NFBC and Prospects1500: Catchers

In one of my current NFBC drafts, someone referred to catchers at the place kickers of the MLB world. Most years this is a true statement, but this year may be truer than most.

In no way am I trying to cast doubt on the catchers listed below. It’s just that you’re not missing much if you take a shot on young backstop rather than the tried and true Saltalamacchias of the world.

Note: NFBC draft positions were exported around January 31st.

Bruce Maxwell

NFBC draft position – Average: 443 | Minimum: 326 | Maximum: 527

Prospects1500 Team Rank: 22nd Athletics

Maxwell is someone I have been targeting as a #3 catcher in NFBC drafts. We’re talking about a #3 catcher in a 15-team, 2 catcher league; but still, there are some reasons to be optimistic:

  1. He’s on the 40-man roster
  2. Josh Phegley is the backup, but Maxwell will get the call if Vogt gets hurt or traded to replace the left-handed bat and maintain the platoon
  3. And there’s a chance his patient approach will give him some small value in OBP leagues.

Jorge Alfaro

NFBC draft position – Average: 453 | Minimum: 322 | Maximum: 580

Prospects 1500 Team Rank: 10th Phillies

Just a word of caution. If you play in unofficial NFBC leagues, there may be that guy that Alfaro with pick 292. I get that catching is a cesspool but don’t be that guy! Or, if you’re in a league with me. Then, be the man.

With that said, there is a reasonable chance that Alfaro comes up late in the year and is productive. But, I just don’t see him making much of an appearance, barring injury, before the All-Star break. NFBC leagues are 162 proverbial games long. And there are no transactions. So, those at-bats late in the year could be the difference.

I’ll let you know in October when Alfaro hits a HR on the last day and causes me to lose.

Omar Narvaez

NFBC draft position – Average: 507 | Minimum: 316| Maximum: 719

Prospects1500 Team Rank: 44th White Sox

So, I really want to ask if the 316 was an auto-pick. Because, I cannot see Narvaez providing value warranting a 20th round pick (yes, I understand its the 20th round)

Narvaez has turned into a solid minor league rule 5 pick for the White Sox. And, there is a good reason to think he’ll provide solid value for them over the next few years. But, solid value does not translate into solid fantasy baseball value.

Narvaez will not hurt you in average, not help you in HR or SB, and provide a modicum of RBI and Runs. This makes him a solid pick at his current average slot, a steal at 719, and a headshaker at 316.

Chance Sisco

NFBC draft position – Average: 592 | Minimum: 442| Maximum: 692

Prospects1500 Team Rank: 1st Orioles

To be honest, I don’t have the first idea on what Sisco’s chances are of contributing this year. Roster Resource has him coming up in late 2017. This seems right to me as I suspect the Orioles would like to see him get at-bats and Castillo is holding down the position. But with a spring training invite, he will be given an opportunity to show he belongs.

And just like Alfaro, Sisco could go on a nice little run when he gets called up later this year. And that could easily provide enough value to justify a 35th-38th round flyer.

Francisco Mejia

NFBC draft position – Average: 619| Minimum: 570| Maximum: 686

Prospects1500 Team Rank: 1st Indians

If Mejia had just one more year experience, I would feel like he is a bargain right now. With Yan Gomes coming back from injury and the #onlymaybepossiblyinOBP Roberto Perez blocking him, it would make sense for Mejia to make the bigs this year. And, he’s already on the 40-man roster. Did I mention his walk and strikeout rates portend a successful approach in the majors.

But, he’s not one year older. He’s a 21-year old who has yet to play AA. This feels like a wasted pick in a re-draft league. I would be willing to bet a buck that Eric Kratz has more major league at-bats this year before September. I’d bet 2 quarters he still has more at the end of the year.

I know, big spender! You should see what I bet when I’m not feeling confident.

Carson Kelly

NFBC draft position – Average: 633| Minimum: 540| Maximum: 748

Prospects1500 Team Rank: 4th Cardinals

Unlike Mejia, I think this is a perfectly reasonable range for Kelly. I would not pick him at 540 which is why I missed him in my one NFBC league–selected at pick 530– that has gotten that far.

Personally, I don’t expect him to do much when he comes up. That is to say, he will provide around league average for a catcher. Which is not much. But he is still a worthy pickup even at pick 530. Inevitably at least one catcher seems to break during the year.

Or, perhaps that’s just my miserable luck.

Pedro Severino

NFBC draft position – Average: 692| Minimum: 628| Maximum: 742

Prospects1500 Team Rank: 29th Nationals

So, the Nationals traded for Derek Norris. I did not watch Severino last year. But his stats from the majors and minors both look fine. He’s only 23 so theoretically the Nationals may want to get him more seasoning in the minors.

That makes sense.

But I can’t help but think this is a pretty good spot to take a flyer on a player. Norris doesn’t have the best track record recently. And it’s reasonable to think Severino could give him a push late in the year. Or, also reasonable to expect that the Nationals would not hesitate to call him up if an injury occurs.

For my part, this is exactly the kind of player I like to acquire in deep leagues. The cost should be reasonable. Potential for a payoff this year right when I need it (i.e., the playoffs). And if doesn’t work out, I still have what should be a worthwhile starter next year.

And too bad I already drafted the mighty Josh Phegley to be my 4th catcher. Oh well, there are always more NFBC leagues.

Feature Image Photo Credit: Buck Davidson

 

5 Comments

  1. I’m a guy who took a chance on Carson Kelly (over Chance Sisco, at least for this year in a draft and hold NFBC-style league) with overall pick 536, in the 36th round.

    I have Gary Sanchez and both Rockies backstops Murphy & Wolters. So in a 2 catcher league I figured why the heck not take a chance on a kid who some are saying is the #1 catcher prospect going into this season. Maybe he’s the #1 MLB catching prospect and not the #1 fantasy baseball C prospect, but at that point in a 50-round draft I certainly think it’s decent value.

    Oh, this from a guy who just drafted Austin Romine in the 48th round to handcuff The Sanchise.

  2. Good stuff Brian! Was debating Lobaton versus Sevy. This will come in handy in the next draft.

    PS where was the header photo taken? Sox affiliate?

    • Hey John, thanks for reading. I took that photo at Hadlock Field in Portland, ME this past July. It was a great weekend trip to see the Sea Dogs play the New Hampshire Fisher Cats when Benintendi and Moncada were both playing in AA. Saw Rowdy Tellez too.

    • Bit of risk and reward.

      If you’re looking for some guaranteed at-bats, then Lobaton is your man over Severino. And, Lobaton probably gets the lion’s share of at-bats if you assume traditional platoon. Though, Lobaton doesn’t exactly light it up against righties himself.

      That said, I think Severino provides better quality if he can get the at-bats. He offers the same in counting stats with I suspect 10-20 points better average.

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