Fantasy Catcher Rankings Part 2: 12-6

It is never too early to start with Fantasy Baseball rankings for 2015 (even in October). Today, we continue with part 2 of Fantasy Catcher Rankings.

In this article, we continue to discuss catchers and my initial rankings for them (which are subject to change based on changes to projected playing time, free agency, trades, etc.

Since we are moving higher in the rankings, one thing that will be pointed out is potential red flags to keep in mind with each player.

12) J.P. Arencibia

Projection: .220/.272/.416 24 HR 70 RBI 49 R 0 SB = 31.4

Arencibia is the poster child for someone who has a ranking that is subject to change. If he can get regular playing time (similar to what he did in 2013) it is possible he can hit for enough power to someone mitigate his poor AVG. If he is unable to get regular (or any playing time) he could be ranked much, much lower by opening day.

While I like the 20-25 HR potential, there is high risk that his low AVG (and .272 projected OBP) costs him playing time sooner rather than later.

Red Flag: Playing time not guaranteed, Poor AVG/OBP numbers

11) Russell Martin

Projection: .250/.366/.391 12 HR 59 RBI 60 R 6 SB = 34.2

While Martin had a solid 2014, his perceived value may be higher as he was a valuable cog to a Pirates team that made it to the wild card game. Martin is someone who is more valuable in real life than he is for fantasy players.

That .290 AVG from this year is a mirage as it was aided by a .336 BABIP (.289 career total). His AVG will likely return to more pedestrian totals next year. While he does get a small bump with 6 projected SB (very high by catcher standards), his power numbers should stay steady.

Red Flag: 2014 AVG BABIP Fueled

10) Yadier Molina

Projection: .274/.345/.392 9 HR 65 RBI 50 R =34.3

Molina’s season was shortened by injury and we’re working under the assumption that he’ll stay healthy for all of 2015. While the power numbers are lower than many of the players ranked lower than him, his relatively better AVG gives him a modest boost in value.

Red Flag: Don’t expect many HR

9) Devin Mesoraco

Projection: .239/.322/.426 22 HR 76 RBI 57 R 1 SB = 37.4

Mesoraco is a good value, as long as your expectations are tempered before you draft him. Expecting him to hit .273 is likely asking too much as his BABIP last year (.309) is well above his career total of .271.

While I don’t think he’s going to be as fortunate with his HR total as he had a 20.5% HR/FB rate last year compared to a 14.6% career total, this should be partially counteracted by an increase in playing time for 2015.

Red Flag: Low AVG

8) Miguel Montero

Projection: .270/.367/.427 15 HR 75 RBI 61 R 0 SB = 40.8

Despite reaching double figures in HR, Montero had his second consecutive below-average season (as measured by wRC+). However, not all is lost. His AVG was dragged down by a .275 BABIP (.306 career total) and his Runs scored was impacted by playing for a bad Arizona team. His HR/RBI numbers should stay steady and move his value back into the top 10 for Catchers. However, there is also the risk that the low BABIP numbers are a sign of decline, not bad luck.

Red Flag: Could be headed towards downside of career quicker than expected

7) Yan Gomes

Projection: .278/.328/.466 20 HR 68 RBI 63 R 0 SB = 42.0

Gomes is a relatively safe bet to replicate his numbers from 2014. His BABIP actually went down from his 2013 performance (but was still relatively high at .326) and his HR/FB rate was only slightly above his career total (14.4% last year versus 13.8% in his career). In addition, he also saw a healthy increase in LD% (17.8% to 24%) further strengthening the argument that his power breakout is legitimate. The primary reason Gomes is this low is playing time (518 PA last year is his career high). While his power is legitimate, one concern is that could hurt in the long term both his BB% & K% both trended in the wrong direction.

Red Flags: Playing time & Low BB Rate

6) Matt Wieters

Projection: .268/.353/.434 23 HR 75 RBI 62 R 0 SB = 42.9

Wieters was off to a promising start last year before losing the rest of 2014 due to injury after 26 games. Expecting a repeat of his .308 AVG would set expectations too high due to a higher than usual BABIP (.329 compared to .285 in his career). Assuming a clean bill of health, he should return to the 22-23 HR range he was in from 2011-2013. One thing to keep an eye out for is his Line Drive Percentage (LD%) which was much higher last year 29.9% than his career total of 18.5%. If he continues this momentum into 2015, he could easily move his way up these rankings

Red Flags: Health, Batting Average

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