Now that it is the offseason (thanks, San Fran), I'll wrap fantasy baseball talk with a look at a suprisinly deep position for next year - catchers. Though it is the first day of the offseason, it's never too early to think about your draft next year!
2013 Top Ten - Catchers
Catching was a position I was extremely down on at the beginning of last year. I said that if you do not have one of the top 8 ranked catchers, expect nothing from that position.
Well I was wrong. Very, very wrong.
Heading into 2013 I firmly believe that the catching position is incredibly deep. If you do not draft a higher ranked catcher, that is ok. There is a lot of options for the pitcher’s battery mate come next season. Let us observe.
2012 Spring Training Rankings
2012 End of Season Rankings
My 2013 Rankings
10. Miguel Montero - 2012 stats 141 GP, 65 R, 139 H, 25 2B, 2 3B, 15 HR, 88 RBI, 0 SB, 73 BB, 213 TB, .286/.391/.438 .829
Originally I had Alex Avila here assuming a bounce back year (I still do). But then I realized that I was taking Montero for granted. The snake’s backstop put together a solid campaign. A .286 AVG, .391 OBP, 88 RBI and 73 BB are an outstanding contribution from your catcher, and he should not be over looked.
9. Mike Napoli - 2012 stats - 108 GP, 53 R, 80 H, 9 2B, 2 3B, 24 HR, 56 RBI, 1 SB, 56 BB, 165 TB, .227/.343/.469 .812
Yes Nap-O-Lee was hurt for a good portion of the year, but he started to show that LAA was not complete idiots to get rid of him. If you take the HR and BB away, what did you get? Well, a catcher that could be found on the waiver wire in most leagues. However, his power potential is something you will not find from anyone else in this position, so he squeaks in.
8. Brian McCann - 2012 stats - 121 GP, 44 R, 101 H, 14 2B, 0 3B, 20 HR, 67 RBI, 3 SB, 44 BB, 175 TB, .230/.300/.399 .699 OPS
McCann’s 2012 season was an anomaly. He underwent surgery for a torn labrum on October 16th that bothered him and his numbers all year. McCann should be healthy and more productive at the start of next season. His stock should drop, making him a nice pick up later in the draft.
7. Salvador Perez - 2012 stats 76 GP, 38 R, 87 H, 16 2B, 0 3B, 11 HR, 39 RBI, 0 SB, 12 BB, 136 TB, .301/.328/.471 .799
WHOA! Sleeper! That’s right. I dig this kid. Being a Royal, I’m able to catch his games when they play the Tigers and I’m telling you, he mine as well write “stud” on his forehead. Great AVG and SLG potential for a KC lineup that should bounce back from a disappointing 2012 output. .300/.340/.500 20HR 70 RBI not out of the question. That production + where he will be ranked heading into the draft = sleeper. I like.
6. Carlos Santana - 2012 stats 143 GP, 72 R, 128 H, 27 2B, 2 3B, 18 HR, 76 RBI, 3 SB, 91 BB, 213 TB, .252/.365/.420 .785
One of these years, Santana’s potential will show in his output. Coming into the season as the number one ranked catcher and a 3rd round pick in some leagues, he had a disappointing campaign. Still, Santana has the ability to hit 30 HR and 100 RBI while maintaining the walk rate he displayed last year. His stock should drop, making him another potential steal in the middle rounds.
5. Yadier Molina - 2012 stats 138 GP, 65 R, 159 H, 28 2B, 0 3B, 22 HR, 76 RBI, 12 SB, 45 BB, 253 TB, .315/.373/.501 .874
Captain Cardinal had himself a career year and will certainly earn himself some MVP votes. He also earned himself higher stock in next year’s drafts, and rightfully so. That batting line, with those HR and that many STL plus consistent GP year after year? Sign me up.
4. Joe Mauer - 2012 stats - 147 GP 81 R, 174 H, 31 2B, 4 3B, 10 HR, 85 RBI, 8 SB, 90 BB, 243 TB .319/.416/.446 SLG .862 OPS
Mauer accomplished his most important goal this past season - he stayed healthy. Everything else was second nature for Minnesota Joe. He was hanging with Miguel Cabrera for the batting title up until the last series of the season. He was first in baseball in OBP and sixth in BB. He puts up great numbers when he plays, minus power. Expect nothing from there, and that hurts his stock somewhat in my book.
3. Matt Wieters - 2012 stats 144 GP, 67 R, 131 H, 27 2B, 1 3B, 23 HR, 83 RBI, 3 SB, 60 BB, 229 TB, .249/.329/.435 .764
I spent a good amount of time determining who I’d rather take between Wieters and Mauer. I ended up ranking Wieters higher because he has yet to meet the potential he has, while Mauer’s best years are more than likely behind him. Another interesting think to note is Baltimore’s offseason. After getting a taste of the playoffs, will they open their checkbook? How deep is their bank account? They certainly have room to grow and any addition to the lineup will certainly help Wieters. Great power potential with room to improve averages.
2. Victor Martinez - 2011 stats 145 GP, 76 R, 178 H, 40 2B, 0 3B, 12 HR, 103 RBI 1 SB, 46 BB, 254 TB, .330/.380/.470 .850 OPS
Sure, Mr. Martinez may be coming off a torn ACL that kept him out of all the 2012 season. Sure, Victor may not even have catcher eligibility next year (i’ll take my chances). But you know what? I don’t care. Understanding Victor’s worth is quite easy for everyone right now. If you have tuned into the World Series, you should be able to understand his importance to the Tigers. He will slide in to a lineup where the 4 batters in front of him include a lead-off hitter who hit .300/.377/.479 in Austin Jackson, a 2 hole hitter who hit .322/.370/.487 in 88 games in Andy Dirks, Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and that Prince Fielder guy. Victor’s best power days are more than likely behind him, but batting average and RBI aren’t usually categories you get from one catcher. Besides the guy on top of this list, you will not find this kind on contribution anywhere else from this position.
1. Buster Posey - 2012 stats 148 GP, 78 R, 178 H, 39 2B, 1 3B, 24 HR, 103 RBI, 1 SB, 69 BB, 291 TB, .336/.408/.549 .957
Gee, I’m not quite sure if Posey really had a strong year after his ugly collision at home plate last year. I do not really know if a batting title means a successful campaign. Or if he gets that MVP thing, not sure if that is good either. A catcher who will no doubt have first base eligibility next year is gold. It is extremely unfair to expect him to bat .336 next year. However, with that being said, it is not out of the realm of possibility that all of his numbers can be duplicated.
Others to look out for: Alex Avila, Willin Rosario, Carlos Ruiz, Jesus Montero, Ryan Doumit