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Catcher Rankings

It's time to get serious and attempt some position rankings for mixed leagues.  This is how we find the undervalued players.  As always, my dollar values reflect a 12-team mixed league with 23-man active rosters (two catchers).  As such, the 24th-ranked catcher should be worth a buck.

Please note that these rankings are very much subject to change and I welcome your input.  I've included the player's average round drafted per Mock Draft Central in parentheses.  Also keep in mind that playing time is crucial to these rankings, and a swing of 75 ABs one way or another would move a player several spots.

  1. Joe Mauer (2) - $30.12
  2. Carlos Santana (10) - $22.92
  3. Buster Posey (4) - $22.87
  4. Victor Martinez (3) - $22.47
  5. Brian McCann (3) - $20.68
  6. Jorge Posada (14) - $13.90
  7. Geovany Soto (9) - $13.63
  8. Mike Napoli (10) - $13.54
  9. Chris Iannetta (28) - $12.34
  10. Kurt Suzuki (16) - $12.29
  11. Matt Wieters (12) - $11.97
  12. Miguel Montero (11) - $10.59
  13. John Buck (20) - $9.03
  14. A.J. Pierzynski (25) - $7.14
  15. Miguel Olivo (21) - $6.78
  16. Russell Martin (27) - $5.32
  17. Yorvit Torrealba (32) - $5.26
  18. Carlos Ruiz (19) - $5.25
  19. Yadier Molina (18) - $5.08
  20. Nick Hundley (Not drafted) - $4.37
  21. Rod Barajas (31) - $3.15
  22. Ramon Hernandez (33) - $2.90
  23. Chris Snyder (34) - $2.31
  24. Jonathan Lucroy (28) - $1.00

Carlos Santana deserves special mention.  He's not necessarily a better bet than all those catchers listed after him.  I simply think he will do big things if he gets 480 ABs.  It could be a fluke, but his nine steal attempts in 438 PAs last year lead to a seven-steal projection for 2011, which would top all catchers except for Martin.  Throw in a .280 average, 20 homers, and 80 RBIs, and you can see why Santana would sneak past guys with similar numbers but six fewer steals.  Santana is a riskier choice than backstops like Posey, V-Mart, and McCann, but that's balanced by his 10th round ADP.  He had knee surgery in August, and is now doing baseball activities and is expected to be ready for Opening Day.

Posada jumps out as a potential bargain.  I've put him down for 500 ABs, which might be aggressive but seems quite possible as a full-time DH.  He is coming off a minor November knee surgery and is 39, so that's why you'll find him in the 14th round.  But he's easily in the top ten if he can hit 20 homers and knock in 80.  Soto is another player coming off surgery; he had a September procedure on his shoulder.  If Soto finds 475 ABs he's a fourth-round value.

Iannetta is so far off the radar that he is not being drafted in mixed leagues.  He's the starting catcher for the Rockies and should have no problem reaching 20 home runs for the first time if he gets 450 ABs.  He only has to fend off Jose Morales for those ABs.  I can see Buck reaching 20 homers again, as the Marlins gave him a big contract and barring injury he should set a career-high in ABs.  Hundley also has a clearer path to a career-high in playing time, with Rob Johnson serving as his backup.

I've always been a big Napoli fan, but he does not have a starting job right now and I'm hesistant to project more than 400 ABs.  Bump him from 400 to 450 and he jumps to $17.53, so take a chance if you think he'll sneak in those additional ABs bouncing around at third-string catcher and backup 1B/DH.  Guys like Ryan Doumit, Jesus Montero, and Kelly Shoppach would also intrigue me with 450 ABs.  Injuries to catchers are common, which is why you have to watch RotoWorld like a hawk.

Back in August I was intrigued by J.P. Arencibia, labeling him the Napoli of 2011 minus playing time issues.  However, I am starting to think the better comp might be Barajas or Snyder.  Can Arencibia crack a .240 average or rack up decent RBI/run numbers at the bottom of Toronto's lineup?  It's possible he gives you 20 home runs and little else, so I'd take him only as a second catcher during the last few rounds.


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