Last season, the Cubs decided to move their big man catcher to the outfield last season, it did not exactly go as planned. Kyle Schwarber injured himself in his second game in the outfield and missed the rest of the regular season. The experiment persists, but some outlets have given Schwarber a reprieve. Yahoo granted him catcher status despite him being an outfielder now. The Cubs’ actual catcher, Wilson Contreras, had a good limited stint last year and is definitely viable for a starting fantasy baseball catcher slot. This begs the question: could the Cubs have two top-five fantasy baseball catchers next season?
Right now, the ADP on FantasyPros.com puts both Schwarber (68 overall) and Contreras (100 overall). Both are within the top-five catchers drafted, but will they end up there? Schwarber’s partial 2015 campaign, wherein he mashed sixteen bombs and had an .842 OPS in just 69 games and Contreras’ 76 game 2016 stint, wherein he had 12 homers and an .845 OPS say yes.
There’s also the issue of the players ahead of them, and the players behind them, in ADP. Buster Posey is once again the king of the position, but he is now 30 and likely to start missing games behind the dish, per Bruce Bochy. He’ll likely move to first in this situation, but he will also likely take a seat to preserve him fully. Posey is unlikely to return his #1 catcher slot, and could drop out of the top-five completely.
Gary Sanchez had an ungodly stretch when he came up, but can he keep it up? Lucroy is the only one in the top three who is a shoo-in to stay there. Behind Contreras and Schwarber sits Evan Gattis, JT Realmuto, and Sal Perez. Gattis is the proto-Schwarber, (high power, low average). Realmuto gets a bump because of the overvaluation of speed. Sal Perez’s chronic overuse has him as a do-not-draft for me. There’s not much behind them to threaten their top-five potential.
Both Cubs catchers were highly touted prospects before their debuts and will be key components in what will prove to be a potent lineup, especially if Jason Heyward bounces back. So, in short: yes. The Cubs have managed to put together an extremely potent lineup that will feature two credible fantasy baseball catching options, both on the upswing of their career. For my money, I’m going Contreras, if only because of the price. He’s barely top-100, and draftees select Contreras 32 picks later than Schwarber on average. Both players will settle up well within the top-five of the position, especially given the drop off after them.