There are plenty of places online to find normal 1->40 rankings of any position, but you’re reading my blog because you care what I think. So I’m going to run down my top tens at each position and then talk about some other options at the position. I might even hint at some sleepers and busts. If you’re really good, I may even pull out a couple relevant Q&A at the end. We will see.
So we obviously begin with catchers. And my #1 is Carlos Santana. I take Santana over Mike Napoli because he is five years younger and he could match Napoli’s power home runs, but with a better average. Also, this may come as a surprise but I count the strength of the Rangers’ offense slightly against Napoli in that he will never likely bat in the meat of the order so Santana should have more RBI opportunities.
Obviously Napoli is second. Matt Wieters and Brian McCann are close to me but I’d rather have McCann because of the consistency. He’s hit 20+ home runs in five of the last six years. He doesn’t miss time like most catchers. In fact, his 128 games in 2011 was the least since 2005 when he was a rookie, and he managed 24 home runs in that span. Wieters in #4 but with real upside. He could be the #1 catcher in fantasy this year, theoretically.
I’m going to go with Buster Posey at #5 and Alex Avila #6. If spring training starts and Posey isn’t 100% ready to go, then I could be persuaded to swap them. As a matter of fact, if Posey shows signs of a setback, I could drop him below my #7 Miguel Montero and #8 Joe Mauer. I just can’t see Mauer catching enough games to make him a top-5 option at that spot anymore. The average will be there but we know, even though he has the power, he won’t sacrifice the average for it. On the other hand, I think Avila will either score a ton of runs if he were to bat second in Detroit, or have a great RBI total batting behind the two first basemen (one masquerading as a third baseman) in the middle.
I’m going with #9 Wilson Ramos and #10 Russell Martin but the next six or seven guys can all be lumped in right behind Ramos. I think Martin will have the reliable counting numbers we’ve come to expect from anyone in the Yankees lineup. Ramos has the ring of a mid to late round sleeper at the position and has the potential to end up in the top-5.
Looking down the list, there’s a lot of guys you just don’t mind having but don’t like either. There’s no real exciting sleepers already in the big leagues. If Jesus Montero gets catching eligibility, as I expect he will, then he’s one to have an eye on, but he’s DH only for now.
There’s also a big group of guys who have value merely because they have jobs, like Yadier Molina or Kurt Suzuki.
Most years, I end up waiting a long time for catching because I’m fine with a middle-of-the-road clog and I usually change catchers a few times in a year and it ends up a neutral position for me. I won’t be the guy reaching for one. I could see Wieters falling farther than he should or one of Mauer or Posey falling into the middle rounds at which point, I’d be a buyer. But I’m not holding my breath either.
Jeremy, Nevada: With only a few trustworthy catchers on the board this year, is this the time to reach for one as opposed to waiting like I usually do?
No. Because the position has always been shallow and it still is. Every year we see four or five “great” catchers and then a bunch of “eh.” And that’s what he have this year. And I promise you I won’t be owning Napoli this year because he screams bust to me. One of my busts of the year perhaps.
Julia, Boston: Are there any guys in the minors who might be valuable this season?
Devin Mesoraco in the Reds organization could be a June call-up if he continues his 2011 performance, managing an .855 OPS at .289 with 15 home runs. Also keep an eye on Wilin Rosario, but I have doubts about his bat at the big-league level. The Yankees also have two intriguing catcher prospects in Gary Sanchez (who won’t make the majors this season, but is exciting in the future) and Austin Romine who could see a cup of coffee
Those are the catchers. Keep the questions coming. I’ll be working on first basemen and hopefully have them up later today.