Matthew Pouliot

Strike Zone

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2018 Catcher Rankings

Friday, July 14, 2017

Time for some post-All-Star break fun: here are my very, very preliminary 2018 player rankings. I’ve done my best to list players where they’ll be eligible next year, and the free agents-to-be are listed without teams. Players with options for next year are still listed with their current teams if those options are likely to be exercised.

Along with the position rankings is a top 300 list for 2018. Click to see other preliminary 2018 rankings:
Top 300 | SP | RP | OF | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | C | DH


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2018 Catcher Rankings


1 Gary Sanchez Yankees 1 1
2 Buster Posey Giants 2 2
3 J.T. Realmuto Marlins 4 3
4 Willson Contreras Cubs 5 4
5 Yasmani Grandal Dodgers 8 7
6 Jonathan Lucroy   3 5
7 Salvador Perez Royals 7 6
8 Brian McCann Astros 14 8
9 Wilson Ramos Rays 21 17
10 Devin Mesoraco Reds 10 11
11 Evan Gattis Astros 6 10
12 Mike Zunino Mariners 13 9
13 Francisco Mejia Indians 55  
14 Tom Murphy Rockies 11 19
15 Russell Martin Blue Jays 9 12
16 Travis d'Arnaud Mets 15 15
17 Matt Wieters   17 13
18 Yadier Molina Cardinals 19 18
19 Tyler Flowers Braves 22 16
20 Welington Castillo   20 20
21 Bruce Maxwell Athletics 41 21
22 Yan Gomes Indians 16 14
23 Austin Hedges Padres 25 25
24 Blake Swihart Red Sox 119 OF 144 OF
25 Austin Barnes Dodgers 27 29
26 Stephen Vogt Brewers 18 23
27 Francisco Cervelli Pirates 23 26
28 Manny Pina Brewers 49 28
29 Chance Sisco Orioles 72 NR
30 Cameron Rupp Phillies 12 22
31 Jorge Alfaro Phillies 65 NR
32 Brett Nicholas Rangers 64 NR
33 James McCann Tigers 24 33
34 Zack Collins White Sox 57 NR
35 Alex Avila   46 24
36 Victor Caratini Cubs 78 39
37 Jason Castro Twins 31 32
38 Carson Kelly Cardinals 68 NR
39 Martin Maldonado Angels 50 31
40 Andrew Knapp Phillies 74 35



  • Cleveland’s Francisco Mejia is the catching prospect to be excited about: he’s been just as good at Double-A this year (.339/.382/.546) as he was at two A-ball levels last season (.342/.382/.514). His defense isn’t as advanced as his offense, but unless Yan Gomes can reestablish himself with a big second half, it’s going to be difficult for the Indians to resist the temptation to go to Mejia awfully early next year. He’d be in the top 10 here if I thought he’d have a spot on Opening Day.


  • Deciding how to place the Phillies was one of the tougher calls. I had Cameron Rupp ranked 12th going into this year, but after a brutal slump in the second half of May and June, he’s lost playing time to Andrew Knapp. Meanwhile, Jorge Alfaro, the catcher of the future since the day he was picked up from the Rangers in the Cole Hamels trade, has been treading water in Triple-A, hitting .245/.300/.365 with 93 strikeouts in 277 at-bats. Alfaro is out of options next spring, so he’ll surely be on the roster. Presumably, either Rupp or Knapp will be traded, probably to serve as another team’s backup. It’s hard to be very excited about Alfaro as a fantasy property right now; he could hit 15 homers next year, but it doesn’t seem likely that he’d help elsewhere.


  • Alfaro’s old team also has a dilemma on its hands. Jonathan Lucroy is a free agent at season’s end and could be traded this month. Robinson Chirinos will be back as a part-timer, but the question is whether he’ll be paired with a veteran or one of two prospects, Brett Nicholas or Jose Trevino. Nicholas has a fine bat, but he’s not much of a catcher. Trevino is a better all-around prospect, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be ready to hit next year; he’s at .266/.302/.349 in Double-A right now. My guess is that a veteran is added to go along with Chirinos, maybe Alex Avila or Chris Iannetta. Still, Nicholas cracks the top 40 as a possibility in some sort of hybrid role between catcher, first base and DH.


  • Blake Swihart was the odd-man out in Boston this year and has been injured and ineffective in Triple-A. Still, he’s the only Red Sox catcher to find a spot in the rankings. He’s going to be out of options, so I would think he’ll share time with Christian Vazquez next year.

Matthew Pouliot is the Executive Editor of and has been doing the site's baseball projections for the last 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @matthewpouliot.
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