The top 10 catchers for the 2015 fantasy season kicks off the start of fantasy content here, at Baseball Essential. At least once a week, a new top 10 position ranking will be released with Will Garofalo’s analysis and sleeper pick. The sleeper pick is someone who’s value might be down or incorrectly perceived, so be on the look out for those names as acquiring/drafting a couple of them could help your fantasy team’s quest for a championship. Without further ado, here are the top 10 fantasy catchers for the 2015 season.
1. Jonathan Lucroy: The 28-year-old doubles machine tops the list for catchers heading into the 2015 season. In 2014, Lucroy batted .301 with 13 home runs, and 53 doubles. While 53 doubles might be a hard number to reach in 2015, there’s no reason he can’t hit .310 with 15 home runs and 40 doubles. Pair that stat line with the fact that Lucroy is 1B eligible makes him a fantasy force for 2015. Lucroy should have a better lineup to hit in as the Brewers will look for Braun and Segura to rebound, Carlos Gomez to continue his success, and new addition Adam Lind to add some power.
2. Devin Mesoraco: If you are looking for power out of your catcher position, this is your guy. Mesoraco hit 25 home runs in 2014 and is only 26 years of age. He very well could make the jump to 30 home runs while adding 90-100 RBIs. Joey Votto’s health and ability to regain his old form may influence how much growth Mesoraco can make in 2015. Hopefully manager Bryan Price will supplant Mesoraco in the fourth or fifth spot, which will provide him ample opportunities to produce.
3. Buster Posey: With six years in the Major Leagues, Buster Posey seems like an aging vet. However, Posey is in his prime and will only be 28 years old entering the 2015 season. Posey flexed his muscle last season hitting 22 home runs and producing 89 RBIs, which fantasy owners hope will be the case in 2015. Fantasy owners can hope he hits .336 again in 2015, but his 2014 stat line is more in line with the production one can expect. The problem with Posey is he is such a great and likable baseball player that he is often over priced in drafts and over valued by fantasy owners. Overall, Posey’s consistent production makes him a lock for a top 5 catcher in 2015.
4. Yadier Molina: “Yadi” Molina, age 32, marks the first guy on this list that may be starting his decline. Aside from 2014 were his season was shortened due to injury, only 110 games, Molina has been a lock for 130+ games the last five years. Molina may not crush 20 home runs in 2015, but he should be steady for a .300 average, 25-30 doubles, and a clutch hitter in an always potent Cardinals lineup.
5. Salvador Perez: If heart were a fantasy category Sal Perez would be higher on this list as he is the heart and soul of the Royals. Only 24, there is reason to believe Perez’s big body frame will produce 25+ home run seasons as his body matures. 17 home runs in 2014 is a good sign that Perez will develop big time home run potential year in year out. For 2015, Perez will improve in all offensive categories and could hit .280, with 20-25 home runs, and upwards of 85 RBIs. This would make him a top five fantasy catcher in a lineup that boasts Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, and new addition Kendrys Morales.
6. Yan Gomes: The Cleveland catcher is a stud that should make another leap in 2015. With 21 home runs and a .278 batting average in 2014, Gomes turned in a great year at the plate. Gomes is part of an Indians team that is on the rise with fellow key players such as Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis, and Carlos Santana. If Gomes hits in the middle of this order and produces 25+ home runs, he will be capable of 80 runs and 90+ RBIs. However, with so many other good polished hitters, Gomes may find himself hitting sixth or seventh, which would decrease his fantasy value.
7. Brian McCann: The first half of the 2014 season was one to forget for Brian McCann as he struggled out of the gate with the Yankees. McCann hopes to improve his batting average from 2014, as he hit .232 in 538 plate appearances. In 2015, McCann could potentially bounce back and hit .270 with 25+ home runs and 80+ RBIs, which fantasy owners would love. If McCann wants to achieve those numbers, he will have to settle into the lights of the Big Apple. McCann will also have 1B eligibility, which gives him a boost in value.
8. Evan Gattis: One of the better baseball stories belongs to how Evan Gattis became a big league slugger. For now, he is going to start at catcher in the 2015 season. This means fantasy owners will have the ability to plug Gattis into their catcher slots, and hope the power pays off. However, with Gattis at catcher, there are added risks such as a higher probability of injuries. In both the 2013 and 2014 season Gattis only played 105 and 108 games respectively, and posted 21 and 22 home run seasons. If Gattis could stay healthy and play 130 games, then there’s a good chance he could hit 30+ home runs. That would place him amongst the top five catchers, but the problem is he has to stay healthy. Are the home runs worth the injury risk?
9. Russell Martin: The new Toronto Blue Jay should fit in nicely with his new clubs lineup. Martin will hit in an order that boasts some of the biggest power in the Major Leagues so he should get an uptick in his offensive numbers from 2014. There most likely won’t be a huge uptick in value given Martin will be 32 years old going into the 2015 season. There is reason to believe he can produce 20 home runes and 80 RBIs, but I don’t think his 2014 OBP of .402 will be sustained. McCann, Gattis and Martin are all very close in value, but Martin’s age and previous lack of power places him last out of the trio.
10. Wilin Rosario: Another young catcher in Wilin Rosario, but he differs in the fact that he plays 81 games in the best hitters park in the Major Leagues. Rosario has been hampered with injuries the past few years, but the raw power is there. Like Gattis, if Rosario can stay healthy he has a bright future, especially at age 25, but that is a big if. Hopefully Rosario can play in 120-130 games in 2015, which could produce close to a .280 batting average, 30 home runs, 90+ RBIs.
Sleeper– Matt Wieters: In 2014, Matt Wieters only played in 26 games, due to injury. Missing this much time could be good news for fantasy owners, as Wieters is a guy that could be overlooked. Wieters may be a better baseball player than fantasy producer, but if he is healthy he could post 20 home runs and 25 doubles in 2015. If you can get him in a trade for cheap, or late in your draft, he is definitely worth a shot. There are concerns with his throwing, but if that becomes an issue he can slot in at DH, which would actually be better from a fantasy perspective.
-Will Garofalo is a correspondent for Baseball Essential