Tuesday, March 18, 2008
It's Fantasy Baseball Season so it's time to do some Prep Work. Bare in mind that these Preps are as much for me as they are for any other schmuck that happens to read them. If perchance you are in any of my leagues please avoid reading all of this until after our respective drafts. Thanks.
Welcome to the most agonizing position in fantasy baseball. If you have ever had to draft two catchers in a fantasy league you now understand how painfully awful major league catchers are at hitting a baseball. When you're looking at the 20th catcher or worse in your starting lineup you'll certainly see guys that contribute absolutely nothing.
So the question is asked. How much should you value the top 4 catchers? Victor Martinez, Russell Martin, Brian McCann and Joe Mauer are all solid contributors to a fantasy baseball team. But all will cost a high draft pick. For myself, in a league where you need to start a single catcher, none of these players are worth their position. Why? Because the 11th and 12th catchers aren't all that bad. However, in a league where two catchers are needed a long and hard thought should be made on whether any of these players should be drafted.
So why such a negative look on catchers? First off they don't play as many games as everybody else. Even the best catchers the absolute elite typically take a game off a week. This is the advantage of Victor Martinez over all other catchers. On games that he does not catch he often plays first base. To a certain extent Joe Mauer and Jorge Posada also play a few additional games in the DH role. So look at that when drafting a player. Estimate how many games he will play this season. Does he have a solid backup who could also play a bunch of games. This will highly decrease that players value.
Don't be afraid to take risks at catcher. The backend catchers are going to suck almost certainly. So do not be afraid to roll the dice with a rookie like J.R. Towles. Will he suck? Probably. But atleast there's a chance he could be a decent contributor while in comparison players like Carlos Ruiz and Yadier Molina are proven busts.
Basically the strategy for catchers is never reach. They aren't worth as much as other positions for the reason that they don't play many games. Even the best catchers will take about 20 games off.