Staff Post: Catchers to Target in 2014

Greg Fiume

The Fake Teams fantasy baseball staff offer you some catchers that you should target in your 2014 fantasy drafts, including Wilson Ramos, Brian McCann and others.

When preparing for your fantasy baseball drafts, it is a must to have a draft strategy, and yesterday, Zack Smith broke things down for you to assist you in your fantasy catcher draft strategy. We have also provided you with our Top 30 catcher rankings for 2014:

Part 1

Part 2

Included in the rankings above, we provided 2014 projections for almost every catcher ranked, courtesy of Daniel Schwartz from Fake Teams and Rotobanter.

In addition, Daniel Kelley provided you his catcher breakdown using his new fantasy stat called Equivalent Fantasy Average, or EFA. You will be surprised to see which catcher has the highest projected EFA for 2014. Check it out.

Now that we have provided you all these tools you need to prepare for your drafts, your fantasy draft preparation would be incomplete without some catcher to target, which we provide you today, and some catchers to avoid, which publishes tomorrow. We asked each of the fantasy baseball writers to provide you with the catcher they would target in fantasy drafts this season, and below you will find the targets, along with reasons why you should target said catcher.

Wilson Ramos, WAS - Joe Pytleski (@agape4argentina)

He's typically being taken at or just outside the top 10 catcher this year due to health concerns. At catcher, there are always health concerns due to the physical nature of the position, so I just throw that reason out the window. That being the case, I think it's realistic to expect 20+ home runs with an outside shot at 25+ given a full year of playing time - even with the regression in his 27.4% HR/FB ratio. Batting in the middle of the Nationals' lineup that should bounce back from a mediocre showing last year, you could be looking at a guy who could drive in 80+ runs, score 60 runs, and hit .280 with an OBP of .330 or so (his BABIP was only .270 last year, so there's room for improvement). That's easily top 5 production at a discount this year.


Brian McCann, NYY - Ray Guilfoyle (@faketeams)

I ranked McCann as my top fantasy catcher for 2014 as he has a chance to approach 30 home runs with the move to Yankee Stadium. He won't hit for a very high average, but his hone runs, runs and RBI totals should rank in the top 2-3 at the position this season. Yankee manager Joe Girardi can use him at the DH spot when he wants to give him some rest this season, which should increase his at bat totals and counting stats.

Wilson Ramos, WAS - Jason Hunt (@jasonsbaseball)

Wilson Ramos - I ranked Ramos as our #9 catcher, and there's a lot of upside that late. He only played about half the season last year (78 games), but still hit 16 home runs and drove in 59 runs. There are definitely questions about whether he can repeat that level of performance in 2014, as there hasn't been any indication that he had that much power previously and saw a spike in his HR/FB rate. That said, if he can play a full season, a 20 home run season with 75 runs driven in doesn't seem out of the question to me, and the fact that he won't likely hurt you with batting average if he does that as well could move him into the top 5 at the position in a year's time. That you can get that substantially later than players at the top of the position makes him a great value play.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, MIA - Daniel Kelley (@danieltkelley)

As a Rangers fan, I had sorta given up on Saltalamacchia after he failed to live up to his hype, and his first two-plus seasons in Boston - with a .289 on-base percentage that was only made palatable by his .447 slugging percentage - seemed to cement that perception. Last year, though, that OBP jumped to .338, buoyed by a career-high .372 BABIP; that BABIP, combined with a move from Fenway to Miami, has some people calling Salty's big year a fluke. But he's just now 29, cut his strikeout rate, raised his walk rate, and - while Miami's ballpark depresses home runs - his new home still helps run production, and the Marlins' lineup should be better than it was; Saltalamacchia was no fluke. Daniel Kelley (@danieltkelley)

Buster Posey , SFG - Brian Creagh (@briancreagh)

Posey is about to run laps around his positional colleagues. He is the most complete player at the position and almost without flaw. He's a worthwhile reach in any format and should produce $3-$4 more than anyone else at the position. Safety and upside at a scarce position? Tough to argue paying the price for Posey.

Wilin Rosario, WAS - Brian Creagh (@briancreagh)

Wilin Rosario can be a Top 3 fantasy catcher by the end of the season. He provides elite power from a position that sorely lacks HR potential. The home ballpark, the playing time, and his spot in the order all validate his standing as one of the first catchers off the board on draft day. The only negative is I don't know how much longer he will stick at C. Dynasty leaguers may want to have a backup plan in place in case a move off C starts to manifest in 2014.

Travis d'Arnaud, NYM - Brian Creagh (@briancreagh)

This one is dicey since I'm having a hard time projecting what the cost will be. I think there is enough prospect fatigue and concerns with health that d'Arnaud could be a nice find for fantasy owners. He has the tools to put up across-the-board fantasy production and will have the opportunity to play as often as he can handle. If we see a near full-season from Travis d'Arnaud he's capable of turning some heads.

Joe Mauer, MIN - Alex Kantecki (@rotodealer)

Mauer as my target might seem obvious, but how many of you are willing to be the first or second owner to grab a catcher? Assuming Posey goes first overall, Mauer is an easy second choice. His move to first base solidifies the opportunity for additional at-bats and I see the possibility for 15 home runs and 75 runs/75 RBI. I debated Mauer as my No. 1 catcher but cautioned on the side of youth; still, it wouldn't surprise me if he ended the season there.

Evan Gattis, ATL - Zack Smith (@fantasyninja8)

Dubbed El Oso Blanco or The White Bear by teammates in the Venezuelan Winter League after he tore through the league in 2012, Evan Gattis burst onto the fantasy landscape in 2013. It's no secret that Gattis has a ton of power. He hit 21 home runs and 21 doubles in only 382 plate appearances last year, good for a .237 ISO which ranks second among rookie catchers in the last 5 seasons. Gattis doesn't walk much, struck out more than you'd have hoped last year and hits too many fly balls to post a high BABIP and therefore average. But he's the Brave's starting catcher this year so he's slated for a starter's share of at bats. If Gattis gets even 500 plate appearances, it's not out of the realm of possibility that he hits 25 home runs. He's projected to bat cleanup in a potent lineup and, according to a study by Razzball's Rudy Gamble, that bodes well for his runs and RBI totals. I think some people will be skeptical about Gattis which will may open the door to grab him later in the draft.

Matt Wieters, BAL - Matt Mattingly (@mattmattingly81)

There are many fantasy owners out there that have been burned by Wieters in the past, as he continues to fail to live up to the expectations set after coming up through the minor leagues as a premier prospect. But this backstop has averaged over 22 homeruns per year over the past 3 seasons, and is currently entering his age 27-season, the prime-time for a break-out. If Wieters can avoid the frequent stretches of struggles, we could finally start to see the production of a top fantasy catcher out of the switch-hitter. Catchers often tend to develop their offense at a later age when compared to other position players. Much of the focus of a catcher early in their career is directed towards receiving the pitching staff, so there is a chance his offense could still improve. It is safe to draft Matt Wieters after the top 5 catchers are off the board. He should easily return the value of a top 10 fantasy catcher in 2014, with the chance of a break-out and excellent return upon investment.

Fantasy Rundown

If you are looking for more rankings (not sure why you would-ha) look no further than Fantasy Rundown, where you can find links to rankings from all over the internet on a daily basis.

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