How to draft Posey, other top-tier fantasy catchers

How to draft Posey, other top-tier fantasy catchers

The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's Fantasy411 podcast, hosted by MLB.com lead fantasy writer Fred Zinkie and national editor Matthew Leach. To hear the rest of Zinkie and Leach's catcher discussion, subscribe to the Fantasy411 podcast by clicking here.

On this week's pod, Fred and Matthew break down the fantasy-catcher landscape heading into draft season. We'll pick up the discussion with Leach identifying the Tier 1 backstops for 2017.

Leach: Buster Posey, Jonathan Lucroy and Gary Sanchez -- those are three really different choices. You look at Posey, and I think there's reason to be worried. This is a guy who hit 24, 15, 22 and 19 home runs, and then 14 last year. He turns 30 in March, and it would not be shocking if last year was a new normal for Posey, and if the player we're looking at now is a .290, 15-home run kind of player. That's a very good player, but that's not the kind of MVP candidate we were talking about two or three years ago when he was hitting .310 or .320, hitting 20-plus home runs and even winning a batting title in 2012.

Compare that to Lucroy, who had a real power breakout last year. After a quiet 2015, he returned to have a career year. In between is Gary Sanchez, and with him we honestly don't know. I know a lot of people got really excited, and it was more than just a couple of weeks, but I can't shake having some skepticism.

So, how do you rank those guys and how do you weigh the risk and reward of those guys?

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Zinkie: To me, Posey is still No. 1. I know what you mean about how those numbers could be the new normal for him. But when I delve into his numbers a little deeper, he had his highest career rate of hard contact last season, but his lowest career home run-to-fly-ball percentage. Those two things don't really jibe for me. He also hit fewer fly balls. So those two things really push down his home run total.

I'm expecting him to bounce back with perhaps something like 18 home runs. I don't expect the Giants to be an offensive juggernaut, but the floor is so incredibly high with Posey, as far as how a bad season for him is like a .285 average. He's still No. 1 for me.

But I don't think Lucroy is getting enough credit as someone who's been very good in recent years. The power went up last season, but he's hit .301 in a season, had a season with 82 RBIs, a season with 73 runs scored. He's produced some nice totals. He's not quite as consistent as Posey, but he's really consistent.

To me, they're the top two catchers just because the floor for both of them is really high. Sanchez is just such a wild card, and I would put him a little bit behind them, just for the flop possibility -- even though I do think we'll see probably 25 homers out of him.

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