Catcher Shuffle Up: The Gary Sanchez redemption

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 11:  Gary Sanchez #24 of the New York Yankees reacts after hitting a two-run home run to left field in the eighth inning against the New York Mets at Yankee Stadium on June 11, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Gary Sanchez is homering again, and happy again, in 2019 (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Catchers are people too. Today, let’s price them for fantasy purposes.

The Shuffle Up series asks a simple question: How would we price players if the season were starting fresh today?

You’ll have to season the prices to taste. The numbers don’t matter in a vacuum; what matters is how the player prices relate to one another. Assume a 5×5 scoring system, as always. Players at the same cost are considered even.

[Join or create a 2019 Yahoo Fantasy Football league for free today]

I’m not going to price injured players; I don’t see the point in that. Some fantasy owners are injury optimists, some are injury realists. You can choose whatever path you want.

Have some disagreements? Have some major disagreements? That’s good! That’s why we have a game. I welcome your respectful disagreement anytime: @scott_pianowski on Twitter.

Remember the golden rule: No player takes on extra (or less) value simply because you roster him.

Hot Rocks

$21 Gary Sanchez

$20 Yasmani Grandal

$17 JT Realmuto

$17 Willson Contreras

$13 Wilson Ramos

$12 Mitch Garver

The Sanchez comeback was all about health; he’s hale now, and crushing in all venues (slightly better at Yankee Stadium, but 10 homers home and away). The big Sanchez question forward is what his ultimate position will be — he’s a lousy pitch framer and a liability at this critical position. But a .965 OPS is going to play somewhere, obviously.

Grandal could easily be at the top of this list when we get around to it in the summer; he’s been shockingly mediocre at home (.211/.350/.400). But his OPS spikes 340 points on the road, and Milwaukee’s got a deep lineup. Grandal’s career splits show a better lean against righties, but it’s been the opposite this year. Unlike Sanchez, he’s actually a plus defender and a useful pitch framer.

Garver’s .381 BABIP obviously goes in the unsustainable file, and statcast warns about a possible cratering. According to the batted-ball profile, he should be batting .244 and slugging .503 (instead of .321 and .579, respectively). Then again, Garver walks a reasonable amount and occupies important real estate in that loaded Minnesota lineup. There’s only so low I can price him.

Respectable

$10 Robinson Chirinos

$10 Yadier Molina

$9 Jorge Alfaro

$8 Omar Narvaez

$7 Josh Phegley

$7 Buster Posey

$7 James McCann

$7 Jason Castro

The Astros didn’t get Chirinos for the batting average, but they’re reaping the benefits of his quiet career season. He’s sitting with the highest OBP and slugging of his career, and he’s poised to sail past his career high of 18 homers. Minute Maid is commonly misunderstood — it’s actually a pitcher-favoring park — and Chirinos has splits in line with that, slugging 34 points higher on the road.

It’s painful to have Posey this low, but what’s the positive angle? Walks are down, strikeouts up, and he’s actually a below-average player in weighted runs created. He’s also sitting on the worst average and OBP of his career. Given all the attrition here, Posey is an old 32.

Mixed Emotions

$6 Roberto Perez

$6 Carson Kelly

$6 Christian Vazquez

$5 Kurt Suzuki

$5 Jonathan Lucroy

$5 Pedro Severino

$5 Tom Murphy

$4 Tony Wolters

$4 Brian McCann

Wolters doesn’t have any power, but he’s a nice batting-average buoy in leagues that require two backstops. It’s not some Coors mirage, either, as he’s batting .294 on the road . . . Christian Vazquez is making the most out of Fenway (/333/.388/.500) but drops 187 OPS points win the road.

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Beggars Banquet

$3 Curt Casali

$3 Elias Diaz

$3 Tyler Flowers

$2 Welington Castillo

$2 Mike Zunino

$2 Chris Iannetta

$1 John Hicks

$1 Austin Barnes

$1 Tucker Barnhart

$1 Victor Caratini

$1 Russell Martin

$1 Yan Gomes

$1 Travis d'Arnaud

$1 Austin Hedges

$1 Chance Sisco

$0 Matt Wieters

$0 Martin Maldonado

$0 Danny Jansen

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