We are approaching the conclusion of Catcher Week at Fake Teams, and we couldn't end the week without offering some catching sleepers for the 2015 season. This list will include some catchers that could see more at bats than initially projected heading into the season.
Here is a look at a few catchers who will be available late in drafts, or on your league waiver wire, who could outperform their draft day value in 2015:
Josmil Pinto, Twins
I wrote about Pinto in part 2 of our Top 30 Catcher Rankings on Wednesday, as he is the back up to Kurt Suzuki in Minnesota, but he owns the higher upside from a fantasy perspective. He has more power and has the better bat than Suzuki. Pinto is younger than Suzuki, but he isn't as good defensively. An injury will open up more playing time for Pinto in 2015.
Tyler Flowers, White Sox
I have to admit I whiffed on Flowers in my catcher rankings, as he is currently coming off the board as the 20th ranked catcher in the 15 team NFBC drafts to date. He won't offer much in the batting average category, but he will put up double digit home runs should he stay healthy in 2015.
Jesus Montero, Mariners
Remember this guy? Yeah, he was once one of the top hitting prospects in the game, before he was exposed in 2013 and then decided that getting fat and overweight was the way to go about becoming a better player, then he got suspended in 2014 for running into the stands and fighting with a scout. Yeah, a WWF wresting match broke out at a AAA minor league game.
Well, word is that he has lost 35 pounds this offseason, so we will soon hear that he is "in the best shape of his life" in the months ahead. When he wasn't suspended, he was slashing .286-.350-.489 with 16 home runs, 55 runs scored and 74 RBI in 409 plate appearances in the Pacific Coast League. He didn't tear up AAA pitching, but his 2014 performance represented a huge improvement over his 2013 slash line.
I am not even sure if he is still catcher eligible. He will have to carry that over to the big league club, assuming he makes the 25 man roster out of spring training. But, even then, he needs starter Mike Zunino to either get hurt, or to fail to improve upon his 2014 performance at the big league level.
Michael McKenry, Rockies
The Rockies signed Nick Hundley to a two year deal this offseason, and with Wilin Rosario being used as trade bait, and scheduled to be moved off catcher, McKenry is the back up catcher in Colorado once again in 2015. He isn't as good behind the plate as Hundley, but he owns the better bat, and he proved it by hitting .315 with 8 home runs in his 192 plate appearances last season. He may not hit .300 again, but he has enough power to put up double digit home runs even in a back up role.
Andrew Susac, Giants
All Susac needs is for the Giants to officially move catcher Buster Posey to first base on a full time basis and Susac will be a full time catcher. Actually, a case can be made that the Giants are better off with first baseman Brandon Belt in left field over Nori Aoki, with Posey at first base and Susac catching. Susac has the power to hit double digit home runs in a full season of at bats, and is solid enough defensively that he put up a 0.8 fWAR in just 35 games played last season.
Peter O'Brien, Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks will head into the season with Tuffy Gosewisch as their starting catcher. Gosewisch is a career minor leaguer and is nothing more than a backup catcher, if that. The Diamondbacks received O'Brien in the deal that sent shortstop Didi Gregorius to the Yankees. O'Brien has big time power, hitting 33 home runs in just over 400 plate appearances split between High A and AA last season, but there is a lot of swing and miss in his approach. He has just 294 plate appearances above High A, so he will have to show some improvement in his strikeout rate in the minors before we see him in the big leagues.
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