In the fall, the fantasy assembly team completed our set of consolidated rankings geared towards keeper leagues. Now, we are back and ready to roll with our first set of re-draft positional rankings. Like we did in the fall, we are getting the party started with the men behind the plate. Before we get into the ranks, however, we need to go over a couple assumptions that we made in determining eligibility.
In order to be eligible, a player needs to meet 1 of the following criteria:
A) 10 appearances at the position in 2013
B) The expectation that the player will be used primarily at a given position in 2014 (example: Miguel Cabrera will appear on our 1B list)
These rankings will focus on 2014, and 2014 only. Without further ado, here are the assembly’s rankings:
1. Buster Posey, SF-
Jim: 4 category stud but no longer worth an early pick with a deep catcher position.
Kevin: Still likely to be the king in 2014.
2. Brian McCann, NYY-
Jeff: with the DH spot most likely upping his 2014 ABs, McCann has a good shot to lead all catchers in RBI.
Tommy: McCann tied for 4th among all catchers in HRs despite logging just 356 ABs. Now that he is in NY, his stock is soaring. Expect more ABs, HRs and counting stats to go with them.
3. Carlos Santana, CLE-
Paul: He could very well be #1 in points leagues.
Peter: I picked him as a breakout candidate for 2014, and I am sticking with the 27 HR/82 run/93 RBI/0.2.62 production.
4. Yadier Molina, STL-
Kevin: Can’t argue with his solid years.
Peter: Not many catchers hit 0.300, are surrounded by a very deep lineup, and basically dare the opponent to run on them.
5. Joe Mauer, MIN-
Jeff: If the move to 1B gets him over the 150 game mark (huge if), he has a good chance.to finish in the top spot.
Peter: The power he showed in 2009 is fading from the memory of fantasy owners, and while he may not approach 28 HR again, the move to full-time 1B, making 2014 the last time he qualifies as a C, should boost his value for 2014.
6. Wilin Rosario, COL-
Jim: There are warning signs with Rosario, but until we see a noticeable drop he’s a top 4 catcher.
Kevin: His power upside is so big that for 2014 I’d take the gamble despite his BA risk and Ks.
7. Matt Wieters, BAL-
Jeff: I think the batting average will rebound from .235 last season, but I do not think it gets over .260.
Tommy: A higher than normal FB rate and somewhat poor production while batting left handed were the reasons for his disappointing 2013. He remains a safe low-end fantasy option with upside for more.
8. Jonathan Lucroy, MIL-
Jim: A cheaper less reliable version of Posey, but will contribute in 4 categories.
Paul: Won’t hurt you anywhere, but I won’t take him in any leagues.
9. Salvador Perez, KC-
Kevin: I expect a breakout if he ever learns to walk.
Paul: Should be good for 15-17 HR and a .300 average.
10. Wilson Ramos, WAS-
Jeff: I would not bet on Ramos playing 140 games, but with 16 homers in 303 at bats
last season the upside is there.
Paul: More upside than Lucroy at less cost.
11. Jason Castro, HOU-
Peter: The Astros will be better in 2014, and that means more RBI opportunities
for Castro, who is poised to hit 20 homers again.
Tommy: Castro enjoyed a lofty HR/FB ratio last season, but his batted ball profile is pretty sick. He hits line drives at a nearly 25% clip and almost never pops out. Castro could be a great value since he will be an afterthought for many drafters.
12. A.J. Pierzynski, BOS-
Jim: I keep writing off the old man and he keeps proving me wrong. Could be solid but his age scares me.
Tommy: He can handle a lot of ABs, hits for decent average and has 15 HR power. Playing in Fenway his numbers should be similar to what they were in Arlington.
13. Evan Gattis, ATL-
Kevin: Just not buying into his few good months from 2013.
Peter: With McCann signing with the Yankees, Gattis has the starter’s job in Atlanta. Like so many power hitting catchers, if you can live with the high strikeout rate, he should reward you with 20-25 homers.
14. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, MIA-
Peter: Salty will get full time at-bats in Miami, so if you can live with the strikeouts (K%) you should be rewarded with good power numbers (HR/AB).
Tommy: To say Salty’s BABIP from 2013 was unsustainable would be an understatement. If you are comfortable with a .220 BA and about 15 HRs along with limited run production, then Salty is your guy. I’m not touching him.
15. Yan Gomes, CLE-
Kevin: Underrated guy who could have a season worthy of a top-10 C.
Peter: Gomes is a reason why you do not need to overpay for a catcher in your draft. 293 at-bats, 11 homers. If you paired him with any of the catchers listed below him, you have a pretty nice platoon.
16. Miguel Montero, ARZ-
Jim: He’s had too many consistent years to be tossed aside because of one bad year.
Jeff: A plummeting fly ball rate with a rising GB% to match is a bad combination for an aging catcher.
17. Travis d’Arnaud, NYM-
Paul: I expect some growing pains here, but I do believe he’ll get every opportunity to succeed.
Peter: You may as well take a shot with this guy late in your draft.
18. Devin Mesoraco, CIN-
Jeff: He has the prospect status to make this ranking look foolish, but I’m not going to pay for the potential.
Tommy: With Dusty Baker gone, Mesoraco becomes an intriguing breakout candidate if he can earn more playing time.
19. Russell Martin, PIT-
Jim: He’s the bottom of the barrel in a 12 team league, but will still give decent numbers in 3 categories.
Paul: I hate .220 hitters. At the C slot there is some forgiveness.
20. Welington Castillo, CHC-
Kevin: Hoping for more as a Cubs fan, but don’t bet big for your fantasy team.
Paul: Should get good at bats. Sometimes that’s all you need from a C.
21. Carlos Ruiz, PHI-
Jeff: between the suspension and injuries it is tough to forecast Ruiz. If he can get to 120 games played, he has a legit shot to be a top 10 catcher. That is no guarantee; hence, this ranking.
Jim: Will occasionally hit for a good average, but other than that he’s nothing special.
22. Alex Avila, DET-
Kevin: Detroit’s offense props up his value.
Paul: 450 abs from Avila < 350 from Gattis but I expect he becomes a respectable waiver wire option.
23. Josmil Pinto, MIN-
Jeff: I need to see more than 83 major league at bats before I get too excited, but the bat has the potential to make this ranking look too low.
Tommy: He has shown the ability to hit for average along with 15-20 HR pop and he is penciled in as the Twins everyday catcher. Whether or not he is durable enough to handle the workload remains to be seen.
24. Yasmani Grandal, SD-
Jim: He’s worth drafting as a second catcher for his upside, but don’t get too attached in redraft leagues.
Tommy: Don’t forget about this guy. He still has a lot of upside. His batted ball profile looked pretty good last year despite poor results.
Check out the rest of our 2014 rankings.