Pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training in Arizona and Florida within the next 10 days which means that fantasy baseball drafts are right around the corner.
Over the next couple of weeks, I will take a look at each position, giving my top five rankings and a sleeper and bust for each. We’ll start at catcher, a position which is once again led by a certain member of the San Francisco Giants.
Here we go.
Top Five Rankings
Oct 28, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey reacts as he loses his bat on a swing against the Kansas City Royals in the sixth inning during game six of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
1. Buster Posey, SF – .311 batting average, 22 home runs, 89 RBI, 72 runs in 2014
This is an obvious one here. For the last couple years now the 2012 National League MVP has not only been the best catcher in the game, but one of the best players in all of baseball.
There’s a lot to like about Posey. Not only does he hit for a very good average (.336, .294 and .311 in each of the last three years), which is a rare for a catcher, but he has pop in his bat and drives in runs as well.
There is one concern with Posey heading into this season though. The Giants lost Pablo Sandoval to the Boston Red Sox over the offseason, meaning that Posey will be without his usual protection in the lineup. Hunter Pence will likely hit cleanup, but the middle of San Francisco’s lineup won’t be as good without Panda.
ADP: 25.3 overall according to FantasyPros.com
Sep 18, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy (20) hits a double off of St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Shelby Miller (not pictured) during the fourth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
2. Jonathan Lucroy, Mil – .301 batting average, 13 home runs, 69 RBI, 73 runs in 2014
Lucroy has been one of the most consistent players at this position for over the past 3+ years now and yet he isn’t near talked about as much as catchers throughout the league. Luckily, baseball writers recognized how good he was last year with him placing fourth in the NL MVP voting.
Like Posey, Lucroy hits for a quality batting average (.320, .280 and .301 in each of the last three seasons). He doesn’t have the typical power that you like from the position, but he is productive in terms of driving in runs and getting on base at a consistent clip.
Look for Lucroy to hit in the second slot behind Carlos Gomez and ahead of Ryan Braun, a perfect spot for him to get plenty of quality pitches to hit.
ADP: 62.5 overall
Sep 11, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) is congratulated by catcher Devin Mesoraco (39) after the Reds defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 1-0 at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
3. Devin Mesoraco, Cin – .273 batting average, 25 home runs, 80 RBI, 54 runs in 2014
After being a reserve for his first three seasons in the big leagues, Mesoraco put up big numbers in his first full year as the Reds starter behind the backstop. Out of all eligible catchers, he was second in home runs and third in RBI.
Mesoraco’s numbers came with Joey Votto out for most of the years because of injury and Jay Bruce struggling mightily at the plate. If those two can return to form, it’s scary to think about the numbers that Mesoraco can put up in 2015.
ADP: 77.8 overall
Oct 25, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez tosses a fistful of dirt against the San Francisco Giants in the fourth inning during game four of the 2014 World Series at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
4. Salvador Perez, KC – .260 batting average, 17 home runs, 70 RBI, 57 runs in 2014
The 2014 season was a magical time for the Kansas City Royals, a year which nearly ended in a World Series Championship. The 24-year-old Perez was one of the major reasons why.
After putting up big numbers during his first full season as a starter in 2013, Perez followed that up by putting up similar numbers in 2014. His average did go down by 32 points, but we saw a bump in his home run totals and his RBI numbers stayed close to the same.
Given his body type I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think that this guy can turn into a 30 home run hitter on a consistent basis.
ADP: 109.8 overall
Sep 25, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis (24) grounds out in the fifth inning of their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Turner Field. The Pirates won 10-1. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
5. Evan Gattis, Hou – .263 batting average, 22 home runs, 52 RBI, 41 runs in 2014
Entrenched to be the Braves starting left fielder, Gattis was suddenly and surprisingly traded by Atlanta a few weeks after the new year. Gattis is expected to the DH for his new team, but he’ll have catcher eligibility for now.
If you are looking for pop and not a lot of consistency in terms of average, Gattis is your man. He’s hit 21 and 22 home runs respectively over the past two seasons, but he’s hit .253 over his first two seasons in the bigs. With Houston, he should get at least 400 at-bats, a feat that he has yet to reach in his brief big league career.
ADP: 110.5 overall
Yes, I am going with a big time sleeper here. O’Brien won’t be drafted this year, unless you are in a dynasty league, but he’s a guy that you must keep an eye.
He may be a fan favorite, but Tuffy Gosewisch is not an everyday starter at the big league level. Gosewisch’s backup, Oscar Hernandez, has yet to play in Single-A, so it’s not fair to him to say he’s going to hit right out of the gates.
Everything is there for O’Brien to be up in Phoenix very early on in the 2015 season. If he gets off to a fast start at Triple-A Reno, you have to think to be called up and be part of a lineup, which could be pretty darn good if everyone remains healthy.
Nov 20, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin speaks as he is introduced at a press conference at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Russell Martin, Tor – .290 batting average, 11 home runs, 67 RBI, 45 runs
For whatever reason, I’ve never been a real big fan of Martin’s. It might be between the fact that he is a former Dodger or that he’s been connected to PED’s in the past, but I’ve just never liked him as a player.
If you take away last season, Martin was on a five-year stretch where he had a .234 batting average. That might be fine if you put up big power numbers and drive in runs, both Martin does neither of those things.
I will certainly avoid Martin in all my leagues this season and draft someone with some upside.
ADP: 208.3 overall