I am taking a break from the Roto Roundup for the time being, maybe through the end of the season, and have begun my 2015 Buy List, a list of players that I would be buying in offseason trades and in 2015 drafts. You can think of this list as an early target list.
Below you will find the current roster for my 2015 Buy List:
Today, I am going to take a look at Indians catcher Yan Gomes. Last season, Gomes established himself as a solid, two-way fantasy catcher, hitting 294-.345-.481 with 11 home runs, 18 doubles, 45 runs scored and 38 RBI in just 322 plate appearances. His performance at, and behind, the plate, pushed the Indians' front office to ask Carlos Santana to move to third base this season. Moving Santana, one of the better hitting fantasy catchers, from behind the plate indicated one of two things for me. One, that Santana was not that good behind the plate, and two, that Gomes was a solid defensive catcher. Actually, I think both of these are true statements. His 2013 performance on the field was good enough that he earned a 3.6 fWAR in just 88 games last season.
With Santana playing three other positions this season, Gomes has been the Indians starting catcher all season, and those of you fortunate enough to have drafted him back in March have benefitted from rostering one of the better offensive catchers in the game.
Thus far in 2014, all Gomes has done is become one of the best fantasy catchers in the game, hitting .285-.318-.474 with 18 home runs, 56 runs scored and 62 RBI in 468 plate appearances (123 games). His 4.4 fWAR ranks third among all qualified catchers and fifth among all catchers with over 300 plate appearances this season.
His performance at the plate has been outstanding this season, ranking sixth among all fantasy catchers in home runs, behind only Devin Mesoraco, Evan Gattis, Buster Posey, Mike Zunnino and Brian McCann. That's impressive for a catcher in his first full season in the big leagues. His 56 runs scored rank third and his 62 RBI rank eighth among fantasy catchers with more than 300 plate appearances in 2014. In addition, he ranks fifth in batting average and slugging percentage (SLG), and fourth in isolated power (ISO).
He doesn't walk much, and strikes out more than 22% of his plate appearances, but he makes enough solid contact, as evidenced by his .335 BABIP and his 24% line drive rate. His HR/FB% has remained in the 13-14% range, and his fly ball rate has remained in the 38% range, over the last year and a half, so we should expect him to continue to hit for mid-teens power going forward. In a league where power is dropping, rostering a consistent power hitting catcher is an advantage.
The 27 year old catcher will probably see his ranking among fantasy catchers rise heading into 2015, and I can easily see him ranking in the top 5-6 catchers next season. His power could experience another bump up, as 20-23 home runs is within his reach in the next year or two. Combine that with an excellent batting average and slugging percentage, and you will have to grab him pretty early in drafts next season if you want to roster him on any of your teams.
For more on Gomes and the rest of the Indians, make sure you check out Let's Go Tribe, SB Nation's Indians fan site.
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