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Friday, January 22, 2016

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT PRIMER: CATCHERS

With the first set of position rankings out of the way, we now move into our Draft Primer feature where we share our more in-depth look at the players from a draft perspective. 

DRAFT PLAN

For those who take part in single-catcher formats, ignore the allure of having Buster Posey and go value, value, value here in the middle rounds.  Every season there are guys who supply some major catcher value for a fraction of the cost of 2015 busts Devin Mesoraco, Jonathan Lucroy, and Yan Gomes.  How about some of these names who were not drafted or who were very late round picks who finished as a top 10-12 guys?  Stephen Vogt, Kyle Schwarber, Wellington Castillo, Russell Martin.  On and on it goes.  The point is that this is a spot you want to go value given the high injury rate, the perpetual days off, and overall wear and tear of the position where using an early round pick here is foolish.  In two catcher formats (there should be no such thing, will get off my soapbox now), then you can be more aggressive with your top guy without going overboard. 

CATCHERS I WILL TARGET

Stephen Vogt:  Vogt was a classic late round catcher find as he took aadvantage of a full-time gig for the first time in his career to club 18 home runs with 71 RBI which are tremendous offensive numbers for a catcher.  His second half fade helps you at the draft table as it somewhat kept the numbers from going even higher.  With the A's also putting Vogt at first base when he is not behind the plate, his value is immense. 

J.T. Realmuto:  Really targeting this kid heavily as the draft price is dirt cheap despite a very solid rookie season that saw Realmuto hit .259 with 10 home runs and 8 steals.  Getting any steals from your catcher is a very big bonus and Realmuto has good contact skills that should show a batting average improvement. 

Travis D'Arnaud:  Injuries have put a cap on what the power-hitting D'Arnaud is capable of doing in terms of numbers and thus has kept his draft price affordable.  This guy is a lock for 20-plus home runs if only the health will cooperate.  Could pay off big if that happens. 

Blake Swihart:  Another upstart catcher who hit .271 with 5 home runs and 4 steals as a rookie with the Boston Red Sox in 2015.  While Swihart is not considered a catching prospect on par with Kyle Schwarber or a Travis D'Arnaud before him, his very cheap draft price and ability to help in a lot of categories is key. 

Matt Wieters:  Now fully healthy after recovering from Tommy John surgery, Matt Wieters can rediscover his 20-home run power and decent counting stats.  A proven commodity when healthy that could be one of the better values in the draft. 

Nick Hundley:  Playing in Colordo helped Hundley hit .300 (.301) and he offers bit of pop as well.  Yes to anyone hitting in Coors Field. 

Devin Mesoraco:  I will only entertain this if the draft price falls far enough on a guy who had massive expectations coming into 2015 and who turned out to be one of the biggest busts of the year after his hip went bad.  Big power here when healthy but again will only look here if Mesoraco falls far enough which I don't expect.

Russell Martin:  Yes Martin is older then dirt but 23 home runs and over 70 in both RBI and runs is HUGE for a catcher no matter the age.  The average is nasty but the Rogers Center background will keep Martin very viable at a decent price since no one ever wants him in March. 

CATCHERS I WILL AVOID

Yadier Molina:  There is not much explanation needed as Molina is a complete injury wreck whose power is gone for good.  Now just a name brand and nothing else. 

Buster Posey/Kyle Schwarber/Brian McCann:  I lump all three together as the draft price is way too high in single catcher formats to be worth the investment.  Yes Schwarber is extra enticing but for all the power he brings, he reallys is just another Evan Gattis who will struggle to bat .260 or even .250. 

Wilson Ramos:  No more reason to look here anymore as Ramos fell on his face last season despite finally staying healthy. 


 

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