Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
In the fifth of an eight-part series, we will look at the 2010 TSN Fantasy Rankings for catchers.
There is the top-three, and then there is everyone else. If you don't get Victor Martinez, Joe Mauer or Brian McCann, it's a "crapshoot" and you might as well wait until later to select your catcher because No.4 through No.8 are almost interchangeable.
1) Victor Martinez, BOS (ADP 31.8) - Almost every other prognosticator will have Joe Mauer at the top of the list, but for me, Martinez is the surer bet. Except for his injury-plagued 2008 season (elbow), Martinez has shown you that he will hit .302 with 21.4 HR and 100.6 RBI. Mauer can't match those numbers and you will have to use an early second-round pick on the Minnesota catcher versus a late-third or early fourth-round selection for Martinez. You choose.
2) Joe Mauer, MIN (ADP 13.5) - Yes, Mauer had an amazing 2009, but unless you think he suddenly developed into a 28+ HR guy last year you are likely to see him return to his base production which over the past five years is batting .328 with 13.2 HR and 76.4 RBI. Even assuming some improvement with age, that still leaves him behind Martinez's production and for a steeper price.
3) Brian McCann, ATL (ADP 38.4) - McCann had vision problems in 2009 and still put up a .281 batting average with 21 HR and 94 RBI. It's easy to imagine him improving on those numbers since he'll actually be able to see the pitches he's swinging at in 2010.
4) Matt Wieters, BAL (ADP 91.8) - The much-heralded rookie came up in mid- season and did a serviceable job (9 HR, 43 RBI .288 in 354 AB). Based on his past he'll improve on those numbers in his second year and we're predicting a 15-20 HR, 75 RBI, .295 batting average for 2010.
5) Jorge Posada, NYY (ADP 100.7) - Posada will be 39 this August and can't catch everyday anymore, but that's the advantage of playing in the American League with the DH. Batting sixth in the potent Yankees lineup will allow him to put up top-five numbers despite only getting around 400 at-bats.
6) Russell Martin, LAD (ADP 142.5) - He will likely miss a couple of weeks at the beginning of the season, but Mauer proved that you can still be valuable even missing the entire month of April. More importantly, Martin has to return to his 2007 batting form when he hit 19 HR, knocked in 87 and hit .293. He brings the ability to steal double-digit bases from a position where that is rare.
7) Kurt Suzuki, OAK (ADP 138.4) - Suzuki didn't get much publicity last year, but he had a very good season on a weak-hitting A's ball club so no one noticed (.274, 15 HR, 88 RBI). It will be interesting to see if he can repeat that performance.
8) Miguel Montero, AZ (ADP 138.5) - This could be a breakout season for Montero. He already posted a .294 batting average with 16 HR and 59 RBI last year to win the job from Chris Snyder, now we need to see him progress to the next level. If he does, that could be a 20+ HR year and a giant move up the charts. Fourth-best fantasy catcher (behind only Martinez, Mauer and McCann) is possible at the top end.
9) Geovany Soto, CHC (ADP 167.3) - After a monster rookie year (.286, 23 HR, 86 RBI) Soto was selected in the third round last year. He proved to be one of the biggest disappointments of 2009 batting just .218 with 11 HR and 47 RBI. Was this just a sophomore jinx or did the league find a hole in his swing? Likely he'll be somewhere between the two and be a bottom-end fantasy starter.
10) Mike Napoli, ANA (ADP 167.1) - Napoli only got 372 at-bats, yet managed to knock 20 balls out of the park. It's too bad he can't win the job outright from Jeff Mathis, because his numbers could be very good with 500+ at-bats.
Just Missed - Bengie Molina (ADP 155.6), Ryan Doumit (ADP 185.8), A.J. Pierzynski (ADP 273.8).
Late Round Bargain - Miguel Olivo (ADP 329.3).