Francisco Mejia
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Don’t expect Gary Sanchez-like production, but these catching prospects should be on your Fantasy Baseball radar in 2018.

Catcher is the worst position in fantasy baseball. It is a top-heavy position and after the top six, it is a roll of the dice. However, there is help on the way. These are the top hitting prospects at catcher that will help us not only this year but also in the long run. I highly recommend that if you don’t get one of the top three catchers on the board, wait until your last pick to grab one.

MLB

Francisco Mejia, Cleveland Indians, Age: 22

2017 MiLB LevelBAOBPOPSHRRBISB
AA.297.346.83514527

Mejia is one of the best hitting catcher prospects since Joe Mauer. The switch-hitter is a career .293 hitter in the minors and has a good eye at the plate. He doesn’t have elite power but he could be a 20-home run hitter in the big leagues. Mejia has the upside to be a keeper for years and that’s hard to say about many catchers.

Unlike most backstops, Mejia will give us a safe average once he gets the everyday job for the Indians. If you play in a dynasty or keeper league, you need to target him in your drafts. Most prospects at the catcher position are either glove-first players or they are too young to be drafted this year. I would rank him as a top 15 catcher if he gets the starting nod on Opening Day. Whenever he gets the call, he should hit around .270, something only eight catchers did that in the majors last year who played in more than 100 games.

Danny Jansen, Toronto Blue Jays, Age: 22

2017 MiLB LevelsBAOBPOPSHRRBISB
A/AA/AAA.323.400.88410481-for-1

Jansen was an average hitter at best in the minors until last season. He didn’t make any changes in his swing or adjust his approach at the plate, he was diagnosed with an astigmatism in one of his eyes. He couldn’t pick up the rotation of the ball correctly and he was guessing during his at-bats. Jansen got prescription glasses to wear during games and it changed his career.

He started the season in Single-A and made it all the way to Triple-A by the end of the year. What impressed me the most during his 2017 breakout was that he walked more times (41) than he struck out (40). Not many players in today’s game have that kind of plate discipline. He won’t hit with a ton of power but he could be a 15 home run/75 RBI-plus player who hits for a good average and gets on base consistently. At catcher, that is hard to find.

Chance Sisco, Baltimore Orioles, Age: 22

2017 MiLB LevelBAOBPOPSHRRBISB
AAA.267.340.7367472-for-4

Sisco has one big advantage over the other prospects on this list, he is the opening day starter (as of now) for the Baltimore Orioles and he didn’t disappoint in his brief promotion last season.

He played in only 10 games but he impressed the Orioles enough to let Welington Castillo, one of the best-hitting catchers in baseball, leave as a free agent. A career .311 hitter in five seasons in the minors to go with a .390 on-base percentage, they’ll be looking to Sisco to replicate those numbers in the big leagues.

Hitting in a good lineup in a good ballpark and getting at-bats five days a week puts him in a spot to do just that. It also gives Sisco some job security. He needs to be on your radar late in drafts.

Keibert Ruiz, Los Angles Dodgers, Age: 19

2017 MiLB LevelsBAOBPOPSHRRBISB
A/A+.316.361.8138510

Ruiz is a name to get yourself familiar with. He is only 19 and probably won’t be ready until 2020, but he will be the game’s top catching prospect by next year. It’s rare to see a catcher hit above .300 with a high on-base percentage at his age but he has shown to be a man amongst boys at the plate.

If you play in a deep keeper or dynasty league this is the time to draft Ruiz. He is already ranked as a top 40 overall prospect by Baseball America (No. 40) and he is the second-highest catcher on the list behind Mejia (No. 20).

It’s smart to be a year ahead on a prospect because by this time next year he will be the most popular hitting catcher prospect in fantasy. The Dodgers are not afraid to call up their studs from the minors and Ruiz could be no different. He has zero value this year but draft him for the future.

Carson Kelly, St. Louis Cardinals Age: 22

2017 MiLB LevelBAOBPOPSHRRBISB
AAA.283.375.83410410

Kelly is a better real-life prospect than he is for our fantasy teams. He has one major problem when it comes to regular playing time in St. Louis—Yadier Molina, who is signed through 2020.

But that doesn’t mean Kelly shouldn’t be on your radar. Once he gets the job he will be a top 15 catcher and you can get him at a cheap price. If he hits over .270 and gives us around 15-to-20 homers, he’ll be a valuable player to have on your roster. If Molina goes down with an injury this year and you need help at catcher, I would recommend getting Kelly on your team.

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