Fantasy Baseball Sleepers 2008: Catchers
It is a frequent dilemma for those who love the sport of baseball.
"Who will Leyland's Lungs take in the 20th round?"
"Are there any good relief pitchers not named Rivera or Papelbon?"
"I don't recognize any of the names on this list."
For some, this could lead to a nervous breakdown, a horrible selection, and an offseason full of shame after finishing in the cellar of your league.
And while I cannot help you to become a good fantasy player overnight, I can provide the fine citizens of bleacherreport.com with this fantasy cheat sheet of sleepers easily ascertainable in the late rounds or on the waiver wire.
I'll be blunt. Catcher has always been the weakest position in all of fantasy baseball, but the battery mates have really outdone themselves this year.
If you can't get Cleveland's Victor Martinez, don't bother picking until the very late rounds, if at all.
Unless this article catches on like wildfire, these players should be available very late.
Dioner Navarro, Tampa Bay Rays
Big Dio as I call him had a bad year last year. That's great news for you. This switch-hitting catcher slugged a respectable .475 after the All-Star break. That number puts him in the top three of Major League catchers over the same time period. He also batted .285 with eight of his nine home runs and 31 of his 44 RBI. This shows that Dio has figured out big league pitching and is turning it into big league hitting. I expect Navarro to continue that into 2008.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Texas Rangers
If you are playing in a kick-ass name only league, you'll be fresh out of luck in picking this kid up. If you are in a league like the rest of society, I believe you will find this young whippersnapper to be worthy of a late-round pick and a spot either as your starter or anxiously awaiting playing time on your bench.
Saltalamacchia (or Salty for short) was the deal breaker in the Teixeira trade to Atlanta, finishing the best transaction line in the history of baseball. The catchers spot is Salty's to loose, and his closest competition is the last player you want to draft, Gerald Laird.
That said, Salty is raw, but incredibly talented. A member of the rare guild of switch-hitting catchers, Saltalamacchia had 7 RBI in Texas' 30-3 win last year in Baltimore. And while Baltimore is hardly a good barometer of major league pitching, I think that the exposure on the major league level last year will benefit him greatly.
Saltalamacchia is a bit of a risky pick, but don't fret if Jarrod starts slow, the only thing he needs is major league experience. As soon as it clicks for him, he will be a valued commodity, especially in keeper leagues, and will pay major dividends in the second half of the season.
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