Fantasy Baseball 2021 Sleepers - Catchers
As the MLB Opening Day is a little over a month away, it’s time we start diving deep into fantasy baseball content. With Opening Day, comes the start of fantasy baseball and in the weeks leading up to the highly anticipated April 1st kickoff, many will be taking to their computers to draft their squads. As with any fantasy sports, one of the biggest tasks a manager has is finding their sleepers.
Sleepers are players with low average-draft-positions who can be drafted late but will have productive seasons to help their respective fantasy managers. In this series, we will be giving you three sleepers for every position (C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, OF, SP & RP.)
We’ll kick it off with one of the most challenging positions in all of fantasy baseball - the catcher. Catchers in fantasy baseball are crucial, but spending an early pick on one is not recommended.
Currently, there are only three catchers being taken in the top 100 (J.T. Realmuto, Salvador Perez and Will Smith.) This is going to cause inexperienced drafters to reach on catchers and oftentimes, when a run of catchers starts in the middle round, managers will panic and begin to reach.
Don’t be one of these guys. Let the rest of the league reach on a position that will get 100-150 less at-bats then other positions. You will find three catcher sleeper candidates below. Each will work just fine as your starting catcher. These catchers will provide you adequate points as you draft players in much more needed positions when your league-mates make their catcher run.
Following this edition of the series, we’ll bring you first base sleepers, which, in my opinion, is one of the most important fantasy baseball positions.
Mitch Garver (Minnesota Twins)
Position Rank: 13th
2020 Stats: .167 BA, 72 AB, 12 H, 8 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 6 2B, 1 3B, 6 BB, 0 SB
2021 Prediction: .252 BA, 295 AB, 62 H, 48 R, 18 HR, 52 RBI, 15 2B, 1 3B, 36 BB, 0 SB
Mitch Garver is going to be at a great discount after his awful 2020 outing, part of which was due to injury. This is a former Silver Slugger winning catcher (2019.) He is one of the best power bats at the catcher position. He did hit just .167 last season in his 72 at-bats but in 2019, just a year prior, he hit 31 homers and 67 RBIs while hitting .272. Garver will inevitably bounce back this season. The only downfall I can see here is the emergence of Ryan Jeffers who has quickly become one of the hardest hitting catchers in baseball. Garver is still the man to own in Minnesota, but look for him to lose some at-bats to his 23-year-old backup or even find a new home come the trade deadline.
Yan Gomes (Washington Nationals)
Position Rank: 30th
2020 Stats: .284 BA, 109 AB, 31 H, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 6 2B, 1 3B, 6 BB & 1 SB
2021 Prediction: .268 BA, 385 AB, 94 H, 15 HR, 48 RBI, 22 2B, 1 3B, 22 BB & 4 SB
I’ll tell you one thing, Yan Gomes will probably be my most owned catcher across all of my fantasy baseball teams this year. If you’re looking for a catcher that will hit for average (especially in a categories league,) while still getting his fair share of homer runs and RBIs, Gomes is your guy. You can get him for practically nothing at the 30th catcher coming off the board. This is one of those picks you could use your last selection with and get yourself a starting catcher. Gomes is the definition of a sleeper.
Max Stassi (Los Angeles Angels)
Position Rank: 36th
2020 Stats: .278 BA, 90 AB, 25 H, 7 HR, 20 RBI, 2 2B, 0 3B, 21 BB & 0 SB
2021 Prediction: .231 BA, 248 AB, 74 H, 16 HR, 43 RBI, 8 2B, 0 3B, 23 BB & 0 SB
How often does it take a veteran to get to year eight before popping off? Well, it happened to Max Stassi. After coming to the Angels in 2019, Stassi had his best year as a pro last season with the Angels. He hit .278 last year but has a career slashing rate of .216. Can we safely assume that Stassi will keep up the form he put together last year? It’s hard to say with a history of low batting averages but with last year’s performance and being the starting catcher for a team such as the Angels, we can assume he will have some quality fantasy value.