Generally, catchers don't make for the wisest investments in dynasty leagues. They have a difficult transition to the majors and face playing-time concerns even when they make good on it. And since Fantasy Baseballers generally aren't inclined to roster more than they absolutely have to, the position tends to be one of the more fungible.

In other words, it takes a lot for a catcher to become an impactful enough player to justify the investment.

Top prospects: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | P

But if there was ever a year to invest in one, this is it. I can't remember the last time the position was so stacked. Normally, I have to stretch to fill out a top 10, but this year, I'm excluding two (the Yankees' Austin Wells and the Braves' Shea Langeliers) who figure to be in my top 100 overall prospects. That typically only happens with shortstops.

If others in your dynasty startup decide to pass them over just because that's how it's always been done, it'll be tempting to load up on four or five catchers and see how things shake out. A little stupid, maybe, but it's not a stretch to say half of this list could emerge as Fantasy mainstays this year.

Leading that list is one in particular who even seasoned dynasty leaguers have to admit is a catcher worth paying up for.

Note: This list is intended for a variety of Fantasy formats and thus weighs short-term role against long-term value. Not all of these players will contribute in 2022 — most, in fact, will not — but among prospects, they're the names Fantasy Baseballers most need to know.

1. Adley Rutschman, Orioles

Age (on opening day): 24
Where he played in 2021: Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .285 BA (452 AB), 23 HR, .899 OPS, 79 BB, 90 K

The top pick in the 2019 draft is less a catcher prospect than the prototype to which all others are compared, a switch-hitter who combines elite plate discipline with prodigious power while demonstrating superlative leadership and game-calling skills. He's the catcher who breaks all convention in terms of dynasty approach, presenting virtually no downside, and figures to debut at some point in 2022.

2. Tyler Soderstrom, Athletics

Age (on opening day): 20
Where he played in 2021: low Class A
Minor-league stats: .306 BA (222 AB), 12 HR, 20 2B, .957 OPS, 27 BB, 61 K

The hope for Soderstrom actually resides in the belief he won't stick at catcher, his bat far outshining his glove at this stage of his development, which would give him a tidier trajectory to Fantasy stardom. He hits the ball incredibly hard and, in keeping with Athletics tradition, knows how to work the count. The organization seems content to bring him along slowly, however. 

3. Gabriel Moreno, Blue Jays

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2021: complex, Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .367 BA (139 AB), 8 HR, 10 2B, 1.060 OPS, 14 BB, 25 K

Between swing changes and plain old physical growth, Moreno found his power stroke in 2021, pairing it with his longstanding contact skills for enormous production. A fractured thumb midseason cut the sample short, but scouts are generally buying into it as well as his defensive improvements, with Baseball America going so far as to rank Moreno the No. 8 prospect overall

4. Francisco Alvarez, Mets

Age (on opening day): 20
Where he played in 2021: low Class A, high Class A
Minor-league stats: .272 BA (327 AB), 24 HR, .941 OPS, 55 BB, 89 K

Prospect purists will rank Alvarez even higher than this, and in most other years, his skill set alone would be enough to put him atop the list. But he loses points for proximity, having a ways to go on the defensive end especially. Mostly, it's a testament to Soderstrom and Moreno that I can rank someone so talented as low as fourth. 

5. MJ Melendez, Royals

Age (on opening day): 23
Where he played in 2021: Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .288 BA (448 AB), 41 HR, 1.011 OPS, 75 BB, 115 K

The minor-league home run leader in 2021 was a .163 hitter at high Class A in 2019, emerging as the prime beneficiary of the Royals' big investment in hitter development the year in between. He shortened his swing and became much more selective at the plate, somehow getting even better after his move up to Triple-A. He and Salvador Perez should form quite the catcher/DH tandem. 

6. Henry Davis, Pirates

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2021: complex, high Class A
Minor-league stats: .308 BA (26 AB), 3 HR, 1 3B, 2 2B, 4 BB, 10 K

Though the first player taken in the 2021 draft, Davis isn't quite the standout Rutschman was two years prior. He rates well offensively, earning high marks for power and on-base ability, but the Pirates have no incentive to rush him as he tries to catch up defensively, his arm strength far outpacing his receiving skills.

7. Keibert Ruiz, Nationals

Age (on opening day): 23
Where he played in 2021: Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .310 BA (284 AB), 21 HR, 24 2B, .993 OPS, 30 BB, 33 K
Major-league stats: .273 BA (88 AB), 3 HR, 3 2B, .742 OPS, 6 BB, 9 K  

Ruiz showed an uncanny knack for putting the bat on the ball throughout his methodical climb up the minor-league ladder and now into the majors. It alone probably would have made him a Fantasy asset at a weak position, but his newfound power, brought about by a tweaked stance and improved approach, could make him a genuinely exciting rookie in 2022. 

8. Joey Bart, Giants

Age (on opening day): 25
Where he played in 2021: Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .294 BA (252 AB), 10 HR, 15 2B, .831 OPS, 21 BB, 82 K
Major-league stats: 2 for 6, 0 BB, 2 K

One silver lining to Buster Posey's retirement is that his heir apparent, drafted second overall in 2018, is just about ready to step in. Injuries (including this year) have slowed Bart's development and made him a bit one-dimensional as a hitter, standing out mostly for power, but at 25 and with some big-league experience already, he'll surely be aiming for opening day. 

9. Luis Campusano, Padres

Age (on opening day): 23
Where he played in 2021: Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .295 BA (292 AB), 15 HR, 21 2B, .906 OPS, 27 BB, 66 K
Major-league stats: 3 for 34, 4 BB, 11 K

As a hitter, it's not clear that Campusano has anything left to accomplish in the minors, especially when you consider he hit .332 with 14 homers and a 1.039 OPS in his final 56 games at Triple-A. He's incredibly strong, being known on occasion to swing a 40-ounce bat, and yet has above-average contact skills. His suspect receiving could limit his playing time, though. 

10. Diego Cartaya, Dodgers

Age (on opening day): 20
Where he played in 2021: low Class A
Minor-league stats: .298 (114 AB), 10 HR, 1.023 OPS, 18 BB, 37 K

Feels like the prospect hounds have been touting Cartaya since he was 17, and now that he's advanced to full-season ball, he's owed his due here. The Dodgers know what to do with talent, and fittingly, Cartaya shows few weaknesses, looking powerful, disciplined and perfectly capable as a game-caller. It might be him and Alvarez at the top of these rankings next year.