Clearing The Bases
It’s that time of year again where all of us fantasy players are gearing up for our fantasy draft.Â Some of us may have already had a draft or two as some leagues like to get it out of the way early.Â Personally I prefer drafting as late in spring training as possible so that I know as much information as I possibly can.Â Today we’re going to start our series of positional rankings starting with Catcher.Â I don’t believe in selecting a Catcher early in my draft, so I know I won’t have the top two or three at this position.Â In my mind Catchers just don’t provide enough offense and tend to miss to many games.Â I’d rather spend my cap or early draft picks at another position where the value is more to my liking.Â That being said, here is my top 15, keep in mind that if the Yankees Jesus Montero were to somehow win the starting job, he easily vaults into the top ten, as it is, in keeper leagues he has to be drafted in the top eight.
1.Â Â Â Â Â Â Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins:Â Everyone’s number one choice, but the power outage last season will concern quite a few owners.Â The ballpark seems to be getting most of the blame as Target Field is not the homer haven that the Metrodome was, but a regression was also in order.Â If first baseman Justin Morneau doesn’t come back from his concussion 100% healthy than teams may not even bother pitching to Mauer.
2.Â Â Â Â Â Â Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers:Â Martinez goes from a great hitters park and the green monster in Boston, to a pitchers park in Comerica Field.Â Having Miguel Cabrera hitting either in front or behind you should assure VMart will see a generous amount of fastballs.
3.Â Â Â Â Â Â Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves:Â Come next season McCann may no longer be considered the best catcher in the National League, but he still gets that designation until Buster Posey proves himself over a full season.Â Power wise McCann is pretty consistent, averaging 21 home runs over the past five seasons, but his average has dropped each of the past three, something to keep an eye on.
4.Â Â Â Â Â Â Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants:Â Not a bad rookie season for Posey.Â Sure he probably should’ve started the season with the big club, but once promoted he proves to possibly be the best hitter the Giants have and leads the team to their first World Series in what seemed like a century.
5.Â Â Â Â Â Â Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians:Â Santana’s place in the top five shows just how weak the catcher position is.Â Not that Santana is a bad player, he’s not, but for a player who only had 150 at-bats at the major league level before tearing up his knee to be this high up on my list actually hurts.Â That being said, there is not much else to like offensively for Cleveland which could keep his numbers down somewhat.
6.Â Â Â Â Â Â Geovany Soto, Chicago Cubs:Â Not sure why, but people seem to be a bit down on Soto.Â Perhaps they are still remembering his injury plagued 2009 season.Â Sure he only played 105 games last season, but did hit 17 HRs and bat .280.Â If he were to play 140 games, those would be some pretty solid numbers you could be putting on the board.
7.Â Â Â Â Â Â Mike Napoli, Texas Rangers:Â Napoli has had an interesting off-season, being traded to Toronto and then on to Texas.Â Angels manager Mike Scioscia was never a big fan of Napoli’s defensive abilities so he was never going to play him full-time.Â A trade was really the best thing for Napoli and his fantasy owners as now not only will he catch every day, but he is also playing in what may be the best hitter’s park in the American League.
8.Â Â Â Â Â Â Jorge Posada, New York Yankees:Â Posada is still eligible at catcher this season even though he will be the Yankees primary DH.Â The question is can Posada adjust to only getting four ABs a night and nothing else.Â Not every player can make that change.Â Theoretically this move should help Posada as catching will no longer beat him up physically thus allowing him to stay in the lineup for a longer period of time.
9.Â Â Â Â Â Â Miguel Montero, Arizona Diamondbacks:Â Montero could be a few rungs higher on this list, but a torn meniscus short circuited his 2010 season and even after he returned to the lineup, Montero was never able to get untracked.Â The trade of Chris Snyder to Pittsburgh last season means the full-time job is Montero’s and he won’t have to share playing time with anyone.
10.Â Â Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles:Â Unlike Posey and Santana, who each came into the league with as much promise, Wieters has never been able to figure it out offensively.Â Manager Buck Showalter is trying to reduce the pressure on Wieters by batting him lower in the lineup and telling him to concentrate on his defensive game and handling the pitching staff rather than worry about his hitting.
11.Â Â J.P. Arenciba, Toronto Blue Jays:Â If you’re looking for power and don’t mind the batting average sacrifice, than Arencibia could be the player for you.Â He’s going to hit his share of home runs, but his K/BB ratio leaves something to be desired as he will strikeout more than his share also.
12.Â Â Kurt Suzuki, Oakland Athletics:Â Suzuki is sort of a safe catcher.Â He will hit some home runs, drive in a good amount for a catcher, his average won’t help you, but won’t kill you either.Â If you waited this long for a catcher and he is still on the board, you would have to be pretty happy with yourself.
13.Â Â Chris Iannetta, Colorado Rockies:Â The ultimate tease at catcher.Â Has the talent, plays in the best hitting ballpark in the National League, but goes through slumps that will drive a fantasy owner crazy.Â One of those slumps found him sent back down to AAA last season, but he is expected to be the starting catcher for Rockies this season as they really don’t have another catcher on the roster who can play every day.
14.Â Â Russell Martin, New York Yankees:Â Martin used to be a top fantasy catcher 2-3 years ago, but his numbers have fallen off a cliff the last two seasons.Â Now he goes to a new team in a new league.Â Pressure will be all over Martin to perform.Â Not only because of pressure of playing in New York and their desire to win, but because phenom Jesus Montero will be waiting in the wings to take his starting job.Â If you draft Martin, you better have contingency plans.
15.Â Â Carlos Ruiz, Philadelphia Phillies:Â Quite a few catchers could’ve been put in this spot as it really is just a roll of the dice at this point.Â Maybe you like Josh Thole of the Mets or Yadier Molina of the Cardinals, or the White Sox A.J. Pierzynski, just go with your gut and let it fly.