Fantasy Baseball 2012: The Only 5 Catchers You Should Worry About

Charles Bennett@chasbennettonbrSenior Analyst IMarch 17, 2012

Fantasy Baseball 2012: The Only 5 Catchers You Should Worry About

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    First, let me come and out and say that I almost always have a second catcher on my bench.  Since catchers often only play 120-130 games a season, you're giving up stats accumulation if you don't.  They're also good for the occasional utility start.

    Yadier Molina is a great option at bench catcher in any sized league, in addition to being a decent option at starting catcher in a 10- or 12-team league.  

    He has had 150 or more total bags in each of the last four seasons—221 last season—and is projected for 200 this one.  He's also projected to have a .296/.352/.428 triple hash this season.

    A further plus to Molina is his number of games played at the position. He's been first or second in the MLB in games caught each of the last three seasons.  Yadi's a steal in the 170s, which is often where he falls when people don't reach for him.

Drafting Early: Mike Napoli, Rangers

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    Napoli has been one of the best and most consistent players at the backstop.  Last season, he notched a 5.5 WAR in just 113 games.  He has had an OPS of above .780 in each of his six major league seasons and is projected to be well north of .900 this season.  

    He's also had 20 or more homers in each of the last four seasons (and is projected for 30 this season) and is projected have over 240 total bags, plus 75 runs and 75 RBI.

    Further bonus for Napoli: He also has positional eligibility at first.  So, if you want to draft a catcher in the first five or six rounds, he's your man.

Drafting Middle: Alex Avila, Tigers

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    2011 All-Star Alex Avila, 12th in 2011 AL MVP voting, is a great choice if you looking for a catcher around the 100th pick or so.  

    After a .298 season in 2011, he's currently projected at a .278/.369/.466 triple hash.  At 24 and only in his fourth season, Avila could easily still have his best years ahead of him.

Drafting Late/Small-League Bencher: Yadier Molina, Cardinals

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    First, let me come and out and say that I almost always have a second catcher on my bench.  Since catchers often only play 120-130 games a season, you're giving up stats accumulation if you don't.  They're also good for the occasional utility start.

    Yadier Molina is a great option at bench catcher in any sized league, in addition to being a decent option at starting catcher in a 10- or 12-team league.  

    He has had 150 or more total bags in each of the last four seasons—221 last season—and is projected for 200 this one.  He's also projected to have a .296/.352/.428 triple hash this season.

    A further plus to Molina is his number of games played at the position. He's been first or second in the MLB in games caught each of the last three seasons.  Yadi's a steal in the 170s, which is often where he falls when people don't reach for him.

Bencher: Carlos Ruiz, Phillies

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    Carlos Ruiz is a consistent option at catcher.  He can be snagged in the last round or two of a draft of almost any size as your bench catcher.  

    Ruiz has a lot to offer in terms of average for someone that late in the draft, with a career .265/.357/.393 triple hash and a projected .284/.377/.401 triple hash for a .778 OPS this season.  

    He's had a combined WAR of 7.3 in the last two seasons.  He has also finished in the top eight in games caught each of the last two seasons.

Watch List: Chris Iannetta, Angels

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    The main criticism of Iannetta is that he'll be moving from hitter-friendly Colorado to Anaheim.  Though his average and homers may go down, he'll make up for it with runs and RBI delivered by and for the other members of the potent Angels lineup.

    For being picked in the last round, or not at all, Iannetta can still offer a lot of power.  He is a player with a lot of risk involved—potential for high reward or falling flat.  So I'd watch Iannetta, but not necessarily draft him.