The catcher position appears to be in a state of transition going into the 2010 season. Some of the formerly reliable options, such as Jorge Posada and Russell Martin, are aging or have seen their careers take a distinct down-swing.
On the other hand, some emerging talents, such as Matt Wieters and Miguel Montero, represent the next generation of top-level fantasy catcher options.
So what do you get when you take some here and give a little there? The same thing the catcher position always provides: fantasy baseball’s weakest position.
Position scarcity takes front and center at the catcher position. I have played with too many owners who think that writing off the catcher position, and going with two low-end options is a good strategy.
Don’t make the same mistake. Don’t hesitate to grab one of the elite options, and if you do miss out on the elites, be sure to grab a couple of mid-level options.
I doubt anyone has ever won a fantasy title with Yorvit Torrealba and Humberto Quintero holding down the catcher’s spot on their roster.
In addition to my rankings, I will provide my 2010 projections for each player.
1. Joe Mauer (2010 Projections: .348 AVG, 102 R, 30 HR, 90 RBI, 5 SB)
Joe Mauer is undeniably the No. 1 option at the catcher position. The reigning AL MVP provides production that can’t be matched. He is all but guaranteed to post an incredible batting average and has a good shot to set career-highs in runs, homeruns, and RBI. He will not disappoint you.
2. Victor Martinez (.298, 87 R, 22 HR, 100 RBI, 1 HR)
To give you some perspective on how thin the catching position is, Martinez was ranked 17th at first base, where he also qualifies. However, when it comes to your options at catcher, you can’t do much better than Martinez. Hitting in the middle of the potent Red Sox lineup will provide a boost to Martinez’s stat line.
3. Brian McCann (.290, 70 R, 24 HR, 95 RBI, 3 SB)
McCann struggled with vision problems last season, which caused him to miss a few games here and there, but in the end McCann had another solid season. Expect more of the same from McCann in 2010, as he has developed into one of the most productive and reliable options behind the plate.
4. Matt Wieters (.285, 70 R, 20 HR, 85 RBI, 0 SB)
Headed into 2009 season, Wieters was all but handed the Rookie of the Year award and the title of the next big thing to hit the big leagues. Things didn’t go as planned. Wieters put up solid numbers in the 354 at bats he received, but did not bust out as expected. However, Wieters is still an elite prospect, and it looks like his breakout is just going to come a year later than expected.
5. Jorge Posada (.285, 60 R, 18 HR, 77 RBI, 0 SB)
The fact that the aging Posada still ranks fifth in the catcher rankings is further testament to the poor quality of the position. Posada can still hit, and will produce if he can stay in the lineup. Of course staying in the lineup could be a problem. Calling Posada an injury risk is an understatement, as you can basically guarantee that he will miss time. The question is: How much time?
6. Miguel Montero (.277, 65 R, 18 HR, 70 RBI, 0 SB)
After spending a couple seasons blocked by Chris Snyder, Montero finally got the chance to play everyday last season after Snyder suffered a back injury in June. Montero’s talent has never been in question, and when he got the opportunity in 2009, he made good on the sleeper status he has carried for the past several seasons. Montero is no longer a sleeper, and could take the next step into the elite class of catchers in 2010.
7. Russell Martin (.267, 70 R, 12 HR, 66 RBI, 14 SB)
After his outstanding 2007 season, Martin was considered by many to be baseball’s best catcher. However, after a disappointing 2008 and a disastrous 2009, Martin’s stock has fallen considerably. Most concerning is that Martin has seen a drop in his numbers in nearly every offensive category two seasons in a row. For all the concerns surrounding Martin, he still a talented player with the potential to return to the top tier. I expect him to bounce back some, but not to his 2007 level.
8. Geovanny Soto (.268, 65 R, 18 HR, 75 RBI, 1 SB)
Speaking of guys coming off of disappointing seasons, Soto’s 2009 was a disaster after his 2008 Rookie of the Year campaign. Soto never got it going with the bat, ended up losing at bats to Koyie Hill, and finished with a pitiful .218 average. Like Martin, Soto is a talented player, and I expect him to bounce back in 2010. If owners in your league are scared off by his 2009 campaign, take a chance on Soto.
9. Kurt Suzuki (.270, 68 R, 12 HR, 75 RBI, 4 SB)
Suzuki saw a huge jump in production in 2009 and ended the year as one of the season’s most productive catchers. The question is: Was his 2009 stat line a sign of things to come, or should we expect him to revert to his previous level of performance? I believe the answer falls somewhere in the middle. Suzuki can be relied on to produce at moderate levels, but his 2009 totals seem out of reach in 2010.
10. Mike Napoli (.272, 60 R, 20 HR, 55 RBI, 4 SB)
With back-to-back 20-homer seasons, Napoli has really emerged as a legit power option at the catcher position. Manager Mike Scioscia still isn’t playing him everyday, so a further jump in home runs is unlikely, but Napoli should be able to produce in 2010 like he did in 2009. Napoli is a nice low-end No. 1 catcher option.
Be sure to check out my remaining 2010 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Rankings and sleepers by clicking here!