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2009 Fantasy Baseball: Kelly Shoppach

As I begin preparing for the 2009 fantasy baseball season, my focus begins at catcher. Why? Because I believe early season speculation will be feuled by the anticipated arrival of Baltimore Orioles' top hitting prospect, catcher Matt Weiters. Because of that, I have begun to wonder where Weiters will place amongst his fellow backstops the moment he is recalled. (Others already are.)

When valuing catchers, I always look at HRs and adjust for the other categories. For catchers, the 2008 HR leaders were Brian McCann and Geovanny Soto with 23 each. Next was Cleveland Indians' catcher Kelly Shoppach. He provided big time power from the position following the near-season'long injury to start Victor Martinez. With 21 HRs, he barely missed leading the position despite 150-200 fewer ABs than the leaders.

With Victor Martinez healthy, can Shoppach repeat his power display? Do the 133 times he struck out in fewer than 400 plate appearances matter?

While I would consider both the strikeouts and VMart's presence as big impediments to Shoppach's quest for back-to-back 20 HR seasons, others do not. Over at Fangraphs, you can see Bill James' 2009 projection along with the Marcel projection. Both expect big time Ks and HRs for the 29-year-old.