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2023 Fantasy Baseball: NL-Only Catcher Rankings

You can forgive me if I got a little optimistic with my AL-Only catcher rankings. There’s a lot of youth at the position and a bit of depth in usable bats. My 2013 NL-Only catcher rankings don’t have me in quite the same mood.

In Sean Murphy, William Contreras, Keibert Ruiz, and Gabriel Moreno, there is a nice infusion of youth. Francisco Alvarez is also waiting in the wings in New York. The problem with the catcher position in the NL is that it drops off very quickly. There are enough good bats for every manager in a 12-team league to get one solid catcher, but for many that second catcher slot could end up being a big black hole.

The season is not here yet, but why not get a head start and jump in a Fantrax Classic Draft contest? Get a jump on the season with a Best Ball league or maybe a Draft and Hold. Or put some green on the line with a new season-long league to try and conquer. There’s no better time than now to get your baseball on!

Drafting the Catcher Position

J.T. Realmuto and Will Smith are the clear frontrunners at the position. I like Realmuto because he generally adds a little infusion of SB, but I won’t argue too hard if you go with Smith as the top dog. I hate reaching too early on a catcher who will still give you somewhat middling offensive numbers, but the safety of these two is pretty enticing. In a draft, I think the ADP is way too close to the top for me to draft these two. In an auction, where I have better flexibility to shape my team, I will definitely throw a few extra dollars at my catcher position.

Ideally, I’ll pair at least one of those top six options with another catcher who won’t kill me in batting average. That might be a very hard thing to do. A nice pairing for me might be Keibert Ruiz and Austin Nola. I think Ruiz has a little more upside to his game and I’ll talk more about Nola in just a minute.

The big takeaway here though is you don’t want to draft a catcher who has negative value. An empty roster slot may end up being better than ending up with most of the last nine players in my catcher rankings. Such is the nature of playing in mono-leagues.

NL-Only Catching Sleepers

Trying to find catching sleepers in shallow NL-only leagues is likely a reach. Moreno and Alvarez may fall a bit if you’re not in a keeper league, but we still don’t know their playing time situations for 2023. Austin Nola is the catcher I’d be looking at. He’s generally a .270 hitter and I think there’s more pop in his bat than he showed in 2022.

2023 NL-Only Catcher Rankings

I’ll be updating these AL-only catcher rankings if any of the few remaining free agent catchers signs in the American League. For more rankings and analysis make sure to check out our 2023 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit. It’s just getting started, but we’ll be adding content right up until Opening Day. Endy Rodriguez may also slip through the cracks in some leagues. He’s made plenty of contact in the minor leagues and if he starts the year in the lineup, he could pop double-digit homers. Counting stats are gonna be hard to come by for all of these catchers.

RnkPlayer, TeamTier
1J.T. Realmuto, PHI1
2Will Smith, LAD1
3Willson Conteras, STL2
4William Contreras, MIL2
5Sean Murphy, ATL2
6Keibert Ruiz, WAS2
7Tyler Stephenson, CIN3
8Travis d'Arnaud, ATL3
9Austin Nola, SD4
10Elias Diz, COL4
11Gabriel Moreno, ARI4
12Carson Kelly, ARI4
13Joey Bart, SF5
14Omar Narvaez, NYM5
15Francisco Alvarez, NYM5
16Endy Rodriguez, PIT5
17Nick Fortes, MIA6
18Tucker Barnhart, CHC6
19Yan Gomes, CHC6
20Victor Caratini, MIL6
21Austin Barnes, LAD6
22Jacob Stallings, MIA6
23Brian Serven, COL6
24Andrew Knizner, STL6
25Austin Hedges, PIT6
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