February 12, 2010

2010 Positional Rankings: Catcher

Here's my first look at the backstops in this year's draft. From the big dog Mauer to a few of the Molina bros., these are the guys I'm looking to take, the place where I'd like to take them and their respective tiers.

The King Behind (and at) the Plate
1. Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins (21)- I dare you to find someone who thinks this guy isn't the #1 guy at this position. It just can't be done. While my Packer allegiances might hold me back from supporting a Minnesotan, I'll admit I've got a bit of a man crush on him. I'm still not a supporter of taking him in the first round, however, since catchers have the most risk built into them.

The Guys who would be Great if not for Mauer
2 and 3. Victor Martinez, Cleveland Indians (47); Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves (48)- I could make a case for either of these guys to come off the board at the same time. But I put V-Mart in front of McCann for a few reasons. First, I'm a disgruntled McCann owner from last year and the whole eye-surgery thing still scares me. V-Mart has an amazing lineup surrounding him, whereas the next most intimidating hitter in the Braves lineup may be an aging Chipper Jones. Finally, Martinez's stints at first really help his longevity throughout the season and give him a bit of versatility in your lineup.

4. Matt Weiters, Baltimore Orioles (111)- I call him Neo, because everyone has dubbed him the "Chosen One" as the next masher at the catcher position. I'm not going to lie, the guy has really impressed me. I also nearly jumped for joy when I got him in the 11th round in this year's draft, but you still have to worry about how young he is. But trust me, if he does come into the Neo form this season he could propel you to a championship.

Guys I'd live with
5. Miguel Montero, Arizona Diamondbacks (145)- What's not to love about a young guy who has shown what he can do? There's only room to improve (knock on wood) with a player like Montero, and that's why he lands so high on my list.
6. Russell Martin, Los Angeles Dodgers(154)- A lot of people think this guy has fallen off the map. Hard to think that could happen to a guy in a city like LA. But Joe Torre has definitely done some damage to this guy by putting him out there so often. However, I still have confidence in a catcher with speed though, so go ahead and have confidence in a catcher who has shown he can hit, hit for power and steal a few bases along the way.
7. Jorge Posada, New York Yankees (155)- You know what you're getting when you pick Posada. While he does have his age working against him, you still get a good hitter in the middle of a top lineup in one of the best hitter's parks. Even if he was 60 with a newly replaced hip, I'd still think about taking this guy with his situation.
8. Mike Napoli, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (157)- Napoli is going to miss some games, that's a given. But when he is in the lineup he's a force. He will hit for .270 and I see his slugging coming back up this year to help him hit in the 25 HR range.

The 27s-
9. Geovany Soto, Chicago Cubs (166)- Soto has a special place with me after his breakout season in 2008 helped to propel me to a championship. Had I owned him last year, I probably would not feel any confidence in him. But the guy is entering the magical year of his 27th birthday, and if there was ever a time for him to turn his career around it would be now.
10. Kurt Suzuki, Oakland A's (195)- Alright, this might be cheating a little since he doesn't turn 27 until October but I'm going to lump him here anyway. Suzuki is a solid, durable catcher who will help to make sure you aren't slacking at that position. While Kurt may not blow up for any huge numbers he will allow you to focus on your other positions without having to worry about the first guy on your lineup sheet.

I hope this quick review of a few of my favorite catchers helps. Look for more rankings concerning each position, as well as more depth into the guys behind the plate.