This is the first piece profiling fantasy baseball rankings by position. This year fantasy players will be able to draft quality catchers in the late rounds, as the position is stronger than it has been in the last decade. The rankings and projections are my own, with a major hat tip to the folks at fantasypros.com who compile and average expert rankings. I urge you to check their site out.
Tier ranking and which round (12 team) I would select players of that tier
Tier 1: Buster Posey (Round 3)
Tier 2: Carlos Santana, Yadier Molina (Rounds 7-9)
Tier 3: Victor Martinez, Joe Mauer, Matt Wieters, Miguel Montero, Mike Napoli, Willin Rosario, Salvador Perez (Rounds 10-12)
Tier 4: Brian McCann, Jesus Montero, Jonathan Lucroy, AJ Pierzynski, Carlos Ruiz (Very late/FA)
Overvalued: Joe Mauer (honorable mention Jesus Montero
This is a prime example of fantasy gamers investing in a known commodity without fully investigating the numbers. Since Mauer’s fantastic 2009 campaign of .365/.444/.587, he has failed to amass more than 10 home runs, with his Isolated power (Slugging-Batting Avg) remaining around his career average of .143. This is now Mauer’s age-30 season and I do not expect improvement from his 2011 season, especially when he is batting in a lineup that may include Pedro Florimon, Jamey Carroll and Darin Mastroianni. Jesus Montero is also being overrated in mock drafts due to name recognition, being a recent top Yankee prospect. Yes, I expect Montero to improve upon last years numbers as part of an improved Mariners offense in a more hitter friendly Safeco, but I do not expect him to finish the season as a top 10 catcher. Mauer is being overvalued (ADP in the late 50s) and will struggle to reach 2011’s underwhelming totals.
Undervalued: Salvador Perez (honorable mention Victor Martinez)
Overshadowed by the plethora of young hitting prospects in Kansas City, Salvador Perez has put up an OPS+ of 121 (21 percent above average) in 450+ plate appearances. Perez does not strike out often (for those in leagues where strikeouts are an offensive category) and can be counted on to bat for average. Currently going in about the 11th round of drafts Salvador Perez is a bargain who could put up a respectable 70/15/70/.300. Victor Martinez in the 8th round is a steal as well, but I made him just an honorable mention because he will not be playing catcher this season and in certain leagues he might not qualify as a catcher. I fully expect him to DH for the Tigers, rebound from injury, and put up respectable numbers. The Royals rewarded Perez with a long-term deal last season, and fantasy owners should consider investing in the 22-year old
Who I Will Take: Miguel Montero
For years my strategy with catcher was to take a top tier player in the early rounds because I believed there was a large disparity between the mid-round and early-round catchers. Due to the depth at catching this year, I am targetting consistency. I do not expect Miguel to be a top 5 catcher, but I fully expect for him to catch 140 games. In leagues with smaller benches, I hate devoting a DL spot to my catcher and picking up someone off the waiver wire. I would prefer Montero relative to his ADP in comparison with injury risk catchers (Victor Martinez, Mike Napoli) and the young guys (Santana, Rosario, Perez). This season, I will go with the safe pick as my catcher, Miguel Montero.