Is there depth at catcher?
A follower on Twitter pointed out that our friend Matthew
Berry of ESPN and I have offered some contradictory observations on the depth of the
talent pool at catcher this season. TMR and I have known each other for several
years and have some different viewpoints on various topics, but hey, there’s
room for that in fantasy baseball… reasonable people can still disagree!
When questioned though, we here at the F411 are always
willing to show our work, and then you the reader/listener/viewer can decide if
you agree or not. Hey, reasonable people can still disagree!
Here’s how I view the catcher situation this year on a
team-by-team basis, compared to what they had last year:
ARI – Montero should be better than last season if healthy.
ATL – McCann is consistent and in his prime. N/C
BAL – Another season of hopeful expectations for Wieters N/C
BOS – They go from the consistency of V-Mart to the unfulfilled
promise of “Pits”. DOWN
CHC – Soto should see more at-bats under Quade than Piniella
CWS – Pierzynski is useful but in decline. N/C
CIN – Hopefully Hannigan plays more than Hernandez N/C
CLE – Santana should be a stud if healthy UP
COL – I’m a big Iannetta fan but he’s flopped in previous
DET – Avila/Laird is just awful for fantasy purposes N/C
FLO – Not a big Buck fan, but certainly better than
HOU – Castro may have upside but for now this is awful N/C
KC – Pena and May have upside but a healthy Kendall is bad
news here N/C
LAA – Neither Mathis nor Wilson can hit, and Napoli’s gone.
LAD – Barajas will deliver power, but even an injured Martin
is at worst comparable N/C
MIL – Kottaras/Lucroy is just ugly N/C
MIN – Mauer stands alone as the elite N/C
NYM – Is Thole any better than what they’ve had? N/C
NYY – Martin should replace Posada on a value basis N/C
OAK – Suzuki should be better than last year, but the
personnel hasn’t changed N/C
PHI – Ruiz is solid, unspectacular… same as last year N/C
PIT – Snyder’s AVG offsets the power; he’s no better than
STL – Molina is useful, unspectacular N/C
SD – Hundley won’t hit for AVG but has power and may steal a
SF – Posey is a stud, but not a 100% lock just yet UP
SEA – Is Olivo THAT much better than last year’s dreck?
TB – Jaso is useful but nothing special N/C
TEX – Adding Napoli to the mix is a huge, huge plus UP
TOR – Arencibia has monster power but the AVG will hurt… not
unlike Buck N/C
WSH – Pudge isn’t quite what he used to be N/C
So by my count, eight teams have improved their offensive
situation behind the plate, which is obviously good news… two have declined and
the other 20 have stayed pretty much the same. However, that doesn’t really
speak to the level of talent at the position, because other than Buster Posey
and Carlos Santana (right), we’re generally dealing with the same group of players but
with different distributions in playing time.
Clearly the additions of Posey and Santana to the mix
improve the depth in the top (and near-top) tier, but the declines of Russell Martin,
Jorge Posada and Kurt Suzuki somewhat offset that. Beyond that there are a
number of promising players, but many of whom carry significant risks:
If Montero, Martin and Santana can stay healthy… if Wieters,
Saltalamacchia, Iannetta and Hundley finally establish themselves… if Soto and
Napoli get more playing time… if all of those things happen, then I will
concede that the catcher position is indeed deeper than we’ve become used to.
But those are a LOT of ifs, and from a tiering standpoint, I
don’t think we can confidently say there’s more certainty to choose from this
year than in any other year.
That’s how I view it. Anyone who disagrees, feel free to