Fantasy Baseball: The Top 20 Catchers for 2012

Scott BarzillaContributor IIISeptember 28, 2011

Fantasy Baseball: The Top 20 Catchers for 2012

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    Yes, we looked at both the National League and American League lists, but I thought I would look at an overall list for those people that play in typical leagues. Most leagues have 10 or 12 players, so you only have to have 12 catchers on your draft list, but backups can be helpful when someone gets hurt or injured.

    No doubt, if you are coming here we want to thank you and feel free to patronize our sponsors. You are likely here because we offer a little different perspective than what you might find on the internet. As such, my rankings are based on some different numbers you don’t see everyday. I can’t claim credit for these numbers, but the end result is something I have put my own little spin on. First, let me introduce you to some numbers.

    Secondary Average (SEC) - This something many of you have seen before. There are a few calculations, so I must divulge mine. I simply take what is known as isolated power (SLG-AVG) and add that to what I would call isolated patience (OBP-AVG).

    Real Offensive Value (ROV) - Again, this is something that has been used before, but my formula is probably a lot cruder. I simply take batting average and secondary average and average the two together.

    Batting average on balls in play (BABIP) - This is simply taking a players batting average after taking away strikeouts, walks, home runs, and HBP away from their plate appearances. Then, home runs are subtracted away from hits to give you a batting average.

    Projected ROV - This is done by keeping secondary average constant and adjusting batting average to reflect the ML average BABIP at that position.

20. Joe Mauer

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    AVG: .287

    SEC: .154

    ROV: 221

    BABIP: .319

    Proj ROV: 212

    Okay, I wouldn’t wait this long to pick him either. These numbers were influenced by his injury troubles, but I would hesitate to pick him as high as we were accustomed to. Outside of 2009, he really hasn’t been a tremendous power hitter, so that value is tied to his batting average.

19. Buster Posey

2 of 20

    AVG: .284

    SEC: .189

    ROV: .237

    BABIP: .326

    Proj ROV: .225

    Again, we have someone that should be taken a lot higher. However, heed these numbers. Posey relied a great deal on BABIP in his rookie season and he isn’t likely to be as fleet of foot next year. However, he could be moved to first base which means he could get more plate appearances.

18. Victor Martinez

3 of 20

    AVG: .324

    SEC: .185

    ROV: .255

    BABIP: .341

    Proj ROV: .235

    Okay, by now you are asking what I am smoking. Follow me here. Martinez was extremely proficient at driving in runs, but he did not hit for much power this season. That batting average was driven by a high batting average on balls in play. You know where this is going.

17. Nick Hundley

4 of 20

    AVG: .289

    SEC: .245

    ROV: .267

    BABIP: .362

    Proj ROV: .237

    For instance, if you take Nick Hundley in front of Joe Mauer, don’t blame me. Hundley quietly put up good percentage numbers this season even if the counting ones didn’t look so hot. He should get more starts next season, but that BABIP is a bit alarming.

16. Yadier Molina

5 of 20

    AVG: .295

    SEC: .196

    ROV: .245

    BABIP: .307

    Proj ROV: .242

    Most fans ignore Molina on draft day, but when the season ends, more than half of the leagues have someone starting Molina at catcher. He has been consistent over the last four seasons. He won’t win many games for you, but he won’t lose any either.

15. Jarrod Saltalamacchia

6 of 20

    AVG: .240

    SEC: .279

    ROV: .255

    BABIP: .309

    Proj ROV: .251

    He is one of the wild cards on this list. He was supposed to be a hitting marvel when he first came up. He is still young enough to become that guy. 2011 was good developmental season for him. Or, he could be average for the rest of his career.

14. Geovany Soto

7 of 20

    AVG: .218

    SEC: .260

    ROV: .239

    BABIP: .279

    Proj ROV: .251

    Soto is usually good for some power numbers and decent walk rates. If his batting average responds back to the BABIP average then he will hit nearly .250. That coupled with the power makes him a decent fantasy prospect.

13. John Buck

8 of 20

    AVG: .234

    SEC: .238

    ROV: .236

    BABIP: .271

    Proj ROV: .251

    I would put him slightly in front of Sosa because Pro Player Stadium (or whatever they are calling it these days) was a good pitcher’s park. The new park could be more hitter friendly and therefore we could see a natural spike.

12. Wilson Ramos

9 of 20

    AVG: .269

    SEC: .245

    ROV: .257

    BABIP: .299

    Proj ROV: .259

    The Pudge Rodriguez era in Washington is thankfully over. Watching a top five all-time catcher struggle like that in the last few seasons was hard to watch. Ramos has become just one of many young Nationals hitters that can inflict damage.

11. Kurt Suzuki

10 of 20

    AVG: .241

    SEC: .220

    ROV: .231

    BABIP: .245

    Proj ROV: .259

    This is another guy that most fantasy players sleep on. He would be the perfect backup fantasy catcher. He is steady and durable. If you want to take a gamble on your first catcher, he would be a nice fallback.

10. Alex Avila

11 of 20

    AVG: .297

    SEC: .311

    ROV: .304

    BABIP: .370

    Proj ROV: .260

    This is the highest BABIP for any regular catcher. So, while we should be impressed by what Avila was able to do this season, we also have to be cautious as well. He is a top half catcher, but not much more than that.

9. Miguel Montero

12 of 20

    AVG: .281

    SEC: .260

    ROV: .271

    BABIP: 318

    Proj ROV: .263

    Here is another catcher just like Alex Avila that wasn’t heavily sought after on draft day, but someone picked him up and were glad they did. One thing is for sure, he won’t go unnoticed next year.

8. Matt Wieters

13 of 20

    AVG: .261

    SEC: .250

    ROV: .256

    BABIP: .281

    Proj ROV: .266

    Matt Wieters snuck up on everyone this year. Of course, everyone knew who he was, but he began the year cold and heated up as the season went along. All of the sudden, you looked up and he had hit more than 20 home runs. Keep an eye on him.

7. Russell Martin

14 of 20

    AVG: .236

    SEC: .255

    ROV: .246

    BABIP: .252

    Proj ROV: .271

    Martin is one of those guys you have to root for. If the Yankees are paying attention they will throw him back out there. You can call his 2011 campaign disappointing until you dig deep and look at all the numbers.

6. J.P. Arencibia

15 of 20

    AVG: .221

    SEC: .292

    ROV: .257

    BABIP: .254

    Proj ROV: .281

    When Bill James first started gaining notoriety he was ridiculed for suggesting that Gene Tenace was a good offensive player. Well, J.P. Arencibia is a good offensive player and will be better next year with more luck on balls in play.

5. Chris Iannetta

16 of 20

    AVG: .237

    SEC: .306

    ROV: .272

    BABIP: .278

    Proj ROV: .284

    Chris Iannetta could be a fantasy monster if the Rockies will let him. He is peering behind his back at a couple of young catchers gunning for him. He could end up going elsewhere and if he does he will drop on most draft boards.

4. Brian McCann

17 of 20

    AVG: .275

    SEC: .281

    ROV: .278

    BABIP: .285

    Proj ROV: .286

    McCann seemed on the cusp on exploding this year until injuries derailed a part of his season. He is still a top five fantasy catcher in just about everyone’s book.

3. Jesus Montero

18 of 20

    AVG: .282

    SEC: .323

    ROV: .305

    BABIP: .333

    Proj ROV: .289

    When you look at his numbers you would project great things for him. The trouble is that no one knows how much he is going to play and where that would be. If management is smart they would keep Martin behind the plate and use Montero as a DH.

2. Carlos Santana

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    AVG: .237

    SEC: .330

    ROV: .284

    BABIP: .262

    Proj ROV: .304

    It’s hard to imagine that someone rated so highly could be considered a disappointment, but Santana was that this season. His batting average was very low, but he drew walks and brought power to the plate. You could easily add 40 points to his batting average just through better luck on balls in play. He will be a monster.

1. Mike Napoli

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    AVG: .316

    SEC: .396

    ROV: .356

    BABIP: .352

    Proj ROV: .331

    Mike Napoli has two GMs kicking themselves right now. Of course, Rangers Field at Arlington is a hitter’s paradise. That being said, Napoli has always been a plus offensive catcher for fantasy owners. He also plays first and DHs, so he has some flexibility as well.