Widgets Magazine

2013 Fantasy Catcher Rankings

Written By on 6th February, 2013
Buster Posey looks to build on his wildly successful 2012 campaign. Credit to Getty Images.

Buster Posey looks to build on his wildly successful 2012 campaign. Credit to Getty Images.

The catcher position is the most physically demanding position (outside of pitching) that a baseball player can play. A day off for a catcher can sometimes consist of playing first base or DH. With year round inter-league play, I expect catchers to play a bit more regularly as a DH on occasion, but for the most part, catchers don’t play much more than 130 games. Last season a total of 10 primary catchers were eligible for the batting title. Furthermore, Buster Posey led the league in games played from a catcher, but only 111 of his 148 starts came at catcher. The other games consisted of playing at first base. Joe Mauer has long appeared at both catcher and first base for the Minnesota Twins and Carlos Santana is following in Mauer’s footsteps in Cleveland.

In single catcher leagues it makes sense to wait on, or possibly even punt-and-stream catchers. When it comes to two catcher leagues, I recommend waiting even more. After the top tier of catchers are gone, the negatives that a catcher brings will outweigh the positives. Is J.P. Arencibia’s 18 home runs really worth his .233 batting average? As much as I love 20 home run upside, there is a point of diminishing returns to think about. I have always advocated waiting on pitchers and catchers. Grab your power bats from positions where a player has a chance to play in 150 games. Your top draft picks and big budget players should be players who have a chance to maximize your pick. Taking a catcher early just doesn’t allow that due to the nature of the position. As always, this is for re-draft leagues and assumes a standard 5×5 mixed league rotisserie format. You can catch our previous rankings for first base, second base, shortstop, third base, and both part one and part two for the outfield as well.

Ranking

Player

Team

1

Buster Posey

San Francisco Giants

2

Joe Mauer

Minnesota Twins

3

Carlos Santana

Cleveland Indians

4

Yadier Molina

St. Louis Cardinals

5

Miguel Montero

Arizona Diamondbacks

6

Wilin Rosario

Colorado Rockies

7

Mike Napoli

Boston Red Sox

8

Brian McCann

Atlanta Braves

9

Matt Wieters

Baltimore Orioles

10

Victor Martinez

Detroit Tigers

11

Salvadore Perez

Kansas City Royals

12

A.J. Pierzynski

Texas Rangers

13

Jesus Montero

Seattle Mariners

14

Carlos Ruiz

Philadelphia Phillies

15

J.P. Arencibia

Toronto Blue Jays

16

Tyler Flowers

Chicago White Sox

17

Ryan Doumit

Minnesota Twins

18

Alex Avila

Detroit Tigers

19

Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Boston Red Sox

20

John Jaso

Oakland Athletics

21

Wilson Ramos

Washington Nationals

22

A.J. Ellis

Los Angeles Dodgers

23

Russell Martin

Pittsburgh Pirates

24

Chris Iannetta

Los Angeles Angels

25

Jonathan Lucroy

Milwaukee Brewers

26

Wellington Castillo

Chicago Cubs

27

Devin Mesoraco

Cincinnati Reds

28

Yasmani Grandal

San Diego Padres

29

Kurt Suzuki

Washington Nationals

 

 

A Player to Grab: A.J. Ellis
I’m a huge advocate of waiting on catchers. Even when healthy and getting “off days” splitting time at first base/DH, they plan on playing the fewest games of any position player. Return on investment (ROI) is what fantasy baseball is all about. Spending a large chunk of money or an early/mid round draft pick is a mistake. Waiting on all of the top tier (read: expensive) talent for catchers is a draft strategy that I’ve found to be quite successful. Gambling on a Yadier Molina (current Mock Draft Central ADP of 37) in the fourth round is insane to me. Other fourth found or comparable cost players is B.J. Upton, Felix Hernandez, Jason Heyward, and Jay Bruce. For my money, I’ll happily spend on elite talent elsewhere and plug in budget players or under-the-radar players later on for catchers.

A Player to Pass: Matt Wieters
The counting stats will be there for Wieters, but it seems as though Wieters may never be a .300 hitter that many scouts envisioned him to be. That isn’t a knock on the quality of a player that Wieters is at all, but a knock on people over-compensating in the positional scarcity argument. Last year Wieters hit 22 home runs and drove in 83 runs while scoring 67 runs himself. He is projected for a similar season in 2013. Wieters’ current ADP is 67 and on average, he is the fifth catcher drafted. If you’re looking for 20-25 home runs and 80 RBIs, why not wait for Nelson Cruz (107 ADP), Nick Swisher (118 ADP), or grab Matt Holliday (54 ADP) and have a much higher upside for RBIs? There is a systemic misconception in fantasy baseball circles when it comes to positional scarcity. To artificially inflate a player based solely on positional eligibility is something that we have swung from one polar extreme to the other. Statistics accrued from most catchers are largely replaceable by drafting strongly elsewhere. To tie yourself to one or two catchers with valuable mid round picks is something that you should allow your league mates to do.  Sit back and collect talent in other areas, then swoop in and grab a budget catcher late.

David Wiers
David Wiers
About David Wiers

I love baseball in general, the Oakland A's to be specific and fantasy baseball as an aside. In addition to time spent here at Bullpen Banter, I write for RotoGraphs, co-host the 20-80 Report and Tarp Talk podcasts (both available on iTunes) and contribute to Big Leagues Monthly.

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10 Comments on "2013 Fantasy Catcher Rankings"

  1. Profile Photo
    Todd Boss February 6, 2013 at 1:43 pm -

    Jonathan Lucroy??  Had him last year as a waiver wire pickup and he was more than servicable.

    • Profile Photo
      David Wiers February 6, 2013 at 2:27 pm -

      Lucroy posted a .338 BABIP for the season last year, .381 in the first half. I don’t know when you picked him up, but to expect that again seems a bit naive.

      That said, I shouldn’t have left him off. Editing.

      • Profile Photo
        oh Hal February 15, 2013 at 8:55 am -

        To rate him 25th is beyond naive. What a tossup – Ianneta or Lucroy… there are just too many names on the list that heh likely will outperform. 

        • Profile Photo
          David Wiers February 15, 2013 at 2:05 pm -

          Lucroy’s most optimistic projection is by — unsurprisingly — Bill James. It reads as .287, 14 home runs, 58 runs, and 70 RBIs. 

          What part of that do you see as too low? 

  2. Profile Photo
    Todd Boss February 6, 2013 at 1:44 pm -

    Also, most Nats fans (as I am) will tell you that Suzuki is the starter until Ramos proves he’s healthy.  I don’t think either is that great a fantasy option, but I was surprised to see you have Ramos 7 spots higher at this point in the season.

    • Profile Photo
      David Wiers February 6, 2013 at 2:34 pm -

      Last I heard it was going to be a battle in ST. Assuing Ramos’ knee is fine, and I haven’t heard any differently, then he *should* be the primary starter.

  3. Profile Photo
    Dave February 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm -

    Russell Martin – NYY????  Pretty sure he’s with the Pirates now and the Yanks are going with a horror show at catcher

    • Profile Photo
      David Wiers February 15, 2013 at 2:02 pm -

      Whoa, that one slipped by the ol editors eye, aka mine. Apologies!