2010: Top 12 Catchers

Today I’ll start to make my way around the diamond with a look at the top 12 for 2010 at catcher:

CATCHER
1. Joe Mauer
2. Victor Martinez
3. Brian McCann
4. Mike Napoli
5. Russell Martin
6. Jorge Posada
7. Matt Wieters
8. Geovany Soto
9. Chris Iannetta
10. Kurt Suzuki
11. Bengie Molina
12. A.J. Pierzynski

–This is a position still dominated by players with M-last names. I’ve been touting Mauer as a first-round pick in various outlets, as I believe the power is here to stay. The pace of power will likely slow, but he also doesn’t have a built in month off like he did coming into this season.

–Martinez is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t make too much out of a washed out season killed by injuries. He had four excellent seasons of work backing him up, but that didn’t keep him from dropping significantly in a lot of leagues. He’s now on pace for a career high in home runs (27).

–McCann had to suffer through an atrocious April (.195 average) before figuring out what was wrong. It turns out he couldn’t see. Once he got outfitted with a new pair of glasses, his season took off. He’s on pace for his 4th straight excellent season and he will be just 26 in 2010.

–Napoli’s ability has never been in question during his previous three seasons in the bigs. He had massive power and a batting average that was on the rise, but he just couldn’t stay on the field. His career high prior to 2009 was 268 at-bats. Now he’s at 306 and on pace for 450+, which should yield career highs in home runs and RBI. He’s continued his batting average spike sitting at .294 this season and will remain in his prime when he turns 28 on Halloween this year.

–Martin has had a busted season, but has still carried plenty of value at catcher. He will be just 27 at the beginning of next season, so it’d be foolish to write him off after a down season.

–Like Martinez, Posada had an injury-riddled 2008, but he has bounced back as good as ever, especially for a 38-year-old. In that stadium, Posada remains viable even if only in 120-130 games.

Based on the expectations and absurd draft round in many leagues, Wieters has been a bust this season. He’s on pace to top 350 at-bats, yet he’s hitting just .264 and he’s on pace for a meager seven home runs and 33 RBI. Hell hath no fury like a fantasy player scorned. Wieters will drop to a more reasonable round in many leagues and below value in many others, but it’d be dumb to give up on him for not meeting the unrealistic expectations set upon him this season. He could be a classic post-hype sleeper depending on his 2009 finish.

–The reigning National League Rookie of the Year has flopped this year to say the least. Geovany Soto has hit .217 and has just nine home runs this season. He’s been ravaged by injuries and managed to play just 81 games, which sets up a great potential value in 2010.

–I expected more out of Chris Iannetta in 2009, but the .221 batting average makes his season look a lot worse than it has been. He is on pace for a useful 21 home runs and 72 RBI, but he once again failed to play anything approaching a full season – even for a catcher (on pace for 118 games). He has a sharp eye, big power and turns just 27 next year.

–Suzuki has made big strides again in 2009, adding some solid power to his game and becoming a viable catcher option across all league formats. He is on pace to top 70 runs scored and runs driven in, which isn’t too bad in Oakland’s putrid offense.

–The emergence of Buster Posey puts Molina’s 2010 home in doubt. Regardless of where he plays, he is going to be a late-round option that is worth more than his draft position with legitimate power and an average that won’t kill you. He can be a disaster in OBP league (.280), but plays well in standard 5x5s.

–Pierzynski is like Molina in that neither are particularly exciting picks, yet both have value and are capable of being much better than their draft position.

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4 Comments to “2010: Top 12 Catchers”

  1. How can Weiters be on the top catchers list till he can show that he can hit major league pitching?
    I guess u can draft and HOPE. I will take the proven track record any day of the week!

    • Markus,
      He had ridiculous expectations this year and didn’t meet them, but there is nothing to suggest he won’t be the real deal as he develops at the big league level. I’m drafting him with confidence next year.

  2. No Miguel Montero? More HR and RBI and better AVG than Russell Martin in about 80 less AB’s. Montero is VASTLY underrated.

  3. greg, I’m not going to bury Martin on one down season. He’s got a very strong track record of three great seasons preceding this year’s disaster.

    In that same vein, I don’t think Montero cracks the top 12 yet based only on 300 strong ABs. His 32% hit rate is well off of his career norms, so the batting average is very suspect. Without the average, he’s no better than the dime a dozen bad average/decent power catchers.

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