Fantasy Baseball Rankings – Catchers

Josh Thole

Josh Thole: Catcher #18?

So, in addition to enjoying real baseball, I also play a little fantasy baseball. In an attempt to take a more objective look at how to draft, I went ahead and drew out a plan to rank each position. I’ll be sharing those rankings here, just in case any of my (four, I think) readers are interested.

Oh, and as for methodology – the baseline that I used were Baseball Prospectus’s “deadly accurate” PECOTA projections. While BP isn’t necessarily regarded as highly as it used to be, it is a worthwhile baseline for me. From here, I looked at the core 5×5 stats, and ranked them objectively. From there, I adjusted players up and down subjectively based on other projections, playing time considerations, and other factors. I also did a little normalizing of the statistics based on PA – though I had to be careful with this.

Without any further ado – the list. Comments included as necessary.

  1. Joe Mauer – If he stays healthy, both the safest and best option. High average buoys other good numbers.
  2. Brian McCann – The model of consistency.
  3. Victor Martinez – Last of the top-tier catchers. Being full-time DH is a big help to his stock this year.
  4. Carlos Santana – Top of the second tier. Just have to see him stay healthy and consistent. May top the list next year.
  5. Buster Posey – 1B eligibility adds flexibility, also offers one of the best averages in Cs.
  6. JP Arenciba – Given his PECOTA projections, one of the top three Cs. Gotta see ML production, but still, very shocking.
  7. Geovany Soto – Still a little wary of him given his disappointing ’09 season. Still, two outta three ain’t bad (Meat Loaf!).
  8. Jesus Montero – If he gets the playing time, he’ll be truly excellent. You could draft him and hope for an injury, and that’s like hitting the lottery. End of Tier 2.
  9. Kurt Suzuki – So solid, Kurt makes a fine pick if you wait until the end of the draft. Not excellent at any one thing.
  10. Matt Wieters – Still has some room to improve, but expectations have come back down to earth. Still, a first-string fantasy catcher.
  11. Mike Napoli – Playing time is the thing here. If he gets 400-500 PA, he’s very valuable, provided you can balance out his average.
  12. Jorge Posada – If he stays healthy as a full-time DH, he could be very valuable, depending on how the stick holds up. Love the lineup.
  13. Yadier Molina – So much value from the way he’s used. Gets tons of PA, and has some good lineup help.
  14. John Buck – Power, and a couple RBI to go with it, but value probably depends on his lineup spot.
  15. Russell Martin – If he plays even a little like ’07 Russ Martin, a great value. Plus, the only catcher projected to offer double-digit steals.
  16. AJ Pierzynski – Yawn. Same thing, every year.
  17. Jonathan Lucroy – Projects almost exactly like AJ. Very, very surprising. I can’t imagine anyone is taking him.
  18. Josh Thole – Love that average, and he should get the playing time, but needs more HR to move up the list.
  19. Miguel Montero – Another shocker, his projections do not seem to match perception.
  20. Adam Moore – If Olivo stays banged up, Moore should get the playing time. Hopefully his production matches his projections.

The biggest surprise, for me, was that Chris Ianetta didn’t make the list. His projections weren’t anything special – and the average projects to be very poor, which meant that players like Thole, Lucroy, and Moore all placed above him. That’s a red flag, and I’ll continue to avoid him in normal 5×5 drafts.

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