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The 2015 Fantasy Landscape: Catcher

Buster Posey reigned king of the backstops in 2014. What's in store at the catcher position in 2015?

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Last season we saw Buster Posey reclaim the fantasy baseball catcher crown as the only member of the backstopping community to crack the top-50 hitter ranks. Posey finished No. 37 among hitters, while Jonathan Lucroy further solidified himself as a top catching option in Milwaukee. We also witnessed the arrival of Devin Mesoraco and Yan Gomes as top-five options. Can they both stay there?

Russell Martin parlayed a career year into five years and $82 million in Toronto. Now in the American League, the veteran catcher gets the added benefit of playing DH. Teams and managers have looked to give catchers "extra" playing time by allowing them to play multiple positions (such as first base and outfield), giving players like Martin and my preseason catcher darling, Evan Gattis (now calling the Juice Box his home), more opportunities to play every day Catcher looks deep in 2015, but the position does takes a hit with Joe Mauer and Carlos Santana no longer eligible behind the dish.

The Great Divide (AL/NL)

The top backstops reside in the National League with Posey and Lucroy out in front. Posey finished 2014 as the No. 1 catcher in standard Rotisserie formats, hitting .311 with 22 home runs and 89 RBI, while Lucroy finished second and built on his 2013 breakout season in Milwaukee. Both provide stability at an unstable position.

Yadier Molina finished outside the top-15 catchers, missing plenty of playing time but still providing a solid batting average. A bounce back is in the cards, here, but I don't recommend reaching for the 32-year-old when there are younger and sexier picks to be had later on.  Wilson Ramos, Travis d'arnaud and Yasmani Grandal are all up-and-coming catchers that could provide more bang for your buck. Ramos just needs to stay upright.

Wilin Rosario regressed in 2014 after launching 21 home runs in 2014, seeing a significant drop in both his batting average (.267) and power (13 home runs). The surprise of 2015 was Mesoraco, who led the catcher position with 25 home runs and a 295.17 batted ball distance, according to baseballheatmaps.com.

Overall, NL-only league owners have the upper hand with the top-3 catchers in the Fake Teams consensus rankings all playing in the Senior Circuit. The NL did lose some of its strongest 2014 finishers to free agency and the hot stove, however. Martin, last year's No. 6 catcher, and Gattis (No. 10) now call the American League home in Toronto and Houston, respectively. With the ability to slot in at DH and also play some first base and outfield, those possible "extra" games and at-bats shouldn't be overlooked. **NOT A SPOILER** I like Gattis a lot.

McCann's New York Yankees debut wasn't as grand as many of us had hoped and predicted, as the 30-year-old paired 23 home runs (good) with a career-low .231 BA (not good). That's two out of the last three season where McCann has finished with a batting average in the .230s. Salvador Perez found a little more power (12 home runs in 204, 17 in 2014), Yan Gomes said, "Hello, nice to meet you!" with a top-five season, and Matt Wieters went under the knife. Derek Norris also traded hats from Oakland to San Diego.

The Draft Strategy

You can make a case for a few catchers at the top, but the consensus remains the same from one year ago: Posey is the favorite to lead the position in 2015. The former NL MVP has an average draft position of 20.06, according to NESN.com's NFBC ADP, more than 40 draft slots ahead of Lucroy (67.97). I'd much rather grab Lucroy in the fourth or fifth round than Posey in the second, but I'd pass on both look to fill other positions first.

McCann's presence in the current top 5 is puzzling, as the risk of another sub-.240 BA should push him farther down the list. Gattis has just as much power potential and is being selected a round or two after McCann. I prefer Gattis by 100 Altuves and I'll be closely monitoring his ADP this offseason as he's a target of min. His current ninth-round price tag is excellent. There is value to be had in the 10-to-12 range with Wieters, Rosario, Martin, d'Arnaud, Ramos and Grandal. If you're not biting the bullet on Posey or Lucroy, my recommendation is to wait out the position and grab the best value.

Daniel Kelley will provide further, in-depth draft strategy on catchers Wednesday.

The Newbies

This section last year highlighted d'Arnaud and Mike Zunino. The former finished 2015 with a bang while the latter hurt his owners with a .199 BA. Both finished outside the top 20. What you see in 2015 is what you get, with no young catchers set to come up and throw their hat into the ring. Longer term, Blake Swihart and Jorge Alfaro are the two catchers I'm looking at in keeper or dynasty formats. Swihart will be profiled by the Fake Teams Prospect staff on Tuesday, and Alfaro will be profiled in the prospect team's Top 10 Rangers fantasy prospects on Wednesday.

What's Next

We have a lot of great catcher-centric content (!) coming up this week from the talented group of writers at Fake Teams, including rankings, "sleepers," targets/avoids, player profiles and much, much more. Be sure to check back real soon as Ray releases Part 1 of the Fake Teams consensus ranks. Let's play two!

Time Slot/Day

Monday 1/26/2015

Tuesday 1/27/2015

Wednesday 1/28/2015

Thursday 1/29/2015

Friday 1/30/2015

7am

State of the Position (Alex)

Top 15 Catcher Prospects (Jason)

MLKT: Rangers Top 10 (Prospect team)

Catchers to Target (Staff)

Catchers to Avoid (Staff)

10am

Top 30 Catcher Rankings, Part 1 (Ray)

Prospect Profile: Blake Swihart (Brian)

Top 30 Catcher Rankings, Part 2 (Ray)

Catcher Profile: Mike Zunino (Nick)

NL/AL-only Sleepers (Ray)

12pm

Catcher Profile: Travis d'Arnaud (Rob)

Catcher Profile: Salvador Perez (Jack)

2015 Catcher Draft Strategy (Daniel)

Catcher Profile: Wilson Ramos (Alex)

Catcher Profile: Buster Posey (Jack)

2pm

Catcher Profile: Yasmani Grandal (Alex)

Catcher Profile: Matt Wieters (Daniel)

Catcher profile: Stephen Vogt (Heath)

Catcher ADP Trends (Ray)

4pm