Spring training is here, and with it comes fantasy baseball. Catcher is one of the toughest positions to project in fantasy baseball because of all the wear and tear on players. Injuries happen to catchers more than any other position.
There are the veterans, including Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez, Brian McCann and Jorge Posada. There are the rising stars: Carlos Santana, Matt Wieters and Buster Posey.
There are plenty of catchers to choose from, and if you miss out on the first three or four catchers, you might as well wait until the late rounds to grab one.
Here is a fantasy preview for catchers.
1. Joe Mauer (C, MIN)
Mauer is the cream of the crop for catchers. He's the most consistent option and a clear second-round pick. He may not show the power he showed us two years ago, but there's nobody else to get as the top option.
2. Victor Martinez (C-1B, DET)
Martinez is another consistent option. He is also hitting in the middle of a dangerous Tigers lineup. He has first base eligibility as well, and that could help if you decide to get another catcher. Martinez hasn't hit less than 20 homers since his injury-shortened 2008 season.
3. Buster Posey (C-1B, SF)
Posey broke into the majors in a huge way last year. Posey had an incredible rookie season: .305 18 HR 67 RBI 58 R. Once Martinez and Mauer are gone, Posey is the next big thing and should once again dazzle at the plate.
4. Brian McCann (C, ATL)
McCann didn't have a great year last year but still had 20-plus homers for the third consecutive season. He is one of the few you can count on for homers and RBI. He shouldn't be expected to hit .300 again, but he is still money when you are looking for a starting fantasy catcher without many question marks.
5. Carlos Santana (C, CLE)
Santana got his feet wet in 2010 and showed us glimpses of stardom. He had six homers and drove in 22 runs in 150 at-bats last year. Santana has the potential to be the best fantasy catcher in baseball. Once the top four are gone, Santana needs to be drafted right away.
6. Geovany Soto (C, CHC)
Soto showed huge improvement over his disastrous 2009 campaign. He hit .280 and had 17 homers. He also drove in 53 runs in a weak Cubs lineup and had to overcome the fact that Lou Piniella didn't play him everyday. Soto has a lot of power potential, and now that Piniella is gone, he will play every day.
7. Matt Wieters (C, BAL)
Wieters didn't improve on his 2009 rookie season but is still young enough to have his breakout year. He is only 24 and is hitting in a much-improved Orioles lineup that acquired Mark Reynolds, Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero in the offseason. Wieters should bounce back after a forgettable 2010 season.
8. Mike Napoli (C-1B, TEX)
Napoli showed a lot of power last year by hitting 26 homers in 140 games last year. Napoli will find everyday at-bats for Texas after the departure of Bengie Molina this offseason. He will either catch, DH or play first base. Napoli also benefits from playing in a hitter's park and hitting in a great lineup.
9. Jorge Posada (C-DH, NYY)
Posada looks to be the full-time DH this season but still carries a lot of question marks. Will he stay healthy? Will he regain his power stroke? Will he hit for a consistent average? He still hits in the powerful Yankees lineup. If you grab him late, he won't come with too much risk.
10. Miguel Montero (C, AZ)
Montero had an injury-shortened 2010 season but looks to rebound in a big way. He still hits in a hitter's park and in a decent lineup. He should play about every day and is still young enough to improve. He hit .294 with 16 homers two years ago, so he has a lot of potential.
11. Kurt Suzuki (C, OAK)
Suzuki didn't have a great year but is still a decent option. The A's lineup isn't very scary, but he's going to be in a position to drive in more runs. You can count on him for double-digit homers, 80 RBI and a decent average.
12. Chris Iannetta (C, COL)
Iannetta has always had a lot of potential but has yet to produce consistently. He has not come close to his solid 2008 season, when he hit .264 with 18 HR and 65 RBI. If he can come close to those numbers this year or improve on them, then he will be a sleeper candidate. Watch what he does in spring training.
13. John Buck (C, FLA)
Buck had a break-out season in 2010, but is moving to a pitcher's park and a weak lineup. Buck had never hit 20 homers or hit above .250 before last season. Buck is a huge question mark going into the 2011 season.
14. Carlos Ruiz (C, PHI)
Ruiz is a nice guy to grab late if you wait on drafting a catcher. There isn't a lot of risk with him since he hits in a powerful Phillies lineup. Ruiz enjoyed a career season in 2010, when he hit .302 with eight homers and drove in 53 runs. Look for a similar year in 2011.
15. A.J. Pierzynski (C, CWS)
Pierzynski is a solid veteran to target late in the draft. You know exactly what you are getting with him. He will hit close to double-digit homers, drive in 50-plus runs and hit about .275. He hits in a hitter's park and in a solid White Sox lineup.
16. Yadier Molina (C, STL)
Molina is a solid source of hits, RBI and steals for a catcher. He is a nice guy to grab late since he hits in a dangerous Cardinals lineup and is usually consistent.
17. Russell Martin (C, NYY)
Martin looks for a career resurgence in the Bronx. He might share time behind the plate with hot prospect Jesus Montero, but Martin should catch a fair number of games until that happens. He should have a solid year if he stays healthy since he will have less wear and tear on his body and hits in the Yankees lineup.
18. John Jaso (C, TB)
Jaso had a decent season for the Rays after he gained the starting job last year. He hit .263 with five homers and drove in 44 runs in only 109 games last year. With more at-bats he should hit for more power and drive in more runs.
19. J.P. Arencibia (C, TOR)
Arencibia has a lot of potential and will start for the Jays this year. He will have every opportunity to shine and will be especially valuable in keeper leagues. Target him late if you want a super sleeper.
20. Jesus Montero (C, NYY)
Montero will go much higher in keeper leagues since his future is very bright. He might eventually take over for Martin during the season and is somebody to draft late and stash with the potential he has.