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My 2017 Fantasy Catcher rankings look much different than they would have just a decade ago, and I have some theories as to why that is.

This past January, we all found out that Ivan Rodriguez was inducted into the 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Class, and Fantasy owners everywhere gave Pudge a nod for all of his service since the early ‘90s.

We can look back to the ‘90s, when Pudge and Mike Piazza were destroying pitchers, or just back to the ‘00s, when Jorge Posada, Jason Varitek, A.J. Pierzynski and a young Victor Martinez and Russell Martin were dominating the position.

Many of those players were early round picks at different stages in their careers.

But now, in 2017, veteran Giants backstop Buster Posey is really the only catcher worth a look among the early rounds. Sure, there are some promising young guys, like Yankees C Gary Sanchez, Cubs C Wilson Contreras and Marlins C J.T. Realmuto. And a few veterans still have great seasons in them, but Jonathan Lucroy, Matt Wieters and Salvador Perez have all had injuries affect them in recent seasons.

Dropping Catchers In the Early Rounds

Why are catchers moving down the overall rankings? Why do we see other hitters at other positions forcing their way ahead of the backstops we’ve grown to love in the early rounds? I have a couple theories about that.

1. Teams with great offensive catchers prefer to have them play in more games during the season, and have longer careers. So they’re moving them to other positions. Guys like Kyle Schwarber and Carlos Santana are seeing more action in front of home plate than behind it.

2. PEDs helped a lot of those big-hitting catchers stay healthy – and at a position that notoriously gets nicked up with injuries, that meant a lot more to catchers than any other position. The eradication (or at least the minimizing) of PEDs in baseball means catchers have buoyed back down.

With all of that said, there are still some excellent hitters at this position. But the fact they do have more chances to land on the disabled list, from home-plate collisions to foul tips to bad knees, makes them much riskier draft picks than, say, outfielders or first basemen.

2017 Fantasy Catcher Rankings

We’ll be updating our 2017 Fantasy Catcher rankings throughout the spring, so check back often. We’ll also be posting our other position rankings over the next week or so!

2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit
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