The first two-thirds of the 2013 fantasy baseball season are in the books, and the fantasy baseball landscape is becoming very concrete. As with the first week of each of the previous months, RotoBaller will be updating our positional rankings over the next couple of days. Today, we’re revisiting the catcher rankings we initially published in April and have updated each month since. All the ranks below are compared to the FantasyPros ECR (Expert Consensus Rank), which will show you where RotoBaller differs with the expert community and by how much. Check out our tier-by-tier analysis below the rankings, and let us know where you agree or disagree with us!
(All stats as of 7/31/13)
Tier 1: I’ve come to the opinion that Joe Mauer is a really tough player to rank. He’s been ranked among the top five catchers in fantasy baseball for the past several years because of his consistency and reliability as a hitter. Not many catchers can offer you a batting average north of .320 to go along with 80+ runs scored each year, with no questions asked. Obviously, we've learned that Mauer isn't a power hitter. His 2009 season (28 HR, 96 RBI) was merely an outlier among his statistical output. Despite the lack of power, though, Mauer’s RBI totals had never been a problem until this season. Currently, he is sitting on 8 HR and 35 RBI, which puts him on pace to finish the season with 12 and 56 respectively. Three catchers (Posey, Napoli, Lucroy) have already surpassed both totals before August, with a fourth (Rosario) falling only a few RBI short. Does this mean Mauer should be ranked behind those players? It’s a tough call. For now, I've kept Mauer in the top three due to the tremendous impact his batting average can have on a team.
I did move Yadier Molina ahead of him to #2, as Yadi has a better batting average and far more RBI than Mauer, to go along with greater HR potential. Hopefully Molina’s (right knee sprain) stint on the DL will be a brief one. As for Jonathan Lucroy? I’m finally putting my money where my mouth is and ranking him in the Top Five. Lucroy hit the ball like a man possessed in July, with a .326 batting average, 7 HR, 14 RBI and 1 SB in the month. His .320 batting average over 96 games last season is a sign that he can keep it up and finish the year just as strong.
Carlos Santana has enormous potential but always seems to fall well short of expectations-- his value increases in leagues that count OBP, but he’s been considered a bust in the majority of leagues. Santana slips four spots this month and needs to have a good August to avoid being dropped behind Tier 1 newcomers Brian McCann and Victor Martinez. McCann had a fantastic July, posting a .342 average with 5 HR and 14 RBI. Martinez (.380, 3 HR, 19 RBI) looked like the V-Mart of old and climbed the rankings accordingly.
Tier 2: Matt Wieters (.269, 4 HR, 10 RBI) was solid in July. Salvador Perez (.205, 0 HR, 11 RBI) and Jason Castro (.227, 1 HR, 8 RBI) can certainly do better.
Tier 3: I made some slight adjustments to this tier of fringey No. 1 catchers. Russell Martin, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and J.P. Arencibia each take small steps forward while A.J. Pierzynski, Miguel Montero and Ryan Doumit each take a modest step back. Alex Avila (.250, 2 HR, 17 RBI) had the best month of his 2013 season. It’s the first month that he has hit over .200.
Tier 4: None of these catchers deserve roster consideration except in two-catcher leagues. Wilson Ramos (.302, 4 HR, 17 RBI) showed promise in July and could move into Tier 3 if his success carries over into August. Staying healthy has been the key issue with him.
Tier 5: Jesus Montero should be recalled at some point with Mike Zunino (hand) sidelined until September. Travis d’Arnaud should see some time in the bigs this season too. He seems to be back to his hitting ways after recovering from his injury.