Fantasy Baseball: 2013 Catcher Rankings - Part 1

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The fantasy baseball writers here at Fake Teams got together to rank the fantasy catchers for 2013. Today, I bring you Part 1 of the Fake Teams consensus Fantasy Catcher Rankings for 2013.

Bret provided you with The State of the Fantasy Catcher Position earlier this morning, and now I bring you Part 1 of our consensus catcher rankings. The writers involved in the rankings include Bret, Jason, Craig and myself. Before I get to the player profiles, here are the individual rankings, as well as the consensus catcher rankings for 2013.

Each of us were tasked with ranking our Top 25 Catchers for 2013, and while the top 7-8 catchers were ranked closely by each of us, there are some huge disparities in our rankings for certain catchers heading into 2013. Carlos Ruiz was ranked anywhere from 5th to 16th for 2013, and Braves catcher Brian McCann was ranked from 8th to 18th. I was the low guy on McCann, and I will explain my reasoning in his player profile in Part 2 of our Catcher Rankings for 2013.

Our consensus catcher rankings were calculated by assigning 25 points for a first place vote, 24 points for a second place vote and so on. But to compensate for some catchers not receiving a vote, we assigned a 2 point bonus if the catcher received a Top 25 ranking. There's also a 2-point bonus for appearing on a list, which gives more weight (in close scenarios) to players who appeared on more lists. Hence why d'Arnaud is ahead of Arencibia, despite having a lower "raw" number (d'Arnaud gets 4 additional points for appearing on all 4 lists as opposed to 2).

Now let's take a look at the Fake Teams Consensus Catcher Rankings for 2013:

Rank

Player

Team

Ray

Bret

Jason

Craig

Score

App

1

Buster Posey

SF

1

1

1

1

108

4

2

Yadier Molina

STL

3

4

2

2

101

4

3

Joe Mauer

MIN

5

2

6

3

96

4

4

Carlos Santana

CLE

2

3

3

8

96

4

5

Matt Wieters

BAL

4

5

4

7

92

4

6

Miguel Montero

ARZ

6

12

7

4

83

4

7

Wilin Rosario

COL

9

6

10

13

74

4

8

Victor Martinez

DET

7

7

12

12

74

4

9

Carlos Ruiz

PHI

8

13

5

16

70

4

10

Mike Napoli

TEX

16

11

9

6

70

4

11

Sal Perez

KC

14

9

11

9

69

4

12

Jonathan Lucroy

MLW

13

14

13

5

67

4

13

Jesus Montero

SEA

10

8

18

10

66

4

14

Brian McCann

ATL

18

15

8

11

60

4

15

Ryan Doumit

MIN

12

10

20

14

56

4

16

AJ Pierzynski

CHW

11

16

24

15

46

4

17

A.J. Ellis

LAD

15

20

17

17

43

4

18

Yasmani Grandal

SD

21

17

15

18

41

4

19

Russell Martin

NYY

17

24

16

21

34

4

20

Alex Avila

DET

19

19

25

20

29

4

21

Travis d'Arnaud

TOR

20

25

21

25

21

4

22

JP Arencibia

TOR

NR

NR

14

22

20

2

23

Derek Norris

OAK

25

21

NR

19

19

3

24

Wilson Ramos

WSH

NR

22

19

NR

15

2

25

Chris Iannetta

LAA

NR

18

NR

24

14

2

I will break the catcher rankings into two articles, with Part 1 that includes player profiles for the Top 13 Fantasy Catchers for 2013, and Part 2 that includes player profiles for catchers ranked 14-25, which will be posted on Wednesday morning.

The Fake Teams Consensus 2013 Fantasy Catcher Rankings and Player Profiles:

1. Buster Posey, SFG

Posey had an MVP type season for the World Champion Giants in 2012. He easily surpassed my low expectations for him coming into the season. I thought his leg injury would limit his power this season, but that was far from the case. Posey hit .336-.408-.549 with 24 HRs, 78 runs and 103 RBI in 530 at bats. His .213 ISO was a career high, but his .368 BABIP shows he may have been a little lucky in the batting average category this season. His line drive rate of 24.6% ranked 13th among all qualified hitters this season. For 2013, I don't see him hitting .336 again, but I could see the power staying in the 20-25 range, with upside to 27-28.

2013 Projection: He should provide fantasy owners with a .300 BA, 25 HRs, 80 runs and 95 RBI in 2013..

2, Yadier Molina, STL

Like Posey, Molina had the best year of his 9 year career in 2012, hitting .315-.373-.501 with 22 HRs, 65 runs, 76 RBI and 12 stolen bases. Prior to 2012, Molina never hit more than 14 HRs in any one season, and has seen his HR numbers jump from 6 in 2010 to 22 in 2012, and I think some of the credit has to go to hitting coach Mark McGwire. Just a hunch, but who saw David Freese and Allen Craig having the years they had back in spring training. I didn't. Back to Molina, he turned 30 in July, so we could see him performance start to decline in the next year or two, as catchers tend to get injured a bit.

2013 Projection: I see Molina sustaining the jump in power, hitting .280-285 with 18 HRs, 65 runs and 80 RBI in 2013. If he can put up double digit stolen bases again, he will deserve our #2 ranking for the catcher position.

3. Joe Mauer, MIN

Man, I used to be the down on "Mauer with no power", but am starting to warm up to what he brings fantasy owners on an annual basis. Mauer hit .319-.416-.446 with 10 HRs, 31 doubles, 81 runs, 85 RBI and 8 stolen bases in 2012. That was his highest stolen base total since 2006, and his highest HR and RBI totals since 2009, when he ht 28 HRs and knocked in 96 runs. His 81 runs lead all fantasy catchers, while his 85 RBI ranked behind only Buster Posey and Miguel Montero. One thing you can count on from Mauer is a .300 batting average, and if he can maintain the double digit power, or better yet, reach the 15-18 level, he easily could move into the #2 ranking amongst fantasy catchers.

2013 Projection: I see him hitting .315 with 13 HRs, 80 runs, 90 RBI and 6-9 stolen bases in 2013.

4. Carlos Santana, CLE

I had Santana ranked as my #1 fantasy catcher heading into the 2012 season, but his slow first half at the plate brought his full season stats lower than expected. Santana hit just 5 home runs in the first three months of the season, but ended the season hitting .252-.365-.420 with 18 HRs, 72 runs and 76 RBI. What fantasy owners have to wonder is if he can carry his strong second half into the 2013 season. In 263 second half at bats, Santana hit .281-.389-.498 with 13 HRs, 41 runs, and 46 RBI. He owns a solid eye at the plate, as evidenced by his 0.90 BB/K in 2012. Some are starting to question whether he will stay at catcher, but fantasy owners don't have to worry about that yet.

2013 Projection: I see him building on his 2012 second half, hitting .260 with 23 HRs, 70 runs and 80 RBI in 2013.

5. Matt Wieters, BAL

Wieters is on the cusp of a monster season, and he easily could be a few spots higher in these rankings, but he continues to disappoint those who have called for him to breakout (read ME). Wieters hit .249-.329-.435 with 23 HRs, 67 runs and 83 RBI in 2012, with 10 of his home runs and 34 of his RBI coming in the last two months of the season. Multiply that by three and you can see what kind of breakout season he could put up if the power stayed consistent month to month.

2013 Projection: I project him to hit .255 with 25 HRs, 65 runs and 80 RBI in 2012.

6. Miguel Montero, ARI

Montero has been one of the more consistent hitting fantasy catchers over the last to seasons. Here are his stats over the last two seasons:

2011: .282-.351-.469, 18 HRs, 65 runs, 86 RBI

2012: .286-.391-.438 15 HRs, 65 runs, 88 RBI

One would think that he would have a better home/road split than he does, but in actuality, he has the reverse split when it comes to the power categories. He has hit 48 of his 73 career home runs on the road, but all of his other hitting stats are relatively the same over his career. Montero hit .286-.391-.438 with 15 HRs, 68 runs, and 88 RBI in 2012. He raised his walk rate from 8.5% to 12.7% in 2012. The Diamondbacks seem to be ridding themselves of strikeout prone hitters over the last few years, with Chris Young traded to the Athletics and Justin Upton dominating offseason trade rumors once again.

2013 Projection: I see Montero hitting .280 with 17 HRs, 60-70 runs, and 85-90 RBI.

7. Wilin Rosario, COL

This season could go down as one of the best rookie classes ever, as who would have thought that a rookie who lead all catchers in home runs would be one of the top candidates for Rookie of the Year, but that is not the case for Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario. Rosario showed off his in-game power in 2012, hitting 28 HRs, driving in 71 runs, all in under 400 at bats. Rosario hit .270-.312-.530 in 2012, but was a monster at Coors Field, hitting .297-.348-.609 with 18 HRs, 46 runs and 44 RBI in just over 200 at bats. And he wasn't a full time starter in 2012. Rosario has the power to repeat his 28 home run rookie season, but I worry that pitchers will find and exploit his weaknesses in 2013.

2013 Projection: I see Rosario hitting .250 with 22 HRs and 65 RBI in 2013.

8. Victor Martinez, DET

VMart is returning from a torn ACL in his left knee, and should be ready to start the 2013 season. I don't see him catching much in 2013, as he will more than likely be the Tigers full time DH, so next year will probably be his last year with catcher eligibility.

2013 Projection: Martinez isn't the 20 home run hitter he once was, but he should provide fantasy owners with double digit bombs, 65-70 runs and 75-80 RBI, with upside to the RBI total with Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera hitting in front of him in the Tigers lineup.

9. Carlos Ruiz, PHI

Who would have thought that Ruiz would be the Phillies best hitter in 2012? I didn't, especially since he is 33 years of age. Ruiz hit .325-.394-.540 with 16 HRs, 56 runs, and 68 RBI in 372 at bats this season, all career highs. Here's an interesting fact: in his last year in the minors (AAA), Ruiz hit .307-.389-.505 with 16 HRs, 56 runs and 69 RBI, remarkably similar to his 2012 stats. Not that they are comparable, but something you don't see very often.

2013 Projection: I am not sure you can count on Ruiz to duplicate his 2012 performance, so I project him hitting .285 with 13 HRs, 50 runs and 60 RBI.

10. Mike Napoli, FA

I think most everyone knew Napoli would not duplicate his excellent 2011 season, and Napoli made good on that prediction, but he did hit for power. Napoli hit just .227-.343-.469 with 24 HRs, 53 runs and 56 RBI in 2012, his fifth straight season with 20+ home runs. Napoli is a free agent this offseason, and more than likely will not be calling Texas home in 2013. That fact could hurt his power numbers a bit, but he did have three seasons of 20+ HRs while hitting in Los Angeles.

2013 Projection: Napoli is one of the more consistent power hitting catchers in the game, and fantasy owners should expect 20+ home runs with 50-60 RBI and a low batting average in 2013.

11. Salvador Perez, KC

Perez is just 22 years of age, and he could move up these rankings at this time in 2013. He hit .301-.328-.471 with 11 HRs, 38 runs and 39 RBI in 289 at bats in 2012. He doesn't walk much and doesn't strike out much either, but makes excellent contact when he does swing the bat.

2013 Projection: If he can stay healthy, Perez should put up a season where he hits .300 with 15-17 HRs and 65 RBI in 2013.

12. Jonathan Lucroy, MIL

Lucroy had his best season at the plate cut short due to a broken right hand, and ended the season hitting .320-.368-.513 with 12 HRs, 46 runs and 58 RBI in 316 at bats. His batting average benefitted from a .338 BABIP, but that was not far off from his 2011 BABIP of .317. His jump in batting average is probably more due to his increase in contact from 84.1% in 2011 to 87.4% in 2012 and the drop in strikeout rate from 21.2% to 12.7%.

2013 Projection: Lucroy will have a hard time hitting .320 again, but I can see hitting 12-15 HRs and driving in 70 runs in 2013, with upside in the home run total, as his fly ball rate is trending up.

13. Jesus Montero, SEA

Montero may only have a few more years of catcher eligibility as the Mariners have been linked to several catchers in the free agent market this offseason. That's bad news for fantasy owners. The good news is the Mariners are moving in their fences in 2013, so we should see more power out of Montero in 2013. Montero struggled in his first full season in the majors, hitting .260-.298-.386 with 20 doubles, 15 HRs, 46 runs and 62 RBI in 2012. His season stats were brought down by his home stats. Here are his home/road splits:

Home: .227-.268-.337, 6 HRs, 25 RBI

Road: .295-.330-.438, 9 HRs, 38 RBI

As it stands, Seattle probably sees him more as a DH than a catcher, as he caught just 56 games this season, compared to 78 games as their DH.

2013 Projection: I see Montero's power numbers getting a bump as a result of the change in the dimensions of the Mariners ball park. I project him to hit .275 with 23 HRs, 60 runs and 80 RBI.

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