Many fantasy baseball owners will go into their drafts with a wait-on-catcher strategy. Sure, highly ranked backstops offer a lot of scarcity value, but that assumes they don’t work, which always seems to happen with one or two top catchers. There also seems to be at least a rash or two, and getting those sleepers at little to no cost can really set your team up for success.
Of course, it’s hard to hit the right end-of-turn gems, so having multiple targets is important. There are a lot of interesting options this year, including two that steal bases and are expected to play other positions (Daulton Varsho and Isaiah Kiner-Falefa). There are also two notable rebound options (Tom Murphy and Omar Narvaez) and three youngsters who have some appeal (Joey Bart, Ryan Jeffers, Alejandro Kirk).
How many sensors below will actually produce on a consistent basis? Maybe none. This is a tricky position to make unless you invest a relatively high pick in one of the best, and when you factor in how often virtually all catchers are on leave and how poor the production is. Overall for most catchers (especially medium, short, and stealers) this may seem like a high price to pay. So, if you’re planning to wait, here are some names to consider.
Job eligibility based on Yahoo default settings
Fantasy Baseball C Sleepers: Escape Catchers, End-of-Round Steals
Daulton Varsho, Diamondbacks (also OF eligible). Varsho isn’t a lock on having daily playing time at the start of the season (or even being on the major league roster), but he’s the rare receiver eligible for receivers who may not be necessarily behind the marble. The 24-year-old southpaw also has experience in the outfield, which increases his chances of playing. Once he plays, he can be an elite and receiver-eligible fantasy contributor, exemplified by his .301 / .372 / .507 career in minors. Even more remarkable, he stole 21 goals in 108 Double-A games in 2019.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Rangers (3B, SS). Kiner-Falefa should be Rangers’ starting SS, making him the perfect type of end-of-round “catcher” to draft if he’s eligible in your league. The 26-year-old utility player doesn’t have a lot of power (eight homers in 846 career major league appearances), but he can run a bit (18 career interceptions) and hit a decent average (.280 year-round). last). Most importantly, he will be playing almost every day. This gives you an advantage in counting stats over many other lower level catchers, especially in Weekly Leagues. Add in the potential for double-digit steals – something few catchers and even corner fielder can provide – and Kiner-Falefa is a unique and versatile player who can be had on the cheap.
Tom Murphy, sailors. Murphy didn’t play last season due to a foot injury, but in 2019 he hit .273 / .324 / .535 with 18 FC in 76 games. Obviously, the 29-year-old safety net has its advantages, and if it can stay healthy – which it is now – it will be worth picking at the end of the session.
Omar Narvaez, brewers. Narvaez looked completely lost on the plateau last year in Milwaukee (.176 / .294 / .269, 31 percent K-rate) just a season after a big breakout in Seattle (.278 / .353 / .460 with 22 HR and a K Rate of 19.1% in 132 games). Between the quirk of the season, the change of scenery, and the fact that he’s always been a solid average / OBP guy before 2020, we’re willing to give him a bit of a pass, but there’s obviously a reason why. which it is after the fact in most drafts. He has a big advantage, however, and if he can regain his stroke – which seems possible given he’s 29 – Narvaez could be a major value.
Alejandro Kirk, Blue Jays. Kirk doesn’t think to start the year with daily playing time, but with Danny Jansen looking like a bust, Kirk could eventually take over as a Toronto starter. The 22-year-old safety net impressed against lower-level shots in minors, hitting 0.315 / 0.418 / 0.500 in 151 games, and his first nine games in the majors last year resulted in an average of 0.375. Obviously, that small sample size doesn’t mean much, but Kirk is a solid contact hitter who rarely hits and does a good number of walks. It is very valuable to the receiver.
Joey Bart, Giants. Bart will start the season in the minors, but with Buster Posey getting there for years, it may not be long before Bart gets some consistent playing time behind the plate in San Francisco. The 24-year-old safety net has hit .284 / .343 / .532 in minors, and he could be one of the few catchers to reach a solid average with decent power.
Ryan Jeffers, twins. Jeffers held firm on his debut in 26 major league games last year, hitting .273 / .355 / .436, which matches his two-year minor league career (.296 / .383 /. 453). After Mitch Garver’s no-show last year, Jeffers has a path to consistent playtime if Garver starts over slowly, and he could produce consistent, decent average power at the slimmest position in fantasy.