Catchers in fantasy baseball, to me, are basically like tight ends in fantasy football. You know you are getting less production here than from any other spot, and if you don’t get one early, there are going to be limited options with upside. At the same time, if you draft one too early, you may miss out on some stud who could have twice the production numerically. However, there are always options regardless of whatever route you go. I would never recommend carrying two catchers throughout the season in a fantasy baseball league, but if you strike out on the big guys, draft a couple of upside options late and see which one sticks after a month. It is a short-term fix and the reality is you will be cutting some of your bench guys early.
There are a few upside catchers that will be going later in drafts that could really help you win your league. So now that we have covered the strategy, let’s take a look at some of my favorite options.
Out of all the guys I am going to talk about, Smith is the only one who sticks out as a potential league winner. In just 170 at-bats after making his major league debut, the Dodgers backstop hit 15 homers and 42 RBI. He is never going to be a high contact guy, but he does have the power potential that is nearly impossible to find at catcher. He is also playing in a deep lineup that should provide him with a ton of opportunity for counting stats. No backstop is going to be perfect, but to me, his skill set is very similar to that of Gary Sanchez, who is the consensus second catcher off the board. Smith will undoubtedly be one of the top 10 catchers drafted but can be had rounds later.
Omar Narvaez is a guy who has bailed me out the past two seasons when I whiffed on catchers. I picked him up off waivers both times. For a guy who offered zero offensive production throughout the minor leagues, he has proven he can hit. Last season he had a breakout year, batting .278 with 22 homers and 58 RBI. Dealt in an offseason trade to the Brewers, Narvaez will be playing in a lineup with a ton of opportunity. But he also switches from one of the toughest hitter’s parks in Safeco Field to arguably the best hitter’s park outside of Coors Field in Miller Park. Narvaez will likely still be on the board in the late teens as far as rounds go, and offers a safe option, with a bit of upside as well.
Mejia is the classic guy you want to use my strategy above on. He is a complete upside play, so be sure to draft someone else as well and let it play out. But something tells me this could be Mejia’s year. He struggled a bit out of the gate in 2019 and even had to go back down to the minors for a bit, where he went absolutely bonkers. In the season’s second half, he ended up hitting .305 with six homers and 16 RBIs in the big leagues, good for a .866 OPS. Mejia ranked as a top 100 backstop prospect for four years for a reason. He has all the talent in the world and is actually the prospect the Padres received for Brad Hand. Considering his ADP (average draft position) is at 255 overall, he can be had for nothing and has twice the upside of most the guys ahead of him.