Fantasy Baseball 2012: Power Ranking the Best Catchers in MLB
As real baseball is set to begin regular-season games in less than a month, fantasy owners are gearing up for another season themselves.
With the 2012 campaign ready to take off, fantasy owners will be looking to find the best value and talent during their drafts.
One offensive position that is many times overlooked, is catcher.
Although catchers aren't known for always being the best hitters on the team, a good catcher can certainly mean the difference between winning or losing the league championship.
Let's take a look at some of the best catchers for fantasy baseball this season.
10. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Yadier Molina is mostly known for his stellar glove, not his bat.
However Molina is solid at the plate and will have to step it up at the dish now that slugger Albert Pujols is no longer in the middle of the lineup.
Molina had a fine year at the plate a season ago, batting .305 and driving in 65 runs. He also only struck out 44 times.
ESPN Projected Stats: .296 average, 13 home runs, 63 RBI, 39 Walks, .352 On Base Percentage.
9. Wilson Ramos, Washington Nationals
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
After a tumultuous offseason to say the least, Wilson Ramos enters the 2012 season looking to build on an impressive campaign in 2011.
Ramos took over the everyday catching duties from Ivan Rodriguez during the middle of the season and never looked back. Ramos hit 15 home runs and drove in 52 while posting a batting average of .267. His average jumped to .288 after becoming the team's starting catcher.
In his first full season as the everyday backstop, Ramos will look to improve on his numbers to help the Nationals become contenders in the NL East.
ESPN Projected Stats: .265 average, 17 home runs, 55 RBI, 31 Walks, .316 On Base Percentage.
8. Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
Dave Reginek/Getty Images
Joe Mauer was once the best catcher is all of baseball.
Mauer was a hitting machine, even winning an American League batting title.
But a couple of injuries last season, including a knee ailment, derailed his season and he never regained his strength.
If Mauer is able to find his form from a few seasons ago, fantasy owners will be getting a steal, but with his injuries from last season, owners must also be cautious.
ESPN Projected Stats: .312 average, 12 home runs, 69 RBI, 61 Walks, .385 On Base Percentage.
7. Matt Weiters, Baltimore Orioles
J. Meric/Getty Images
Matt Weiters seemed to come into his own in the 2011 season.
The big, switch-hitting catcher showed off some power but struggled from the left side of the plate.
Weiters has always been a highly-touted catching prospect and at 26 years-of-age, could really show off his ability in the upcoming seasons.
Weiters has the capability and make-up to have a breakout year for the O's and would be a good middle-of-the-pack selection.
ESPN Projected Stats: .274 average, 22 home runs, 76 RBI, 49 Walks, .339 On Base Percentage.
6. Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers
Harry How/Getty Images
Alex Avila made a giant leap from his disappointing season in 2010 to his breakout year in 2011.
Avila hit .295 with 19 homers and 82 runs batted in 2011, but also had a whopping 131 strikeouts. He must become more consistent at the plate in order to crack the top five.
That being said, Avila would be a great value pick at catcher and would provide solid numbers in every major category.
As he matures and continues to develop, he will find himself creeping up the list of top catchers in the game. It also doesn't hurt that he will be hitting in a lineup that will include Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
ESPN Projected Stats: .278 average, 16 home runs, 69 RBI, 64 Walks, .369 On Base Percentage.
5. Miguel Montero, Arizona Diamondbacks
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
One of the many surprises of the Arizona Diamondbacks' 2011 season was the play of catcher Miguel Montero.
Montero had a solid season at the plate and managing the Diamondbacks' staff. He hit .282 with 18 bombs and 86 RBI.
Montero is still a young player coming into his own, so he still has a ton of upside.
He would be a great pickup for somebody looking for a potential breakout star at the catcher position.
ESPN Projected Stats: .282 average, 18 home runs, 79 RBI, 47 Walks, .350 On Base Percentage.
4. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
If not for a horrific leg injury in 2011, Buster Posey would crack the top three of this list.
However, it is possible that his leg will be a lingering problem early on and could mess with his amazing hitting ability.
He is, without question, one of the best hitting catchers in the game when fully healthy, and he is still very young.
If some owners are scared by his nasty injury, you could find yourself with a steal in later rounds for Posey because he is a true top talent at the catching position.
ESPN Projected Stats: .291 average, 16 home runs, 67 RBI, 45 Walks, .359 On Base Percentage.
3. Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians
Jason Miller/Getty Images
Carlos Santana is another player that is a young, talented-hitting backstop.
Santana struggled average-wise in his rookie season with Cleveland, but his raw potential at the dish was evident.
Many think that because of his great hitting ability, Santana will make the switch from catcher to either DH or first base.
Either way, Santana has the offensive potential to a be a middle-of-the-order guy for the Indians.
Fantasy owners should look past the low average and think about the returns they will get in the home run and RBI category with Santana.
ESPN Projected Stats: .250 average, 23 home runs, 83 RBI, 94 Walks, .364 On Base Percentage.
2. Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves
Joe Murphy/Getty Images
Brian McCann is a rock behind the plate for the Atlanta Braves.
He also contributes more than his fair share in the batter's box as well.
McCann, a six-time All-Star, will look to make his seventh straight Summer Classic this season and he will help his cause with a great year at the plate.
McCann hit .281 with 23 bombs for the Braves a season ago and brought home 79 runners.
Fantasy owners would be wise to take McCann off of the board early as far as catchers are concerned because you already know what you're getting with him.
ESPN Projected Stats: .270 average, 24 home runs, 71 RBI, 57 Walks, .351 On Base Percentage.
1. Mike Napoli, Texas Rangers
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Do the Texas Rangers have any weak spots in their lineup?
They certainly have a strength in Mike Napoli, who resides behind the plate.
Napoli is a beast in the Rangers' lineup, where he belted 30 homers and drove in 75 in 2011. He also showed his ability to hit for average with a .320 clip for the season.
Napoli is at the top of the list for catchers in terms of power and hitting ability, and fantasy owners better scoop him up because he will certainly be a hot commodity when the draft rolls around.
ESPN Projected Stats: .283 average, 31 home runs, 80 RBI, 56 Walks, .369 On Base Percentage.