Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Each of your favorite FT writers let you in on who the catcher they will be avoiding at their current values.
Each week, when we cover a position here at Fake Teams, in addition to all of the content you've been seeing, we're going to be doing two staff posts where each of the writers will contribute a brief comment on a player they will personally be targeting in drafts and a player they will be avoiding. Yesterday we shared the optimistic side of this equation, but today is a day of reckoning. These are the players who we are weary of at their projected draft day values.
So without any further ado, I present the Fake Teams staff and their least favorite targets for 2013:
"Brian McCann has been one of the more consistent fantasy catchers over the last 5-6 years, as he can be counted on to hit anywhere from .270-.300 with 20+ home runs every year. The home runs are fine, but his extra base hits are in a four year down trend that has gone largely unnoticed. McCann had his worst year of his career in 2012, hitting just .230/.300/.399 with 20 HRs, 44 runs and 67 RBI, all career lows or just off career lows. Making matters worse for McCann is the fact that he had offseason shoulder surgery, and is "expected" to return in April, but I think that is the Braves being optimistic. I could see him missing all of April and parts of May in 2013, and I expect his power to continue to drop. I see him hitting .250-.260 with 13 HRs and 50 RBI in 2013." --Ray Guilfoyle
"Admittedly, I was all in on Jesus Montero last season. And I was all wrong. Had he stayed in New York with the Yankees, it's possible we're debating Montero as a top-5 option. But that's not the case. I thought Montero's pure hitting ability - he's been compared to Miguel Cabrera by some - would override any effects of calling Safeco his home. Seattle is moving the fences in a bit in 2013, so that should help Montero some, but I think we were all a little premature in calling Montero the next big thing at catcher - a position he may relinquish if he doesn't improve behind the plate. I'd rather have Ryan Doumit or Russell Martin (if he stays in New York) in the AL, and you won't have to waste a high pick to get them." --Alex Kantecki
"Hello...my name is Craig Goldstein...and I'm a Wilin Rosario hater. I admit, I haven't been a fan of him for a long time, and I'm not changing my tune despite his 28 home runs in under 400 at-bats. Why am I not a fan? After all he did hit .270, more than respectable for a catcher, and more than you might expect for someone with 28 home power. Well - I'm not buying his batting average for one thing. He's only hit over .270 once before in his career and that was in 2008 in rookie ball. I don't doubt Rosario's power, and I think he can hit 30 given full time behind the plate. So why am I passing on him? Because our Fake Teams aggregate rankings have him at 7th overall and I think to justify that, Rosario almost has to hit 30 home runs with a decent BA. In other words, it's taking all the value out of the pick. It's pretty much all downside to me given that price. With more well-rounded guys like Lucroy, more proven guys like Napoli and McCann, and higher upside guys like Sal Perez and Jesus Montero being valued behind him; I just fail to see the appeal of tagging Rosario with the 7th overall catcher spot. I definitely see some batting average regression for Rosario, and he's never been an on-base dynamo. With runs/RBI being so context driven I won't pretend to know where he'll end up there, but I'd rather take my chances on the guys listed above." --Craig Goldstein
"Where will Mike Napoli play in in 2013? The Rangers appear unlikely to re-sign him, so it is likely Mr. Napoli will take his 24 HR, 53 runs, and 56 RBI, from 2012, elsewhere. Regardless of an address change, his name, alone, will have him coming off the board early in 2013 drafts. I will not be one of those owners, however. To get those stats, fantasy owners had to endure a .227 BA. Mike battled through some injuries, and that may have contributed to the production decline, but I just do not feel comfortable drafting anyone with a CT% below 70%. For 2013, I think the batting average will continue to remain in the .236 area, keeping him in the bottom part of the lineup. While the HR will stay in the mid-20s, the RBI and runs will be limited, because of opportunity. Mike will be a nice back of the draft pick up in deep leagues, but he will go too high in most drafts to be on my team." --Brad Dengler
"There seems likely to be a lot of post-hype sleeper buzz surrounding Jesus Montero, and while I can definitely see him being better this year, he likely won't be on my team. We have Montero as our 13th ranked catcher for this year, and while I think that ranking is at least fair for him, I don't think he'll be available as the 13th catcher off your draft board. In order to get him, you'll most likely have to reach for him, which to me locks in that he has to reach his upside to justify the value. I'll stick with some of the other later options if I am still looking for catching at that point." --Jason Hunt
"Wilin Rosario had a fabulous rookie season and was one of the best bargain picks in fantasy baseball this year, but be wary. He doesn't walk and (like so many Rockie hitters) struggles away from Coors Field, but that's not really why I'm concerned. I'm worried that he's going to lose playing time because his defense is awful. I mean, utterly, unspeakably bad. Rosario led the league with a whopping 21 passed ball and naked eye observations confirmed that he was simply immobile behind the dish. The Rockies are trying to develop a young pitching staff from the ground up, and the last thing they need is a guy behind the plate who can barely catch the ball. The Rockies benched him a few times down the stretch due to his execrable defense and they'll probably seek a more glove-minded catcher in free agency. If this happens, Rosario would obviously see a hit in his playing time and his fantasy production. The Rocks have explored a position switch, but his one start at first base was a nightmare and he's probably a born DH. Don't be surprised at all if he doesn't clear 20 homers in 2013." --Paul Rice
"Fortune favors the bold! Which is why I have chosen Buster Posey, the recent recipient of the NL MVP Award, as the catcher who I am avoiding in 2013. Not because I don't think he is a great player, I do. I honestly think he is the best catcher in the entire major leagues, both from a fantasy and reality perspective. The problem is that pretty much everyone else thinks that too and there in lies the problem. Even though Posey was the NL MVP and put up great offensive numbers he was only the 28th best fantasy player according to Yahoo! Sports (standard 5x5 league settings) in 2012 and only the 16th best hitter from a pure numbers standpoint. Just to drive that point home, guys like Aaron Hill and Alex Rios ended the season with better overall counting numbers. Now obviously the lack of depth at catcher makes Posey's numbers look even better and he will likely be gone by the second round at the very latest on draft day 2013. We have seen it before with Joe Mauer after his outstanding 2009 season. Come draft day 2010 Mauer barely made it out of the 1st round in most leagues. Ask those owners how that worked out for them. My guess is not good. Anyways, even if Posey is able to repeat his breakout MVP 2012 season his draft day price tag will leave owners taking a mild loss. If his numbers regress, owners will be taking a huge loss and that is really the last thing you want to do with your potential 1st or 2nd round pick. Remember this: You can't win a league in the first 5 rounds but you can sure as hell lose one." --Brian French
"If you grew up watching Sesame Street, this should sound familiar. Carlos Ruiz has had at least 300 plate appearances in every season since 2007, and here are his HR/FB rates in chronological order: 5.2%, 4.9%, 8.1%, 7.2%, 4.4%, 15.1%. Well, one of these things is not like the other. Yes, Ruiz will hit for a decent average, but if he doesn't hit double-digit HR (which he did for the first time at age-33 in 2012), how valuable is he really? Add to that the fact that he's coming off a partial tear of his plantar fascia, which is an injury that can linger. And even without this injury, Ruiz has been very consistent as far as playing time, in that he misses time each season -- outside of 2011 (when he played 132 games), Ruiz has played between 107 and 121 games each other full season of his career. He's also been on the DL each of the past four seasons. So between the injury risk and the unlikelihood of repeating his power numbers, Ruiz will be comfortably outside my top-10 among catchers this year. And honestly, not all that much separates him from one of my favorite NL-only sleepers, Miami's Rob Brantly." --Bret Sayre