The catching position seems to be a black hole every year in fantasy baseball. With only a few players who actually contribute with a reasonable floor, some fantasy players choose to punt catcher, especially in one-catcher leagues where you can get one for a fraction of the price. However, if you are in a two-catcher league with 12 to 15 teams then you may want to have a few guys in mind if you choose to wait until round 20 or so to take a backstop. Here are a few players that could return some decent value after pick number 300. To determine ADP, I used the NFBC ADP tracker from January 1st until now.
Austin Nola, San Diego Padres, ADP – 360
The Padres have a bunch of catching options at spring training. They recently acquired Jorge Alfaro. They also have Victor Caratini and his close relationship with Yu Darvish. Finally, they have the up-and-coming prospect in Luis Campusano. While all of this makes Nola possibly less appealing, let’s take a look at where he really stands in the hierarchy of San Diego backstops. Alfaro can easily be released. The Padres got him for nothing, and he will cost them less than $500k if they dump him prior to the regular season.
Caratini catches Darvish almost exclusively, so he may not go anywhere, but that also sets him at about 30 games for the season. Campusano is the only one to honestly be worried about. He has nothing left to prove in the minors. However, he also has options, and the Padres could move him for outfield help. As far as Nola, he can hit better than most catchers. While he doesn’t have much pop, he did hit .272 with a .340 OBP last year in 56 games while battling injuries. He also had a sub-10 percent strikeout rate which is a big plus. In a 12-team league if you can get a catcher who can hit at least .270 in the 30th round, then just grab him and be done with it. Anything else he contributes is gravy.
Jacob Stallings, Miami Marlins, ADP – 386
Stallings was traded to the Marlins for a couple of prospects and RHP Zach Thompson. The intriguing thing about Stallings is that he has no competition at all behind the plate for Miami. His backup is Alex Jackson who was a first-round pick back in 2014 by the Seattle Mariners but sports a career .132 batting average and struck out nearly half the time last year.
Stallings is a Gold Glove catcher allowing no passed balls last season. While the defense doesn’t matter to us in fantasy baseball, it will keep him behind the plate in a significant amount of games. His bat has taken a positive step as well. Finally getting regular playing time last year, Stallings hit eight homers and 20 doubles while maintaining a not-so-bad .246 average with a .335 OBP. Miami is not a hitters haven, but Stallings should easily see at least 400 plate appearances, if not 450-500, considering the lack of a competent backup. That alone is worthy of a late-round flyer.
Luis Torrens, Seattle Mariners, ADP – 407
While Torrens has some competition for playing time behind the dish with Tom Murphy and Cal Raleigh still in the Pacific Northwest, the 25-year-old is the best hitter of the three. Torrens was a designated hitter more than a catcher last season but offers some upside defensively. He also found himself in the field at third base and first base a couple of times which adds to his versatility.
Before 2021 Torrens had played a total of 88 games in the majors. He got into 108 last year and blasted 15 home runs. His average exit velocity was 90.7 mph and he barreled the ball at a 10.7 percent rate. Both of those figures are above the MLB average. Playing time is often an attribute fantasy players look at especially at the catcher position. Torrens should get at least 400 plate appearances due to his ability to play multiple positions. As long as he continues to hit, Seattle will get his bat in the lineup. A 20-HR season is attainable and for a pick after 400, that is gold.
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