Brian, Catcher, Projections, Rankings

Brian’s Top 16 Catcher Rankings and Projections for ’14

Jon Heder stars as Buster Posey in the drama "Catching: Life on My Knees"

Jon Heder stars as Buster Posey in the drama “Catching: Life on My Knees”

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be doing rankings this year, but here I am, on a Sunday morning (with plenty of actual work to be doing) thinking about baseball, watching baseball, and projecting baseball. Like every year, I begin with the men behind the plate, not because they’re an integral part of fantasy, but because they’re the generals of the infield; everything has to go through these squatting men.

There are probably 2-3 catchers I would entertain taking in the top-100 (entertain, not necessarily enact). Outside of the top three, all backstops are created equal. I know I’ve said this many times before–in conversation, on message boards, and right here on Rotoballs, but–do not waste a mid-round pick on a catcher (unless you’re in a league that requires two catchers). As my projections will show, the difference between Carlos Santana and Jarrod Saltalamacchia is negligible.

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Brian, Busts, Overrated, Sleepers, Underrated

Sleepers and Busts for 2013

“Capitalism without bankruptcy is like Christianity without hell.”

-Frank Borman

Borman did his research. So should you.

Borman did his research. So should you.

The word “worth” means to be good or important enough to justify. Is this worth my time? Or He isn’t worth his weight in gold. Or It’s worth looking into. Retired NASA astronaut Frank Borman can teach us all a little something about worth. In 1968, he, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders orbited the moon in Apollo 8, the first of 24 humans ever to do so. That was a worthwhile experience. A year earlier, Borman was selected as the only astronaut to sit on the AS-204 Accident Review Board during the investigation of the Apollo 1 cabin fire that killed three astronauts. If you were to ask him today about that preventable fire, surely he would say that mission was not worth the lives of those three men.

Fantasy sports, like exploration, and like capitalism, are about taking risks. Those who make the best calculations, however, risk less. In exploration, the difference between a calculated risk and an uncalculated risk is life and death. And needless to say, if you die during exploration, it wasn’t worth your time. In capitalism, it’s the difference between success and bankruptcy. In fantasy sports, it’s between winning and losing.

But if you focus your lens even more, it’s the difference between overpaying for a player and getting a player at a discount. Is it worth drafting a catcher in the second round? Or I think this player will be worth more by season’s end. And when we’re talking about value of individual players unequivocally we’re talking about sleepers and busts.

A sleeper, according to this writer, is a player outside the top 150 (Average Draft Position) whose actual value is greater than the price you pay. A bust is any player whose ADP is greater than his actual value. To give an example of both: drafting Buster Posey, a catcher, in the second round would be an example of a bust and drafting Lonnie Chisenhall, a starting third baseman in the final round would be an example of a sleeper.

Long after his astronaut career was over, Borman said this: “Had that rocket not fired, I’d still be orbiting the moon. Forever. And I really didn’t want to do that.”

Neither do you.

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Brian, Catcher, Projections, Rankings

Brian’s Top 13 Catcher Rankings and Projections for ’13

It's been a long road since this moment for Posey.

It’s been a long road since this moment for Posey.

With the Super Bowl over and the commencement of Februany and Subway, it’s time to start rolling out the Twenty-Thirteen rankings. Since pitchers and catchers are reporting soon, I figured to start with catchers and work my way down the position list.

Over the past couple seasons, we’ve seen a shift in the position. Once top heavy, catcher is now a flooded market. In 2013, drafting a catcher is like buying a beer; there are so many good ones to choose from, you almost can’t go wrong. As I said on our last podcast, there are easily seventeen startable (not a real word, but in fantasy sports it is) catchers, although I’m only choosing to list 13 here.

It would prove pointless to talk about the reigning MVP, Buster Posey, but it is worth noting that he is the only catcher who should be drafted in the top-50 of any draft (and that includes keeper leagues) because on top of being a ridiculously deep position this year, catcher is the weakest position on the fantasy diamond. Most catchers only play 4-5 games a week and suffer in the AB department because of it.

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Brian, Catcher, Projections, Rankings

Brian’s Top 12 Catcher Rankings and Projections for ’12

Catcher is a silly position in 2012

If you could pick one position that you would love to not draft in 2012, what would it be? Shut up, it’s not DH you silly suckers, it’s catcher. Gone are the days where you could draft a sure stud behind the plate. Victor Martinez is hobbling around somewhere in the geriatric ward, while Jorge Posada took his tear-soaked glove and box of tissues home with him. The mainstays, like Brian McCann and Joe Mauer, are still here, but neither can be called difference makers anymore. McCann hasn’t shown the power everyone thought he would develop and Mauer, injured and banged up over the past few seasons, hasn’t regained that power stroke he had in ’09.

There are a few youngsters at the position, all of which have upside, but a significant and daunting downside. Catcher for the Tribe, Carlos Santana (26 years old), has shown that power that McCann hasn’t, but he’s a whiff machine and only amassed 132 hits in 552 at-bats. Buster Posey (24) possesses all the skills to be a big-time player, but coming off a significant injury could limit his playing time. Jesus Montero (22), the youngest of the bunch, gave us a tantalizing glimpse, albeit a brief one, at what could be the beginning of a wonderful career. But playing for the Mariners will limit his scoring opportunities. Finally, J.P. Arencibia (26) is a masher, but equally a golden sombrero wearer, but if you’re in 5×5 you won’t have to worry about his strikeouts.

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Brian, Manifesto

Manifesto ’12

Dear Rotoballers,

"This zin has a nutty smell...reminds me of my managing strategies."

In last year’s Manifesto, we warned you to stick to fantasy football, to go with your guns, to save yourself from a life of solitude that would almost certainly lead to loss of job, girlfriend, and family. But you didn’t listen, did you? You dipped your toe in at the start, you asked yourself – “Well, I mean, I like fantasy football, why not try baseball?” – and then you signed up and drafted and, like any beginner, you won a few early match-ups that led to this line of thinking: “I’m an expert!” So you set your lineup to “coast” and kicked up your feet with a glass of white Zinfandel and gave yourself a nice pat on the back as if to say, “I’m great…this isn’t so hard…I must’ve been born with one of those special gifts…that’s what I am, I’m gifted.”

"It's like the real life Titanic! Oh, wait."

Then Buster Posey (the guy you drafted because you took a shining to his name the way a woman takes a liking to a shade of eye-shadow because it matches her purse) shredded his leg like it went through a wood chipper and Josh Tomlin (the player you picked up in early April because you didn’t draft a full pitching staff in March) remembered he wasn’t Bob Feller and your team started to sink like an Italian cruise ship in the Mediterranean: slow and steady.

And you being here, reading this, means one of two things: 1) You jumped ship, leaving your team at the depths and you’re back to prove to yourself that you can handle a full season or 2) You went down with that burdensome mass of a team and you think you can do better this year.

Well, Rotoballers, you can and you will.

Tebow is trying his darndest.

Even though those crazy Mayans predicted that 2012 would result in the end of all things, the Rotoballs team will make sure it’s not because of your fantasy team.

Now that we’ve weeded out the weak and are left with those of you who are truly addicted, hooked like a 30-year heroin user, we can get down to business (it’s business time!). Last year was a trial run, for all of us, even the Rotoballs team. We’ve never had to worry about the well-being of other fantasy teams, just our own, and that extra weight on our backs became a little much near the end of the season; I won’t name any names (smuggling plums), but some of us had trouble sleeping and keeping our wits about us. But we’re all a year older, a year wiser, and we’re never, ever going to draft Adam Dunn again (hopefully).

Dunn was as relevant as Gordon Beckham in 2011.

2011 saw the rise of young hitters (Freddie Freeman, Desmond Jennings, Mark Trumbo, etc.), while other hitters decided they’d rather swing and miss (the aforementioned Dunn, Alex Rios, Hanley Ramirez, Jason Heyward, etc.).

We saw the resurgence of pitching along with a new wave of elite closers.

David Freese turned into Superman during the playoffs, and even though his stock is rising, we aren’t buying. Think Bossman Junior Upton circa 2008.

Top-tier catchers basically do not exist anymore.

If this shirt doesn't scream "innocence", we don't know what does.

In the off-season, all the first basemen went to the American League (sorry NL-Only formats). Ryan Braun peed in a cup and supposedly will be suspended for 50 games, but that still doesn’t deter us from salivating over him. I, for one, still have nightly wet dreams about the Hebrew Hammer.

In closing, Rotoballers, it’s time for you to shed your “beginner” nametag, welcome your sophomore year with open arms, and outperform and distance yourself from your previous efforts. When you get the urge to kick your feet up and drink white wine, keep one eye on the waiver wire. When draft day comes and you’re about to draft a player because he has a “cute” name, don’t. In April, when your girlfriend wants to know when you’re going to come back to bed, shut the door in her face. With any hope, she’ll disappear one day.


The Rotoballs Team

Can you really blame her?