by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
After the top names come off the board there is a dramatic drop-off in the catching position. In fact you can argue that there isn’t much of a difference between #8 and #14 on our catching rankings, so does it make sense to sit and wait on selecting someone? In one-catcher formats there certainly is no reason to reach, and you should benefit from using your fourth or fifth round selection an a higher producing player at another position (as opposed to selecting Buster Posey or Gary Sanchez). If you opt to wait for an end-game play, here are a few names worth targeting:
Travis d’Arnaud – New York Mets
Current ADP – 279.35
Every year we wait for the breakout, and every year we are disappointed. Injuries have consistently been part of the problem, though hitting .247 with 4 HR in 276 PA last season isn’t going to impress anyone. That said he’s shown an ability to make consistent contact (career SwStr% of 8.3%) and did hit the ball hard last season (32.4% Hard%). Those two things should indicate a bit of an improvement in his average and he’s always shown some potential in the power department (25 HR in 624 AB between ’14 and ’15).
Entering a make it or break it season at the “magical” age of 27, as long as he stays healthy he can easily produce like a Top 10 option at the position (think .260 with 15 HR, with the potential for more).
Austin Hedges – San Diego Padres
Current ADP – 297.17
Hedges erupted at Triple-A last season, hitting .326 with 21 HR. That production did come in the Pacific Coast League and he’s never shown anything close to this type of power, so it’s fair to be skeptical. He was clearly swinging for the fences, with a 0.62 GO/AO, and for a player with little speed that’s going to make it impossible to maintain his .329 BABIP. In other words, don’t buy him thinking you are going to get potentially elite production.
Of course, at his current ADP no one is thinking that. Even with a regression across the board, a .250ish hitter with 12-15 HR is hardly something to complain about and isn’t much below what Stephen Vogt (206.70) or Welington Castillo (176.68) may produce.
Derek Norris – Tampa Bay Rays
Current ADP – 305.22
Prior to Matt Wieters landing in Washington Norris was viewed as a prime buy low candidate. Having landed in Tampa Bay, where he will be the starter for the first month or two (and could ultimately share the C/DH role with Wilson Ramos if he is producing), is a nice spot for fantasy owners.
Sure he hit .186 in 458 PA last season, but his 21.9% line drive rate and 34.4% Hard% justify a significantly higher BABIP (.238). His 30.3% strikeout rate also isn’t indicative of what he’s done throughout his career (24.7%), so there is every reason to believe in an improved average (.250+). Throw in some power (he hit 14 HR playing half his games in Petco Park in ’16) and the ability to steal 5+ bases and the total package is there.
Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com, STATS
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Make sure to check out our 2017 Rankings:
|Starting Pitcher||#1-20 |02/27/17|