MLB Fantasy Baseball Late-Round, Draft-Day Targets: Catchers

Eric StashinSenior Writer IJanuary 4, 2011

DENVER - APRIL 10:  Catcher Chris Iannetta #20 of the Colorado Rockies throws out a runner against the San Diego Padres during MLB action at Coors Field on April 10, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Padres defeated the Rockies 5-4 in 14 innings.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Many owners prefer to wait until the tail end of their drafts to fill their catching position.  While I may not necessarily be in favor of it (something we will discuss at a later date), let’s take a look at a few options who may be available in your draft after Round 18 (an ADP of 216 or later according to Mock Draft Central) and are certainly worth targeting:

Chris Iannetta – Colorado Rockies

We’ve long heard about his potential, yet the Rockies have continued to find reasons not to use him on a regular basis.  The 2010 campaign was no different, as a poor start to the season (.133, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R through April 24) led to a demotion to Triple-A.  Of course, those numbers came courtesy of a .118 BABIP, but who cares about that, right?

Yes, he struggled with making contact in April (36.7 percent), but upon his return to the majors he was significantly better there (24.0 percent).  The fact of the matter is that the Rockies showed impatience with a player that they have rarely afforded an opportunity to grow into his role (in the minor leagues he impressed by hitting .349 with 5 HR and 21 RBI over 63 AB).

However, as we head toward 2011 it appears that the Rockies have no other option but to turn full-time duties over to him.  With Miguel Olivo no longer in Colorado, Iannetta joins Michael McKenry (8 AB), Jose Morales (158 AB), Jordan Pacheco (0 AB) and Wilin Rosario (0 AB) as the catchers on the 40-man roster.  Clearly, Iannetta is the man at this point.

Over the past three years he has posted HR/FB of 18.2 percent, 14.0 percent and 14.1 percent, so there is little questioning his power.  With regular playing time he easily could surpass 20 HR. 

With improved luck and a consistent strikeout rate of around 24.0 percent (as he showed after April of ’10), you are looking at a player who should also hit around .260.  His numbers may not be far worse than Mike Napoli, who his going over 100 picks, on average, before him.

J.P. Arencibia – Toronto Blue Jays

He burst onto the scene in 2010 (4-for-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R on August 7 against Tampa Bay), though did little after that.  In fact, the Blue Jays seemed to try and shy away from playing him on a regular basis (35 AB in the majors). 

In 2011 that should all change.  With incumbent John Buck now in Florida, the other option they have is Jose Molina (with a career .236 average and 26 HR in 1,616 AB).  Clearly, Arencibia is going to be given every opportunity to claim the job as his own.

Yes, you can point towards his 2010 Triple-A success and say it was due to being in the Pacific Coast League, but .301 with 32 HR, 85 RBI and 76 R over 412 AB speaks for itself.  The power is 100 percent for real, as he has shown it throughout his minor league career (83 HR in 1,616 AB).

The one concern is his ability to make contact.  At the major league level he posted a 31.4 percent strikeout rate, but that is an extremely small sample size.  At Triple-A he was at 20.6 percent, and while that should increase over a full major league season, there is no reason to think that it will be above 25 to 26 percent, most likely.

With his power, that is still going to mean a fine average, especially from a catcher (.260ish or so).  With the type of power potential he has, that certainly is more than enough.  In a high-powered offense, he should also chip in some RBI making him a solid option to use in all formats.

What are your thoughts on these two catchers?  Would you target either of them late in your drafts?  If not them, who would you target?

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Make sure to check out our 2011 rankings:

Top 15 Catchers

Top 15 First Basemen

Top 15 Second Basemen

Top 15 Third Basemen

Top 15 Shortstops

Top 30 Outfielders

Top 20 Starting Pitchers

Top 15 Closers

2011 Fantasy Draft First Round Breakdown