Is there depth at catcher?

A follower on Twitter pointed out that our friend Matthew
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.
If. UP

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
chances. N/C

DET – Avila/Laird is just awful for fantasy purposes N/C

FLO – Not a big Buck fan, but certainly better than
Paulino/Davis UP

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
Doumit N/C

STL – Molina is useful, unspectacular N/C

SD – Hundley won’t hit for AVG but has power and may steal a
few UP

SF – Posey is a stud, but not a 100% lock just yet UP

SEA – Is Olivo THAT much better than last year’s dreck?
Charitably, UP

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,
, 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
chime in!





Great write up Corey. It’s really nice to see the position laid out team by team. It seems like every year there are 2-3 flashy names at the position who typically under perform and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same in 2011. I have Mauer in my keeper league exactly for that reason! On a different note, how are the projections coming? I can’t wait to see them and get some serious ranking done. Thanks for the hard work!

Everett in Oregon

Hey Cory,

This is a nicely thought out piece. However I think that Matthew and yourself maybe catering to different audiences. The way I read Matthew’s comments he is talking about the standard ESPN league which is a 10-team mixed one catcher league. I agree with him that in this context you can wait on catcher and still get a Napoli/Wieters/Suzuki/Posada-type which isn’t half bad.

I also agree with you that if you are in an NFBC-type format where you need 30 catchers ideally you still want two from the top 15-20. Because no matter how you look at it you’re running a big risk with your average and/or playing time (counting stats) if you dive into the 20-30 range.

I guess my point is that the vantage point on depth changes substantially based on the context of your league and thereby catcher pool can be both deep and shallow at the same time. That’s how I see it anyway.

I truely appriciate you taking the time to write this up in the longer form (compared to twitter). Keep up the good work.

Best, Bas

I think you forgot the Tigers picked up Victor Martinez, so I would say they have to go UP.

yearly h2h would you trade Hanley Ramirez for kershaw and weaver. I still have Steven Drew.

Hey Zach if you see this just wanna say great work again when answering questions, even consulting the minor league guru that is Mayo! Looks like ill need a 3rd baseman early and a corner guy towards the end, then if Freddie starts to really hit I can trade one of them.

Thanks, and thanks Mayo if you see him!

Big Barry

Bas, you are right… Matthew clarified later that he was referring to 10-team, one-catcher leagues… a LOT easier to fill than a 15-team, two-catcher league like NFBC! In a two-catcher format, it’s still a very weak position.

Bengal, you are right about V-Mart with the Tigers… he won’t be their primary catcher, but of course he is still eligible there so that should go into the “UP” category. Nice catch.


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