Last year we mentioned that the landscape is starting to change at catcher, and that trend will continue into the 2023 campaign. Adley Rutschman has already established himself as a top-tier catcher and there will be even more young catchers starting to lay claim to jobs at the big-league level in 2023. Francisco Alvarez, Bo Naylor, Logan O’Hoppe, and Gabriel Moreno will all be looking to pour a foundation that should hold them in good stead over the next decade. When formulating your catching plans for 2023, don’t forget about Mitch Garver, Shea Langeliers, and Francisco Alvarez. All three will enter the 2023 season without catcher eligibility but are sure to gain that eligibility in the first month of the season.

  1. Will Smith, LAD – Smith led all Catchers with 87 RBI and, in the process, was only one-of-three catchers to break the 70 RBI mark. Toss in finishing second in home runs with 24 and a .260 BA/.343 OBP, and there’s a lot to like. The 2021 and ‘22 seasons were remarkedly consistent and virtually carbon copies of each other, which counts. Could there be a 30-100 season in his future?
  2. Daulton Varsho, TOR – The potential that many saw heading into the 2022 season was fulfilled as Varsho went 27-74 with 15 thefts. In his new home in Toronto, there’s an outside chance that he could join Pudge Rodriguez and J.T. Realmuto, becoming the third catcher-eligible player to produce a 20-20 season. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, it comes with bad news, as this will likely be Varsho’s last year attaining catcher eligibility. OF-114
  3. J.T. Realmuto, PHI – Realmuto had a fantastic 2022 season and, in the process, became only the second catcher ever to go 20-20. He’s one of three elite catchers in the game but betting on and paying a premium for a repeat is a bet filled with more risk than I’m willing to take.
  4. Adley Rutschman, BAL – Rutschman got out of the gate slow but absolutely shoved it in the second half. The first half .302 OBP faded into a distant memory after he exploded for a .399 OBP after the break. By this time next year, he has the potential to be the best catcher in the game.
  5. Salvador Perez, KCR – Expecting a repeat of that monster 2021 season and those 48 homers was expecting a bit much. However, even an average season from Perez will still bring you mid-20s home run power and 75 RBI in an improving lineup in Kansas City.
  6. Alejandro Kirk, TOR – At 5’8” and 265 lbs., the body type says no. The hit tool says yes. In this case, go with the hit tool.
  7. MJ Melendez, KCR – He’s not a typical leadoff bat, but don’t let that sway you in your decision to roster him. At some point in his career, Melendez will break through the 30-home run barrier, possibly as soon as 2023. OF-38
  8. William Contreras, MIL – The Brewers acquired Contreras in an off-season deal and will be looking to him for even bigger and better things moving forward. When you’re coming off a 20 home run, .354 OBP season as a 24-year-old, that’s a tall request, but one that shouldn’t be ruled out.
  9. Sean Murphy, ATL – The Braves traded for Sean Murphy and promptly did what they do best, locked him up on a six-year extension. The tools are all there for Murphy to be a top-tier catcher for many years. Just be cognizant of the fact that with Travis d’Arnaud in the mix, he’ll have a hard time repeating the 537 at-bats accumulated last year while a member of the A’s.
  10. Willson Contreras, STL – The long-time Cub has moved south to the Redbirds, much to the chagrin of the Chicago faithful. Moving to a much better offense should provide better opportunities and a boost in those always-solid counting stats.
  11. Tyler Stephenson, CIN – He missed a month with a fractured thumb and then added to the misery with a fractured clavicle that cost him the last two months of the season. When healthy, he hit six homers, drove in 35 runs, and hit to an outstanding .319 BA. After the top-tier catchers disappear off the board, look to Stephenson as a solid mid-tier option.
  12. Cal Raleigh, SEA – Raleigh hits the ball a long way when he lays bat-to-ball, as proven by the 27 homers he smacked in 2022. If only he could find a way to lay the bat-to-ball with more frequency. Know your parameters.
  13. Travis d’Arnaud, ATL – It was a good year for Travis d’Arnaud. He managed a career high 18 homers to go along with the always solid D. It wouldn’t be a shock to see d’Arnaud and Sean Murphy finding their way into additional at-bats hitting in the DH slot when not catching.
  14. Keibert Ruiz, WAS – He’s young with plenty of room and time to up his game. Expect slow and steady growth over the next several seasons, with an eventual arrival as a Top-10 Catcher. Just don’t expect that to occur next season.
  15. Danny Jansen, TOR – Jansen smacked 15 homers, drove in 44 runs, and hit for a .260 BA in only 215 at-bats. As a backup catcher, that is solid production. Toss in some additional at-bats out of the DH slot and Jansen could be poised to close in on a 20-home-run season.
  16. Yasmani Grandal, CWS – He didn’t hit for power, drive in runs, or produce his usual stellar OBP last year. A bounce-back type campaign should be in order for the 34-year-old backstop. The question is, how far back will it bounce?
  17. Christian Vazquez, MIN – The lowest BA Vazquez has produced over the past four seasons is a .258 BA. Toss in the modest power and a handful of stolen bases, and he does something many second catchers won’t do. He won’t hurt you.
  18. Bo Naylor, CLE – The Guardians brought in Mike Zunino to work with Naylor, a very smart move. As a #2 Catcher in Redraft Leagues, I like the double-digit power/speed potential. Just don’t overestimate those numbers and the workload in his rookie campaign. The big numbers will be right around the corner commencing in 2024.
  19. Logan O’Hoppe, LAA – Max Stassi and his .570 OPS won’t prove to be a stumbling block for the budding star. The Phillies could rue the day they parted company with O’Hoppe.
  20. Gabriel Moreno, ARZ – He’s young and will need a year before transitioning into the principal catcher role, but it’s coming and quickly. The hit tool is already solid and the power will develop.
  21. Jonah Heim, TEX – It was a solid 2022 for Heim. In the absence of Mitch Garver, sidelined by a flexor tendon injury and subsequent surgery, Heim stepped to the fore and enjoyed a very good season. The second half .590 OPS is definitely cause for concern, as is the return of Mitch Garver. A return to 250 at-bats from the 406 at-bats he accumulated in 2022 is very likely, and with it, a corresponding reduced value.
  22. Eric Haase, DET – It wasn’t 2021 good, but 14 homers, 44 RBI, and a .254 BA is solid production. Expect more of the same in 2023.
  23. Jose Trevino, NYY – The AL Platinum Glove Award winner, the first by a Yankee, also handled himself well with the bat. 11 home runs, 43 RBI, and a .248 BA makes for a decent option as a second Catcher in two-catcher formats.
  24. Carson Kelly, ARZ – The arrival of Gabriel Moreno in the desert does not bode well for Kelly. The DBacks are poised for a changing of the catcher guard, and unless Kelly ups his game significantly, he’ll be on the outside looking in.  
  25. Gary Sanchez, FA – Sanchez will give you a legitimate shot at a 20 home run season. He’ll also be a huge BA dreg. He’s still looking for a job, and the landing spots are getting fewer and fewer by the day. Will he be left standing when the last chair is filled?
  26. Austin Nola, SDP – Nola might not be who we once thought he would be, but a repeat of his 2022 season would be very welcome in deeper formats.  
  27. Endy Rodriguez, PIT – He’ll work in a job share with Austin Hedges as he learns the gig. After producing a 25 HR, 95 RBI, .323 BA season down on the farm, it shouldn’t be long before he owns the full-time gig in Pittsburgh.
  28. Mike Zunino, CLE – Zunino inked a one-year deal to mentor Bo Naylor. Zunino missed the bulk of 2022 after undergoing thoracic outlet surgery, but with four 20-plus home run seasons on his resume could prove to be a cheap late source of power.
  29. Elias Diaz, COL – As a late-round option, Diaz brings moderate power, decent RBIs, and a .228 BA to the table. What you see is what you get.
  30. Christian Bethancourt, TBR – It has been an interesting journey for the one-time Braves’ top prospect. From catcher to reliever to a stint in Korea, from Oakland to Tampa Bay, not to mention a host of Minor and Winter League teams. He enters 2023 with a share of the Rays catching gig. Double-digit home runs should be in the cards, temper the BA expectations. 1B-37 
  31. Joey Bart, SFG
  32. Omar Narvaez, NYM
  33. Francisco Mejia, TBR 
  34. Martin Maldonado, HOU
  35. Nick Fortes, MIA
  36. Yan Gomes, CHC
  37. Jacob Stallings, MIA 
  38. Tucker Barnhart, CHC
  39. Reese McGuire, BOS 
  40. Seby Zavala, CWS  
  41. Luis Campusano, SDP 
  42. Kyle Higashioka, NYY 
  43. Austin Hedges, PIT
  44. James McCann, BAL
  45. Max Stassi, LAA                          
  46. Ryan Jeffers, MIN  
  47. Jake Rogers, DET 
  48. Curt Casali, CIN
  49. Garrett Stubbs, PHI 
  50. Cooper Hummel, SEA 
  51. Austin Barnes, LAD 
  52. Jorge Alfaro, FA  
  53. Riley Adams, WAS 
  54. Victor Caratini, MIL 
  55. Andrew Knizer, STL 
  56. Connor Wong, BOS 
  57. Tyler Soderstrom, OAK   
  58. Sam Huff, TEX
  59. Luke Maile, CIN
  60. Ivan Herrera, STL
  61. Tomas Nido, NYM 
  62. Dillon Dingler, DET   
  63. Luis Torrens, FA 
  64. Tom Murphy, SEA  
  65. Henry Davis, PIT 
  66. Korey Lee, HOU  
  67. Bryan Lavastida, CLE
  68. Kevin Plawecki, FA  
  69. Roberto Perez, FA 
  70. Brian Severn, COL 
  71. Manny Pina, ATL   
  72. P.J. Higgins, CHC 1B-38 
  73. Mario Feliciano, DET
  74. Ali Sanchez, PIT 
  75. Alex Jackson, MIL 
  76. Austin Wynns, SFG 
  77. Jose Herrera, ARZ 
  78. Pedro Severino, SDP
  79. Miguel Amaya, CHC
  80. Yainer Diaz, HOU 
  81. Israel Pineda, WAS 
  82. Anthony Bemboom, BAL