2023 Dynasty Fantasy Positional Rankings: Catcher

Image credit: Adley Rutschman (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

There is no position that is quite as divergent in its importance between fantasy and real life baseball value as the catcher. While a great all-around catcher can be the backbone of any major league team with championship aspirations, catching is often viewed as an afterthought to fantasy managers. 

Despite the general aversion to catchers being a widely held belief in fantasy, there’s no debating the impact a great offensive catcher can make on a fantasy team’s offense. How this value is perceived is often a product of league depth, scoring style and whether it’s a dynasty or redraft league. 

Our rankings are targeted specifically for dynasty leagues, with a focus on balancing a variety of scoring formats. To achieve this we focus on wRC+ as our primary measure. While wRC+ by its nature is OBP-slanted, we take into consideration high and low batting averages when ranking players. The goal of these positional rankings is to provide the best possible order based on a value of three to five years—this means older, productive veterans are discounted and may be ranked alongside or even behind prodigious talents yet to debut.

Keep all of this in mind when considering your team’s needs and the context of your league. If you are trying to compete in 2023, you should prefer Travis d’Arnaud to Edgar Quero (who we have ranked back-to-back), but some of your league mates, especially those not competing, would likely prefer Quero in a trade. 

Below we have ranked our top catchers for dynasty baseball leagues. This is the first in our series of positional rankings leading up to our overall dynasty ranking at the end of the month. 

We have each highlighted a group of players we believe deserve further discussion, including a “target,” “sleeper” and “fade.” 

1. Adley Rutschman, BAL

2. Will Smith, LAD

3. Alejandro Kirk, TOR

4. Daulton Varsho, TOR

5. J.T. Realmuto, PHI

6. Willson Contreras, STL

7. Francisco Alvarez, NYM

DW’s Target: Alvarez’s prime projections see him with a robust 130 wRC+, and his double-plus raw power means 25 to 30 home runs per year is not out of the question. Because he’s already debuted in MLB, expect immediate (albeit moderate) fantasy production and years of delivered value (especially in OBP leagues).

8. Sean Murphy, ATL

9. MJ Melendez, KCR

10. William Contreras, MIL

GP’s Target: Last season was a breakout one for Contreras, as he hit .278/.354/.506 with 20 home runs over 376 plate appearances. He finished second in wRC+ behind Danny Jensen (another catcher I would target) among backstops with at least 250 plate appearances in 2022. Contreras excels at hitting the ball hard, as his barrel rate of 13.4% was the third highest among catchers with 200 or more plate appearances. In fact, the younger Contreras excelled across the board, finishing in the top 10 across a variety of batted ball metrics. With a move to Milwaukee, Contreras will see an uptick in opportunity and a home park that boosts righthanded power. 


11. Salvador Perez, KCR

12. Tyler Soderstrom, OAK

13. Cal Raleigh, SEA

14. Tyler Stephenson, CIN

15. Diego Cartaya, LAD

16. Logan O’Hoppe, LAA

17. Endy Rodriguez, PIT

18. Keibert Ruiz, WAS

19. Kevin Parada, NYM

20. Gabriel Moreno, ARI

21. Bo Naylor, CLE

22. Danny Jansen, TOR

23. Dalton Rushing, LAD

24. Austin Wells, NYY 

GP’s Fade: There’s a lot to like about Wells. He’s an athletic catcher with power and baserunning ability, a rare combination for a backstop. I’ll never fault someone for chasing power and speed in fantasy, but I do question if Wells’ power and speed will be as impactful as many think. He’s a talented offensive player, but there’s a high likelihood he either moves off of the position or spends some extra time in the minor leagues to improve his defense. If Wells moves off of catcher I’m not sure his skills are such that he would stand out from the pack in a corner outfield spot. He’s a strong prospect, but fantasy owners should proceed with caution. 

25. Shea Langeliers, OAK

26. Yainer Diaz, HOU

GP’s Sleeper: There should be opportunity in Houston this season for Diaz and fellow catching prospect Korey Lee with the departure of trade deadline acquisition Christian Vazquez. While Lee is the superior defender, Diaz provides some offensive punch lacking between Lee and incumbent Martin Maldonado. Diaz hits the ball hard consistently and has above-average bat-to-ball skills. His 52% hard-hit rate in 2022 was a standout number and hints at the power in Diaz’s bat. 

27. Henry Davis, PIT

28. Harry Ford, SEA

DW’s Fade: I’m not technically fading Harry Ford; I am, however, cautioning that the market might be getting ahead of Ford (as he is being selected before several of the catchers on our Fantasy Top 100 that we have ranked higher. We have Ford ranked lower than Diego Cartaya, Kevin Parada and Dalton Rushing for a reason: because of the Georgian’s incredible athleticism, he may be deployed all over the field, potentially losing catcher eligibility and some fantasy value as a result.

29. Yasmani Grandal CHW

30. Edgar Quero, LAA

DW’s Sleeper: Just missing the cut for our Fantasy Top 100, Quero was the Angels’ Minor League Player of the Year and the Low-A California League MVP. A bat-first, switch-hitter with excellent swing decisions for his age, contact and feel for the barrel, the Cuban backstop has an advanced approach, especially for a teenager. He should easily enter the Top 100 if he continues on his current development path.

31. Travis d’Arnaud, ATL

32. Eric Haase, DET

33. Jonah Heim, TEX

34. Joey Bart, SFG

35. Nick Fortes, MIA

36. Luis Campusano, SDP

37. Drew Romo, COL

38. Daniel Susac, OAK

39. Elias Diaz, COL

40. Mike Zunino, SEA

41. Gary Sanchez, free agent

42. Mitch Garver, TEX

43. Jeferson Quero, MIL

44. Christian Vazquez, MIN

45. Ivan Herrera, STL

46. Samuel Basallo, BAL

47. Leonardo Bernal, STL

48. Austin Nola, SDP

49. Carson Kelly, ARI

50. Ryan Jeffers, MIN

The Next Prospects: Who will enter this list?

  1. Miguel Amaya, CHC (50/High)
  2. Joe Mack, MIA (50/High)
  3. Axiel Plaz, PIT (50/Extreme)
  4. Brooks Brannon, BOS (50/Extreme)
  5. Lamar King Jr., SDP (50/Extreme)
  6. Dillon Dingler, DET (45/Medium)
  7. Korey Lee, HOU (45/Medium)
  8. Yeiner Fernandez, LAD (45/High)
  9. Luca Tresh, KCR (45/High)


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