We’re going to do a fantasy baseball preview, position by position, each weekend here at Sports Jerks, to help get you ready for your fantasy baseball season.
For each position, I will use a tier system to rank the players. For the most part, the players are interchangeable within their tiers, with the biggest gaps coming between tiers. You’ll see what I mean.
We’ll be beginning our quest with the catchers.
1. Buster Posey – The NL MVP gets the nod because he’ll see time at first base and therefore play more games than Molina.
2. Yadier Molina – Has developed into a legitimate power threat from behind the plate
A Notch Below
3. Joe Mauer – Until he hits 20-plus homers again, he’ll continue to be better in real life than in fantasy, but playing extra games at first base helps his value. Dude can flat hit.
4. Matt Wieters – One of these years he’s going to go off on the American League.
5. Mike Napoli – Fenway could help fix that low BA.
6.Carlos Santana – If your league uses OBP instead of BA, he belongs in the top group. Otherwise, a potentially low BA hurts his value.
Author’s Note: In the initial writing of this piece, I overlooked Salvador Perez. Clearly, he belongs on this list.
6a. Salvador Perez – If he can stay healthy, Perez could end up being the best hitter of the Royals second wave of prospects (Hosmer, Moustakas). Catchers who can routinely hit .300 are rare.
7. Miguel Montero – Quietly hits for solid power for a catcher. Should have plenty of RBI opportunities in the D-Backs lineup.
8. A.J. Pierzynski – That power surge can’t be for real right? What about the effect of playing in Texas?
9. Brian McCann – Is he healthy?
You’ll Be Ok
10. Wilin Rosario – I think 28 homers will go down as his career high. The league knows he swings at everything and will exploit that. Still, he hits for power and plays in Colorado.
11. Russell Martin – PNC Park zaps right-handed power, but Martin will still be good for 15-20 if you can stand the low batting average.
Once all the above names are gone, you’re better off taking a chance on a guy who could break out than taking a guy you know won’t.
13. Jesus Montero – Your league doesn’t worry about defense. The Mariners moved the fences in. Montero will play more games than most catchers because he DH’s. That gives him three factors in his favor.
14. J.P. Arencibia – No longer being pushed out by Travis d’Arnaud and now hitting near the bottom of a potent lineup. Arencibia should have plenty of RBI opportunities and still hits plenty of home runs.
The Suspended Guys
Carlos Ruiz and Yasmani Grandal are both suspended to being the season (25 games for Ruiz, 50 for Grandal) for violating the league’s drug policy. I’m not putting them behind all of these other guys, I’m just mentioning them here. There’s no right or wrong answer to how whatever substance they took helped them perform, so that’s your call. Both were worthy of being in that second group before their suspensions, and likely will return close to that point, once their suspensions end. How much they are worth, and when you should draft them depends on your league, needs, and how your draft goes.