2023 fantasy baseball catcher/DH rankings: The future is now for Adley Rutschman

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Baltimore Orioles' Adley Rutschman hits a home run against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning of a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 2, 2023, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Home Field Sports fantasy baseball rankings series continues with catchers and designated hitters, which involve the fewest fantasy-relevant players compared to the other positions.

Catcher is thin and still limited as far as productive bats, but the universal DH allows more players to see at-bats to where teams such as the Blue Jays and Royals have multiple catcher-eligible players set to produce fantasy value.

We’ve got the top 15 catchers and top five DHs ranked along with each position’s No. 1 option, top breakout, bust and deep sleeper.

CATCHER

No. 1 option

J.T. Realmuto, Phillies

Realmuto is coming off a 20 home run-20 stolen base season, which is unheard of for a catcher, and he’s in a lineup that provides him with plenty of opportunities for runs and RBIs. He’s also a solid contributor in batting average, making him the clear-cut No. 1 catcher in rotisserie formats while also being a strong performer in points leagues.

Top Breakout Candidate

Adley Rutschman, Orioles

Rutschman’s MLB debut was much anticipated as a top prospect, and he delivered with a solid stretch run in which he entrenched himself as the Orioles’ full-time catcher. He delivered quality production with his bat and has the upside to be the top-hitting catcher in the game, and he could reach his ceiling sooner than later despite being only 25 years old.

Bust Candidate

Alejandro Kirk, Blue Jays

Kirk had a breakout season last year in which he became a mainstay in the Blue Jays lineup as someone who could hit for average and offer a solid amount of power for a catcher. The issue this year though is that the Blue Jays upgraded their lineup to where Kirk might not see as many at-bats and doesn’t offer quite enough power to justify being drafted as a top catching option.

Deep sleeper

Keibert Ruiz, Nationals

Ruiz has had a fairly quiet start to his MLB career on a Nationals team that’s far away from contending, but he’s shown enough with his bat to be worth a flyer at a thin position. He was a force in the minors as a hitter and should be able to take a step forward this season with plenty of opportunity to rack up at-bats on a rebuilding team.

TOP 15

1. J.T. Realmuto, Phillies

2. Daulton Varsho, Blue Jays (OF)

3. Will Smith, Dodgers

4. Salvador Perez, Royals

5. Adley Rutschman, Orioles

6. Willson Contreras, Cardinals

7. Alejandro Kirk, Blue Jays

8. Sean Murphy, Braves

9. M.J. Melendez, Royals (OF)

10. William Contreras, Brewers

11. Keibert Ruiz, Nationals

12. Cal Raleigh, Mariners

13. Jonah Heim, Rangers

14. Tyler Stephenson, Reds

15. Danny Jansen, Blue Jays

DH/UTIL only

No. 1 option

Shohei Ohtani, Angels

Ohtani is one of the top fantasy contributors as a hitter and a pitcher, with the only downside being that he doesn’t have a position in the field to where he’s only utility eligible in most leagues. This shouldn’t discourage fantasy managers from selecting Ohtani in the first round, as he’ll deliver enough with the bat to be worth being limited to utility-only and will also contribute strong pitching numbers.

Bust Candidate

J.D. Martinez, Dodgers

Martinez used to be one of the top DH options in MLB, but his hitting numbers took a nosedive last season, especially in the power department. A move to Dodger Stadium likely won’t result in a resurgence, making Martinez hardly worth drafting outside of deeper leagues.

Deep sleeper

Mitch Garver, Rangers

Garver lost catcher eligibility, but he could regain it this season and be a sneaky option as a result, as he hit 30 home runs just a few seasons ago. The issue is that it might take him a month or two to regain eligibility, and he’ll likely be a negative contributor in batting average, so he’s best left to the waiver wire but worth monitoring in case he goes on a home run tear.

TOP 5

1. Shohei Ohtani, Angels

2. Bryce Harper, Phillies

3. J.D. Martinez, Dodgers

4. Matt Carpenter, Padres

5. Mitch Garver, Rangers

Other positional rankings

Corner Infielders (1B/3B)

Middle Infielders (2B/SS)

Outfielders

Starting Pitchers

Relief Pitchers

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