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Fantasy Baseball: Early Top 30 Catcher Rankings for 2015

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Ray offers an early look at his 2015 top 30 catcher rankings.Check out where I rank Devin Mesoraco, Wilson Ramos, Mike Zunnino and others.

Andy Lyons

Today, I begin a series where I will offer you my super early 2015 position rankings. The offseason has just started, but it is never too early to start you 2015 fantasy baseball draft prep. Many of you out there are focusing on your fantasy football teams from week to week, and so am I. But, if you are like me, I only have one fantasy football squad this season, so I have plenty of time to focus on my expectations and rankings for 2015 fantasy baseball drafts.

With that said, I will begin with my early 2015 fantasy catcher rankings. There is no question who the #1 fantasy catcher is, Giants catcher Buster Posey. Due to the fact that manager Bruce Bochy plays him at first base, 21 times in 2013 and 35 times in 2014, his fantasy value increases, as he played a total of 147 games this season. Not many catchers play 147 games in any season, so the fact that Bochy uses him at first base, and DH, adds to Posey's fantasy value. Only two catchers played more games than Posey in 2014, Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy and Royals catcher Salvador Perez, with Lucroy playing some first base as well.

Lucroy fell one game short of being eligible at first base in fantasy leagues in 2014, as he played 19 games there in 2014. Yankees catcher Brian McCann played 16 games at first base and 14 games as the Yankees DH in 2014, for a total of 140 games. Any time you can draft a catcher who plays 140 games or more, it is recommended, as they can help in the counting stats more than most catchers.

I thought about ranking Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco as my #1 fantasy catcher for 2014, but went with Posey despite the breakout season we saw from Mesoraco in 2014. If we hear that Reds manager Bryan Price plans to play Mesoraco at first base or have him catch more in 2015, I may reconsider his ranking, but for now he is my #2 fantasy catcher.

Rounding out my top 5 fantasy catchers, we have Lucroy at #3, Indians catcher Yan Gomes at #4 and Yankees catcher Brian McCann at #5. I wrote about Gomes back in September, and you can find that here:

Buy List: Yan Gomes

McCann was my 2014 preseason #1 fantasy catcher, mainly due to him moving from Atlanta to Yankee Stadium, as i thought there was a chance he could his 30 home runs in 2014, but he fell short, hitting 23 home runs and driving in 75 with a .232 batting average. He will continue to provide 20+ home run power for fantasy owners, with a slm shot at 25-30 in 2015.

I ranked Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos as my #6 fantasy catcher, as I am hoping we get a full and healthy season from Ramos one of these years. Overt the last two seasons, covering 166 games, Ramos has hit 27 home runs and driven in 106 runs. I don't see him approaching those numbers in 2015, but he could be a 20+ home run, 75 RBI catcher next season if he can play 130 games.

Below you will find my early 205 Top 30 catcher rankings, along with 2014 player stats, courtesy of FanGraphs. Included in the rankings and stats provided below, I have included each players 2014 wRC+, which is defined below, courtesy of FanGraphs:

Weighted Runs Created (wRC) is an improved version of Bill James' Runs Created (RC) statistic, which attempted to quantify a player's total offensive value and measure it by runs.  In Runs Created, instead of looking at a player's line and listing out all the details (e.g. 23 2B, 15 HR, 55 BB, 110 K, 19 SB, 5 CS), the information is synthesized into one metric in order to say, "Player X was worth 24 runs to his team last year."

Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) measures how a player's wRC compares with league average after controlling for park effects.  League average for position players is 100, and every point above 100 is a percentage point above league average. For example, a 125 wRC+ means a player created 25% more runs than a league average hitter would have in the same number of plate appearances. Similarly, every point below 100 is a percentage point below league average, so a 80 wRC+ means a player created 20% fewer runs than league average.

For example, Buster Posey's wRC+ of 144 indicates he created 44 more runs than the league average hitter, or is 44% better than the league average hitter. Mesoraco had a slightly higher wRC+ than Posey, in 33 fewer games, so more at bats in 2015 could push him into the #1 slot for me.

I included wRC+ because I think, along with others, that it is one of the single stats you can look at to tell you how good a hitter is vs all major league hitters, and it factors in park effects as well.

Rank

Name

Team

G

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

wRC+

1

Buster Posey

Giants

147

605

22

72

89

0

144

2

Devin Mesoraco

Reds

114

440

25

54

80

1

147

3

Jonathan Lucroy

Brewers

153

655

13

73

69

4

133

4

Yan Gomes

Indians

135

518

21

61

74

0

121

5

Brian McCann

Yankees

140

538

23

57

75

0

92

6

Wilson Ramos

Nationals

88

361

11

32

47

0

93

7

Salvador Perez

Royals

150

606

17

57

70

1

92

8

Russell Martin

Pirates

111

460

11

45

67

4

140

9

Yadier Molina

Cardinals

110

445

7

40

38

1

102

10

Miguel Montero

Diamondbacks

136

560

13

40

72

0

90

11

Matt Wieters

Orioles

26

112

5

13

18

0

134

12

Wilin Rosario

Rockies

106

410

13

46

54

1

86

13

Mike Zunino

Mariners

131

476

22

51

60

0

86

14

Evan Gattis

Braves

108

401

22

41

52

0

125

15

Jason Castro

Astros

126

512

14

43

56

1

84

16

Yasmani Grandal

Padres

128

443

15

47

49

3

111

17

Travis d'Arnaud

Mets

108

421

13

48

41

1

103

18

Derek Norris

Athletics

127

442

10

46

55

2

122

19

Michael McKenry

Rockies

57

192

8

23

22

0

141

20

Dioner Navarro

Blue Jays

139

520

12

40

69

3

98

21

Welington Castillo

Cubs

110

417

13

28

46

0

91

22

Chris Iannetta

Angels

108

373

7

41

43

3

126

23

Alex Avila

Tigers

124

457

11

44

47

0

97

24

Carlos Ruiz

Phillies

110

445

6

43

31

4

105

25

John Jaso

Athletics

99

344

9

42

40

2

121

26

Josmil Pinto

Twins

57

197

7

25

18

0

101

27

Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Marlins

114

435

11

43

44

0

91

28

Christian Bethancourt

Braves

31

117

0

7

9

1

54

29

Christian Vazquez

Red Sox

55

201

1

15

20

0

71

30

Rene Rivera

Padres

103

329

11

27

44

0

114


Fantasy Rundown

If you are looking for more rankings, whether it be fantasy baseball, football or basketball, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, your one site on the 'net for all things fantasy.