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2010 Sleepers: Catchers

Thanks to Baseball Monster, here are 2010's top mixed league catchers.  I've also added the round in which they were drafted in March, using data from Mock Draft Central.

  1. Joe Mauer (2)
  2. Brian McCann (4)
  3. Mike Napoli (14)
  4. Miguel Olivo (21)
  5. Geovany Soto (13)
  6. Buster Posey (24)
  7. John Buck (28)
  8. Kurt Suzuki (11)
  9. Victor Martinez (2)
  10. Jorge Posada (11)
  11. John Jaso (not drafted)
  12. Russell Martin (12)
  13. Yadier Molina (19)
  14. Ramon Hernandez (25) 
  15. Jason Kendall (not drafted)
  16. Carlos Ruiz (24)
  17. Miguel Montero (12)
  18. Yorvit Torrealba (27)
  19. Rod Barajas (27)
  20. Ryan Doumit (17)
  21. Matt Wieters (8)
  22. Chris Snyder (not drafted)
  23. Ronny Paulino (not drafted)
  24. Ivan Rodriguez (28)

Those who returned major value: Napoli, Olivo, Soto, Posey, and Buck.  Let's attempt to classify these five players and determine why they were undervalued. 

  • Napoli: Playing time concerns.  Fantasy leaguers must have overreacted to concerns that Jeff Mathiswould get most of the playing time for the Angels behind the plate.  It is true that Napoli benefited from Kendry Morales' freak injury.  But there was no reason to think Napoli would not get 375 ABs, which is why I ranked him sixth among catchers.
  • Olivo: Playing time concerns.  I figured Olivo to be Chris Iannetta's backup and accordingly projected 225 ABs.  He would've cracked the top 15 with 375 ABs.  As early as March 17th Rockies manager Jim Tracy suggested Olivo and Iannetta would split time initially, so savvy drafters knew Olivo's value could skyrocket with an Iannetta slump.  There is an element of luck or Coors Field involved in Olivo hitting .281. 
  • Soto: Had experienced success, but disappointed in previous season.  The "what have you done lately" fantasy mantra caused Soto to drop to the 13th round.  He'd gone in the sixth coming off his Rookie of the Year campaign.  I ranked him seventh among catchers before the season just based on projected numbers.  But we all knew there was room for more given '08 and the weight Soto lost in the offseason.
  • Posey: Playing time and call-up concerns.  We thought Posey's call-up might be delayed until June, and that he'd have a hard time supplanting Bengie Molinaanyway.  But not only is Posey projecting for 300 ABs, he's playing far beyond what I thought he was capable of as a rookie.  Posey raked in Triple A before his call-up, even more so than in 2009, and those numbers combined with positive scouting reports made him worth stashing in May if possible.
  • Buck: History showed major flaw in his game.  Buck was a career .235 hitter entering the season, and his .277 average this year separates him from the Chris Snyders of the world.  Baseball HQ says Buck's expected batting average is .260 this year, but I still think the batting average is mostly a fluke this year.  If you say you drafted Buck because you thought he'd provide his usual power numbers plus a .277 average, I don't believe you.
  • The cases of Napoli, Olivo, Soto, and Posey might be instructive.  Heading into the 2011 season we'll try to identify skilled catchers who are dropping due to playing time concerns or backstops who had big years in 2009 but slumped in 2010.  That's where the sleepers will be found.


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