The catcher position. It’s the position many of us look at as the fantasy baseball draft comes to a close and think “Oh right, I still need to get a catcher.” Quite frankly, if you’re not landing Gary Sanchez, J.T Realmuto or Yasmani Grandal, well, you’re just hoping for the best of the rest. Maybe this is how you landed here, hoping for some guidance on a position that feels like a ghost town. I visited that ghost town and come back bearing gifts, or in our case, some targets to consider at the position.
Tom Murphy, Seattle Mariners
When it comes to catcher sleepers, this name is likely the one you’ll hear the most. The Mariners are prepared to give him the bulk of the work behind the plate, as they no longer have the service of Omar Narvaez, who was traded to the Brewers during the offseason. Through 76 games, Murphy slashed .273/.324/.535 with 18 home runs and 40 RBI. Who said former Rockies hitters can’t hit out of Coors Field!?
While Murphy isn’t exactly in a stellar lineup with the Mariners, his power upside makes him worth taking in the later half of your draft. Going off his totals from last year, Murphy is a legitimate 30+ home run player who’ll likely come with a lower batting average playing throughout the season. Even still, getting that type of power at a position that is mostly void of it is worth it. Be prepared for him to be the more “popular” sleeper at this position but one that is worth targeting if you miss out on the top tier guys.
Jorge Alfaro, Miami Marlins
Hmmmm, bad teams = good catchers?
Alfaro was one of the feel-good stories for a Marlins team that went 57-105, good for last in the NL East. Through 130 games in his debut year for the Marlins, Alfaro slashed a respectable .262/.312/.425 with 18 home runs and 57 RBI. Not bad for a player who plays in one of the worst ballparks with one of the worst lineups in baseball, right?
What’s encouraging for 2020 is that the Marlins actually MADE MOVES THIS OFFSEASON!!! They acquired Corey Dickerson and Jesus Aguilar who’ll bring some much-needed power to a team that hit 146 home runs, which was the worst mark in the league last season. With returning guys like Brian Anderson and Alfaro, this team has a legitimate chance to rise up in the home run category. If Alfaro can cut down on his strikeouts after posting a 33.1 K% last season, we could see him take a welcoming step forward in 2020. Believe me, at a position that can become scarce very quickly, Alfaro is a welcoming addition to your team later in the draft.
Roberto Perez, Cleveland Indians
Perez is going quite late in drafts despite slashing .239/.321/.452 with 24 home runs and 63 RBI through 119 games last season with the Indians. His home runs tied for the fifth-most in the league with Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, while his RBIs were tied for ninth with Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki. For someone going in the later half of your league, these certainly aren’t numbers you hate to see.
Perez has done well to get on base, which is another reason I’m really liking his outlook for 2020. He’s posted at least a BB% of 10 in three straight seasons. Last season, his .321 OBP was the second-highest of his major league career. His current career-high sits at a .348 mark but that also came through 70 games back in 2015. With Perez solidified in this role as the Indians’ starting catcher, he’ll hopefully be able to build upon what was arguably his best season up in the majors. That is, of course, if the Indians don’t sell off their entire team in hopes of a rebuild.