The top-10 pre-season positional rankings continue here at FBS. We will now take an in depth look at the backstop position; possibly the most important on the field when it comes to defense. But which catchers will be helping their teams and their fantasy baseball owners on the offensive side of the ball?
Please Note: Stats seen below are as follows: AVG HR RBI R SB/Att. ABs
1. Joe Mauer – Minnesota Twins (27)
2010: .327 9 75 88 1/5 (510)
I put Mauer as the top fantasy baseball catcher heading into 2011 because he is the best all around hitter at the position. While the 28 HRs of ’09 may not be duplicated, the 9 HRs from last year should go up. He is always a threat to win another batting title and his RBI and Runs totals should make him the first catcher taken.
2. Brian McCann – Atlanta Braves (27)
2010: .269 21 77 63 5/7 (479)
McCann enters the 2011 season as the cleanup hitter for an improved Braves offense. He will get more protection in the lineup with the addition of Dan Uggla. McCann has been durable and consistent, averaging 139 games played with 21 HRs and 87 RBI the last five seasons. He is also a career .289 hitter so all of McCann’s numbers could go up from last year.
3. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants (24)
2010: .305 18 67 58 0/2 (406)
The right combination of talent and opportunity equals production. Posey not only has the talent to be the best all around catcher in the game, but he also will be relied upon to be the primary run producer for the Giants. Posey will not kill you in any one category and will be above average in all offense categories for his position. You could make an argument for him over McCann and even Mauer because he is only 24 years old.
4. Victor Martinez – Detroit Tigers (32)
2010: .302 20 79 64 1/1 (493)
Martinez arrives in Detroit after signing a 4 yr/$50m contract this off-season. While I am cautious of drafting players who just signed a big free agent contract, that feeling is minimized because of how good Martinez is at a thin fantasy position. He will DH most of the time in Detroit and hit 5th in the lineup behind Miguel Cabrera. The switch-hitting Martinez has the ability to continue to be a top tier catcher in 2011.
5. Geovany Soto – Chicago Cubs (28)
2010: .280 17 53 47 0/1 (322)
Soto had his ’10 season cut short by having surgery on his right shoulder in September. He is expected to be ready to go when pitchers and catchers report. After winning the Rookie of the Year award in ’08, Soto slumped in ’09 and then rebounded in ’10. He plays in a hitters ballpark and will bat in the middle of the Cubs lineup. A return to his ’08 numbers is possible if he is healthy.
6. Matt Wieters – Baltimore Orioles (24)
2010: .249 11 55 37 0/1 (446)
Trying to improve on a promising ’09 season, Wieters took a step back in ’10. He is still only 24 years old though and will play his home games in a hitters ballpark. Baltimore has said Wieters is a big part of their future and will get his opportunities. Wieters could be a “post-hype” sleeper and outperform his draft position in 2011.
7. Jorge Posada – New York Yankees (39)
2010: .248 18 57 49 3/4 (383)
With Posada expected to be the primary DH, he has a chance to improve on his numbers from last season, even at 39 years old. He has been a great power hitting catcher his whole career and will still be an important part of a powerful Yankees lineup. His name recognition could have him go in an earlier round than he should, but if he is available in the right round he is still a #1 Catcher.
8. Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians (24)
2010: .260 6 22 23 3/3 (150)
Santana entered the ’10 season as one of the best prospects in baseball, regardless of position. He was called up in mid-June but his promising season ended abruptly when he injured his knee blocking home plate on August 2nd. Santana has recently resumed baseball activities and if he is physically ready to play he could be one of the best low risk/high reward players available.
9. Miguel Montero – Arizona Diamondbacks (27)
2010: .266 9 43 36 0/1 (297)
Montero was mentioned as one of the catchers to watch in fantasy baseball heading into the ’10 season, but was limited to only 297 ABs after he injured his right knee in early April. He still was able to put up decent power numbers in a limited amount of ABs and could really improve his numbers playing his home games in Arizona’s good offensive park. Still only 27 years old, Montero could move up in the catcher rankings if he stays healthy.
10. Kurt Suzuki – Oakland Athletics (27)
2010: .242 13 71 55 3/5 (495)
Entering his 27 year old season, Suzuki will continue to hit in the middle of the A’s lineup that was improved by the offseason acquisitions of David DeJesus and Hideki Matsui. He had good power numbers for a catcher last year, and his .242 average seems like an aberration, based on his BA the previous two seasons. If completely healthy he could be back to around .275 in ’11. The A’s value his defense and work with their young pitching staff, so Suzuki will get his chance to produce with the bat. He has the talent and opportunity to be a good value pick if you draft him in the late rounds.