2016 Outlook: The three-year trend of Gomes' stats is not kind to him. Each component of his triple slash line has worsened year after year. His strikeout rate and his walk rate have also declined season after season. The one area that hasn't declined is the one we should focus on: His power. His Isolated Power improved in 2014 from 2013, but dipped a bit last season due in part to the knee injury. The power has been there in the past and the lack of hard contact played a part in his batting average falling nearly 50 points. His 2014 numbers are repeatable, although he's a better bet to hit over .260 again than he is to hit 20 homers in 2016. It is also tough to overlook his health issues, as he has just one full season in the majors and will turn 30 during the 2016 All-Star break.
2016 Outlook: Grandal was a popular breakout pick coming into the season. After a month, it looked hilariously misguided. He had a .600 OPS with just one homer and two RBIs. From there he ran off a stretch of 72 games during which he posted a .944 OPS with 14 homers and 42 RBIs as he looked like one of the best breakout picks of the year. But then he suffered a shoulder injury on Aug. 13 that effectively ended his season (he played 26 more games, but he probably shouldn't have, posting an impossibly bad .320 OPS in 96 plate appearances with a homer and three RBIs). The shoulder required surgery, but he didn't experience any issues, was already swinging from both sides of the plate in the winter and will be ready for spring training. If we "end" his 2015 season on Aug. 13th, his .878 OPS would've been tops at the position. And while he's unlikely to do that for a full season, anything north of .800 makes him an automatic top-five backstop. Buy.
2016 Outlook: A thumb injury that cut into the end of Molina's 2015 season has required multiple offseason surgeries, and he is expected to miss a good portion of spring training as a result. That is one of many reasons to be cautious when viewing Molina as a potential starting catcher in mixed leagues. His batting average has remained above average over the past couple seasons, despite several nagging injuries. But the days of him offering quality production in home runs, runs scored and runs batted in appear to be over. He has 11 home runs and 74 runs over the past two seasons (246 games), and now that he will be entering the season with concerns about his thumb, there is no reason to expect him to rebound to his 2011-13 production. The average is nice, especially in deep, two-catcher leagues, but that is all the 33-year-old backstop brings to the table.
2016 Outlook: With Alex Avila out of town, the starting job is now McCann's. He was a lefty masher last season, putting up a .320/.359/.557 line against southpaws, but that's where the fun ends. McCann hit .247/.277/.332 against righties, and is as bad framing pitches behind the plate as he is good throwing runners out. Defense means little in fantasy leagues, but the fact McCann struggles mightily against righties and hits a lot of ground balls limits his power upside. If his average is to remain high, he'll have to face more lefties because he doesn't draw walks, and the righties mostly have their way with him. More playing time will drag down the average, but could lead to double-digit homers.
2016 Outlook: A career-high 510 plate appearances in 2015 afforded Cervelli the opportunity to post a modest career high of seven homers, along with personal bests in RBI (43) and runs scored (56). He also saw an appreciable drop in strikeout rate, going from a bloated 25.3 percent mark in 2014 to 18.4 last season. While his effectiveness against righties took a slight tumble (.291 average, .317 in 2014), he managed a notable bump against southpaws. The right-handed-hitting Cervelli's average versus lefties went up 43 points to .310, making him equally dangerous against pitchers of either handedness. Cervelli's success at the plate in seasons past would seem to support the notion that he can offer similar production in 2016 given the playing time; the one caveat is that an almost inevitable drop in his .360 BABIP combined with a 79 percent contact rate could lead to some disappointing regression.
2016 Outlook: Swihart earned a promotion to Boston in May and appeared in 84 games, recording a .274/.319/.392 batting line with 5 HRs. While hardly world-beating, MLB catchers last year hit just .240/.303/.379, solidly below what Swihart managed as a 23-year-old rookie in one of the most pressure-packed environments in baseball. Swihart is unlikely to develop more than average power, and his stikeouts have become more of a problem as he has progressed up the organizational ladder. He struck out 24.5 percent of the time in 2015, and unless he improves that frequency, he'll likely decline from last year's .274 batting average. If Swihart can knock that strikeout rate down to the 15-20 percent range that he sported throughout the minors, then he can be one of the rare catchers who won't eat away at the batting average.
2016 Outlook: A six-year high in BABIP spurred what the stats folks like to call a "dead cat bounce". Of course, this isn't the first DCB for Pierzynski, lending credence to the notion of their nine lives. His 27-HR season in 2012 after 30 in three years before that combined was supposed to be his bounce. He regressed in 2013 and then tanked in 2014 before last year's .310 BABIP gave him a .300 average. Catcher is always a tough position to fill, particularly when leagues require a pair of them, and there is a path to a decent amount of playing time for Pierzynski, but do you want to be left holding this hot potato? There are many better options to gamble on.
2016 Outlook: The change of scenery from Arizona to Chicago didn't change much for Montero, but he turned in the second-best walk rate of his career and the per-game power production was at an all-time high in the first half with Montero smacking nine homers over the first three months. He continued to hit for notable power initially upon his return from a month-long stint on the DL due to a thumb injury, though the power vanished over the final six weeks or so of the regular season -- he had one home run after Aug. 25 -- and Montero's struggles continued into the postseason (2-for-21). Fortunately for Montero, the Cubs don't seem inclined to give Kyle Schwarber much of a role behind the plate this season, meaning Montero will have the primary job to himself to start the year. However, Willson Contreras is knocking at the door, and even with his on-base skills and power, it may be tough for Montero at almost 33 years old to earn the job back if he were to miss a good chunk of time.
2016 Outlook: Navarro was often the beneficiary of Toronto's lineup shenanigans last season, starting 15 games in the five-hole and 16 more at the six-spot. He even started a pair of games batting cleanup. He's never really had that much power, as the lifetime owner of a .375 slugging percentage and .120 ISO, but a fluky partial season with the Cubs in 2013 seems to have bought him some street cred in the power department. Switch-hitting catchers can always find a job and this season he'll be splitting backstop duties for the White Sox with Alex Avila, whose own problems at the plate could open up a larger window of playing time for Navarro this season.
2016 Outlook: Originally assumed to be a placeholder for top prospect Jorge Alfaro, Chirinos looks to be the regular a little longer as Alfaro is now with the Philadelphia Phillies. Chirinos' primary asset is double digit power, but beware, it comes at the expense of a low batting average as he strikes out at an above-average clip while sporting a below-average batting average on balls in play. Last season, Chirinos missed some time with hand, shoulder and biceps injuries but no one stepped up in his stead so he'll again be the starter with a bevy of journeymen battling for the backup role. If you don't like paying up for backstops and can buffer his average, Chirinos is good for double digit homers with some run production, hitting in a potent Texas lineup.
2016 Outlook: Castro received the bulk of the starts behind the plate for the Astros in 2015, but struggled offensively, posting just a .211/.283/.365 line with 11 home runs and 31 RBI. Although he had a solid 8.8 percent walk rate, the 28-year-old countered that by producing a career-worst 30.7 percent strikeout rate. Castro was named a 2015 finalist for the AL Gold Glove award, shining recognition of his strong defensive ability. With Hank Conger's departure for Tampa Bay, and unproven prospect Max Stassi in line to be his backup, it is likely that Castro sees even more action this season. The California native should have plenty of motivation to improve his offensive game as he will be a free agent following the season. Look for him to be a middle-of-the-pack catcher for fantasy purposes in 2016.
2016 Outlook: Matt Wieters is supposed to be lined up for a full season which will make it pretty hard for Joseph to get into 100 games again, and thus eats a big chunk out of his scant fantasy value. There is some punch in his bat, but he was barely a C2 in two-catcher leagues with the aforementioned 100 games, and he might be closer to half that if Wieters stays healthy. Of course, that's not a certainty, either.
2016 Outlook: Murphy came over to Minnesota when the Twins sent Aaron Hicks to the Bronx. The Yankees slow-played Murphy in the minors since they had Russell Martin and Brian McCann at the major league level. In fact, Murphy has been played so slowly that he's had more than 450 plate appearances in a season just one time (2012). Throughout his minor league career, he took walks and made good contact, but the contact has not shown up at the major league level. He has more of a chance to unseat the incumbent (Kurt Suzuki) than he ever had previously, but he could end up being the same type of player with slightly more pop in a full-time role.