Fantasy Baseball: The Top 20 Catchers for 2012
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.