2014 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 20 Catchers
After delineation, deliberation, and anticipation, here are your 2014 Philly.com Fantasy Baseball rankings.
Over the next several weeks, we will unleash the top players at each position, culminating in a handy guide to help you through your draft.
Next week, we take a look at the top 20 first baseman.
In two weeks, we take a look at the top 20 second basemen.
In three weeks, we take a look at the top 30 third baseman.
Today, the catchers.
1. Buster Posey, Giants
2013: 148 G, .294 AVG, .821 OPS, 34 2B, 15 HR, 72 RBI, 60 BB, 72 K
Gerald Dempsey Posey III was unable to duplicate his MVP season in 2012, although his numbers for the catcher position were still stellar. Look for Posey to settle in somewhere between ’12 and ’13. I expect more power and certainly an uptick in RBI, but I’m not sure he’s a .330-hitter like he was two seasons ago. A nice addition is his first base eligibility. I’m not normally a proponent of drafting catchers high, but Posey is worthy of a third or fourth round selection, depending on league size.
2. Carlos Santana, Indians
2013: 154 G, .268 AVG, .832 OPS, 39 2B, 20 HR, 75 RBI, 93 BB, 110 K
One of my favorite young position players in the game, Santana started 2013 on a tear, hitting .300 through mid-May while providing good power. The Indians backstop eventually faded, but still finished with 20 homers and 39 doubles, while walking 93 times. There has been talk he’ll get a long look at third base during Spring Training, which could make him even more enticing. If Santana can stay away from the grind of catching on a regular basis, yet have that as his primary fantasy position, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be drafted as the second catcher behind Posey.
3. Wilin Rosario, Rockies
2013: 121 G, .292 AVG, .801 OPS, 21 HR, 79 RBI, 15 BB, 109 K
Big power + Coors Field makes fantasy owners go … crazy. Rosario plays most of his games in the thin air and takes advantage of that. Of his 49 bombs the last two seasons, 28 have been hit in Denver. Rosario’s major downfall is that he’ll hurt you with over 100 Ks and he very rarely walks. But if you’re looking for 18-24 homers and someone who's a good source for RBI, he’s a fine choice.
4. Joe Mauer, Twins
2013: 113 G, .324 AVG, .880 OPS, 35 2B, 11 HR, 47 RBI, 61 BB, 89 K
Mauer is technically a first baseman as the Twins have made that his new full-time position. But, for fantasy purposes he still sticks out as one of the best at catcher and that’s what we care about. Mauer has broken down a bit and slowed since his AL MVP season of 2009, is no longer a true threat to hit 20 homers and has shown an inability to stay on the field. But the switch to first should help him post more than the 113 games he played in last season, and he’ll hit over .300.
5. Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers
2013: 147 G, .280 AVG, .795 OPS, 18 HR, 82 RBI, 46 BB, 69 K
Lucroy breaks into the top five because of his age and his consistency. He smashed 18 homers last season and only struck out 69 times in 147 games, a big-time help for leagues that punish in that category. He had the lovely age-27 breakout last season, but will that continue? Will he be affected by a lineup that has Ryan Braun returning after the PED bust and that is sans Norichka Aoki, a big on-base threat?
6. Brian McCann, Yankees
2013: 102 G, .256 AVG, .796 OPS, 20 HR, 57 RBI, 39 BB, 66 K
“He might hit 50 in that ballpark” might be a Twitter joke, but in this case could ring somewhat true for McCann as he moves to the comfy setup at Yankees Stadium. In seven of the last eight seasons, McCann has blasted 20 or more homers in the spacious park in Atlanta. He’ll have a short porch, the DH, and a pretty nice offense around him, which should help boost the power numbers. Look for McCann to realistically push 26-30 homers if he stays healthy. He’s a solid middle-round get.
7. Yadier Molina, Cardinals
2013: 136 G, .319 AVG, .836 OPS, 44 2B, 12 HR, 80 RBI, 30 BB, 55 K
Once known for just defense and his ability to call a game, Yadi is now a force at the plate. And who isn’t a fan of that Cardinals offense? But he’s now 31 with some tread coming off the tires, plus some long runs in the postseason. Look for a downtick in average and doubles (career high 44 in ’13), but rest easy that he’ll give you 10-15 homers and a solid RBI total.
8. Salvador Perez, Royals
2013: 138 G, .292 AVG, .757 OPS, 13 HR, 79 RBI, 21 BB, 63K
Is Perez a star receiver in the making? After his first full season, he looks to be trending upward in a big way. Perez could be in line for a season with 16-19 homers and some good peripheral totals. He did damage last year and is as bright a backstop prosepct as there is in the majors. He’s super value in the 10-13 round range.
9. Matt Wieters, Orioles
2013: 148 G, .235 AVG, .704 OPS, 29 2B, 22 HR, 79 RBI, 43 BB, 104 K
Wieters will hit you 20 homers and give you great spurts throughout the season, then disappear for weeks at a time. He’s inconsistent but a solid source of power. He’ll also hurt you with a low average and strikeouts. There’s still a slight possibility of a major breakout and 30 home run potential.
10. Jason Castro, Astros
2013: 120 G, .276 AVG, .835 OPS, 35 2B, 18 HR, 56 RBI, 50 BB, 130 K
Castro was another young-ish catcher that had a major breakout season as the Astros moved to the AL. He's a big boy and is settling into his prime seasons, but what’s a bit worrisome is his .351 BABIP, meaning there may have been a bit of luck involved. However, 20+ homers at catcher is fine in the mid-to-late rounds.
11. Wilson Ramos, Nationals
2013: 78 G, .272 AVG, .777 OPS, 16 HR, 59 RBI, 15 BB, 42 K
Sixteen HRs in 78 games a year ago? Fluke or major power hitter? He’s the full-time catcher in DC now, so expect a slight uptick with 150 or more additional at-bats. Only had nine doubles, though, so that could even out. Won’t hurt you with strikeouts or in the batting average category, either.
12. Evan Gattis, Braves
2013: 105 G, .243 AVG, .771 OPS, 21 2B, 21 HR, 65 RBI, 21 BB, 81 K
"El Oso Blanco" exploded early in the year, then faded at the end. In line for the starting catcher job in Atlanta with McCann gone so expect big HR numbers and below average numbers in other categories.
13. Miguel Montero, D’Backs
2013: 116 G, .230 AVG, .662 OPS, 11 HR, 42 RBI, 51 BB, 110 K
Montero couldn’t follow up sturdy 2011 & 2012 campaigns in ’13. Every major category dipped dramatically, due in part to a back injury, although he still struck out a ton and had been scuffling before the injury. Look for a bit of a turnaround and good value.
14. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Marlins
2013: 121 G, .273 AVG, .804 OPS, 40 2B, 14 HR, 65 RBI, 139 K
A product of the great Red Sox offense? He could still see some pitches to hit behind Giancarlo Stanton, but I think a slide in many areas back to the norm is more likely.
15. Travis D’Arnaud, Mets
2013: 31 G, .202 AVG, 1 HR, 5 RBI
Could be a breakout candidate as it appears he’ll get the bulk of the work behind the plate this season. Has shown good power with a penchant for Ks in the minors. Nice backup sleeper.
16. A.J. Pierzynski, Red Sox
2013: 134 G, .272 AVG, 24 2B, 17 HR, 70 RBI, 11 BB, 76 K
He’s old, but playing in Boston has its advantages (just like in Texas a year ago). Won’t wow you in any category, but good value late in the draft. Has played 114 games or more in 13 straight seasons.
17. John Jaso, Athletics
2013: 70 G, .271 AVG, .387 OBP, 3 HR, 21 RBI
Perfect Moneyball catcher for the A’s (takes lots of walks, gets on base a ton). Perfect backup catcher if you have that ability. Not quite starter worthy.
18 A.J. Ellis, Dodgers
2013: 115 G, .238 AVG, 10 HR, 52 RBI, 45 BB, 78 K
Ellis will hit at the end of an All-Star lineup, so he might cash in some with a decent RBI total and a little pop.
19. Josmil Pinto, Twins
2013: 21 G, .342, 4 HR, 12 RBI
For deeper leagues, Pinto's a name to store away to impress the rest of the league with. He’ll start at catcher in Minnesota with Mauer’s move to first. Could give good pop but will K a good amount.
20. Russell Martin, Pirates
2013: 127 G, .226 AVG, 15 HR, 55 RBI, 108 K
Russ is always in the mix at the end of drafts. Could do better, could do worse. Bad average, some pop.
Contact Pat on Twitter: @PatGallen_975