Hey MLB and MLBPA, we’re still waiting….Can you speed things up a bit? I mean, if you were done, I wouldn’t have to write about Ivar’s favorite position.  Wait, maybe I should rephrase that. I wouldn’t have to write about Ivar’s pet peeve.  Yes folks, if there is a season you will have to draft a catcher or maybe even two to Ivar’s dismay.  We’ve had some interesting banter in the Mock Draft Army chat room regarding catchers, most of which was complaining that we had to draft two of them, but some did sing the praises of Joey Bart .  Now even the Joey Bart talk comes into question as the Giants used a first round pick on another catcher to the dismay of his biggest proponent, Dan Malin.

What have been the trends with the catcher position? Is anyone moving up or down in ADP? In leagues such as the NFBC where you have to roster at least two catchers, what draft capital must you invest?  As I have been at other positions, I’ll compare where the players were being drafted up to the beginning of the pandemic, March 14th, to where they’ve been drafted since May 1st when we came to the conclusion that the season would definitely be shortened.

Stock Up

No one.  Well, actually there were three catchers whose ADP rose a few spots, but not significantly.  J.T. Realmuto remains the top catcher off the board and it’s not even close.  His ADP pre-pandemic was 49.47 and since May 1st it has been 45.75.  He has gone from the first pick of the fifth round in a 12-team draft, to 4.10.  I, for one, don’t advocate taking him at this price.  Yes, he is the most consistent catcher out there and will provide stable numbers but compared to who else is available at this time, I’d rather spend my pick on someone else. Players such as Matt Olson , José Abreu , Eugenio Suárez are all available when he is being picked.  It’s also a time where I’m looking at my second starter as Clayton Kershaw , Lucas Giolito , Chris Paddack and Aaron Nola are still on the board. 

The other catcher whose ADP rose slightly is Salvador Pérez .  Sal has been a favorite of mine this preseason.  First, he was being ignored in drafts early on but finally most caught on.  He has now moved up to the sixth catcher off the board with an ADP of 153.67 since May 1st.  The issue with Perez is he is coming off Tommy John surgery.  He was batting .250 with a home run in 32 at-bats in spring training, but we have seen several players struggle when they first come back.  Perez comes at some risk but considering the state of offense being produced by catchers, taking him in the 13th round is a risk most seem to be willing to take.

Further down the draft board the last catcher to see a slight rise in ADP was Danny Jansen .  Jansen has been touted as a potential sleeper throughout the offseason.  Last year Jansen was expected to be an up and coming offensive contributor and finished the season with a .207 average and 13 home runs.  Most projections have him down for a .245/12/38 line over approximately 80 games.  His ADP has gone relatively unaffected going from 267 to 261 with the expected short season.

Stock Down

Everyone else.  The ADP of every other catcher being taken in the top 300 fell.  Will the chant of ban kickers from the fantasy football community leak over to the baseball side with chants of ban catchers or at least “only one catcher, please”.  With the talk of waiting on pitchers in this shortened season, there has been a rise in most offensive positions, but this is not the case when it comes to catchers.  Gary Sánchez has seen his ADP go from 80.14 to 99.33.  That’s one and a half rounds going from 7.08 to 9.03. The Army is still in love with Sanchez as both the Rotobuzzguy and Ivar Anderson took him with the 65th pick in recent mocks.  Hopefully, we’ll get to see if their love is warranted.

Other drops in ADP included Willson Contreras from 117 to 126, Wilson Ramos from 174 to 184, Will Smith from 151 to 179, Carson Kelly from 201 to 219, and Yadier Molina from 233 to 245. 

Are there bargains here?  Considering you can get almost every single one of them later in drafts, they all could be. Will Smith is definitely one to consider at this bargain price, having dropped from the middle of the 13th round to the end of the 15th. Smith, in just 194 at bats, hit 15 home runs and drove in 42 last season.  If you wait on catcher and can get Smith in the 14th or 15th round, he could be an asset.

There seems to be little reason to take your second catcher, if you need one, before the 20th round as the only catcher in the 13-24 range that goes earlier than that is Sean Murphy of the A’s at ADP 225.92.  Some may see it as an advantage to take two catchers early and have a leg up at this position, but filling out your corner, middle, or even outfield spots before your second catcher is the better way to go.

The catcher position has gone the way of kickers and team defense in fantasy football.  Just wait until the end and fill the position and hope that the one you picked doesn’t kill your batting average.  Then again, just being able to pick one means that we will have a baseball season, so maybe picking that second catcher isn’t a bad thing, right Ivar? 

Be safe everyone. The Mock Draft Army will be back as soon as these geniuses figure it out.  Follow me on Twitter for the latest MDA schedule @gasdoc_spit