Fantasy Baseball Preview: Tiered Catcher Rankings

Catcher is a little bit easier, everyone knows where the good gets are, and after that it’s basically a crap shoot. Well not completely up for grabs, but there are plenty of guys that produced above what they were expected to, below what they were expected to, got hurt, or are stuck in the minors – so many options, but this is a top heavy and very shallow depth position. One of my readers sent me an email asking, “Can I write your catcher’s rankings for you? Mauer, McCann, Martin, who gives a hump.” Good old Red Red Ryan’s list might not be as detailed of mine, but he gets the idea. Still, there’s more than just nobody’s after the top 3 – there’s always a good deal somewhere! I only see 3 tiers at this position though, tier 1, tier 2, and the rest.

Tier 1

1. Brian McCann – This guy is a stud. He hits like everyone thought Billy Buttler would hit in KC. Well he’s doing it, and he’s doing it from the catcher position with a little more power and he’s young and healthy. That moves him just a smidget over Joe Mauer in my rankings.

2. Joe Mauer – Joe is an amazing hitter. He had 34 more walks than strikeouts, his average is always good, and he never hurts you anywhere. He won’t hit for power, but he’s a great point option and one of the best catchers in the game. And like McCann, he’s still young.

3. Russell Martin – Russell is arguably the best roto catcher because he gives you SBs and everything else. He’s not extremely powerful but looks like a .280+ hitter with 15-20 dinger upside and is in a nice lineup that is maturing before our very eyes. I would pick him 3rd, but he’s in the first tier. Like the two above, he’s also in his mid 20s, 25 in fact.

Tier 2

4. Geovany Soto – This National League Rookie of the Year slowed down toward the end of the season, but he’s got nice power and sits in a pretty packed Cubs lineup. He strikes out a ton, which hurts him in points based leagues like this one, but he’s one of the few catchers I’d waste a decent draft pick on.

5. Victor Martinez – Last year was one of injuries and Victor’s stats show that. If he gets back to his old self, he’s a steal as the 5th catcher off the board, but I don’t think you can safely draft Martinez as the hitter he once was. He’s a risk, but maybe worth it at this point in the draft.

Tier 3

6. Ryan Doumit – I rate Doumit a lot higher than most, but i like what his little stats tell me about his big stats. The job is his and his alone in Pittsburgh, and while that lineup won’t scare anyone, he’ll be a producer in the middle of it.

7. Bengie Molina – Bengie doesn’t get enough credit for what he’s done. He’s very consistent, and I believe he’s staying in the meat of the Giants’ order, a place that he made a living at last season.

8. Jorge Posada – Posada could also be a steal, but he’s a risk. There’s already a little question if he’ll be back by the beginning of the season, but he might be worth the risk. He’s still a good hitter, and that NY lineup is going to produce runs like it’s Daddy Day Care on bean burrito day.

9. Chris Iannetta – Iannetta is another guy getting little love for his impressive numbers last year. In just 333 at bats Chris bashed 18HRs with 65RBI – he’ll get more at bats this season, and his numbers will stay strong in Colorado.

10. Matt Wieters – Apparently this kid can hit a little bit. His minor league numbers insist on super potential from this young slugger, and at the catcher position that is rare. I might reach a little higher for him considering that if he does stay in AAA, the worst you could do is add one of the other 4th tier guys, there should be guys that end up being Top 10 fantasy catchers left out of drafts everywhere.

11. Kurt Suzuki – There’s something to be said about a catcher that plays every single day, Kurt is just about as close to that as they come, and his stats won’t hurt you. Thank alone makes him a decent option.

12. Ramon Hernandez – Hernandez moves to Cincinnati where homeruns leave ball parks in a hurry. Hernandez isn’t a great option, but nobody is after the first few guys, and there’s chance for improved numbers in ’09.

13. Mike Napoli – Upside galore with real-side health issues. Napoli crushed 20 dingers in 227 at bats last season. If he could stay healthy, he could hit 30.

14. John Baker – Baker is a nice young prospect in Florida that is probably worth more than the 14th pick. I’m just not 100% sold on him where I know most of the guys above will give me numbers.

15. Jeff Clement – Clement didn’t have great numbers in his first season of Major League action, but in the 100 or so at bats prior to his injury it looked like things kind of clicked for him. As a possible DH and Catcher  in Seattle, he’ll get a good amount of at bats to prove himself.

16. A.J. Pierzynski – A.J. may be getting old, but he’s going to hit around .280 and they can score some runs in Chicago.

17. Yadier Molina – Yadier is just one of the Molina brothers. He’s still very young and his power could slightly improve, but he’s going to be more of an average hitter than power, and you’ll be lucky to get 12 HRs out of him.

18. Kelly Shoppach – I like Shoppach as a nice sleeper, especially if Cleveland uses Martinez at DH and 1B most of the time. Shoppach definitely proved that he could hit at a major league level last season.

19. Gerald Laird – I think this is the year that all the Detroit hitter hype comes true, and it looks like Gerald will be the guy manning catcher most every day in Michigan. Laird could be an absolute steal on draft day.

20. Taylor Teagarden – Salty (Jarrod Saltalamacchia) gets more love than Taylor, but I have a feeling the job could be Teagarden’s if the Rangers get their way and find a trade partner to take Salty. Even if that doesn’t happen, this kid can actually catch – and he has nice hitting upside too.