Staff rankings: Catchers

Over the next two weeks, we will unveil our staff “composite” rankings, which are made up of the average rankings of the following writers: Josh Shepardson, Ben Pritchett, Brad Johnson, and yours truly. We used FantasyPros.com to create our composite rankings, and if you follow the link provided in our rankings, you can see how ours compared with a slew of other experts’.

Our first top 25 will be catchers, and for the next two weeks, assume a 12-team, mixed league with standard 5×5 settings. Click on the links with our names to get to our Twitter accounts, where we’ll happily answer your baseball and fantasy questions year-round.

2012 Catchers Rankings
Player Name Nick
Fleder
Ben
Prichett
Josh
Shepardson
Brad
Johnson
THT
Composite
FantasyPros
Expert Consensus
Mike Napoli 1 1 2 1 1 compare
Carlos Santana 2 2 1 2 2 compare
Brian McCann 3 3 4 3 3 compare
Matt Wieters 4 6 3 4 4 compare
Joe Mauer 5 4 6 6 5 compare
Buster Posey 6 5 5 5 6 compare
Miguel Montero 7 7 7 7 7 compare
Alex Avila 9 10 8 8 8 compare
Wilson Ramos 8 9 12 13 9 compare
Geovany Soto 11 14 9 9 10 compare
Yadier Molina 15 8 11 10 11 compare
J.P. Arencibia 10 11 13 11 12 compare
Russell Martin 12 15 10 12 13 compare
Kurt Suzuki 13 12 15 19 14 compare
Devin Mesoraco 17 13 17 17 15 compare
Jonathan LuCroy 14 16 14 21 16 compare
Ramon Hernandez 16 21 16 18 17 compare
Salvador Perez 18 19 20 16 18 compare
Ryan Doumit 21 20 19 23 19 compare
Jarrod Saltalamacchia 19 17 24 26 20 compare
Chris Iannetta 20 18 22 21 compare
John Buck 22 23 18 24 22 compare
Nick Hundley 24 23 15 23 compare
Carlos Ruiz 23 27 21 20 24 compare
Bryce Harper 14 25 compare

Fantasy Baseball Rankings powered by FantasyPros, the leading aggregator of expert fantasy advice.
Tomorrow… First base

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Comments

  1. DrBGiantsfan said...

    It seems like Ryan Doumit is being ranked way too low here.  Am I missing something?  Seems like the Twins have pretty big plans for him.

    Also, seems like Salty should be getting more love.  Will Lavarnaway be taking PT away from him?

    Agree Nick Hundley is a big time sleeper, although it’s hard to get excited about any hitter who plays half his games in Petco.

  2. Ben Pritchett said...

    Geez! I thought I had Doumit high, DrB. Where do you think he should be ranked?

    And guys c’mon, Jesus saves. He’s a closer not a catcher.

  3. MH said...

    @Brad

    Why do you think that’s Ramos’s ceiling?  I actually think he’s pretty confusing to project, but he’s 24 and pretty consistently flashed the same kind of power he showed this year in the minors and he’s not a high K guy, so I still think there’s a bit of room for growth left.  The really surprising thing was what he did with his walk rate, which went from abyssmal in prior years to suddenly respectable.  I don’t think he has a sky high ceiling, but high(er) teens power and a better AVG both seem like possibilities to me in the short term and I wouldn’t be shocked if he got close to 20 HR once or twice down the road. He’ll get plenty of ABs this year too and is young enough where there’s some optimism he might crack 125 games, which alone makes him a solid #2 catcher who will contribute in the counting stats even if simply doesn’t hurt you in power and AVG, and if he simply repeats last year he does help a bit in those categories as a #2.

  4. DrBGiantsfan said...

    The Twins clearly got Doumit to run a C/DH tag team with Joe Mauer.  When Doumit is healthy, he’s a beast at the plate.  He should be fully recovered from his injury from last year. 

    Yeah, they both have to stay healthy, but this gives both Doumit and Mauer a chance to put in almost as many PA’s over the season as other position players.  Me?  I’d rank Doumit #9 right behind Avila.

  5. Brad Johnson said...

    DBG,

    Good points on Doumit. After taking a closer look, I’m going to consider moving him up significantly. I’m eyeing the space between Wilson Ramos and Nick Hundley right now on my own personal list (#14). I’m not prepared to write off any of his terrible health history just because he’s going to get a little DH time, which is why he ranks so low on my list now.

    Ultimately, I think he’s a guy you can be bullish on and hope he gives you average fantasy production out of the catcher slot. But you have to recognize that the downside is a guy you wait to contribute for half the season before you realize he’s turning in one of his dud seasons. He’s a classic high variance pick.

    MH,

    You’re probably going to hate this explanation. I’ve watched a lot of Wilson Ramos and he just “looks” like a player who is getting 110% out of his tools. I can’t imagine any growth in his contact or power skills and he should be batting towards the bottom of the lineup, so I see 2011 as ceiling quality production. Maybe he can add another couple HR, hit 10 points higher, or score/drive in 5-10 more runs. I just think he’s going to have to really stretch his skill set to get to those numbers.

    Statistically, you’re right. I look at his numbers and I see no reason he can’t improve a fair amount. All I can say is that experience has taught me that my gut and eyes (when I’ve seen a player “enough”) outperform my statistical analysis skills in the fantasy baseball setting. Maybe this is one I’m wrong about. I’ll definitely be watching him even closer now.

  6. MH said...

    @Brad

    Don’t hate it at all, in fact appreciate it.  I’m definitely a stat-first guy but not to the point where I’m willing to ignore scouting advice, they should supplement each other, and Ramos is not a player I’ve seen a whole lot (except when he played the Mets, who he torched last year repeatedly, so I may have a slightly inflated opinion of him that way lol). 

    Also, specifically, the lineup question is pretty valid, and its one of the reasons I have a hard time projecting him.  On the one hand, the Nationals lineup figures to be above average and Ramos should get very steady starting time with Pudge and his veteran deferrment PT no longer in house.  But he also might (and perhaps should) hit 6th, 7th, or even 8th most days, which kills a lot of that playing time advantage in terms of extra ABs and counting stat potential.

    In the short term, I see him as an ideal #2 catcher—someone who can be had cheaply, is unlikely to kill you, and has some fringe Top 12 potential.  Long term, he may peak around .280 and 18-20 HR (I’ll be more compelled to believe it if he repeates the >8% walk rate), but catchers are so volatile I could easily be overselling him.

  7. Jeffrey Gross said...

    Interesting rankings guys. I’ll have my follow up soon. My tentative top 20 C ranking (#21 was Doumit):
    Rank   Player Name   Team   THT Forecast Preseason Projected Triple Slashline
    1   Brian McCann   ATL   .274/.354/.473
    2   Carlos Santana   CLE   .252/.364/.468
    3   Mike Napoli   TEX   .268/.349/.509
    4   Joe Mauer   MIN   .318/.391/.467
    5   Buster Posey   SFG   .286/.354/.449
    6   Miguel Montero   ARI   .275/.339/.441
    7   Jesus Montero   SEA   .282/.338/.491
    8   Matt Wieters   BAL   .258/.323/.407
    9   Alex Avila   DET   .258/.346/.429
    10   Geovany Soto   CHC   .236/.327/.408
    11   J.P. Arencibia   TOR   .220/.273/.416
    12   Devin Mesoraco   CIN   .250/.313/.449
    13   Wilson Ramos   WAS   .265/.311/.430
    14   Yadier Molina   STL   .284/.340/.401
    15   Salvador Perez   KCR   .263/.292/.386
    16   Russell Martin   NYY   .244/.334/.363
    17   Kurt Suzuki   OAK   .253/.306/.397
    18   Jarrod Saltalamacchia   BOS   .222/.284/.387
    19   Jonathan Lucroy   MIL   .257/.314/.372
    20   Chris Iannetta   ANA   .225/.342/.399

  8. MH said...

    @Jeff

    A bit surprised you have Jesus soundly over Wieters.  Wieters was a better hitter in the minors (though a bit older) and is coming off a 20 HR season in which he had a better contact rate than Montero had in Triple-A and a similar walk rate (also had much better walk rates in the minors).  Is this just because its expected Montero will hold up better not having to crouch behind the dish as often?

  9. Brad Johnson said...

    MH,

    fwiw, I tried to get Jeff to bet $10 that Montero would outperform Wieters and he wouldn’t. So he’s not terribly sold on his own pick just yet. smile

  10. tommybones said...

    Jesus Montero is eligible at Catcher in my league, yet not a single ranking on any site has even hinted as to where he would rank as a catcher.  Would love an opinion as to where he would fall in these rankings.

  11. Brad Johnson said...

    I would take Jesus Montero between Miguel Montero and Avila. You probably need to be more bullish than that if you want to draft him.

  12. Brad Johnson said...

    Rankings notes:

    The rankings site allowed me to rank Harper at C, but I probably shouldn’t have since he’s not Yahoo! eligible. My mistake.

    I’m going to have to look into what I expect for Nick Hundley since I have a considerably more bullish ranking than the rest of the group. Fwiw, I expected consistent playing time with a little bit of pop, which seems to be more than any of the guys I ranked behind him offer..

    I’m not touching a Mike Scoscia catcher. You’re free to of course, good luck with that. It could work out, but I’m picturing a lot of nonsense happening.

    Wilson Ramos seems to be getting a little too much love here. Last year was probably his ceiling.

  13. Ben Pritchett said...

    For me, I’d rank Jesus Montero just above Miguel Montero if Jesus were to start the season as catcher eligible. But you know his monster upside. Jesus’ bat could potentially outperform any catcher on this list. My overall ranking for Jesus is 134 as it stands right now, but he would get a bump if I didn’t have to wait on the catcher eligibility. I’d say you have to somewhat temper your expectations since he’s still young and Safeco isn’t a hitter’s haven like Yankee Stadium was. But all things considered, Jesus is still a stud and should worth every penny come draft day.

  14. Josh Shepardson said...

    @DGB

    I think the plan is to primarily go catcher/DH tandem with Doumit/Mauer, but as has been said, both have to be healthy for that.  Further clouding the situation is Justin Morneau.  I remember reading Gardenhire quotes that they may play him at DH if it is going to keep him healthy.  Also, he has shown no problem trotting out below average fielders, but how will he feel about trotting out a below average defender behind the dish?  Will he pull a Scioscia/Napoli?  Finally, let’s not overlook the park effect impact.  PN&C isn’t a friendly ballpark, but Target Field cripples left-handed power.  Since most of his at-bats will be as a lefty hitting right-handed pitching.  Last year there index for left-handed home run power was essentially a wash, but looking at the last three years (two in the case of Target), it’s a 24 point difference in index.  All negatives aside, there is a lot of value from owning a catcher eligible player that doesn’t deal with all the physical demands of playing there.  I’ve got him 19, but could see a case for going as high as 14.

  15. Dave Shovein said...

    I figured I commented on the 2B/SS Rankings, I may as well add my input on the rest also.

    The first thing that jumps out at me is Salvador Perez being entirely too low. He’s someone who I’m extremely high on this year, especially in two catcher formats. He currently ranks as my 9th catcher overall.

    Other than that, the list looks pretty solid. I have 1 and 2 the same. 3-6 I have the same guys, just re-ordered.

  16. KISFantasy said...

    Hey, great to see the rankings are up. 

    I’d love to hear more about why Nick was so stingy with Yadier Molina’s ranking.  I see him as a top ten catcher this year: injury free for years, good contact skills and growing power potential. 

    Similarly, Brad: you have Kurt Suzuki, an everyday, healthy 29 year old with passable power, ranked behind Ramon Hernandez, a part-time, 36-year old with chronic knee problems.  What’s the rationale?  I’m just pretty high on Kurt (#10) so I want to hear the thinking.

  17. Brad Johnson said...

    I’d be comfortable with Perez at #14. I can’t really form an argument to state he’s better than Ramos or Martin.

  18. Nick Fleder said...

    KISFantasy: I love Yadi as a catcher in real life—he’s an excellent one—but I think that feeds in, somehow and someway, however unconsciously, to his perceived fantasy value. Yes, he’s a superior baseball player at the catcher position, but this doesn’t make him a superior fantasy play. Sure, he was #7 last year in terms of catcher, but the past three years before that, he was worth $0 in standard mixed leagues and was the #14, #11, and #11 ranked catcher.

    So all that adds up to the ~11th ranked catcher, if you think his value lies around the average of the four years (and I do, since last year’s campaign was aided by a sudden and suspicious HR/FB boost and some batted ball luck). LuCroy I have ranked ahead of him because I think he has more power upside, Arencebia for the same, and I think Yadi is a rich man’s Kurt Suzuki/Russell Martin, though I don’t know why. Russell’s put up two nice campaigns out of four while Yadi’s put up one, in fantasy terms, and Kurt is similar to Yadi but cheaper and doesn’t kill you in a category like Yadi is known to do in runs.

    Does that make some kind of sense?

  19. Brad Johnson said...

    Suzuki has good power for a catcher, ~14 home runs, but he’s a drain on every other category. He’ll hurt your BA because of a high IFFB rate and he’ll hurt the R/RBI columns because he’s a part of a terrible offense. He hasn’t been particularly useful since 2009.

    Maybe I shouldn’t be ranking him behind Ramon Hernandez. I think I just like the idea of him starting in Colorado. I’m projecting similar power to Suzuki with more in every other category. Something like 60/14/65/.280

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