.,MJ 2o70 KC F p * -A 3.00
285 $2 Haase,Eric 2 DET M p -A e 4.00
336 $1 Bethancourt,Christian 23 TAM M p -A e 4.00
362 $0 Sanchez,Gary 20 FAA P p -A 3.00
423 -$1 Kelly,Carson 2 ARI M p Rg+ -A INJ 6.00
686 -$6 Higashioka,Kyle 2 NYY P p -A e 4.00
725 -$7 Murphy,Tom 2 SEA P p -A INJ e 7.00
748 -$7 Adams,Riley 2 WAS P p Rg+ -A EX 5.00
749 -$7 Casali,Curtis 2 CIN P p * -A INJ 6.25
237 $4 Heim,Jonah 2 TEX M -A e 4.00
330 $1 Bart,Joey 2 SF M -A EX 5.00
534 -$4 Campusano,Luis 2 SD P -A EX 5.00
643 -$6 Stassi,Max 2 LAA M -A 3.00
666 -$6 Stallings,Jacob 2 MIA M -A 3.00

ASSETS: PT (Playing time), Pw (Power), Sp (Speed), Av (Batting Effectiveness), * (OBP help), Rg (Regression help). LIABILITIES: Sk (Skills risk), Inj (Injury), Ex (Inexperience),  Ag (Age decline), Rg (Regression hurt), Risk cost. (Some BABS categories have been omitted due to space limitations but appear in the full database and spreadsheet charts.) 

JT Realmuto (p,SB,a) is the shining star of the group, being the only triple-asset catcher, complete with no marks on the liabilities side of the ledger. But if you’re not willing to invest here, a backstop with extreme power upside and positive regression potential – and available nine rounds later! – is Cal Raleigh (P+). His relative inexperience and injury risk require caution, but if your roster construction can absorb the risk, he is a potentially valuable roster addition in a typically weak pool.

The (PW,a) group provides a number of valuable contributors. Mid-timer Will Smith is going ahead of Full-timers Salvador Perez and Willson Contreras, a premium likely due to a lighter risk profile. But while we repeat the catcher mantra of “first do no harm,” accumulating ABs at this level of skill is a good thing. So, plan around the minor injury liabilities when you target Perez and Contreras. Contreras even provides some positive regression upside with your three-round discount. And if you want to wait until the end-game to roster this skill set, there’s also Danny Jansen. His PT is in flux on a 3-catcher team, but he certainly has the skills to earn a larger share.

Daulton Varsho’s (PW,s) time as a catcher may be limited, but he still qualifies this year with a valuable skill set. He is also one of only three catchers with speed skills and is one of the rare ones with no major liabilities.

While everyone else is bidding up shiny new Adley Rutschman in the (p,a) asset group, you can mitigate his experience risk by picking up William Contreras or Sean Murphy a few rounds later. Or wait a few more rounds and snag low risk option Travis D’Arnaud. This is a fertile asset group for those who want to build around mid-tier catchers who won’t hurt you.

Mike Zunino (P+) is the only other catcher with extreme power skill, however, he comes with dual liabilities of (|-A) batting skills and major injury risk, which would add a hefty $6.25 to your risk budget.

There are solid but lesser “do no harm” options in the (a) group. Full-timer Alejandro Kirk is the headliner who carries only the minor experience liability. Tyler Stephenson carries much more risk and an appropriate two-plus round discount. But you can wait four more rounds and grab Keibert Ruiz, who should help your risk budget and provide some regression upside. No-liability Part-timers Austin Nola and Yan Gomes could be options for your 2nd catcher spot. Francisco Mejia’s current ADP makes him undraftable, and he does come with some risk, but a Mid-timer with decent skills might be worth a late flyer.

The (p) group is led by Mid-timer Yasmani Grandal, who could be a strong contributor if healthy. The other catchers here are Part-timers who are generally undrafted except in very deep leagues. Nick Fortes could have some value, despite the experience liability, as he is behind offensively-challenged Jacob Stallings on the Miami depth chart.

Pretty much everyone else “will do harm.”

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Deeper speculations

Endy Rodriguez (PW,AV|EX) plays on a Pirates team with two other Part-time catchers, Austin Hedges (|-PA) and Zack Collins (PW|-A,EX). Rodriguez’s bat skills could help him carve out more playing time.

Garrett Stubbs (P+,a|EX) could also end up with greater playing time, given his skills, should the Phillies opt to use JT Realmuto at DH occasionally, especially while Bryce Harper recovers from surgery.

Bo Naylor (s|-A,EX) is currently being drafted somewhere in the mid-to late-20s and has positive R$. Given his one asset and two major liabilities, BABS suggests pumping the caution brakes here – she isn’t quite ready to jump on this bandwagon just yet.


NOTES: The chart above may vary slightly from the latest database update which was run after this analysis was written. To engage with other readers on this topic, head over to the Reader Forums. If you have a question that would be best answered by one of our experts and benefit everyone, submit it on our Contact Page and put MAILBAG in the Subject Line

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