The top tier at the catcher position goes like this; Buster Posey, Buster Posey, and Buster Posey. If you are not able to snag Posey, your best move would be to wait on a catcher for the later rounds. Let’s look at some guys you can steal in late rounds of your fantasy draft.
Russell Martin, TOR
This is all you need to know about Martin: He’s hitting #2 in Toronto’s lineup (behind Jose Reyes and in front of Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and Josh Donaldson). Bautista, Encarnacion, and Donaldson are all guys who could easily sniff 30 homers in 2015, which will translate into a TON of runs for Martin, a stat catchers aren’t known for. Melky Cabrera scored 65 runs from the same lineup spot on 2014. Given the stacked lineup and sneaky power Martin has, I can see Martin having 75 runs, 15-20 homers, and 75 RBIs. Throw in 5-10 steals and Martin could be looking at top-5 catcher status. The big question is; can he stay healthy?
Travis d’Arnaud, NYM
If you’re waiting to draft catchers in the later rounds like I am, keep an eye on d’Arnaud. He had a mini-breakout in the second half of 2014, hitting .265 with 7 homers and 22 RBIs in 196 at bats. His ADP has him ranked as the #13 catcher, which is far too low. He is your prototypical post-hype sleeper. And given that the Mets are moving the outfield fences in AGAIN, d’Arnaud could see 20-25 homers in 2015. His problem, like Martin’s, is health. If he can stay healthy, we could be looking at a Devin Mesoraco–type breakout for d’Arnaud.
Francisco Cervelli, PIT
The Pirates saw Russell Martin sign a monster contract with Toronto this off-season, leaving a hole behind the plate for the Buccos. Check out this line: .293/.372/.449. Not bad for a catcher right? Unfortunately, that line is over a small sample size, 223 at bats, for Cervelli. He is injury prone. But, hitting in Pittsburgh will provide him with a decent number of RBI opportunities. He’s another good post-hype sleeper who, if he can keep his average up as well, could be a top-15 catcher for 2015. Also, with Cervelli being so under the radar, you may be lucky enough to pick him up off the waiver wire.
Yasmani Grandal, LAD
The average/power combo is rare at the catcher position. Add in good plate discipline, a nice walk rate, and hitting in a good lineup, and you’ve found yourself a decent offensive catcher. You’ve found Yasmani Grandal. Grandal has been written off by many people following a disappointing 2014, but people are jumping off the bandwagon too early. This is a guy who hit .310/.408/.487 in the minors. He won’t put up those numbers in the bigs, but leaving San Diego and going to Los Angeles certainly can’t hurt. Grandal could be looking at a .280, 15-20 homer season and hitting in the Dodgers lineup will provide him a lot of run and RBI opportunities too.
Matt Wieters, BAL
Wieters was on the verge of a major breakout in 2014 before an elbow injury sidelined him for the rest of the year. In his first 104 at bats, Wieters hit .308, 5 homers, and 18 RBIs. Wieters has always been known for his power, averaging 22 bombs from 2011-2013. Baltimore’s lineup will also provide many RBI opportunities, even with the subtraction of Nelson Cruz. Wieters, excluding the Tommy John surgery that ended his 2014 campaign, has had a pretty good track record with injuries throughout his career. You will want to keep tabs on his spring training progress, and his at bats will certainly be limited to start the year as Baltimore will ease him back into playing everyday. Wieters should still be a top-10 catcher in 2015, which you wouldn’t guess given how far he has fallen in drafts. He has great value, and will be a great streal in you can grab him late.