Not everyone likes to pay up at catcher when it comes to Fantasy Baseball, but if you do there needs to be a discussion on which catcher to make that gamble on early in your draft. Gary Sanchez is currently the number 1 catcher off the board (58.46 overall) according to the NFBC Draft Champions results. J.T. Realmuto goes second right behind Gary, but Salvador Perez is the 3rd catcher off the board (104.06 overall) and he is the early catching target that really has my attention.
Case for Gary Sanchez
Seems there are many that are on the Gary Sanchez bounce back bandwagon. Honestly, it’s hard not to join that bandwagon. Sanchez had an injury riddled 2017 season where he only played in 89 games after a 2017 season that saw him play 122 games.
When you look at all the advance stats there is a ton of room for positive regression. His BA-xBA was -.037, wOBA-xwOBA was -.039 and his SLG-xSLG was -0.62. Those numbers where insanely low for Gary Sanchez standards. His horrible .186 BA in 2018 was a massive drop off after his .278 BA in 2017. A major factor to that that .186 BA was likely a horrific .197 BABIP (.304 in 2017).
Now, 2017 was a career season with that .278 BA and his 33 home runs and he may not get back to those outstanding numbers. There is room for improvement for the believers in xStats and Steamer even agrees as they have him hitting .245 with 30 home runs in 2019.
Case for Salvador Perez
When you look for the model of consistency while making a draft pick, then look no further than Salvador Perez. Salvy is coming off a 2018 season where he once again played at least 129 games (129 or more games every year since 2013) and hit 27 home runs (at least 17 or more home runs every year since 2014).
He hit .235 last season which is a low for Perez as he’s used to hitting .260+ most of his career. When we look at the overall production we have to be happy with the power and counting stats and can only hope the average comes back up.
Well, looking at xStats we can believe the BA will come up and the power should still be great, if not better. His BA-xBA was -.025, wOBA-xwOBA was -.029 and his SLG-xSLG was -.036. Still room for some nice positive regression.
His exit velocity (91.2 mph), barrel rate (10.8%) and hard hit rate (47.2%) where all better than 2017. When you hit the ball that hard, with that solid of an EV and that many barrels, but have a BABIP of .245 is not that common and that leads to optimism. Steamer projects Perez to improve his BA to .252 which is really solid at catcher with 24 more home runs and all those counting stats.
And the Winner is??????
I’ve mentioned on Benched with Bubba EP137 and in recent articles that this is one of the first years where I could see myself paying up for catcher. The difference of almost 50 picks, basically 3 rounds in 15 team leagues is quite a good chunk when you can get very similar production. If I have to choose between the 2 I’ll be going with Salvador Perez all day over Gary Sanchez. At the point in the draft where you have to take Sanchez I can grab another big bat or get one of the pitching aces I’ll need to solidify my rotation. The next debate is whether to take Salvador Perez or wait 40-50 more picks for players like Wilson Ramos or Yasmani Grandal.