Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
This is the first in a nine-part series which will evaluate the 2008 fantasy baseball season by position.
By looking at the charts at the bottom of the article, you will see how truly difficult it is to predict performance at the catching position. Only four of the Top-10 choices by ADP (average draft position) actually made the Top-10 in performance (fantasy points earned) at season's end.
Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins - Mauer was finally healthy again and it showed in his numbers. He set his career mark for games played in a season (145) and posted highs in runs (98) and RBIs (85). He only hit nine home runs, but that's not his game. He's a great average hitter and his 2008 batting average of .330 was best among catchers.
Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves - McCann, along with Geovany Soto led catchers with 23 HRs while raising his batting average 31 points over 2007. Like Mauer, McCann played a career-high 145 games and even swiped five bases as a bonus to owners.
Bengie Molina, San Francisco - Bengie Molina was the best of the Molina brothers and batting cleanup for the Giants helped him post a career-high in RBIs with 95. He also hit 16 HR and batted a solid .292 - not bad for a catcher taken 11th at the position.
Russell Martin, Los Angeles Dodgers - Martin was drafted second among catchers not only for his hitting, but for his ability to steal bases at a position where that is a rarity. He did not disappoint owners, swiping a position-high 18, while scoring 87 runs and hitting 13 HRs.
Geovany Soto, Chicago Cubs - Soto was the all the rage after hitting .341 with five HR and 20 RBIs in April. He was still hitting .288 at the All-Star break with 16 HRs and 56 RBI and even as a rookie made it into the "Summer Classic." His pre-season hype got him drafted ninth among catchers and his performance more than equaled expectations.
Ryan Doumit, Pittsburgh - Doumit was barely on the radar screen, with an ADP of around 320, but at season's end was sixth-best among catchers in fantasy points. His .317 average was second only to Mauer and he had a .501 slugging percentage. He was probably the best bargain at the position.
Yadier Molina, St. Louis - Yadier batted .304 in 124 games with the Cardinals and posted the seventh-best fantasy points total in catchers. Considering he was drafted behind Doumit (ADP) he was a great value.
A.J. Pierzynski, Chicago White Sox - Pierzynski batted .281 with 13 HR and 59 RBI as he slotted in eighth among catching fantasy points.
Jason Kendall, Milwaukee - Kendall only batted .246, but in a weak-hitting position, managed to make it into the Top-10. Eight steals was third-best among catchers and helped propel him up the charts.
Ramon Hernandez, Baltimore - Hernandez was about as expected as the 13th- highest catcher selected back in April and finishing 10th-best in fantasy points scored with 15 HR and 65 RBI.
Honorable Mention - Kelly Shoppach - Replacing injured Victor Martinez, Shoppach put up 21 HR in just 352 AB. He will be a Top-10 draft choice among catchers in 2009.
Top-10 by Performance
Joe Mauer - 363
Brian McCann - 351
Bengie Molina - 312
Russell Martin - 307
Geovany Soto - 275
Ryan Doumit - 253
Yadier Molina - 231
A.J. Pierzynski - 229
Jason Kendall - 226
Ramon Hernandez - 223
Top-10 by ADP
Victor Martinez - 27
Russell Martin - 31
Joe Mauer - 55
Brian McCann - 61
Jorge Posada - 92
Kenji Johjima - 119
J. Saltalamacchia - 148
Ivan Rodriguez - 171
Geovany Soto - 186
Jason Varitek - 208