Well, it wouldn’t be much fun if the ball just rolled to the wall every time the pitcher threw it, so obviously the game needs a catcher, even if robot umps take over. But my impression of trying to draft stud catchers from year to year is that it’s folly.
Maybe because the position is so demanding defensively, my impression of their ability to hit is somewhere between ‘American League pitcher’ and ‘Defensive Replacement’. The numbers say that catchers debut later, but even that finding is muddied by late-career backup catcher debuts. Aging for catchers seems about the same, and finding value in a catcher is easy even if they hit 13% worse than league average as a group this year, worse than any other position players — you still need to fill the position, so even an okay batter should be valuable.
Still… am I crazy? It seems that catchers are more volatile, year to year, and I just want to shop in the bargain bin for the most part. Let’s jump in and see if I am loony tunes.