Now let’s move on to some positional rankings. We’ll start with the fantasy adventureland that is catchers. Catcher doesn’t have to be a Tilt-A-Whirl of Pain. Use common sense and you’ll be golden.
These rankings are based on average draft position. It’s early, so much of our ADP is based on December drafts, but it’s still interesting to see what people are thinking. These rankings will be updated as Spring Training heats up.
Catcher projections are being calculated and for straight-up rankings check out jzak’s early backstop rankings.
ADP Top 20 catcher rankings
Recent ADP in parentheses
1. Joe Mauer, Twins (20.81): Ignore position scarcity. When the player pool is as large as baseball’s, you don’t want to waste a pick. Mauer only contributes in three categories, and is only dominant in average. Power is not one of the categories.
2. Victor Martinez, Tigers (30.40): This still feels like a pick based on position scarcity, but at least Martinez gives you some power and helps your average. If a move to first base/DH keeps him healthy enough to post 450-500 ABs, then this isn’t a terrible pick. I’d rather waste my “if” picks on other positions.
3. Brian McCann, Braves (32.12): Like Martinez, but with a little more power and a little less average. A solid pick if you really feel a need to have a catcher this early.
4. Buster Posey, Giants (43.69): Posey could potentially be the next Mike Piazza, and the only catcher worthy of a pick in the first four rounds. However, it’s good to remember how bad Geovany Soto was during his sophomore season. Remember, the Cubs backstop was once NL Rookie of the Year, and a top-15 in the MVP voting, too.
5. Geovany Soto, Cubs (99.95): Tenth round? This is more like it. Oh, and Soto could hit .280 with more homers than McCann, more RBI than Mauer and score as many runs as Posey. Do not pay second-, third- or fourth-round prices for 10th-round production.
6. Carlos Santana, Indians (112.93): Could approach McCann-type numbers, seven rounds later. Santana does not have a lot of pro at-bats, but when we’re talking about rounds 10, 11 and 12 there is much less risk than picking Posey in the fourth.
7. Mike Napoli, Rangers (114.63): Last year he hit 26 home runs in just 450 at-bats. Napoli only has a .251 career average, but he hit in the .270s in both 2008 and 2009.
8. Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks (126.67): Montero only has one season of note, which, consequently, was also the only season he approached 450 at-bats. The question marks on the rest of this list would make The Riddler proud. Take a chance on him staying healthy and approaching the 60/16/60/.294 season he had in 2009.
9. Matt Wieters, Orioles (132.65): When does post-hype sleeper turn bust?
10. Jorge Posada, Yankees (156.17): The top of the hourglass is nearly empty for Posada. Even if being a full-time DH keeps him healthy, you need to pick upside.
11. Kurt Suzuki, Athletics (178.74): I’ve owned Suzuki on a team. He’s ownable, but he’s not going to help you win.
12. Yadier Molina, Cardinals (216.06): There will be a couple Molinas on the waiver wire by midseason. Yadier is the good one, but “good” in this case is very relative.
13. Carlos Ruiz, Phillies (223.03): Don’t expect the 32-year-old to hit .300 again or get to 10 homers.
14. John Buck, Marlins (233.03): A move to Rogers Center was enough to help Buck meet the power potential we’ve been expecting for years. He hit 20 dingers last season. He’ll play in Sun Life Stadium this year, but this late in the draft, he’s worth a shot.
15. Miguel Olivo, Mariners (256.78): Don’t get too excited about those 23 homers in 2009. They won’t happen again.
16. Ryan Doumit, Pirates (308.46): Since his promising 2008, Doumit has regressed significantly.
17. A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox (349.60): Pierzynski will not help your fantasy team, but he won’t hurt your batting average either.
18. Jesus Montero, Yankees (356.77): An upside pick, but he’ll have to compete with the next player on the list for playing time.
19. Russell Martin, Yankees (371.26): He has not lived up to the expectations set early in his career. He could benefit from Yankee Stadium or lose his job to a rookie without an ounce of big-league experience.
20. Jonathan LuCroy, Brewers (392.36): He’s only 24 and could develop 10+ homers. This late, you’re looking for upside. There are a few people outside the top-20 who fit that bill, too.
Other catchers of note: Chris Iannetta, Rockies; Ivan Rodriguez, Nationals; Wilson Ramos, Nationals; John Jaso, Rays; J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays; J.R. Towles, Astros; Josh Thole, Mets.