Random Notes: Catcher

No theme today. Just a bunch of random notes while I stare at my projections and rankings for Catchers. Meet me on the dark side of this blog post.

When drafting a Catcher in auction formats, I like to fill the position with a $1 purchase. I tend to be greedy and spend my money before addressing low production positions. This year, that tendency should serve me well. The initial wave of Catchers will likely be too expensive and the 7-12 ranked Catchers all have question marks.

When selecting a Catcher in snake drafts… ughh… I don’t snake draft, but if I did, I wouldn’t take a Catcher until Rd 15 or later (in standard formats). I’m loading up on Big Time Stats, Power Pitching and Closers before addressing a low production position.

I prefer the difference between Adrian Gonzlaez and Derek Lee over the difference between Joe Mauer and A.J. Pierzynski.

Of the Catchers ranked outside my top 12, J.P. Arencibia looks like he has the most upside. He is one of four Catchers whom I have projected to hit 20 or more Home Runs (6 Catchers are projected for 18 or 19 HR). JPA will look to be the next Geo Soto (Pacific League MVP Catcher to be a fantasy force). I don’t think there is any reason to reach for Chris Iannetta when J.P. Arencibia and John Buck are still on the board. I have the three of them posting similar stat lines.

Buster Posey should be a polarizing figure at the position. One faction of managers watched him post the best numbers among all Catchers after his promotion, win the Rookie of the Year Award and the World Series while the other faction seen a young kid who may have overachieved. You’re telling me a kid who struck out at a 17% clip in 351 AB across two seasons at AAA, comes up to the big leagues to strike out at a 13% clip? I can’t subscribe to that. I can’t buy the 15.4% HR/FB% either (28.0% in July!). It’s not otherworldly for him to hit 18 HR with only a 33% FB%, but that kind of power is not expected from him quite yet. I believe Buster will fall under the “sophomore slump” label when the league makes adjustments and the kid doesn’t get so “lucky”. He’s a good player, don’t get me wrong, but the 2010 stat line, ROY Award and World Series has pushed his price beyond the Profit Zone.

Carlos Santana is just as good as Buster (or better) and he’s going 100 picks after Posey (MDC ADP: 50 vs 150). The difference in ADP will shrink as more people mock draft and websites/publications begin to promote Santana. If that ADP/price doesn’t change, I will have Carlos Santana on all my teams. The Indians Catcher is expected to see some time at 1B to help alleviate pressure on his knee. I may add some At Bats to my Santana projection (450 AB).

Victor Martinez is heading to Comerica Park in Detroit, a place where he has a career .225/.321/.349 triple slash line in 169 AB. The immediate lineup protection is nice (Miggy & Maggy), but the rest of the lineup is questionable. Are you excited about the potential of him DH’ing or are you worried about the spacious ballpark and age-related decline? VMart just turned 32-years old.

Matt Wieters is improving. The K% dropped 3% (to 21.1%) and his BB% increased 2% (to 9.4%). He made much better contact inside and outside the zone last year than he did in his rookie season. If he can continue to improve his pitch recognition and contact skills while developing power, we could see Wieters start to put it together and live up to the hype generated from the infamous Bill James projection. His early ADP (134) says people aren’t quite as excited about him as they were in 2009 and 2010, despite the fact that he and the lineup around him is better.

Is it me or is Jorge Posada always underrated in fantasy drafts?

Kurt Suzuki should see a bounce back in terms of his BABIP. His mark of .245 in 2010 was pretty bad. His 17% LD% was below average, but not by that much. Before calling him underrated though, we should make a point of him not seeing as many At Bats as he has in the past. The heart of the lineup should be occupied by newcomers Hideki Matsui, Josh Willingham and David Dejesus. Conor Jackson, Chris Carter and Michael Taylor could find their way into the lineup too.

I’m going to have to pass on Geo Soto. He says he’ll be ready for Spring Training, but… shoulder injuries worry me. The power might not be there. Unless Geo is launching HR in the Spring or ripping limbs off in arm wrestling contests, I’ll probably just ignore him and let someone else pay for his services. Those Cubbies are a risky bunch aren’t they?

Mike Napoli is pretty good, but we have some issues here. First, he hasn’t hit RHP well the past two seasons and he sucks at behind the plate. Will he get enough AB at DH to make up for the playing time he’s going to lose at 1B (Kendry Morales is back)? Now that Adrian Beltre has signed with Texas, the Vladi reunion rumors can start up.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia is a difficult projection. The injuries, small sample sizes, potential upside and down seasons in Texas make way for a wide range of possibilities. I am interested to see what he can do, but I may watch the show from afar. As my 19th ranked Catcher, he would be an AL-Only or two-Catcher league option for me. Watch list material for deeper mixed leagues until he shows us something.

Russell Martin is falling apart. Busted hip, knee surgery, Ed Hardy shirts, what’s next? Joe Torre abused Martin early in his career. Martin went from playing everyday to being a shell of his former self. Most people would get excited about a player signing with the Yankees, but Martin has some serious competition for playing time from Posada, Francisco Cervelli and Jesus Montero. I’m betting on another New York backstop, Josh Thole, having a better rank at the end of the season.

I wish the Reds would give Ryan Hanigan some serious time at the plate. My kind of guy here; he limits Strikeouts, takes Walks and hits plenty of Line Drives. My goal in life is to win a league with Hanigan at Catcher and David Eckstein at 2B. Ballin!

I am curious as to what happens with the John Buck in Florida. That was a questionable contract and John Baker deserves At Bats against Right Handed Pitching.

Anyone else on your mind? We should be talking 1B within a couple days…