We get you ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season by taking an in-depth look at catcher:
1. Carlos Santana (CLE)
2. Brian McCann (ATL)
3. Buster Posey (SF)
4. Joe Mauer (MIN)
5. Mike Napoli (TEX)
Joe Mauer (MIN) – Last season was a disaster for Mauer. After being slowed in Spring Training as he recovered from knee surgery, the All-Star backstop lost significant time as he coped with a viral infection and was sidelined down the stretch with pneumonia. He’s too important for the Twins on offense to continue to catch every day, but one way or another Minnesota will get him in the lineup. He appears at 100 percent as camps break and the fact he still managed a .314/.393/.416 hitting line in the second half last year suggests he is still an elite fantasy option.
Miguel Montero (ARZ) – His numbers a year ago would suggest his breakout already came as the Diamondback hit 18 HR and 65 RBI (both career highs). However, there still seems to be room for improvement. With a talented lineup around him, Montero could deliver even bigger numbers as he enters his prime. He’s a nice mid-round option with some upside as .290, 20 HR, 80 RBI season is not out of the question.
Kurt Suzuki (OAK) – Ever since the A’s gave Suzuki a big contract, his numbers at the plate have steadily declined. Both his average and on-base percentage have declined over each of the past three seasons. The 29-year old has only mustered 73 extra-base hits over the past three seasons over a span of 1,059 plate appearances. There’s not much to suggest he’ll turn around in 2012.
Jesus Montero (SEA) – The Yankees gave up the young catcher to land the hard-throwing Michael Pineda and a quick glimpse at the tools Montero possesses shows us why. The 22-year old only appeared in 18 games last year for New York and most of that time came at DH, but he still hit .328 with 4 HR and 12 RBI in just 61 at bats. The Mariners plan to put him behind the plate most days and will let him be the designated hitter when he’s not catching. He’s likely to struggle at times, but he should prove to be a top 10 fantasy option in his first full season.
The value of a catcher to your fantasy team depends greatly on your league’s rules. In most Roto formats where two catchers are active is imperative to get some production at the position. In leagues where just one catcher is needed owners can afford to wait much longer before filling the need. Getting an elite player at the position is a plus, but be careful not to overpay. If you decided to wait around before selecting a player for the position then you are best served to go with a young player over an aging veteran as catching regularly can take a toll on veterans and their production at the plate.
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