The time has come to no longer talk about preliminary rankings, but instead our “final” rankings as we move towards 2012 fantasy drafts.
Let’s kick things off with our Top 15 catchers for the upcoming season. There definitely has been a changing of the guard not only at the top of these rankings, but throughout. Let’s take a look at how things currently stand:
- Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians
- Victor Martinez – Detroit Tigers
- Mike Napoli – Texas Rangers
- Brian McCann – Atlanta Braves
- Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
- Miguel Montero – Arizona Diamondbacks
- Alex Avila – Detroit Tigers
- Matt Wieters – Baltimore Orioles
- Joe Mauer – Minnesota Twins
- Jesus Montero – New York Yankees
- Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
- Kurt Suzuki – Oakland Athletics
- Jonathan Lucroy – Milwaukee Brewers
- Wilson Ramos – Washington Nationals
- Geovany Soto – Chicago Cubs
- The first question people are probably going to ask is why Geovany Soto is so low on the rankings. I know we all want to think highly of him since he burst onto the scene in 2008, but it has now been three disappointing years. Maybe a new regime will help to get the most out of him, but he doesn’t score runs (under 50 each of the past three years), nor does he drive them in (54 is his max the past three years). He continues to find himself losing playing time and the strikeouts reached an alarming level last season (26.2 percent). Is there potential? Absolutely, but I’d rather take the risk on other options given what he has done in recent years.
- Joe Mauer is another player who is likely lower than we have become accustomed to. The problem is that he is a major injury risk and there is no power whatsoever. Sure, he may hit .300, but that’s no longer enough.
- The surprises on the list? Probably, Salvador Perez and Jonathan Lucroy. Those who have read the site over the past few months know my thoughts on Perez. The power is still developing while he has the potential to hit near .300. Considering he’s going to play every day, he has the advantage over other low-end options in the counting stats.
- As for Lucroy, he may have tired down the stretch as he hit .188 in September (based on a .184 BABIP). How much better would’ve his numbers looked (.265, 12 HR, 59 RBI) had he not collapsed? He’s a name that is often overlooked, but shouldn’t be. He’ll turn 27 years old in June and could easily continue to add power (he had a 33.9 percent fly ball rate in ’11). Consider him a solid sleeper on draft day in all formats.
- Mike Napoli is going to be the hot name entering the year, as he should be. However, you need to keep your expectations in check. For one thing, it’s not likely that he repeats a 25.4 percent HR/FB, nor is it likely he posts a .344 BABIP once again. He could be in store for more AB in ’12, but that doesn’t mean that the numbers are going to improve. Expect him to post similar numbers to his 2011 campaign (.320, 30 HR, 75 RBI), though with a lower average.
- Could this be the season that Matt Wieters finally puts things together? He finally showed the power (22 HR) and run production (68 RBI, 72 R) in 2011, now he just needs to add to the average. Considering his .276 BABIP and continuing improvement in the strikeout department (22.3 percent to 18.7 percent to 15.2 percent), it’s only a matter of time.
Make sure to check out our 2012 projections: