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RotoAuthority Rankings 2014: Catcher

RA Rankings are back with our second installment--if you missed Outfield on Tuesday, check it out now. If you're caught up, feel free to enjoy, utilize, argue with, or otherwise experience our Catcher rankings. These rankings are the product of the RotoAuthority expert team.

Within catchers, the rankings are the same whether you play with one catcher or two, but you're position scarcity matrix is completely different relative to the others. If you play in a single-catcher format, definitely wait on the position: there are plenty of rosterable catchers to go around.

But if you play in a league with two catchers...well that's when this becomes a thin position. Move catchers up significantly your overall rankings or dollar values, because the dropoff this year is an abyss.

That's enough intro. Too much! On to the rankings!

Tier 1: Impact in All Formats

1. Buster Posey

Posey stands alone. Why? Two years ago he was the MVP...his 2013 numbers look like his floor. You get safety and upside.

Tier 2: Choose Your Weapon

2. Joe Mauer

3. Brian McCann

4. Carlos Santana

You've got two choices (and three players) on the next level, once Posey's off the board. McCann and Santana offer serious power (especially with McCann in New York), while Mauer does his Mauer thing with batting average. Ask yourself what kind of production your team needs.

Tier 3: Still Awesome

5. Wilin Rosario

6. Yadier Molina

Same choice, less good options. But still excellent ones. Rosario has OBP issues and doesn't seem to have the faith of his team (Colorado was in the catcher market this winter), so those red flags keep his value below that of McCann and Santana. But he'll probably be a similar player. Molina is like Mauer...only a little less so. You aren't going wrong with either of these guys.

Tier 4: The Safety Net

7. Jonathan Lucroy

8. Salvador Perez

9. Matt Wieters

Lucroy and Perez look very similar, though if Lucroy keeps the homers up, he could launch himself into the next tier. Wieters is Rosario-lite (or what could happen if the latter's BABIP crashes) but his 22 homers still play well in fantasy. This group is the last tier for whom you can comfortably say you know what you're getting into. But that doesn't mean they aren't the last players worth targeting....

Tier 5: Do You Feel Lucky, Punk?

10. Yan Gomes

11. Wilson Ramos

12. Jason Castro

13. Evan Gattis

This is my favorite tier to target, actually. In a one-catcher league, I just wait until everyone else is gone and grab one of these guys. In a two catcher, I might do the same...just grab two of them. The reason is upside. Gomes and Ramos looked pretty tremendous in limited playing time last year, and both ought to be full-timers in 2014. Castro was basically an out-of-nowhere star, and Gattis, well he was flavor-of-the-week just early enough for the shine to come off his star. All four of these guys are risks, but catcher is a great position to take a risk since playing time considerations keep even the best catchers from putting up the same numbers other top players do. You just don't lose as much if the dice don't roll your way.

This, by the way, is the last tier that I see as viable starters.

Tier 6: Well do you? Punk?

14. Dioner Navarro

15. Miguel Montero

16. A.J. Pierzynski

17. Ryan Doumit

18. Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Admittedly, Navarro probably won't do anything like replicating last year's half-season in 500 AB. But if he does...well, it's worth the risk in a two-catcher league because his floor is replacement level (like most of the rest still available) and his ceiling is...above that (unlike most of the rest). Will this Montero bounce back? Quick answer: no idea. That's enough to give him a shot.

Pierzynski is for those who don't like to take risks: he is very steadily okay, which is pretty valuable. Doumit and Salty offer a little pop, not much else.

Tier 7: No, Not Really Feeling that Lucky....

19. Travis D'Arnaud

20. Devin Mesoraco

21. Russell Martin

22. Mike Zunino

23. Carlos Ruiz

24. Yasmani Grandal

25. Alex Avila

26. Welington Castillo

27. Derek Norris

28. Josmil Pinto

29. Chris Iannetta

30. J.P. Arencibia

If you're taking a second catcher from among these guys (or looking for a bench catcher for some reason), you can choose between low-ceiling veterans like Martin or maybe-this-time prospects like D'Arnaud or Zunino. The real key, of course, is to not have to choose from this tier at all because the upside is so low. If you are forced to draft one of these guys, I'd say wait until the very last round or the very last dollar--why pay more for replacement level?

Speaking of why pay more, check us out again next week: Tuesday will feature First Base, and we'll be back again Saturday with Third Base.




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