2014 Rankings: Top 15 Catchers

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Catcher is always a difficult position to project entering the season, as injuries and surprises always wreak havoc to our preseason rankings.  That said, the one given we can state is that a player with catcher eligibility who sees time at another position (whether it be first base, designated hitter or somewhere else) is going to have an advantage over the rest of the field.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at our current rankings heading into 2014:

  1. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
  2. Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians
  3. Joe Mauer – Minnesota Twins
  4. Jonathan Lucroy – Milwaukee Brewers
  5. Yadier Molina – St. Louis Cardinals
  6. Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
  7. Wilin Rosario – Colorado Rockies
  8. Jason Castro – Houston Astros
  9. Brian McCann – New York Yankees
  10. Matt Wieters – Baltimore Orioles
  11. Alex Avila – Detroit Tigers
  12. Wilson Ramos – Washington Nationals
  13. Evan Gattis – Atlanta Braves
  14. Miguel Montero – Arizona Diamondbacks
  15. A.J. Pierzynski – Boston Red Sox

Thoughts:

  • We have learned throughout the years that a player with catching eligibility, who doesn’t actually catch, is a very valuable commodity.  While Joe Mauer doesn’t offer the power potential of other catchers, he’s a .300+ hitter who should provide RBI and runs hitting in the middle of the Twins lineup on a regular basis.  Don’t undervalue him.
  • A lot of people probably want to push Evan Gattis into the upper echelon of catchers due to the power he showed last season.  However, there’s plenty of risk in the average department (he hit .243 in ’13 as it is) and he saw his power regress as the season went on (HR/FB split was 23.0%/11.3%).  Throw in the presence of Ryan Doumit and there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical.
  • There’s a lot of interesting under-the-radar options heading into 2014, including Alex Avila and Wilson Ramos.  We’ll explain why both are worth buying in the coming weeks.
  • Will Salvador Perez ultimately be a Top 5 catcher in 2014?  Check out what the Rotoprofessor staff thinks by clicking here.
  • Jason Castro broke out in 2013 hitting .276 with 18 HR and 56 RBI over 435 AB.  The question heading into 2014 is if he can maintain that type of production or not?  Obviously we think he can, as the spike in strikeouts (32.1% in the second half) is not indicative of his abilities (15.25% in the minors) and he has routinely hit the ball hard in the Majors (25.2% line drive rate for his career).  Don’t expect him to disappear from relevance as he should be a Top 10 option once again.

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Make sure to check out all of our 2014 rankings:

16 comments

  1. KB says:

    Does 150 R/RBI sound about right for Mauer? Or is the Twins lineup so poor that 130 is more likely?

  2. JG says:

    If McCann is healthy and puts up 30 HRs and .350 OBP, he’d be #1 in an OBP league, right?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I don’t know that he’d be #1, but he’d certainly be Top 5 (and likely Top 3). That said, I’m not sure I’d bank on 30 HR personally

      • jmax says:

        Lefty pull-hitter in that joke of a stadium?? You’d think his ab’s increase with the availability of the DH. The potential is there. I think drafting him in that slot would hold huge value

  3. Bbboston says:

    Rotoprof,

    Carlos Santana: is he overvalued? Did he open up with his best year in 2011 or is there something better here, than .265avg, 20hr?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I still like his upside in the average department and think he could easily be .275+ hitter regularly with power.

      • Bbboston says:

        Sounds reasonable, but when I compare Santana and Perez in my mind, I think Santana is somehow getting a “potential” boost in the rankings, while Perez does not.

        • Bbboston says:

          I’m in a league with two catchers. To me, finding avg is harder than power at this position, hence mauer’s rankings.

          • Bbboston says:

            Perhaps I’m not considering counting stats enough due to abs?

          • Rotoprofessor says:

            I would disagree about the potential boost, because you could argue that Perez’ ranking has a lot of projection to it as well. He hasn’t quite performed like a Top 6 catcher at this point, though the upside is there.

  4. Seth says:

    $6 Yasmani Grandal…NL Only 2 catcher league… How long do you think he will be out?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’ve never been a big Grandal fan and wouldn’t expect more than 350 AB from him this season. Obviously in NL-only leagues there’s value, but $6 may be a bit expensive of an investment

  5. Jb says:

    Wow, How could you rank Rosario 7th? Think you need to look at the numbers again. Better numbers than your #2 catcher, definitely better than lucroy, aging Molina and mauer. Why is it Rosario gets no love? He is clearly the best young catcher in the game not named Posey. He had more hr, rbi, avg than santana. This is despite having 200 less at bats. Better avg than lucroy again better numbers despite fewer at bats. Santana had 12 more runs than rosario. I also think Rosario did this hitting 6th or 7th most of the year. Lucroys numbers are what they are, he is at his ceiling. Santana and Roasrio are both still improving and Rosario with more at bats could easily make a run at #1. He had better numbers than posey in 2013 despite less at bats, so what I’m saying is not outlandish. In addition, Rosario improved his numbers over his rookie year and I think he takes another step forward this year. He was #2 ranked catcher last year in a 5×5 behind Molina, lucroy was 4th and posey 7th. Rosario was the #2 catcher despite having only 466 at bats. Talk about upside! Another 100-150 at bats could make him a beast. I love the site, articles and opinions but I think your catcher rankings are dead wrong on Rosario.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      The thing with Rosario is two fold:

      1) I’m not sure we can expect significantly more PA for Rosario at this point. Playing in the NL and not having an obvious spot at 1B to keep him in the lineup, 450 AB may be about the right mark

      2) I don’t believe he’s a .290 hitter, given his regression in line drive rate in the 2nd half and his inflated BABIP (.344). .275-.280ish is more realistic, which is more than enough, but it needs to be kept in mind.

      There is plenty of upside there and I wouldn’t argue if you had him ranked higher than I do, honestly.

  6. Justin says:

    Easily Lucroy or Rosario is my favorite in their spots. Most power at their positions… why are people drafting them so low? They have other sluggers in their lineups (Tulowitski, Cargo, Gomez, Segura, Braun)

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