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Entries in Yadier Molina (5)

Sunday
Feb172013

Top 16 Fantasy Baseball Catchers

In the past the catcher position has been the vagabond of all my fantasy teams. In an attempt to achieve optimal fantasy value from the offensively deficient position I would scour the waiver wire for the catcher with the best matchup for the upcoming week. But those days are gone. There are a lot of players who are currently being drafted outside the top five could provide top five fantasy production.

Fantasy owners in one catcher 10-12 mixed league can easily wait until the end of the draft and find fantasy goodness. If you’re in a two catcher 10-12 mixed league waiting until the end of the draft is another viable strategy, but I recommend trying to get two in the top 16 outlined below. Even though the position is deep, most of the players provide statistical silos, providing above average production in one or two categories. Some players provide a lot of pop but will struggle to provide batting average while some players will provide a lot of runs and a high batting average with no power.

  1. Buster Posey, SF
  2. Yadier Molina, STL
  3. Wilin Rosario, COL
  4. Joe Mauer, MIN
  5. Matt Wieters, BAL
  6. Miguel Montero, ARZ
  7. Carlos Santana, CLE
  8. Salvador Perez, KC
  9. Jonathan Lucroy, MIL
  10. Victor Martinez, DET
  11. Alex Avila, DET
  12. Brian McCann, ATL
  13. Jesus Montero, SEA
  14. A.J. Pierzynski, TEX
  15. John Jaso, OAK
  16. Welington Castillo, CHC

Honorable Mention: Ryan Doumit, Travis d’Arnaud, Carlos Ruiz

*If Yasmani Grandal didn’t start the year with a 50 game suspension he would have ranked eleventh overall.

Additional Information:

  1. Posey is the best catcher in the game. However, he’s extremely likely to regress in 2013. For more detailed information check out Posey’s player profile.
  2. What’s not to love? As Molina has matured he’s grown into power. This is evidenced by his home run totals increasing year-over-year. Don’t overlook the 6-10 steals he provides. It may not seem like a lot in the team aggregate, but it provides more flexibility with their roster construction.
  3. Rosario had the quietest 28 HRs of anyone in baseball last year. Even though he’s helped greatly by Coors, his short swing will provide enough contact to hit for a solid average on the road. If he plays a full year 20 home runs is his floor.
  4. With his injury concerns I don’t see Mauer spending any more than 80-90 games behind the plate, which is great. I have more confidence that he will stay healthy playing fewer games behind the plate.
  5. Almost guarantee for 18+ home runs with a .255 average. Wieters’ batting average ceiling is limited because when he bats left handed he’s usually facing a shift. One of these years he’s going to have a breakout year, I just do not know when. If fantasy owners want to go the extra dollar or grab him a round early, it’s understandable.
  6. Montero routinely hits fourth and fifth in the lineup, almost guaranteeing he’ll bat with runners on base. He had the fourth most plate appearances with runners on base among catchers.
  7. Santana’s horrible May and June masked what could have been a better year than his 2011 campaign. He cut down on the strikeouts, which provides optimism he can return to the .260 batting average he hit in 2010. He’s a notorious slow starter, which makes a great buy low candidate in June.
  8. Last year was the second year in a row Perez put up solid numbers, albeit in small sample sizes, and is still not talked about in the main stream media. I believe part of this is due to the small, team friendly five-year, $7 million contract he signed a year ago. He’s a solid contact hitter with gap power that will allow him to hit .295 and 11-14 home runs.
  9. Lucroy has a really good approach at the plate; hardly swinging at pitches out of the zone. I doubt he’ll hit .320 again, but he should hit .285 with 12-15 home runs.
  10. Martinez only hit 12 home runs in 2011, which is a little troubling. However, he’s expected to bat fifth, behind Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder so he’ll have a lot of run producing opportunities. Make sure he qualifies at catcher. CBS for example only counts him as a DH.
  11. The fantasy darling two years ago had big drop in production last year. Perhaps the cause for Avila’s sub-par year was a troubled left knee? Avila is a great buy low candidate; if you can grab him towards the end of the draft you should.
  12. In October McCann had surgery on his right shoulder, which could have dramatically impacted his offense last year. Historically he’s hit in the middle of the order, but with the recent additions to the team, he’ll likely bat sixth of seventh, reducing his RBI and run opportunities.
  13. Safeco Field suppressed his fantasy output last year. Montero hit .295 on the road compared to only .227 at home. He will enter the season as the everyday catcher, which hurts his fantasy value. Usually it takes longer for catching prospects to develop their hitting because more time is allocated to preparing defensively for each individual game than any other position player.
  14. Can Pierzynski repeat his 2012 numbers? Very unlikely. Even though he’s moving to a more hitter friendly ballpark, the 2012 season screams outlier. These are his home run totals since 2005: 18, 16, 14, 13, 13, 9, 8, and 27. Which number looks out place?
  15. It’s only a matter of time Jaso’s career .359 OBP is batting leadoff or second for the Athletics. If he does he could score 80+ runs with a decent average.
  16. I love Castillo. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hits 20 home runs this year. For a more detailed analysis check out Castillo’s player profile.

 

Sunday
Sep302012

High-Ball Slugging Puts Posey, Molina in MVP Conversation

Buster Posey and Yadier Molina are both having historically awesome seasons, raking at the plate (Posey has a league-best 172 OPS+, Molina checks in at 141) and vaporizing base runners behind it (Molina has thrown out 47% of would-be thieves, and Posey has erased 30%). That blend of offensive and defensive prowess at a premium position has made both serious NL MVP Award contenders, with Molina tied for second in Baseball-Reference Wins Above Replacement and Posey placing fifth.

Posey or Molina could beat out the likes of Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Braun and David Wright for that hardware thanks in part to the backstops crushing pitches thrown high in the strike zone. Check out Posey and Molina's slugging percentage by pitch location this season:

Posey

 

Molina

 

Posey and Molina rank second and third, respectively, in slugging on pitches thrown high in the zone:

Highest slugging percentage on high pitches among qualified hitters

BatterSlugging Pct.
Carlos Beltran .725
Buster Posey .702
Yadier Molina .694
Ryan Braun .664
Adam LaRoche .643
Mark Teixeira .636
Aaron Hill .610
Paul Goldschmidt .608
Billy Butler .608
Aramis Ramirez .600
MLB Avg. .387

 

Pitchers try not to challenge these two with high stuff, throwing Posey and Molina an elevated pitch about 22% of the time (26% MLB average). That's smart, considering any hurler who misses high over the next few days risks getting a shout-out in a Posey or Molina acceptance speech.

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