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For years, the only way for fantasy owners to guarantee having a catcher that didn’t drain their batting average was to draft Buster Posey. Since entering the league in 2009, he has a career BA of .306, more than compensating for his relative lack of power. However, in his ninth season, at 31-years-old, the wear and tear of the position caught up to the Giants catcher.

The six-time All-Star labored through 105 games in 2018 before being shut down to undergo a season-ending hip injury. He was fighting the injury throughout most of last season; maybe it tainted his stats to a certain extent, but there is no guarantee he will make it back to 100% this season. Even if he does come close to the Buster of old, the Giants lineup entering 2019 looks much weaker than a season ago.

So, is Posey a risk worth taking even at a lower ADP than usual? Is the catcher position destined to sink your average or is there hope farther down the draft board?

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The New Posey Is Here

Posey’s 2018 BA of .284 and .359 OBP are good, especially for a catcher, but it’s a far cry from his .320/.400/.462 season in 2017. Last year, Posey hit five home runs, with a dreadful .098 ISO and still plays in Oracle Park, possibly the worst hitters park in the Big League. It simply isn’t good enough to justify his being the seventh catcher off the board with a 143 ADP. There is still a plethora of players that could really contribute to your team on the board at that pick.

To all owners who love everyday catchers with tremendous plate discipline, don’t panic. Here comes Toronto Blue Jay, Danny Jansen. The number three prospect in the Jays system behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (maybe you’ve heard of him,) and infielder Bo Bichette.

Jansen will be behind the plate on Opening Day, in a frisky Blue Jays lineup. His 88 games at AAA last season in which he walked (44) as much as he struck out (49,) earned him a call up to the Majors for the final 31 games. Across both leagues, Jansen went .261/.368/.452 and hit 15 dingers. His average dipped .028 points at the Major-League level but his 6.8% swinging strike rate and 95.2% zone-contact rate shows just how phenomenal his approach at the plate is. Due to the weakness of the position Jansen will still be a top tier catcher in OBP even if he performs closer to his floor than his ceiling.

In the majors, Jansen struck out a little more than Posey and had a lower BA, but he more than made up for it in power (.191 ISO), almost doubling the ISO of the four-time Silver Slugger last year. In fact, his fly ball percentage increased from 41.9% in AAA to 47.7% with the Jays. The career high for the former Gold Glover was 33.8% in 2014 and 2015, last year he was at 30.8%.

Another bonus for the 65th overall prospect in baseball is that in a league where many teams are eager to give their best catcher rest whenever they can, the Jays seem to be all in on the 23-year-old. They traded away veteran catcher Russell Martin to the Dodgers in the off-season, giving the young prospect an open lane to playing time. There is a youth movement going on north of the border, so in a rebuilding season, Jansen will see the field even if he goes cold at the plate.

 

Pass on Posey, Draft Danny

The number 65 overall prospect in baseball isn’t exactly flying under the radar. He is the 10th catcher off the board on draft day. However, his ADP is 230, the 19th round of a 12-team draft and 87 spots after the 2012 MVP. The difference in production amongst these two players who have a similar skill set will certainly not be that large in 2019. Pass on Posey, wait for a few rounds and grab the young glasses-wearing stud, Danny Jansen.

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