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Fantasy Baseball Catcher Rankings

 

We are back with our first rankings of 2009. We are just beginning the look through all of our position rankings, and will continue from here on out till we get to the regular season. We will finish with our preseason awards and predictions. I hope everybody enjoys our fantasy coverage, and keep coming back for our weekly player rankings and updates.

 

Catcher Rankings:

1. Brian McCann (Braves)

2. Russell Martin (Dodgers)

3. Joe Mauer (Twins)

4. Geovany Soto (Cubs)

5. Chris Iannetta (Rockies)

6. Bengie Molina (Giants)

7. Ryan Doumit (Pirates)

8. Victor Martinez (Indians)

9. Pablo Sandoval (Giants)

10. Chris Snyder (D’Backs)

11. Kelly Shoppach (Indians)

12. Jorge Posada (Yankees)

13. Mike Napoli (Angels)

14. A.J. Pierzynski (White Sox)

15. Dioner Navarro (Rays)

16. Ramon Hernandez (Reds)

17. Jeff Clement (Mariners)

18. Yadier Molina (Cardinals)

19. Jesus Flores (Nats)

20. Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Rangers)

21. Gerald Laird (Tigers)

22. Kurt Suzuki (A’s)

23. Jason Varitek (Red Sox)

24. Dusty Ryan (Tigers)

25. Taylor Teagarden (Rangers)

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The Best:

Brian McCann (Braves) took a major leap last season. He has positioned himself as one of the elite players as his position in all of the majors. McCann is a complete hitter who will be counted on to anchor the Braves lineup this season. I would not be surprised to see his first 100 RBI season come this year. Joe Mauer (Twins) should be healthy to start the season and hit a few more home runs. Russell Martin (Dodgers) struggled a bit last season but turned it around. I would look more towards his 2007 season than 2008 for what his long-term value will be.

 

The Rest:

If you are stuck looking around for the best catchers on the bottom of the list there are a few options. I would look at Jesus Flores (Nats), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Rangers), and Dusty Ryan (Tigers) as the best of the bottom tier. They are all young, will be cheap, and have a good bit of upside. If you are stuck without those youngsters available to you then look for serviceable veterans such as Jason Varitek (Red Sox), John Buck (Royals), and Brian Schneider (Mets). Varitek had a terrible season in 2008. It is likely that he is not going to be a great deal better this season, but I fully expect him to be slightly better than 2008. Buck still has a great deal of power. Schneider, if healthy, can still hit well enough to take advantage of a solid Mets lineup.

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Risers:

My three risers for this season are: Chris Iannetta (Rockies), Jesus Flores (Nats), and Pablo Sandoval (Giants).

Iannetta broke out last season, one year later than expected. He has solid on-base skills (.390) with unusual power for a catcher. In a mere 333 at-bats Iannetta blasted 18 homers and drove in 65. Perhaps more encouraging is the fact that his home/road splits almost identical, rare in Colorado youngsters. Iannetta is set to move into the elite of National League catchers.

Flores is a personal favorite of mine who was forced to the majors two years early when he was chosen by the Nats in the Rule 5 draft. Had he not been taken and forced up early then Flores would probably be looking for a chance to play this season. However, he already has two years in the majors. If he can stay healthy he should become a top ten fantasy catcher.

Sandoval is amazing. He went all the way from Low-A to the majors last season. More amazing, he hit extremely well everywhere he played. Sandoval held his own defensively, but is not seen as a long-term catching solution. That said, Sandoval drove in 24 in 145 at-bats after being called up for the last 41 games. Sandoval’s season was made even more remarkable by the fact that he played 11 games at catcher, 17 at first, and 12 at third. Sandoval is not expected to see much, if any time at catcher this season, but he still qualifies. Sandoval hit .345 in the majors, and he should be able to hold his own at any position. However, catcher eligibility would be really nice.


Fallers:

Victor Martinez (Indians) can still hit with any catcher on this list, but I ranked him fairly low in the top ten. The question for Martinez is whether or not he can stay healthy. He should be helped by playing more games at first base. If he can stay healthy he will return to elite status at catcher.

A.J. Pierzynski’s (White Sox) production may start to deteriorate. I am not a huge fan of him anyway, and he does not seem like the type of fantasy catcher who will age well. Look for a slight drop-off from his recent production; he should fall closer to the bottom end of the rankings this season.

Jason Kendall (Brewers) started last season on an amazing run. As the season ran on his production slowed to a crawl. By the end of the year he was almost non-existent. Kendall is still among the best catchers in the league in working with young pitchers, but that does not help your fantasy offense. Kendall’s numbers will struggle to approach those of last season, which is not good in fantasy circles.

 

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Other Thoughts:

Ramon Hernandez (Reds) probably will not see a great deal of numbers increase in Cincinnati, but his power numbers should get a good boost from the Reds ballpark. Kelly Shoppach (Indians) may not hit for quite as much power per at-bat, but he should get more at-bats which will help it balance out. Ronny Paulino (Phillies) and Carlos Ruiz (Phillies) will battle for the starting job in Philly and the winner is worth keeping an eye on as a catcher two.

 

Matt Wieters (Orioles) is the top rookie at catcher or just about any position for that matter. He is not likely to start the season with the O’s. Wieters is likely to see much the same treatment as Chase Headley did last season from the Padres. Wieters likely will come up sometime after June to buy the O’s extra time before his free-agency years. If I thought he were going to be up to start the year he would have easily ranked in the top ten. Wieters should be in the majors for around half the season, and I would estimate he will end up ranking between 10 and 15.

 

By: Brian Chmielewski
ProBaseball-fans.com Staff Writer

 

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