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Five Under the Radar Catchers - Sleeper Keepers for 2014 Fantasy Baseball

You showed up again! Outstanding! This is four sessions in a row. Most people skip out on me by now. But hey, you can obviously see my online PhD from St. Leo’s is worth its weight in gold, right? So far, we’ve covered first base -Ike Davis!second base, and third base. You didn’t even flinch when I said “Ike Davis.” This is phenomenal progress. I might repay my student loans after all. Today we’re going to try some Reality Therapy. With catchers, especially the current crop, the goal isn’t to find the next 40/40 guy. The goal is to find the non-platoon guy with some pop and who doesn’t destroy your batting average. And that’s going to be easy.

rotoballer-fantasy-baseball-advice-jonathan-lucroy-263x221There are many good bats at this position… so many that you shouldn’t worry much about keepers. Reality Therapy’s main objective is to help you decide what you truly want. And if you truly want to win your league, don’t overvalue catchers. OK, the disclaimer has been read. Before we get to our 5 Not-So-Obvious guys, let’s mention the well-knowns who are likely on other rosters in keeper leagues: Joe Mauer, Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Brian McCann and Yadier Molina. Certainly, these guys are fine fantasy players. But only two of them, Mauer (who will play 1B but retain C eligibility) and Santana (who may also qualify at 3B and is a beast at any position), are likely to produce so far above the guys listed below that they’ll be worth stashing as a keeper ahead of a more productive player at a different position. Catchers get hurt more than any other position. Play it smart here.  


5 Catchers to Target in Keeper Leagues

Once again, it’s all about what you want.  If I were you, I’d consider these guys:

Salvador Perez

Last year, the then 23-year-old Royals backstop was a popular sleeper. He didn’t turn in Mike Piazza numbers (.292 BA/13 HR/79 RBI), but he hit well enough to let us know his name will be among the Top 5 catchers very soon. He doesn’t care if he’s facing a righty or a lefty, if he’s home or on the road, or if it’s a day game or night game. So far, his stats suggest his bat doesn’t care about circumstances. At 6’3” and about 240, Perez is a linebacker with a great batting eye. Great batting eyes and linebacker strength almost always lead to monster power numbers. And he’ll back up the sexy stats with a solid .300 average. Get him and feel good about the 20-25 HR and .850+ OPS he’ll soon deliver for years.

Wilin Rosario

Here’s another youngster with pop who maintains a high BA. The past two seasons combined, the soon-to-be 25-year-old has hit .281, swatted 49 HR, and driven in 150 runs. And in 256 career ABs against lefties, he’s torn them up to the tune of .332/22 HR with a 1.016 OPS. Oh, and he happens to play half his games at Coors Field. Need I say more?

Wilson Ramos Washington Nationals MLB NewsWilson Ramos

I like this guy’s odds to break out this season, but it’s a gut feeling. He’ll be 27 in August and, due to injuries, has only one full season under his belt (2011). So, what’s to like? Exceptional power, a low K rate, and the ability to put the ball in play. What’s not to like? A poor walk rate and a propensity to get hurt. Yeah, he’s a risk, but I’ll take it. He’ll be available midway into your draft. Roll the dice. We’ll celebrate together when we win our leagues. Note: After the season, you may want to crush beer cans on my forehead. Please make sure they’re empty. And remember, this is just a hunch.

Jonathan Lucroy

Playing in Milwaukee limits his exposure, but Lucroy is well known in fantasy communities….although still not as respected as he should be. In 2013, his age 27 season, Lucroy’s numbers were .280/18 HR/82 RBI, and he tossed in a career high 9 SB. He’s a solid backstop whose numbers will keep your team relevant while you address more pressing concerns.

Devin Mesoraco

The Reds traded Ryan Hannigan and handed the tools of ignorance to his 25-year-old heir apparent. Mesoraco hasn’t shown much at the big league level, but his history in the minors suggests regular playing time will put him on the map. He’ll be swinging his lumber in one of the best hitter’s ballparks in the majors. He’s worth a flier and, by season’s end, may be worth much more.

Matt Wieters

Don’t forget about him. Media hype put him on an unfair pedestal early in his career, but he’ll be only 28 this year and has proven 20+ homer power. If he can hit near .270 or so, he’ll be a top tier catcher.

Other Sleepers: Josmil Pinto (Twins), Jason Castro (Astros), and Travis d’Arnaud (Mets) are all capable of 12-15 HR with a decent BA (somewhere between .250 and .270).

As you can see, this is a deep position with many similar performers. There’s no need to worry here. In a few more days, we’ll have you all fixed up! See you soon!