2015 Catcher Preview
In the first installment of my positional preview series, let’s take a look at the Catcher position, a position that I usually devalue on draft day, opting instead to take one of the guys towards the back end of the top-10. While you don’t want to be stuck with Tyler Flowers as your No. 1 backstop, investing in an elite catcher within the first few rounds when there are so many other needs to address probably isn’t the best way to go. Catchers are more prone to injury due to the wear and tear of playing the position, and since they receive frequent days off, the influence of a catcher’s stat line on the overall stats of your fantasy team is more limited than the other positions.
OK, let’s get on with it.
Yeah, there’s some risk in drafting Wieters. The latest word is that he might not be ready for Opening Day as he approaches the finish line in the long Tommy John surgery recovery process. But chances are he won’t miss more than the first two weeks or so, and this is a guy who is still just 28 and launched a combined 67 homers from 2011-2013. Plus, he did get off to a strong start last season before hitting the shelf. His power might take some time to fully return, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he manages 18-20 home runs regardless. Oh, and if you’re a believer in the contract year theory, Wieters will be a free agent at the end of the 2015 season. He’s a potential top-5 fantasy catcher who can be had at a steep discount. In my mind, the reward is well worth the risk.
I’ll just keep drafting Ramos until I’m finally right. One of these years, he’s going to stay healthy, deliver a .280-20-80 line and make me look good. Maybe it’ll happen in 2015, his age-27 season. In all likelihood, enough owners have given up on him that he will be there for the taking outside of the top-12 catchers. If you decide to wait awhile before drafting your No. 1 catcher, there’s nothing wrong with choosing Ramos.
Molina is still a fine fantasy contributor. The problem I have with him is that he’s currently being valued as a no doubt top-5 and borderline top-3 option. Yadier missed a good chunk of the 2014 season as he underwent thumb surgery in mid-July, which explains the disappointing counting stats, but that should not hide the fact that his OPS has been in steady decline ever since he posted a career-best .874 mark back in 2012. At 32 years of age, it is fair to wonder if more injuries, even of the nagging variety, are on the horizon. Give me Wieters or Ramos several rounds later.
Who would’ve thunk it? Arguably the biggest fantasy surprise among catchers last season, Martin registered his highest batting average since his career year of 2007 while posting his highest RBI total since 2008. That said, his .290 batting average was at least partially aided by a higher than normal .336 BABIP, and considering that he was coming off four straight seasons with a sub-.250 AVG, expecting a repeat performance in 2015 is a lot to ask. I wouldn’t mind drafting Martin as my No. 2 catcher, as his move to a hitter-friendly ballpark in Toronto could result in a home run total in the high-teens. But signing with the Blue Jays has also heightened his perceived value to that of a borderline top-10 catcher. At that price, I’ll pass.