Clearing The Bases
Catcher is yet another position that I will wait on in my draft. I love Buster Posey, he’s a great player, but I’m not spending $40 in an auction or using a 1st or 2nd round pick to select him. The reason is simple. Catchers are at a much higher risk of injury than any other position. They get hit with foul balls, bats, and runners trying to score. Last thing I want is to have a top pick on the disabled list or so nicked up that he’s not anywhere near 100%. The other reason I would wait is that the position is pretty deep, look at Ryan Doumit, my 15th ranked catcher, he hit 18 HRs, 75 RBIs, and batted .275. Not bad for someone you could select in the late rounds of your draft.
1. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants: Not only is Posey the best catcher in MLB, not even sure it’s all that close, but he should also be a perennial MVP candidate. About the only thing Posey can’t do is steal bases, but 20+ HRs, 100+ RBIs and an AVG that could be well above .300 is almost a guarantee. As I said above, I love him, but because of my injury concerns, he won’t be on any team of mine.
2. Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers: As you can see by his placement on this list, I’m a big fan of VMart. Now I know he missed all of last season with the knee injury but he was recovered enough to almost play in September, and I think this is important because it means that he had a normal off-season and didn’t have to rush his rehabilitation in order to play this year. Not to mention he is going to bat 5th behind Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, a pretty good place to be if you ask me.
3. Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins: Mauer was the Posey a few years ago, a catcher that was being selected in the early parts of a draft. That went away due to the injuries and the lack of power Mauer has displayed since the move out of the Metrodome and into Target Field. He still has value as his AVG is still generally above .300, will drive in some runs, but without that power, he is just a three category (AVG, RBI, R) player.
4. Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles: The power numbers for Wieters have gone up four straight years now (9, 11, 22, 23), so have his RBIs (43, 55, 68, 83), certainly what every fantasy player wants to see, but his average may be suffering because of hit, he has hit only .249 in two of the past three seasons with a .262 mixed in. He doesn’t want to morph into a Mike Napoli type, 30+ HRs, sub .240 AVG, but he could be headed in that direction.
5. Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians: Not really sure what to make of Santana. He has talent but sometimes looks like he is trying to do to much, perhaps he believe he has to carry this offense all by himself. The addition of Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn should alleviate some of that pressure and just allow him to concentrate on his game. He has 25+ HR potential and if he can play 150+ games, 90+ RBIs aren’t out of the question to go with an average that won’t hurt you.
6. Mike Napoli, Boston Red Sox: Much has been made of Napoli’s hip so far this off-season. It cost him at least $26 million as he had to settle for a one-year deal with Boston instead of three. That being said he certainly has incentive to have a big year and goes from one great hitter’s (Texas) park to another (Fenway). Napoli has some warts however. His average can be a killer and if his hip does act up again over the summer his power could be drained.
7. Miguel Montero, Arizona Diamondbacks: Now if you’re looking for consistency, Montero could be your man. In his last two seasons he has hit 15 and 18 HRs, drove him 88 and 86 runs, batted .286 and .282, and scored 65 runs in each. Sure those numbers wont’ win you a fantasy league, but they won’t hurt you either and you didn’t have to spend much for them which will allow you to concentrate on positions of more importance.
8. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals: It seems in most rankings that Molina is considered to be a top three catcher. I’m just not buying into it. I don’t know why I’m as low on him as I am. I can see that he has had back to back career years, but that being said, outside of his +.300 AVG, his other numbers are right in line with several other catchers and I don’t see any power upside.
9. Jesus Montero, Seattle Mariners: Big things were expected out of Montero last season but they never really materialized. He did hit 15 HRs and drive in 62 runs but only batted .260, but everyone should remember he was just a rookie. This season should be better. The Mariners have moved the fences in which should help his power numbers and the team also added a couple of veteran bats in Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse. It is fair to wonder however if his defensive woes could affect his offense as he is expected to be the full-time catcher for the Mariners this season.
10. Wilin Rosario, Colorado Rockies: In his first full season in the majors Rosario had 28 HRs and 71 RBIs, pretty much the reason why some have him even a few places higher on their list. He plays in Colorado, we all know the ball flies out of that ballpark and Troy Tulowitski should be around all season to help with that lineup. His average won’t hurt you either. Hard not to like Rosario this season unless you’re worried about the sophomore jinx.
11. A.J. Pierzynski, Texas Rangers: At the young age of 35 Pierzynski had a career season with 27 HRs and 77 RBIs. Pierzynski had always been a catcher that you would take late in your draft because he wouldn’t hurt your fantasy team, he would bat around .280, hit around 20 HRs, and drive in 60 runs, solid numbers for a catcher, but now if you believe the power is real (certainly no reason to think it won’t be as he is playing in a park where the ball flies out of in Texas), than he is someone you might want to pencil in for 24 HRs or so.
12. Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves: The only reason McCann is this low is because we can’t really be sure when he will return from shoulder surgery (as of right now mid-April) and more importantly, when he does return, will he be the same hitter as always? If McCann were completely healthy he would be a top five catcher especially with the improvement the Braves have made on offense. Shoulder injuries are tricky however and he could only be one setback away from being out until summer.
13. Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals: Some might believe that Perez is a nice sleeper candidate to select at the end of your draft, well I’m here to tell you that everyone seems to know who he is now. He is a breakout candidate. A month ago it seemed you might be able to get Perez later than what he should go but now the trend seems to be reversed and he is going earlier than he should. Hard to find catchers that could hit 20+ HRs and bat over .300.
14. Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers: Lucroy was on his way to a career season in 2012 before his wife dropped a suitcase on his hand (insert joke here), fracturing it. If, and I realize this is a big if, but if he can put up the same kind of numbers over a full season, than Lucroy deserves to be in the top eight as he could once again hit 20+ HRs, bat over .300, and even steal a handful of bases.
15. Ryan Doumit, Minnesota Twins: Doumit fits the mold I like in a catcher. I can draft him late. He won’t hurt my average, and he’ll add around 20 HRs to my total. As I mentioned in my opening monologue, just think catching is so deep where I can take a player like Doumit as my 15th overall catcher. If Travis D’Arnaud were to start the season with the Mets I would’ve put him here, but everything I hear is that he will be called up in late May or early June, once his super two arbitration goes away.
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