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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT STRATEGY: CATCHERS

With our position rankings almost complete, we delve into another annual feature as the 2017 fantasy baseball season continues to take shape.  Today we begin with our position draft strategies where we share what we believe to be the correct way to address the hitters and pitchers when players start to get picked.  The catchers are up first and we will go on the premise you play in a one-catcher format which is what most leagues use.  That is the correct setup as well since catchers are an incredibly shallow group and playing two is almost impossible sometimes.

Now in terms of how to handle catcher in the draft, we once again strongly and fiercely subscribe to the "wait until later" mantra when it comes to addressing this position.  We have seen countless times over the years how drafting a catcher in the first 5-7 rounds is a colossal mistake and one that can damage your roster.  While we all would love to own Buster Posey, it simply is the wrong way to go.  For one thing, catchers are the most injury-prone players in fantasy baseball besides pitchers.  Getting hit by tipped balls, run over in home plate collisions, and the typical wear-and-tear of squatting so much, catchers are an injury waiting to happen.  You always want your early round picks to be as safe an investment as you can make and catchers fly in the face of this strategy.  In addition, catchers get 1-2 days off a week for rest and maintenance and that alone takes away counting stats that you could be getting from an outfielder of first baseman for that high draft pick.  What makes this more hurtful for you if you draft a catcher early is that the rest of your league mates will be stocking up on hitters who man another position and play everyday while you go with a catcher who will likely come up with the lest amount of numbers then any other players selected in that round given all the days of they will accrue alone.  That is a losing proposition right there.  Finally when it comes to Posey, he was good but far from great last season as his power was down and so was his counting numbers.  Those who drafted Posey in the third or fourth round last season got hosed related to the other players drafted in those rounds.

We firmly go with the value play at catcher with two premises.  The first is to go with a young up-and-coming catching prospect which has yielded some huge mid-round value over the years or go with a veteran who is coming off a down year due to injury or bad luck.  Some names that instantly come to mind who can be had in the middle-to-late rounds and do a very good job for you include Matt Wieters, Wellington Castillo, Wilson Ramos, Stephen Vogt, and Derek Norris.  Prospects that would work would be Tom Murphy, Bruce Maxwell, or Wilson Contreras.  So this should be the way you go when it comes to handling the catcher position in your draft this season and in particular target Ramos, Murphy, and Contreras.


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