Adley the new king of fantasy catchers

March 23rd, 2024

Fantasy drafts are coming up, and is breaking down the best players available at every position.

Today, we're taking a look at the best catchers entering 2024.

Catchers don't always put up the elite overall numbers of superstars at other positions, but the scarcity at the position means that if you can snag one of the best catchers on the board or hit on a breakout player, you can grab a big advantage over your opponents.

Here's a tier-by-tier breakdown of the top catchers in's 2024 fantasy rankings.

Get in-depth breakdowns of each position:
Top 300 | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP | RP

Rutschman has blossomed into the star catcher in MLB today. And that goes for fantasy, too. The Orioles backstop is coming off a 2023 season in which he posted a .277/.374/.435 slash line, .809 OPS, 20 home runs, 80 RBIs, 84 runs scored, 52 extra-base hits and nearly as many walks (92) as strikeouts (101). Rutschman's 128 OPS+ was the best among regular catchers. And he's one of the few catchers today who handles a full-season workload -- Rutschman led all catchers with 154 games played and 687 plate appearances in 2023, meaning he has extra chances to rack up fantasy numbers.

And the 26-year-old looks like he's only getting better. Rutschman is projected to be the best offensive catcher in the Majors by a healthy margin in 2024, with more elite all-around production. Rutschman has great underlying metrics as well, ranking near the top of MLB -- at any position -- in many of Statcast's quality-of-contact stats, including expected batting average and expected slugging percentage. Rutschman is probably the only MVP-type player you can draft at catcher in 2024.

Realmuto has always been one of the most valuable fantasy catchers. He's the only catcher who steals bases and slugs. In 2023, the Phillies veteran had 16 stolen bases, twice as many as the next-closest catcher, Connor Wong. Over the last three seasons, Realmuto has 50 steals; next is Willson Contreras with 15. And Realmuto still has 20-plus home run power. He's entering his age-33 season now, but still: No other catcher can reliably give you double digits in both of those categories.

Smith is one of the most reliable power-hitting catchers out there, with OPS+ marks of 133, 162, 127, 124 and 114 in his five seasons for the Dodgers. The 28-year-old has averaged 131 games played, 23 home runs, 80 RBIs and 73 runs scored with an .820 OPS over the last three years. And he gets to bat in the middle of a powerhouse Dodgers lineup.

Contreras, the younger brother of three-time All-Star catcher Willson, had a big breakout in 2023 for the Brewers. The 26-year-old won the NL Silver Slugger Award at catcher after batting .289 -- leading all catchers -- with an .825 OPS, 17 homers, 78 RBIs and 86 runs scored.

From a pure power-hitting standpoint, Raleigh might be the top option at catcher for fantasy. The Mariners switch-hitter was the only catcher to hit 30 home runs in 2023, and he's projected to lead all catchers in homers again in 2024 -- Steamer has him hitting 28, one more than Salvy. Raleigh just won't give you much batting average, and he's prone to striking out.

Diaz looks like an up-and-comer at the position after a promising rookie season for the Astros in 2023. The 25-year-old batted .282 with a .538 slugging percentage and .846 OPS with 23 homers and 60 RBIs in 104 games. He had strong quality-of-contact metrics across the board, including xBA, xSLG, exit velocity, hard-hit rate and barrel rate.

Perez probably won't ever reproduce his 2021 season again, when he led the Majors with 48 homers and 121 RBIs, but the Royals veteran is still producing at the plate as he enters his age-34 season. Perez finished with 23 homers and 80 RBIs in 2023, and he's projected for the second-most homers (27) and most RBIs (86) of any catcher in 2024, per Steamer.

Alvarez, who was MLB's No. 3 overall prospect last year, had ups and downs as a rookie for the Mets. On the plus side, he had 25 homers and 63 RBIs in his 123 games. On the minus side, he hit just .209 with a .284 on-base percentage. The 22-year-old is an upside play for 2024.

Murphy was the best hitting catcher in baseball for the first half of the 2023 season, when he hit .306 with a .599 slugging percentage, .999 OPS, 17 home runs and 55 RBIs. But he was one of the worst hitting catchers in the second half, when he batted just .159 with a .275 slugging percentage, .585 OPS, four home runs and 13 RBIs. So which Murphy are you going to get in 2024? The 29-year-old at least has a strong career track record, and has the benefit of playing for the Braves.

Rounding out Tier 3 is the older Contreras brother. Willson didn't get off to a great start in his first season with the Cardinals, but he bounced back to finish 2023 with 20 homers, 67 RBIs an .826 OPS and 124 OPS+. The 31-year-old will give you reliable 20-plus home run power, having reached that mark three seasons in a row and projected to do so again in 2024 with 21 homers.

The fourth tier of catchers is heavy on high-risk, high-reward youngsters -- that's Moreno, Ruiz, Naylor and O'Hoppe.

  • The 24-year-old Moreno hit .284 with seven homers, 50 RBIs and a 104 OPS+ for the D-backs in his first full season -- and he was a postseason star during Arizona's pennant run, launching four home runs and collecting 12 RBIs.
  • The 25-year-old Ruiz had his best season yet for the Nationals, with 18 homers and 67 RBIs, but he still only had a below-average 97 OPS+.
  • The 23-year-old Naylor only played 67 games for the Guardians but finished with 11 homers, 32 RBIs and a 124 OPS+.
  • The 24-year-old O'Hoppe played even fewer games for the Angels, just 51, but he hit 14 home runs with 29 RBIs and a 111 OPS+.

The other two catchers in this tier, Heim and Garver, both played for the World Series champion Rangers in 2023. Heim had a career year offensively, finishing with 18 home runs, 95 RBIs -- by far the most of any catcher -- and a 103 OPS+. The 28-year-old switch-hitter is also now locked in as the No. 1 catcher in Texas, with Garver heading to the Mariners in free agency.

Garver is behind Raleigh on the depth chart in Seattle, but he should also get the chance to produce at DH, like he did in Texas. The 33-year-old had 19 home runs, 50 RBIs an .870 OPS and a 134 OPS+ in 87 games last season and was particularly good down the stretch and hit some big home runs in the playoffs.