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Prospect - Premium

Prospect Positional: C

by Christopher Crawford
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The rankings are broken into two parts: the top 10 prospects in order and the next 10 prospects in alphabetical order. As always, these rankings are done from a scouting perspective but with fantasy baseball in mind, generally focusing on standard 5x5 league categories – though other statistics (e.g., OBP) are considered – and long-term, dynasty-league value.

 

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The Top 10:

 

1.    Francisco Mejia, Cleveland Indians

We’ll offer Mejia’s fantasy value one slight caveat: If he’s not behind the plate or catcher-eligible in your league for 2018, his value drops somewhat precipitously. Even as an outfielder -- which he’ll reportedly be working on at Triple-A Indianapolis -- he’s worth a fantasy addition. He rarely strikes out, and the switch-hitter screams bullets all over the park. He’s also beginning to tap into his power from both sides of the plate and is the rare catcher who could give you double-digit steal seasons. He’s a good player as an outfielder; he’s a star if he’s behind the plate.

Impact stats: AVG, HR, RBI

2.    Chance Sisco, Baltimore Orioles

Sisco is going to start the year as the backup catcher, but we don’t think he’s going to be the backup for long. The former second-round pick can spray line drives to all parts of the park from the left side, and while he doesn’t have elite power, it’s certainly good enough to stay behind the plate. The short-term value if he’s the backup isn’t going to be elite, but there’s plenty of reason for long-term optimism as long he’s the starter like we think he’ll be by 2019.

Impact stats: AVG
    
3.    Carson Kelly, St. Louis Cardinals

Kelly’s value is hurt by the fact that Yadier Molina is ahead of him in the depth chart, but he’s too good of a player not to have in the top three. He doesn’t have the same offensive upside as the players above him -- and most of the ones below -- but there’s something to be said about his floor. He achieves that floor because of his excellent defense, but there’s also power in his bat, and he’s improved his approach. He should be starting for some team in 2019.

Impact stats: HR

4.    Jorge Alfaro, Philadelphia Phillies

Alfaro is going to begin the year as the starting catcher for the Phillies, and while there’s some obvious risk in his profile, his upside competes with anyone but Mejia’s on this list. The power is immense, and he could easily hit 30-plus homers as a regular. The question comes with the hitting talent, as he doesn’t have a good approach and he’ll swing-and-miss too often to call the skill even average. Nevertheless, at a position like catcher, having someone who can hit for big-time power is awful nice.

Impact stats: HR, RBI

5.    Keibert Ruiz, Los Angeles Dodgers

In terms of just pure talent, Ruiz might be the top catching prospect in baseball as soon as Mejia graduates, which should come soon. His hand-eye coordination is exceptional, and his willingness to go to all parts of the field with pitches makes the hitting talent plus. He’s still growing, but as he fills out his frame, 12-15 homer seasons are well within reach. It’s a long-term play, but if you’re looking for high upside in your dynasty league, here you go.

Impact stats: AVG

6.    Alex Jackson, Atlanta Braves

Jackson came over to the Braves in a deal with the Mariners last spring, and Atlanta should be thanking Seattle for the deal on a weekly basis. The power talent is the calling card, and he could be a 25-plus homer player at the highest level. He strikes out a ton, but the ball jumps off his bat when he makes contact, so he could hit for a decent average if he can keep the swing-and-miss to a dull roar. The defense is a work in progress so he’s not likely to be a quick riser, but he could be a starting catcher by 2020.

Impact stats: HR, RBI

7.    Danny Jansen, Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto is loaded with catching prospects, but Jansen is the one who offers the most fantasy value. He has a smooth, line-drive swing, and his ability to make consistent contact makes him a potential .300 hitter at the highest level. He’s not bereft of power, but you would be asking too much if you expected more than 10-12 homers a season. Still, a catcher who can hit for average is becoming more and more rare, so Jansen can help you win a category someday.

Impact stats: AVG

8.    Victor Caratini, Chicago Cubs

Caratini is going to have to change organizations for him to reach his maximum value, as Willson Contreras has the backstop position on lock for a very long time. If or when that happens, however, Caratini becomes a very intriguing fantasy option. He can hit for average from both sides, and there’s solid power in his bat, as well. There’s a chance he’ll have to move to first because he’s not a great defender, but as long as he’s behind the plate, there’s upside in his profile.

Impact stats: AVG, HR

9.    Zack Collins, Chicago White Sox

Collins struggled for most of the 2017 season, hitting .224 and striking out 129 times in 113 games at High and Double-A. The good news is that he still showed his plus power with 19 homers, and he also drew 87 walks, as he has an impressive approach at the plate. Like Cartaini, Collins isn’t a great defender, and the value drops if he has to move to first base. He’s an excellent bounce back candidate, however, and you might be able to acquire a future 30-homer catcher at a discount.

Impact stats: OBP, HR, RBI

10.    Sean Murphy, Oakland Athletics

Murphy has as high of floor as any player on this list sans Kelly, as he might be the best defensive catcher in minor league baseball after him. He’s not bad with the stick, either, as he has above-average power from the right side, and he makes just enough hard contact to project decent hitting skills as well. Murphy could be a fast-track player because of the glove, so you might want to invest him in early while the cost is low.

Impact stats: HR

 

The Next 10 (Alphabetical Order):

Riley Adams, Toronto Blue Jays
Austin Allen, San Diego Padres
Luis Campusano, San Diego Padres
William Contreras, Atlanta Braves
Andrew Knizner, St. Louis Cardinals
M.J. Melendez, Kansas City Royals
Tom Murphy, Colorado Rockies
Jake Rogers, Detroit Tigers
Tyler Stephenson, Cincinnati Reds

Christopher Crawford

Christopher Crawford is a baseball and college football writer for NBC Sports Edge. Follow him on Twitter @Crawford_MILB.