Staff Post: Catchers to Avoid in 2014

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Fake Teams fantasy baseball staff offer you some catchers that you should avoid in your 2014 fantasy drafts, including Brian McCann, Evan Gattis, and others.

When preparing for your fantasy baseball drafts, it is a must to have a draft strategy, and on Wednesday, 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 catchers to target, which we provided to you yesterday, and some catchers to avoid, which we provide today. We asked each of the fantasy baseball writers to provide you with the catcher they would avoid in fantasy drafts this season, and below you will find the players to avoid, along with reasons why you should avoid said catcher.

Brian McCann, NYY - Joe Pytleski (@agape4argentina)

Oh my, is this guy getting way too much love. I honestly think that given equal number of PAs, Ramos (above) can and will outperform him. He's going to be 30 this year, and for all the talk about the short-porch in right field, I'll still take the under on 25 HR (ZiPS says 22, which sounds about right) as his HR/FB rate will most likely regress back to career norms. For some reason, Beltran, McCann, Teixeira does not sound very imposing. While this lineup may have turned heads about 5 years ago, these guys are all aging sluggers who's bat speed is creeping slower by the day. I already know that he's being overdrafted this season--he went in the 2nd round of our FT Dynasty League. Don't make the same mistake.

Evan Gattis, ATL - Ray Guilfoyle (@faketeams)

Gattis has lots of power, which I love, and usually target at the catcher position, but with that comes a questionable hit tool and a chance he could turn into Dan Uggla. In 2013, he ranked third in all of baseball with a 45% outside the zone swing rate, ranking behind only Pablo Sandoval and A.J. Pierzynski. He has trouble making contact, and appears to swing at every thing, so he could disappoint owners who are expecting a repeat of the 20 home runs in 2013. Plus, with prospect Christian Bethancourt close to being ready, Gattis could see more bench time in the second half of the season.

Mike Zunino, SEA - Jason Hunt (@jasonsbaseball)

The desire to believe that Zunino will rebound to his prospect-potential performance level is strong, but there are just too many things working against him that I want to see before investing heavily. The team has added John Buck to help during the season, which will eat into his playing time somewhat. He performed poorly last year, both at the minor and major league levels, and will also be playing a majority of his games in pitching-friendly parks (Oakland, Seattle, Anaheim), which has the potential to eat into his value just a little bit more. If you can get him late for a $1 in an auction, I'd take the shot, but there's probably going to be someone who believes he will provide the 20 home run, .280 season that is possible this year. It just won't be me.

Evan Gattis, ATL - Daniel Kelley (@danieltkelley)

There is certainly the possibility I'm wrong about Gattis, as I once upon a time was about Wilin Rosario, and Gattis' admitted power will overcome his significant inability to get on base. But with both Gerald Laird and Ryan Doumit in Atlanta, and definite eyes on a playoff spot, the second-year catcher better show what he has quick, because the Braves aren't likely to sit around through an extended slump. I'm betting on the lack of OBP costing Gattis his full-time gig.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, MIA - Brian Creagh (@briancreagh)

A huge jump in line-drive rate helps explain some of the BABIP spike we saw in 2013, but regression is evident and an AVG above .260 isn't likely for Salty. The counting stats played up as he hit in the best offense by almost any measure. A move to Miami will further suppress the HRs, will kill the counting stats, and should relegate Saltalamacchia to the waiver wire.

Evan Gattis, ATL - Brian Creagh (@briancreagh)

I was never much a believer in Gattis long term and his success lasted much longer than I anticipated. The power is undeniable, but the swing and miss counters any useful production. The HR power is enticing but the AVG will be a sinkhole and the counting stats won't be there to justify the risk.

Jason Castro, HOU - Brian Creagh (@briancreagh)

I don't know that I'm necessarily avoiding Castro, I just don't know where to price him. His breakout appears to be quite legitimate and the skills are there for similar numbers in 2014. But the Houston offense should be miserable again and with the risk that comes with catchers, do I really want to double down and pay for a pop-up guy like Castro who hasn't found consistent success? If he drops out of the top 12 or so catchers, I might pop him but I will make a concerted effort to find a better option in standard leagues.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, MIA - Alex Kantecki (@rotodealer)

Moving from Boston to Miami, Saltalamacchia's fantasy stock plummets. He'll get more at-bats, but I'm not expecting him to do much with them. Miami kills power and that's clearly Salty's best asset. A .372 BABIP helped keep his fantasy stock afloat in 2013, but the previous two years he hit .222 (2012) and .235 (2011). You don't want that batting average dragging your team down.

Travis d'Arnaud, NYM - Zack Smith (@fantasyninja8)

d'Arnaud ranked as the #23 prospect in baseball coming into the 2013 according to Baseball America and made his major league debut this past season. He has the potential to be an above-average offensive hitter with the ability to hit for average and power. One of the problems with d'Arnaud is that everyone knows how good he is (can be). D'Arnaud has twice been traded for a former Cy Young winner which helped to fan his prospect flame. Also, catching is probably one of the toughest gigs in professional sports. It's a physically and mentally demanding defensive position and catchers often take longer to develop offensively than other players do. d'Arnaud is set to be the starter for the Mets this season and will probably be a "trendy sleeper" in many leagues. I'm betting I miss out on him in all the leagues I play in because he'll go much earlier than I'm comfortable taking him. A rookie catcher on a bad team with a history of injuries is not the type of player I would bet on to be relevant in fantasy leagues this year.

Joe Mauer, MIN - Matt Mattingly (@mattmattingly81)

The Twins' backstop is being viewed as a top 5 catcher in early mock drafts. Mauer can provide nice help with the batting average, but what else will he do for you? In the past 4 years, the catcher's homerun totals have been 11, 10, 3, and 9. In 2 of the past 4 seasons he has failed to log 50 RBI's. Mauer topped 65 runs in only 2 of the past 4 seasons. Add the fact that Mauer has only stolen 9 bases in the past 4 seasons, it is hard to get excited about anything here besides the batting average. With the depth at catcher this year, why not pass over Joe Mauer and draft one of the many solid options that will be available later in the draft?

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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