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Fantasy Baseball 2012: Top 20 Catchers

Jay ClemonsFantasy Sports Lead WriterAugust 10, 2016

Fantasy Baseball 2012: Top 20 Catchers

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    In eight years of playing fantasy baseball, spanning 60-plus leagues, I have never sprung for a catcher in the early rounds.

    After all, what's the point of surrendering a high pick on a temperamental talent, at a demanding position, when most mixed leagues call for only one starting catcher?

    This reasoning is an abstract prelude or warning to the following statement: If you believe Mike Napoli is MLB's closest thing to Mike Piazza in his heyday ... you will be severely disappointed in my preseason assessment of the Top 20 Catchers for 2012. There's really no way around it.

    On the flip side, if you subscribe to the rationale that Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, Brian McCann, Carlos Santana, Matt Wieters, Miguel Montero and Napoli are largely interchangeable pieces in the elite strata from year to year, you may endorse my high-end, risk-reward appreciation for a pair of 25-and-under studs who are primed for monster seasons.

    Either way, let's start the show!

20. Ryan Doumit

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    No. 20: Ryan Doumit, Twins

    Skinny: This first-time American Leaguer may need a strong spring to preserve his ranking in this oddly competitive countdown.

19. J.P. Arencibia

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    No. 19: J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays

    Skinny: Arencibia's power potential may be immense, but hitting .220 doesn't feed the bulldog in fantasyland. Hence, the painfully low ranking.

18. Salvador Perez

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    No. 18: Salvador Perez, Royals

    Skinny: The biggest wild card amongst the young catchers, at least until Travis D'Arnaud gets the callup in Toronto.

17. Kurt Suzuki

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    No. 17: Kurt Suzuki, Athletics

    Skinny: Suzuki has settled into a respectable pattern of 14 HRs/55 runs. Let's hope for a boost in RBI and average.

16. Jarrod Saltalamacchia

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    No. 16: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox

    Skinny: It's hard to imagine Salty falling short of 15 HRs/55 RBI/55 runs with an injury-free season in Boston.

15. Nick Hundley

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    No. 15: Nick Hundley, Padres

    Skinny: A promising late-round sleeper for owners who only require respectable numbers in HRs and batting average.

14. Jonathan Lucroy

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    No. 14: Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers

    Skinny: It's hard to condemn the state of catchers today with Lucroy sitting this low. He offers good value in three categories (HRs, RBI, average).

13. Russell Martin

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    No. 13: Russell Martin, Yankees

    Skinny: Only a return to 15-20 steals could erase concerns of Martin posting another sub-.240 average in 2012.

12. Geovany Soto

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    No. 12: Geovany Soto, Cubs

    Skinny: Soto might have garnered top-10 consideration if he hadn't batted .218 and .228 in two of the last three seasons.

11. Yadier Molina

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    No. 11: Yadier Molina, Cardinals

    Skinny: Molina unfortunately draws the short straw for this countdown, even with his 17-HR/.300 potential.

10. Wilson Ramos

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    No. 10: Wilson Ramos, Nationals

    Skinny: Since athletes aren't robots...it's hard to forecast how Ramos will respond to a harrowing offseason. But he does have 25-HR potential.

9. Jesus Montero

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    No. 9: Jesus Montero, Mariners

    Skinny: It may be heresy to bestow such a high ranking on a rookie playing in a pitcher-friendly ballpark. And yet, Montero has the all-around game to finish top- 0 with four categories in Year 1.

8. Alex Avila

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    No. 8: Alex Avila, Tigers

    Skinny: Avila has the upside to improve upon last year's totals in runs, RBI, average and even steals. But don't expect a run at 20-24 homers.

7. Miguel Montero

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    No. 7: Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks

    Skinny: A three-category stalwart (HRs, RBI, batting average) who should flirt with 80-85 runs in Arizona's formidable lineup.

6. Matt Wieters

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    No. 6: Matt Wieters, Orioles

    Skinny: Rock-solid contributor has the means to take another big step in HRs, RBI and batting average—in the ballpark of .290.

5. Joe Mauer

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    No. 5: Joe Mauer, Twins

    Skinny: Mauer is just three years removed from one of the greatest hitting seasons for a catcher in MLB history.

    Expect a return to .315/85 runs/80 RBI.

4. Mike Napoli

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    No.  4: Mike Napoli, Rangers

    Skinny: Napoli deserves all the preseason hype after a devastating 2011 campaign. But it's highly unlikely that he'll duplicate the .320 average or 1.046 OPS.

3. Buster Posey

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    No.  3: Buster Posey, Giants

    Skinny: Posey, one of baseball's best under-25 talents, has the potential for 25 HRs/90 RBI/.315 average and, yes, 10 steals...sooner than later.

2. Brian McCann

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    No. 2: Brian McCann, Braves

    Skinny: The Braves' improved lineup will help boost McCann's numbers in runs and RBI; plus, he's a good candidate for 21-24 HRs again.

1. Carlos Santana

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    No. 1: Carlos Santana, Indians

    Skinny: The sky's the limit for this 25-year-old dynamo with 30-100-100 potential. It's time for Santana to take another leap forward in runs, RBI and batting average.

    As a bonus, he also has C-1B versatility.

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