During the offseason, three teams signed new catchers for the 2017 season. With moves, what impact does if have on the fantasy baseball world?
While everyone is getting caught up with the big-time players and where they signed, three catchers went under the radar and signed with new teams. Unfortunately, people’s eyes don’t light the same when a catcher signs compared to a starting pitcher or power hitter. Yet, they can make a big difference across many aspects of the game.
What is the fantasy baseball impact of these three catcher transactions for 2017?
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Miami Marlins Sign A.J. Ellis
This is the weakest of the three signings. Ellis hasn’t played more than 133 games in a season throughout his career. He played 63 and 64 games in the last two seasons, respectively. His time with the Los Angeles Dodgers was numbered when the team brought in Yasmani Grandal.
Ellis then spent the end of 2016 with the Philadelphia Phillies as he was a part of the Carlos Ruiz trade. During the season, he hit two home runs, 22 RBI and .216. Yeah, not that good. But, he has been known more for handling pitchers, not his bat.
The benefit of signing Ellis is to teach J.T. Realmuto a thing or two behind the plate. Realmuto is going into third full season. He was the only catcher with double-digit steals. If anything, it will make him a better overall catcher, which helps everyone.
The Rays were in desperate need of a catcher. They used a platoon of Curt Casili and Hank Conger behind the plate. They combined for 11 home runs and 35 RBI.
The caviet with this signing is Ramos needs to pass a physical first. He suffered ACL and meniscus tears on Sept. 26. Surprisingly, it looks like he’ll be ready by May the latest.
That is great news for Rays management and fantasy owners. In 133 games with the Washington Nationals, he hit 22 home runs, 80 RBI and .307. Granted, the Nationals lineup is stronger than the Rays, so expect a bit of a drop in RBI and runs.
If Ramos only misses a month, he will rank inside my top-15 among catchers. Hitting in the American League will help his power numbers.
Nationals Trade For Derek Norris
The Nationals were in need of a catcher after Ramos’ contract expired. The free agent market for catchers wasn’t as strong as some of the other positions. So, the front office had to look elsewhere.
Norris had two decent seasons with the San Diego Padres. He hit a combined 28 home runs, 104 RBI and .222 average in 272 games. This masks his horrible .186/.255/.328 slash line last season.
While many should expect a bounce back, he likely isn’t going to get full playing time. The Nationals extended Jose Lobaton and will hit against right-handed pitchers while Norris hits verse southpaws.
If that is the case, Norris’ fantasy value takes a hit. No one likes owning a part-time catcher. He will fall outside my top 15. In one catcher leagues, he wouldn’t be worth drafting.
Catchers do have some value in leagues. You need to own at least one in most leagues. If you don’t draft one of the top options, then you should wait until the later rounds. There was some separation for the top-six catchers on the Player Rater, but after that they all blended together.
These moves shake up the catcher rankings, but I’m not sure it helped anyone involved.