Staff Post: Catchers to avoid in 2022 fantasy baseball

After our avoidable catchers, Catcher Week is over! But fear not, First Base Week kicks off in earnest tomorrow morning! So be sure to check back for our consensus rankings, dropping bright and early on Monday.

All catcher ADP data is derived from NFBC 50 drafts, as of Dec. 28 – that gives us the most recent 20 concepts to explore.

Travis d’Arnaud, Atlanta Braves

NFBC ADP: 212.70
Draft rank: 12th

When he was healthy, d’Arnaud was a solid bat. His 162 game pace over the past three seasons is 25 home runs, 101 RBI and a 0.258 average. Not bad at all, especially not for a catcher. The problem is health, and it is a big problem. d’Arnaud played just 60 games last season. His career high is 112 games in 2017. That’s too much injury risk for a top 10 option at catcher. I’m drafting another position at his current ADP and waiting even deeper into the draft to see if I still need to fill catcher. (Garrett Atkins)

In the early stages of fantasy baseball ladies, Travis d’Arnaud goes pretty early. I understand he plays for the reigning World Series champions in the Atlanta Braves, but I don’t understand the hype around the veteran catcher. d’Arnaud has not scored double-digit home runs in consecutive seasons since 2014-2015, and he has only played more than 108 games in a season in his nine-year career in the majors. In addition, d’Arnaud turns 33 early next month, so there could be even more injury risk for a catcher who has dealt with a fair share of injuries throughout his career. I’d rather wait for another catcher – or take a different position – than d’Arnaud as one of the best 10-15 catcher this season. (Skyler Carlin)

Alejandro Kirk, Toronto Blue Jays

NFBC ADP: 228.60
Draft rank: 13th

It’s not that I don’t like Kirk: I think he’s a very solid batter (106 wRC+ last season). But Danny Jansen was equally good in 2021 (105 wRC+) and is superior behind the plate, and Gabriel Moreno is the future in the position for Toronto. Oh, and Reese McGuire is still there. At some point there has to be a trade that sorts out the situation a bit, but the way things are right now, there’s just too much competition for me to trust Kirk reliable playtime. Again, he’s a great batter, but I’d look elsewhere in checkers. (Andres Chavez)

Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Mike Zunino, Tampa Bay Rays

NFBC ADP: 253.80
Draft rank: 16th

Mike has not had two solid years in his career in terms of both home runs and batting average. It’s pretty clear that his average will always suffer, but I’m more concerned about the possibility of a ball used regression that would drop his 33 home runs in 2021 to a more normalized 20-22 this year. His strikeout rate will likely be one of the highest in MLB and his HR/FB rate will drop from his 30.3% HR/FB rate he had last year – back to the 17% average he had in the previous three seasons. (Mark Abell)

Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees

NFBC ADP: 257.50
Draft rank: 17th

A 2016 partial (20 HR in 53 games, .299 BA) and a 2017 banner (33 home runs, .278 BA) have kept Sanchez’ draft daylight burning for a long time. But after 2017, he was an absolute DRAG in batting average, with season totals of .186, .232, .147 and .202. Okay, so the .232 mark (along with 34 home runs) was a solid enough effort for a backstop. But that’s the ceiling you hope and pray for when you pick it up? A batting average of 0.230? In the past four years, there was a 50% chance that his batting average would start with a ONE, not a two. That’s insane to me. And his projected numbers for the past two years are .191 and .228. He has a career of .251 BABIP and he is slow, within the bottom 20% of the competition in sprint speed. Even if we give Sanchez a pass for the crazy Covid year 2020 – his contact rates were atrocious compared to his career numbers – the prospects still aren’t pretty from where I am. Again, you’re hoping for contact rates that are four to five percentage points below the league average, and you’re hoping for a strikeout rate that’s not north of 28 percent. Sure, he burns the ball when he hits it, and he can take a walk. But his defense isn’t great, and his injury history and inconsistency mean he’s going to lose more at bats than you’d like. At the end of the season I think you’re hoping for a .220 BA and 25 home runs… I just don’t like that profile. I can find strength elsewhere.

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