Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Russell Martin Is the King of Catchers
Here are my rankings for catchers for the upcoming season. When we look at catchers, we have to look at consistency, durability, power, average, etc. Catcher is one of the toughest positions in fantasy, because the rankings can change from year to year.
Injuries have derailed the usual top catchers like Victor Martinez and Jorge Posada, but that doesn't mean that you can't draft them. You just won't draft them ahead of the likes of Russell Martin, Brian McCann, and Joe Mauer, as well as new upper-tier catchers like Giovanni Soto and Ryan Doumit.
Here are my rankings for 2009.
Top Tier Catchers
1. Russell Martin-Torre will probably play him at third-base when he isn't catching to keep his bat in the lineup. He's consistently been the best catcher the past few seasons.
One can argue Brian McCann here, but Martin's stolen bases are always an added bonus and is now eligible at Third-base in most leagues.
2. Brian McCann-He can be argued as the top catcher based on his power and RBI totals, but the stolen bases and Third-Base eligibilty make Martin the top dog.
McCann is easily the second-best and will at least match last year's totals with a solid Atlanta lineup in front of him.
3. Joe Mauer-He's another consistent catcher that can be argued as the second-best. He has the potential for the batting title every year and you know you're going to get an above .300 average with close to double-digit home-runs and plenty of RBI. Grab him once McCann and Martin are gone.
4. Giovanni Soto-Soto broke out in a huge way last year and was the Cubs offensive-MVP. His minor-league resume suggests he can keep it up and I don't expect a drop-off from last year, hitting in a powerful lineup and being durable.
5. Victor Martinez-Martinez saw his power and season sapped by injury last year. He makes the perfect bounce-back candidate this year. His career numbers are .298 88 hrs 451 RBI, so don't let him slip too far and can be an injury-sleeper this year.
6. Ryan Doumit-Doumit had a huge break-out last year when he finally got enough at-bats. The Pirates lineup lacks any stars, but Doumit is a rising star. Injuries are the only thing in the way of Doumit's path to stardom.
The Best of the Rest
7. Bengie Molina-Bengie is a consistent power-threat that hits in the middle of the Giants lineup. He's always good for double-digit homers and at least a .275 average. You can't go wrong with Bengie.
8. Chris Iannetta-Iannetta hit 18 homers in only 333 at-bats, just think how many he can hit in a full season. He can have a Soto-like breakout and hits at Coors field. He can also be a sleeper.
9. Matt Wieters-Compare Wieters to Evan Longoria last season. He'll probably start in the minors and get called-up early. He has the type of potential that has fantasy owners drooling every time they hear his name. He can make the jump to the upper-tier if he gets enough at-bats.
10. Mike Napoli-Napoli was a waiver-wire savior for owners that had Victor Martinez and Jorge Posada go down with injuries. His power is legit and will probably be in the Angels lineup every day. When he's not catching he'll probably be the DH.
11. Jorge Posada-Posada is a major injury-risk and I would steer clear of him unless you have a capable backup.
He's having a rough time healing from last season's injuries and the Yankees will have no problem sticking Jose Molina in there if Posada can't go. If you draft him, know the risk and get a solid back-up.
12. Ramon Hernandez-the trade to the Reds' small park only benefits him.
13. A.J. Pierzynski-a consistent lock for 10+ hrs, 50+ RBI and at least a .260 evrage.
14. Dioner Novarro-Had a solid season for the surprising Rays. Doesn't have much power, but will drive in runs and hit for a good average.
15. Kelly Shoppach-Filled in nicely for Martinez last year and will get much more playing time. He hit 21 hrs in only 352 at-bats.
16. Jeff Clement-the only thing that can get in his way is playing time and with the Mariners in rebuild mode, you can bet he'll get his at-bats. His potential is through the roof.
17. Chris Snyder-hits in a solid D- Backs lineup and has yet to hit his prime. He can be a bargain.
Catchers to avoid: Jason Varitek and Kenji Johjima.
If you're desperate: Jesus Flores, Gaerald Laird, Yadier Molina
Super sleepers: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, John Baker, Kurt Suzuki