There are some positions that fantasy owners ignore too often because of the lack of production that the position generally brings. The catcher spot in lineups can turn into a source of pain and suffering if an owner can’t secure one of the top five or six at the position, especially in leagues with two catcher slots. However, there could be an invasion of new talent at catcher this season, and with that in mind, owners need to be watching for five players in particular. Many of these catchers are going to break camp with their major league teams, which makes them perfect candidates to be chosen in 2014 fantasy leagues and especially in two catcher leagues. Here are the five catchers that owners need to have their eyes on.
2014 Fantasy Baseball Impact Prospects: Catcher
Travis d’Arnaud- Mets
D’Arnaud was the crown jewel of the R.A. Dickey trade after the 2012 season and should get the chance in 2014 to be the team’s full-time starter. He hit .202 with 21 strikeouts in 99 at-bats last season. The strikeout numbers obviously have to come down but he is likely going to get 500-600 at-bats this season if he stays healthy and plays in 125-135 games. He is someone that owners must consider drafting if it gets late in the draft and they haven’t selected a catcher yet. They could get in d’Arnaud one of the most interesting sleeper picks.
Josmil Pinto- Twins
Pinto will be 25 years old when the 2014 season begins, and with Joe Mauer moving to first base, will likely get the chance to take over behind the plate. Pinto hit .342 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in just 21 games for Minnesota late last season. The team is likely going to give him a chance to play every day now to see what they have. He has power and a high average which makes him someone that fantasy owners must pay attention to in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft. Don’t sleep on Pinto as a starting catcher option for fantasy.
Max Stassi- Astros
The 2013 season didn’t end well for Stassi. after He only got seven at-bats in before getting hurt, but there is something positive to think about here. Stassi was in a rotation with fellow catcher Jason Castro, alternating between designated hitter and catcher. The team will likely want to do that again in 2014. It means that Stassi will get his 350-400 at-bats for the season, and judging by his minor league totals, he should be able to come up with 15-18 home runs and 65-70 RBIs. Fantasy owners must pay careful attention to Stassi’s progress.
Christian Bethancourt- Braves
The Braves are going through a transition at the catcher position with Brian McCann now off to the New York Yankees. It means there should be a battle in spring training between Bethancourt and Evan Gattis. Those two will likely be the team’s two catchers this season. While Bethancourt probably won’t get as many at-bats, Gattis showed last season that his health can be an issue. Fantasy owners should pay attention to that when they are drafting. Bethancourt is someone that could be drafted in the final rounds of the draft and stashed for later season use in two catcher leagues.
Tony Sanchez- Pirates
Some believe that it takes certain players longer to mature. Sanchez is looking like one of those players. He will be 26 in 2014 after finally making his debut last season for the Pirates. He hit .233 in 60 at-bats with two home runs and five RBIs. He is going to be behind Russell Martin in Pittsburgh but Sanchez is going to get his at-bats and would likely take over if Martin gets hurt. The opportunity may not be there to start the season but fantasy owners need to watch what happens in Pittsburgh and pick up Sanchez if something were to happen to Martin in deep leagues.