Go ahead, punk. Draft Joe Mauer. Make my day.
And while you’re burning an early round draft pick on a catcher who will give you a great batting average and mediocre everything else, I’ll be reaping the benefits with a much cheaper option with amazing upside.
Who is it? He’s one of my 2011 fantasy catcher value specials:
J.P. Arencibia, TOR. Welcome to Mike Piazza reincarnate. Rarely does a backstop offer this type of overall power potential. So much so, that the Blue Jays have been grooming the guy for more than three years.
Last season, Arencibia didn’t do much in his limited major league stint. A .143 batting average in 35 at-bats led to two homers and four RBI. Nothing special.
Except, his Triple-A minor league stats during the season were smokin’ hot. He hit .301 in 412 plate appearances with 32 dingers and 85 RBI.
This is the year that Arencibia becomes a household name in fantasy baseball circles. Don’t miss out on his breakout campaign, and don’t overpay for yesterday’s hype train.
Mike Napoli, TEX. The change in teams this offseason may scare away some on draft day. The .238 batting average will scare away the rest. Don’t be one of them.
The two previous seasons, he hit more than .270 at the plate and has consistently smacked 20 or more homers for three consecutive seasons with Anaheim.
Now, Napoli is the starting catcher for the Rangers, playing in a hitter’s paradise of a stadium. His .238 batting average last year was more a product of an unlucky .279 BABIP than anything else.
Considering the Rangers have few other reliable offensive weapons to bank on, expect Napoli to get plenty of opportunity to shine.
Chris Iannetta, COL. The last time Iannetta played more than 95 games, he smacked 18 homers and hit .264 in 333 at-bats during the 2008 season. This year, Iannetta finally has the starting catcher gig solely to himself. Sure, the batting average can be as steady as a world class rollercoaster, but his power is undeniable.
At a catcher position where dingers are sparser than snowmen in Arizona, Iannetta makes a very sneaky late-round selection as your fantasy catcher extraordinaire.
Who are your value catchers for 2011?