Dynasty Catching Targets, Sleepers And Fades For 2024

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Image credit: Francisco Alvarez (Photo/Tom DiPace)

On the heels of our release of the top 50 catchers for dynasty baseball in 2024, Geoff Pontes and Dylan White go into more details about some names on the list that stand out.

We’ll provide some targets who will likely improve their value by next offseason, some sleepers who may or may not be rostered in your leagues but are worth taking a shot on before they increase their value substantially, and a fade who is someone who might be at the peak of their value right now.

You can find our 2024 dynasty rankings here. We will unveil new position rankings and corresponding targets, sleepers and fades each week.

Catchers To Target

Francisco Alvarez, Mets

Prior to the 2023 season, we ranked Alvarez among our top-five fantasy prospects with a prime projection akin to an elite hitter, let alone someone at the catcher position. After his age-21 debut, Alvarez showed he can manage the pitching staff of a contender while also slugging home runs, all while dealing with the intense scrutiny and pressure of Big Apple media coverage and a demanding Mets fan base. In other words, nothing has changed in our evaluation. If anything, he has added more objective evidence that he will attain those lofty heights.

– Dylan White

Bo Naylor, Guardians

Although they recently signed Austin Hedges this offseason, I still expect Naylor to get the bulk of the playing time for the Guardians. He’s most certainly still their catcher of the future. Although it was only 230 plate appearances, Naylor put up 2.4 fWAR at 23 years old courtesy of his 123 wRC+ and above-average framing and pop times. With his advanced approach and contact skills, expect him to be a consistent 20-homer threat with great OBPs.

– Dylan White

Sean Murphy, Braves

Murphy looked like a no-doubt top-five catcher over the first half of the season, hitting .306/.400/.599. Murphy’s season came undone in the second half as he hit .159/.310/.275 over the final 40 games. Why did his production drop off so precipitously? On June 17, Murphy was pulled from a game with hamstring tightness and his numbers dropped after that point. Expecting Murphy healthy this season, I’m willing to buy back in on the first-half surge and get a low-cost piece of the Braves potent lineup. 

– Geoff Pontes

Samuel Basallo, Orioles

The Orioles’ embarrassment of riches in the minor leagues has never been as clear as it is right now. While they have the best young catcher in the major leagues in Adley Rutschman, they may have the best catching prospect, too. Basallo is a true outlier as a physical 18-year-old with a combination of plus-plus raw power projection and advanced plate skills. There’s major questions as to whether he will stick behind the dish, but that’s less of a fantasy concern. His elite exit velocities and bat-to-ball skills make him worthy of a roster spot in any dynasty league. 

– Geoff Pontes

Catcher Sleepers

Jeferson Quero, Brewers

As an elite defender, there’s little doubt Jeferson Quero can be a full-time major league catcher. His offense, however, is probably underrated. In Double-A Biloxi, Quero hit 16 home runs in fewer than 400 plate appearances, supported by a 90th percentile exit velocity that grades as plus, made all the more impressive that he was only in his age-20 season. He has an aggressive approach but still managed a contact rate, in-zone contact rate, and barrel rate which were all better than average for the level. Keep in mind he was four years younger than the average hitter in Double-A. He should debut in 2024 with a chance to share Milwaukee’s catching duties with William Contreras in 2025.

– Dylan White

Ben Rice, Yankees

He may not ultimately stick at catcher, but the 24-year-old has a chance to climb dynasty ranks by midseason if he continues along his current development path. Rice had a scintillating 182 wRC+ with 16 home runs while also chipping in seven stolen bases in 222 plate appearances with Double-A Somerset. From a Statcast perspective, the production was supported by plus grades on his contact, chase rate and barrel rates. His 2023 season implies a major league equivalent of at least 20 home runs from his lefthanded bat in the cozy right field confines of Yankee Stadium. Supplement that with what looks like a better-than-average hit tool, and this is a dynasty catcher that you should roster where possible, before his value skyrockets.

– Dylan White

Kyle Teel, Red Sox

The 2023 draft had one of the more talented position groups in recent memory and has been – and will likely remain – a treasure chest for dynasty managers. Wyatt Langford, Dylan Crews, Walker Jenkins and Max Clark rightfully get the headlines, but there are some underrated sleepers from that class. Teel isn’t a sleeper for fans of college baseball or the draft, but his unique combination of hitting ability, projection and athleticism is exciting. Teel is an outlier athlete for a catcher with running ability and twitch. He’s also shown to be a polished hitter, performing in a big conference in college and again in his post-draft debut. Teel has the skills to develop into a consistent top 5-10 performer at the position and could be in the major leagues by early 2025. 

– Geoff Pontes

Thayron Liranzo, Dodgers

One of the tricky parts of ranking catchers in dynasty is that many of the best hitting catcher prospects will likely move off the position. One of my favorite players that fits this mold is the Dodgers’ Thayron Liranzo. A slugging catcher with below-average fielding skills, Liranzo hit .272/.400/.562 with 24 home runs over 94 games. Not a bad performance for a 19-year-old in his full season debut. Liranzo has outlandish exit velocity data, with an average EV of 91.7 mph and a 90th percentile EV of 106.1 mph, which means he’s already showing plus major league raw power. The swing-and-miss is concerning but Liranzo offsets it with on-base skills. Liranzo is risky but a low-cost, high-upside play. 

— Geoff Pontes

Catchers To Fade

J.T. Realmuto, Phillies

As difficult as it is to write, from a dynasty point of view, now might be the time to trade Realmuto while he is still within the top tier of catchers. In dynasty leagues, knowing when to make the tough decision to move off a player who is still productive is one of the most difficult skills to have. This might be that time for the Phillies catcher. Although we pointed out in his summary that he has been a top-four fantasy catcher each of the last 3 years — and one of the only catchers to add positive stolen base value — there are signs that his decline from the rarefied air of elite catchers is forthcoming.

For one, the influx of young catchers into the major leagues, all of whom are expected to be solid fantasy contributors, will reduce the gap between JTR’s position at the summit compared to “the rest” of the catchers. He is also 32 years old and just put up the lowest fWAR, walk rate and hard-hit rate of his last seven seasons. Normally amongst the best defenders at the position, Realmuto saw his framing especially fall off. That’s not necessarily a cause for concern in fantasy, but may be symptomatic of an overall decline in skills.

– Dylan White

Harry Ford, Mariners

Walk rates and home run totals in the minors can be funny. Sometimes they can inflate a player well beyond their actual worth as they take advantage of less refined strike throwing from opposing pitchers and funky park dimensions. One player I have concerns about coming out of 2023 is the Mariners Harry Ford. Long known for his on-base ability and projection, I’m not sure Ford’s quite the star many think he could be. He’s very passive, rarely chasing and rarely swinging and his exit velocity data is below-average. Ford gets the most out of his contact and can backspin the ball pullside, but it might not carry over as he moves up the rungs of the minor league ladder. He’s still a solid player in dynasty formats, but not a Top 100 fantasy prospect for me. 

– Geoff Pontes

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