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Fake Teams Consensus Fantasy Prospect Rankings: Top 10 Catchers

The prospect staff at Fake Teams releases their top 10 fantasy catching prospects for 2013.

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

With each week being dedicated to our consensus rankings at a particular position, the prospect staff at Fake Teams will also be providing position-specific coverage during these weeks. This will include a pair of prospect profiles, as well as a comparison post between two similar prospects at the position. And of course, we will be releasing our top 20 prospects at the position. This differs slightly from what we did last year, as these rankings are for the long term, rather than providing a separate list for the upcoming season only.

Bret Sayre, Craig Goldstein, and I have discussed the ranking of each player on these lists, and have come to a determination on each them of where they belong on the list. There are a number of groupings where, if you believe a prospect should move up or down a slot, we would probably not disagree. Prospect rankings remain a picture of what we see based on the information available at that moment in time, and are likely to change as the offseason progresses. Also note that these rankings are for fantasy purposes, so while we take a players' position into account, we only account for their defense in terms really of their ability to stay at the position long term.

The top 10 prospects will be released on Tuesday of each week, and prospects 11-20 will be released on Thursday. With that, our top 10 catching prospects:

1. Travis d'Arnaud (TOR)

d'Arnaud missed the second half of the year due to a knee injury, but he remains the top catching prospect still in the minors. He will likely see time as the starting catcher during the 2013 season, and is even ranked as our #21 catcher for the 2013 season. d'Arnaud should provide both a decent batting average and power during the year, and playing time is really the biggest key to whether that will have a lot of value for you this year.

Estimated ETA: 2013

2. Mike Zunino (SEA)

The #3 overall pick in last year's draft, Zunino reached AA before the end of the season, and could very well see himself as the starter in Seattle before the end of the year. He'll likely be the starter come 2014 at the latest, and should be above average in terms of production for the position.

Estimated ETA: Late 2013

3. Gary Sanchez (NYY)

Sanchez came into last year as a bit of a wild card, as there were questions about his makeup and maturity after the 2011 season. That said, he performed excellently at both Low-A and High-A, and those concerns seem to have been smoothed out to some extent with that performance. The other major concern with Sanchez going forward is whether he can stay at the position long-term, but he should hit enough regardless of where he ends up.

Estimated ETA: 2015

4. Blake Swihart (BOS) (Profile in MLKT Series)

Estimated ETA: 2015-2016

5. Stryker Trahan (ARI) (Profile in MLKT Series)

Estimated ETA: 2016-2017

6. Austin Hedges (SD)

Hedges came into his professional career thought of as a defense first catcher, but had a very solid year offensively in the Midwest League this year as well. The reports on his defense indicate that he is ready defensively for the Majors right now, and that he will need time working on his offense to catch up to that. He remains the long term solution in San Diego, but will not likely be there for at least 2 full seasons or more.

Estimated ETA: 2015-2016

7. Jorge Alfaro (TEX)

Craig wrote back in August about Alfaro, noting the following: "If he can develop [his hit tool] enough to make consistent contact, he has 25 home run power." The key to remember with Alfaro is that there is a ton of upside here, but he's a long way from actualizing it, having reached Low-A this year.

Estimated ETA: 2016

8. Clint Coulter (MIL)

Coulter was a 2012 high school draftee, and the reports on him point toward a player who has the potential to be a fantasy monster if he can stay at catcher and develops as hoped. Baseball America noted that he has "above-average power and good pitch recognition", and it sounds like the biggest thing he will need to work on is his defense behind the plate.

Estimated ETA: 2016-2017

9. Rob Brantly (MIA)

Acquired by the Marlins in the Anibal Sanchez trade, Brantly does not have the ceiling of some of the prospects ahead of him, but will likely get a shot to win the starting catcher job in Miami in the spring. He's more of a second catcher in deeper formats, as he will not likely provide power, but could give a decent batting average.

Estimated ETA: 2013

10. Sebastian Valle (PHI)

Valle hit 17 home runs between AA and AAA this year, but with just a .253/.271/.428 slash line to go with it. He could end up as the next catcher after Carlos Ruiz in Philadelphia, but with Tommy Joseph in AA and Gabriel Lino not far behind in Low-A, Valle will need to establish himself quickly for it to happen at all.

Estimated ETA: Late 2013/2014