BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 14: Matt Wieters #32 of the Baltimore Orioles follows his two RBI home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the eighth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 14, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Orioles defeated the Rays 6-2. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
I was going over Fangraphs catcher stats for 2011 about a week or two ago and was shocked with how many catchers hit for double digit home runs this season. Actually, catcher might be the new power position that fantasy owners should consider heading into the offseason trade market in keeper leagues and 2012 fantasy drafts. To give you an idea of the power at the catcher position, here are a few facts:
- There were 21 catchers with 11 or more home runs vs 13 in 2010
- There were 14 catcher who hit 15 or more home runs vs 9 in 2010
- There were 5 catchers with 20 or more home runs vs 4 in 2010
- There was 1 catcher with 30 home runs vs zero in 2010
- There were 21 catchers with 11 or more home runs vs 21 third baseman in 2011
- There were 14 catcher who hit 15 or more home runs vs 12 third baseman in 2011
- There were 5 catchers with 20 or more home runs vs 5 third baseman in 2011
- There was 1 catcher with 30 home runs vs 3 third baseman in 2011
Last offseason, I toyed with the idea of ranking Indians catcher Carlos Santana as my #1 catcher, but eventually changed it to Brian McCann. Well, McCann may be looking up to Santana in my rankings heading into 2012. In addition, there are a few young catchers who might be moving ahead of McCann in future years. Ponder this comparison:
Catcher A: .270-.351-..466, 24 HRs, 71 RBIs, 51 runs
Catcher B: .262-.328-.450, 22 HRs, 68 RBI, 72 runs
Catcher A is Brian McCann. Catcher B plays in the AL East and doesn't play for a playoff team and his name is Matt Wieters. Yes, it finally appears that Wieters is reaching his potential at the plate in the big leagues. I think he will have a breakout season in 2012.
Fantasy owners will also have to consider whether Alex Avila's 2011 season was a career year or a sign of what we can expect in the future. Avila hit 19 HRs and drove in 82 runs in his first full season in the majors. In 2012, we get Jesus Montero's first full season in the big leagues, and if he can maintain his catcher eligibility, hitting in Yankee stadium, in that lineup, he could be a top 5 fantasy catcher.
How about another young catcher- Devin Mesoraco? He'll be hitting in a pretty good Reds lineup, hitting in one of the best hitters parks in baseball, with a solid bat and power. Jason Parks from Baseball Prospectus thinks he will eventually be a middle of the order bat, so he could make some noise in 2012 as well.
For the first time in several years, fantasy owners will have plenty of choices at the catcher position in 2012 fantasy drafts. And Brian McCann may not be at the top of the fantasy catcher rankings for the first time in a few years as well.
Even with power down this season, fantasy owners will have a few more choices should they miss out on power at other positions in 2012 fantasy drafts.