2013 Fantasy Prospect Rankings: Catcher
These fantasy prospect rankings are for the typical 5×5 format. Players are eligible at a position if it’s more likely than not they will eligible at a position in the future.
Zunino gets the slight nod over d’Arnaud because I’m more confident in his ability to hit for average. I also prefer him because in the American League he can DH. This should give Zunino more plate appearances than d’Arnaud and keep him fresher as the year goes on. Both are near Major League ready and should make their debuts in 2013 while being good sources of power from the catcher spot.
I went back and forth about including Sanchez on his own tier. He has a special bat that could conceivably play elsewhere on the diamond, but I have concerns he could outgrow the position. His defense is far more advanced than the bats in Tier 3, which is why I left him on an island here. All that’s keeping him from Tier 1 is his distance from the Show. He’ll return to the Florida State League and if he mashes, I should catch him in Double-A Trenton.
It’s conceivable these big bats could out hit their Tier 1 counterparts, but their considerable risks keep them several notches below. As I discussed last week at FanGraphs, Trahan’s ability to play adequate Major League defense is a question he’ll need to answer. If he doesn’t become respectable behind the plate, its unlikely a team would risk starting him at the most important defensive position on the diamond. But, in fantasy, I would rather draft a player with above-average-starter upside who would be valueless if moved off the position than someone who is guaranteed to stick but with a limited ceiling. Not earth-shattering, but Trahan fits that mold.
Coulter was selected just after Trahan in last year’s draft. At the time, he was considered raw but with intriguing tools, most notably was his power. But, in nearly 50 Rookie League games, Coulter tore the cover off the ball. Like Trahan, his defense is a big question mark, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Coulter and Trahan jumped into Tier 1 by this time next year.
Alfaro gets a lot of love, but as my other partner and crime Mike Newman has mentioned, Alfaro’s approach is holding him back.
I’ve mentioned Swanner a lot lately because I really like his bat and expect him to have a monster California League campaign. While I would like to see the Rockies challenge his bat with a Double-A assignment late in the year, Swanner’s defense needs refinement so I expect a full year at Modesto. Hedges gets a lot of praise, but he isn’t a great fantasy asset. Yes, he’ll be a major league catcher. And yes, he’s the only one in Tiers 2, 3 and 4 you can say that definitively about. But, he doesn’t have the ceiling of more than an average fantasy catcher because of a limited offensive profile.
Brantly had an up and down minor league career before having a fantastic year in 2012 for the Miami Marlins. He’s probably a decent back-up catcher in deeper leagues as his power is limited compared to others at the position. We were very high on Swihart going into last year and he disappointed. His offensive profile is still enticing, but he’s hardly an elite prospect right now.