With draft guide season in full force, it’s time to start rolling out our 2013 rankings (obviously, things are subject to change as we get closer to the start of the season). We’ll kick things off with the catcher position, where strategy plays a big role on if you are going to end up with one of the elite or not. You have several younger players emerging as go to options, with the veterans starting to fade a little bit. At the same time, the depth at the position (i.e. Mike Napoli or Brian McCann outside of the Top 10) helps support the theory of not drafting a catcher early.
Keep that in mind as we take a look at how our Top 15 currently looks:
- Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
- Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians
- Matt Wieters – Baltimore Orioles
- Joe Mauer – Minnesota Twins
- Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
- Yadier Molina – St. Louis Cardinals
- Victor Martinez – Detroit Tigers
- Jesus Montero – Seattle Mariners
- Miguel Montero – Arizona Diamondbacks
- Wilin Rosario – Colorado Rockies
- Mike Napoli – Boston Red Sox
- Brian McCann – Atlanta Braves
- Jonathan Lucroy – Milwaukee Brewers
- Ryan Doumit – Minnesota Twins
- A.J. Pierzynski – Texas Rangers
- Victor Martinez’ place on this list is questionable at this point, as there is no guarantee that he is going to be catcher eligible (it all depends on the hosting site). CBS has already said that he will only be eligible at Utility, for instance. As things get closer and we know what all other sites are doing we will either pull him from the rankings or leave him in here. Just keep in mind that the bottom half of the rankings could all be bumped up a spot at the end of the day.
- The first name that will likely really surprise people is Salvador Perez. We’ll do a full write-up on him in time, but you have to realize a few things. First off is that he plays almost every day, something that is not as common for catchers these days. Second is that he is a proven .300 hitter in the Major Leagues (.311 in his first 437 AB). Third is that his power is coming along, with 27 extra base hits (11 HR) in 289 AB in ’12. In other words, he has the potential to be a .300+ hitter with 20+ HR as a catcher. Those types of players are few and far between, especially given his age and upside.
- Wilin Rosario proved the type of power he possesses, but he is likely going to do it with a lower batting average (while he hit .270 last season, an elevated strikeout rate will help to keep his average suppressed overall). It’s going to cap his value.
- Oh how the mighty have fallen. Do we all remember when Brian McCann was among the best options in the league? Granted, he’s not a .230 hitter (as he was in 2012), but he’s also not the same player that he once was. His runs scored and RBI have both been in decline for years, as he’s no longer a middle of the order threat for the Braves. While he should hit around 20 HR, he just doesn’t have the some upside as someone like Rosario at this point.
- Carlos Ruiz is a player that people probably will want to see higher up on the rankings after he had a monster 2012 (.325, 16 HR). However, at 33-years old (he’ll be 34 at the start of the 2013 season) I have a hard time buying into career highs in his line drive rate (24.0%) and HR/FB (15.1%). Throw in his 50 game suspension and I’m not willing to pay for a career year. The same thing can be said for A.J. Pierzynski, who just barely found his way onto the rankings.
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Make sure to check out our extremely early 2013 rankings (all of which will be updated in the next few weeks):