So with my NY Giants going down in flames yesterday thanks to some horrific play calling by Kevin Gilbride, I have decided that now is as a good a time as any to premier my list of Top 10 American League only catchers.
1. Joe Mauer - The best of the best. Earning most of his value from his average and RBI, and with the same cast around him, the Twins have a cornerstone that should've been signed to an extension years ago.
PROJECTION: .320 AVERAGE // 11 HR // 102 RBI // 10 SB
2. Victor Martinez - A close second to Mauer. Came back from an injury to hit .300 in the last month of the season. Will give a lot of starts to Kelly Shoppach, but still qualifies as C and 1b. Still only 29, he may be ready for a power peak this year.
PROJECTION: .301 AVG // 21 HR // 105 RBI // 0 SB
3. Mike Napoli - 2nd half tear was validated by a post season that saw him pitched to as the most dangerous Angels hitter. Entering into his age 27 season, he too could see a power spike.
PROJECTION: .282 AVG// 29 HR // 80 RBI // 0 SB
4. Jorge Posada - Coming off a major down year, he could still drive in 90 hitting 8th in the Yankees lineup. Sleeper coming off last year.
PROJECTION: .275 AVG // 17 HR // 77 RBI // 2 SB
5. Matt Wieters - The most heralded prospect of the year has unbelievable hype surrounding him, and some owner will grab him before some of the more proven commodities. If he simply walks on water, I would expect most people will be disappointed.
PROJECTION: .277 // 16 HR // 68 RBI // 4 SB
6. AJ Pierzynski - Solid, steady White Sox backstop just keeps going, like the Eveready bunny, albeit with a little bit more attitude. Not much upside at this point, but plays in a great hitters park and has appeared in over 134 games every year over the last 3. Expect more of the same in 2009.
PROJECTION: .265 AVG // 15 HR // 65 RBI // 2 SB
7. Kelly Shoppach - Career year when VMart went down last year. Forced the Indians hands, and will probably see 300 ABs this year as well. Big question marks with Ryan Garko and Travis Hafner leave the possibility of Shoppach playing 100 games at C and VMart playing the rest while also playing 1b.
PROJECTION: .272 AVG // 15 HR // 55 RBI // 1 SB
8. Dioner Navarro - Power was a bit lacking last year, but he was only 23 years old for most of the season. I would expect an uptick in power, but not elite numbers.
PROJECTION: .297 // 9 HR // 60 RBI // 2 SB
9. Taylor Teagarden - Impressive showing last year when eh was called up, but don't expect .310 average again. Also, plays in a great park for hitters, if he isn't moved before ST.
PROJECTION: .268 AVG // 12 HR // 50 RBI // 3 SB
10. Rod Barajas - The catcher in TOR now that Gregg Zaun has gone, he will give you that one category, HR, and be liabilities in the others. Solid 2nd catcher if your league has 2 catching spots.
PROJECTION: .244 AVG // 11 HR // 48 RBI // 1 SB
Well, that is my top 10 catchers in the American League. This list also shows why you shouldn't be spending huge amounts of your capital (either $$ or draft picks) with this group.
Additionally, some of my favorite sleepers for 2009 include guys like:
JP Arencibia, Max Ramirez, Jarrod Saltalamacchia (although it is hard to call him a sleeper anymore) and Dusty Ryan in DET.