Start your draft prep work with catchers first

Now that the MLB lockout is over, it’s time to kick you fantasy baseball Preparatory work in full swing. Things will be moving fast — from free agent signings to spring training to opening day on April 7 — and your draft date will be here before you know it. Thorough knowledge of the player pool is paramount to your success, and the catcher position is where your work begins.

Put simply, catchers in fantasy football are very similar to tight ends. You have your little top row of players costing you one of your top six picks, then you have the rest of the field. If you think drafting Salvador Perez, JT Realmuto, or Will Smith will give you a significant advantage over your competition, then take the step. Yasmani Grandal and Willson Contreras also fall into this tier, although you can grab them a few turns later. But if you decide to wait, the rest of the field leaves you with an important decision – power or batting average?

The trick to waiting for catchers is to find players who don’t hurt you in the overall score. If you draft other players with strong batting averages, you can wait for catchers like Mike Zunino or Elias Diaz. You get your 20 home runs, but they come with a .230 batting average, so having a surrounding cast with strong averages is a must.

If you find that your first round picks are powerful but don’t have a strong batting average, then you need to ignore the power and turn your attention to players like Austin Nola or Omar Narvaez. Even a rookie like Keibert Ruiz should fill the bill. They are not completely powerless, but their strength is average.

Is there a sleeper catcher out there that can do it all? Look at the Reds’ Tyler Stephenson. He has the ability to hit both power and average, and with the new universal DH rule, he should even see additional at-bats as Cincinnati needs to keep his racquet in the lineup.

The position isn’t pretty in terms of fantasy play, but it’s still a requirement to fill. Get in early if you want, but don’t wait too long. You need at least one positive attribute from your backstop.

Howard Bender is the content director at Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on fantasy sports channel SiriusXM weekdays from 6pm to 8pm for all your fantasy baseball advice. Start your draft prep work with catchers first


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