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When I say, “Catcher…” You say, “Punt…”  “Catcher…”  “Punt…” “Catcher…”  “Punt…”  “Punt!” Ah, keeping you on your toes.  When you punt at catcher, you’re taking your fantasy baseball life into your own hands.  Drafting Geovany Soto is for either rich guys who have the butler do their drafting for them or Cubs fans (and never shall the twain meet).  Punting catcher is what those do that don’t mind rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty.

When you punt catcher, you need to stay on your toes on the waiver wire to see which catchers are hot.  You can’t sit back sipping brandy and watching Brian McCann hit a home run every ninth day.  Nooooo….  You’re under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge waiting for some schmohawk catcher to have a 3-for-4 game.  That’s right, you’re a catcher troll.  And you need to troll on, troller.  Sometimes for the whole season.  Sometimes you get lucky.  On my teams last year, I settled on Doumit or Shoppach on a few teams.  Every other team shuffled between Dioner, Jesus Flores, Iannetta and a few other schmohawks.  My catcher trolling is only outdone by my saves vulturing. (But that’s for another post.)  You can go through the archives on this site and know I was all about trolling for catchers.  It got so bad last year I was pimping Yorvit Torrealba like he was an El Dorado.  For the ultimate riff on catcher trolling, I turn this post over to commenter, Knightown, who had this to say sometime during last summer:

“ -I wasted a second round pick on V-Mart.
-Now he’s taking up a DL spot for me
-Picked up Rod Barajas
-Sobered up and dropped Rod Barajas
-Picked up the “red-hot” Miguel Olivo
-He retired or something and got 10 AB’s in the 2 weeks I had him
-Picked up Jarred Salta-something-or-other
-Started him yesterday, went o-fer.
-Dropped him and picked up Ramon Hernandez…honestly, only because he was mentioned in today’s blog.

YTD summary, ZERO HR’s from catchers this year.”

Notice what he said in the first line — he drafted Victor Martinez in the 2nd round.  Is there any better reason than that for punting catcher?  Yeah, actually there’s a few.

1) The top three catchers for 2008 were Mauer, McCann and Martin.  After that alliterative troupe, came Doumit, Soto, Fat Molina, Pierzynski, Shoppach, etc.  Notice something?  After the first three, the rest were all there for your picking, catcher troll.

2) No one wants a catcher as a utility guy.  So if you’re without a catcher, there’s a lot fewer teams to deal with trying to snag a productive one.

3) We’ll assume you didn’t draft V-Mart or Posada last year and went with Mauer in the sixth round.  Mauer’s numbers were:  97/9/83/.330/1.  Bengie Molina was the sixth ranked catcher and came in 126th overall on our 2008 Player Rater.  I think we can all agree that you could’ve had Molina way late in your draft if you wanted him.  Molina’s numbers were: 46/16/95/.292.  So you lose some value in Runs and Average and make some in HR/RBI.   You don’t think you could’ve made up that value with that sixth round pick that you wasted on Mauer?  Please.  When I say, “Catcher…”  Well, you get the picture.

55 Responses

  1. Punting catchers in a shallow mixed league led me to play the “Chris coin toss” game for the better part of the summer last year.

    Heads – Iannetta.

    Tails – Snyder.

    Unfortunately, Clint Hurdle further jacked me over with his Yorvit love all the time – but I think it ultimately helped build character, and made me a better man.

  2. Mikey says:
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    Great post, Grey. Will Yahoo let you forego drafting a catcher alltogether, drafting say and extra SP instead?

  3. Mays says:
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    I don’t know… The catcher position naturally has a bunch of guys at the bottom, which means there will be plenty of teams that are waiting to the end to draft somebody Those same teams will be competing on the waiver wire for anything better.

    I personally would make sure I got one of the top-tier. Sometimes you get burned (V-Mart and Posada) but most of the time it pays off.

  4. @Mays: I don’t know about ‘most of the time it pays off’. Last year, there were 5 catchers with ADPs in the top 100: V-Mart (28), Martin (30), McCann (55), Mauer (65), Posada (91). Based on our ‘Best Values’ analysis – http://razzball.com/2008-draft-rankings/2008-best-values-12-team/ – none of these players delivered their expected value based on their draft pick. McCann and Mauer were close. The other three were way off.

    This would be in a 10 team or 12 team league w/ one catcher (the type Grey and I normally play). In a two catcher league, that would boost their values but also their ADPs so it still probably turns out the same…

  5. cruisinkc says:
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    So I have a keeper question but it’s related to keeping a catcher…
    So in my 10 team league we each keep 6 players, my for sure keepers are Tex, Rollins, Braun, B.J. Upton, Nick Markakis. I still need to decide on my 6th and it is between:

    Geo Soto
    Adrian Gonzalez
    Chris Davis
    Alexei Ramirez
    James Shields
    Josh Beckett
    Chad Billingsley

    So I was leaning towards Soto but after reading this post I was wondering since this is a shallower league (10 teams) and we only play one catcher should I reconsider my 6th keeper?

  6. Catchers suck. I lucked out drafting fat Molina last year and Posada in 2007. I will hope to fall ass backwards into catcher stats again in 2009.

  7. i got into a fight with a guy on MDC about him taking McCann in the 4th round? Sure he’s supposed to be the “best bet out there” and victor martinez was a “guaranteed 25-100 last year?” (i was just trying to start friendly conversation, LOL)

    ALL ABOUT DA PUNT. There’s gonna be a doumit, soto, or someone step up, and none of the “elite” really perform well enough to warrant a 4-5th round pick! GOOD READ

  8. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    It comes down to value. If you’re going to pick a guy like McCann, who will basically have Mark DeRosa numbers this year, then go ahead, but be prepared to make up that 5th round offense pick somewhere else.

  9. Shogun says:
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    Good post. I’m thinking about grabbing Matt Wieters in a late round, a low-risk, high-reward kind of pick. If he doesn’t work out, I’ll play the flavor of the week off the wire. I drafted Posada higher than I should’ve last year, and I’m not going to make a mistake on a catcher like that again.

  10. Freak says:
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    @Shogun: Grey’s going to tell you to stay away from Weiters as he probably won’t start and might not even be in the majors.

  11. Shogun says:
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    @Freak: Thanks, Freak. I hadn’t heard that. I’d seen some glowing reports about Wieters but thought I could land him in the low rounds. Now that I know he won’t start, I’m going to have to re-think that. Thanks again.

  12. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    It’s pretty easy to get a useful catcher in rounds 10 through 15. The saves comparison is apt — if you’re a Popeil (i.e. set it and forget it) waste a high pick on McCann (or Papelbon). But you are overpaying for 5th OF stats, when some schmuck will give you something decent later on. (For a long time, that schmuck was Ramon Hernandez, but he’s apparently done being useful.)

    I can’t imagine anyone ever won their league because they drafted a great catcher, except maybe in 1940 or something.

    Also to consider: A high-round catcher is well-nigh untradeable, unless you somehow draft a McCann then pounce an a Doumit. Why? Because he’s so hard to replace. If you built your team around McCann, you’re not going to ship him and plug in Yorvit Torrealba, unless you get a King’s Ransom in return. Because otherwise it’s like you drafted Yorvit Torrealba in the 5th round.

    In summation: Yorvit Torrealba.

  13. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @WaiverSharks: Glad to hear you lived to tell about it.

    @Mikey: Not sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if LaRussa let a pitcher catcher on Yadier’s rest days.

    @Mays: See Rudy’s comment.

    @cruisinkc: Great to see you again! Wasn’t sure if your last couple of weeks loss in the Razzball Commenters League would’ve scared you away.

    re: your keeper question — Your team was seriously stacked last year. You have an open corner spot for A-Gonz right? If so, I’d go with Gonzalez. Not an easy choice though.

    @Fman99: Excellent strategy.

    @Tony Y: Thanks!

    @IowaCubs: Did you just Cliff Note me?

    @Shogun: @Freak: We’ll see in spring training if Wieters will start, but right now I wouldn’t draft him. Also, I don’t think you can grab him super late. I think he’s being too hyped up.

    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Good summation.

  14. cockyphoenix says:
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    Great post, Grey. I drafted Soto in the 14th round last year and he honestly didn’t even make a huge impact, and it turned out to be a wise move to trade him semi-early despite the crapola I got to replace him. Even seeing the world as varying shades of orange and black I’m probably not going to be drafting Wieters, because I’m seeing him go 10th and 11th rounds. Given the propensity for fantasy managers to act on gag reflex and caprice, when Zaunn gets his likely starting spot coming out of Spring (I think we’ll sit on Wieters a month for $$$), you may even find Wieters on the waivers in a league or two. Even if not, I think there’s just too much risk in the position and the rookie to justify the possible upside’s reward.

    To the Razzball Commenter’s League 2008: I had some living situation issues with some serious roommate fallout and was without internets for a while; I apologize for becoming inactive midseason.

  15. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    P.S. If I was in a two-catcher league, I would kill myself.

  16. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @cockyphoenix: Good to see you again too. Hopefully you can join another RCL this year. re: Wieters — I completely agree with you. I think Zaun will be named the starting catcher then by May or June it will be Wieters and you’ll be able to grab him off waivers. And if not, whatever. Grab this year’s Doumit. Or just grab Doumit, no one seems to rate him properly.

    EDIT: Typo.

  17. cruisinkc says:
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    @Grey: Took a little break from baseball but I am back again and hopefully be participating in the RCL again this year.

    re: My keeper league plays 9 positions on offense so that means I would have to stick Gonzo in my Utility spot. Would you still keep Gonzo or go a different direction?

  18. @cruisinkc: Given it’s just a 10 team / 9 position league, I think a pitcher would be more valuable than any of those remaining hitters. Just so much depth available in FAs and you’ve got 5 great hitters as your foundation. I’d keep one of the starters. The 10 Team Point Shares using CHONE ranks Shields just above Beckett (http://razzball.com/2009-fantasy-baseball-rankings/2009-razzball-projected-point-shares-10-team-chone/) with C-Bill a distant 3rd. MARCEL has it much closder w/ Beckett slightly ahead. I’d lean towards Beckett.

  19. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @cruisinkc: I agree with Rudy. I’d flip a coin between Shields and Beckett. Probably leaning towards Beckett. Tough choice though and excellent question.

  20. jasonbayniac says:
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    What is the name of the song that you were riffing on at the beginning of the article? When I say..you say…

  21. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @jasonbayniac: Not sure if it’s a song. I think it’s just a chant of nonsense. I know I say around my house, “When I say dinner, you say I’m hungry…” Maybe it is and I unknowingly ripped it off. Ask Baron he knows a lot of stuff. Or Rudy.

  22. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    @Grey: he he… busted!

  23. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    @Grey: @cruisinkc: @Rudy Gamble: @Baron Von Vulturewins:

    Speaking of the RCL, let’s roll out something. I’m proposing the same thing as last year, but with an M. Night Shamalan TWIST! Everyone ponies up eleven bucks and plays for their favorite non-controversial, non-political charity (think puppies, sick kids and tee ball leagues). The winner gives their charity a fat donation. The losers get disappointed puppies.

  24. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @IowaCubs: I LOVE that twist. That’s a great idea. Rudy and I are thinking about having a few leagues this year, but one overall champion and then separate league champions.* We’ll explain it all in detail as we get closer. We’ll probably start rolling something out in February.

    *Still tentative.

  25. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    @Grey: Better yet, they could solicit friends, neighbors and co-workers to pledge money for you to play. Might boost readership a bit that way too. Juz thoughts.

  26. @IowaCubs: I can picture it now…the Abe Fruman Sausage Company presents IowaCubs

  27. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    @Rudy Gamble: Sausage King of Chicago!

  28. sean says:
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    How do you handle catchers in a CBS league where you can start as many as two but I think it’s entirely optional…

  29. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @IowaCubs: I like that idea too!

    @sean: You don’t have to start any?

  30. sean says:
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    From the rules section:
    During your league’s Rotisserie draft, each owner will draft 29 MLB players. In Rotisserie leagues, each team may have up to 29 players, with no more than 23 in the active lineup each week. Any player not in the active lineup may be put in reserve status, as long as the total number of players on the roster doesn’t exceed 29. All teams in Rotisserie leagues must have a minimum of 5 pitchers in the active lineup. This is the only minimum roster requirement. There are, however, maximums imposed for active rosters each week, as specified in the table below.

    http://baseball.cbssports.com/splash/baseball/spln/single/rules#rules_single_teams

  31. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @sean: You can move everyone to your bench if you like, it doesn’t mean you can start 23 OFs.

  32. Iamweasel says:
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    I generally enter a fantasy draft with the intent to punt the catcher. Last year turned out a bit different. I had an idea that Soto was going to break out in his rookie season, and figured I needed to get him in all of my leagues. It was just a strong hunch.

    I don’t see a steal like that this year. Soto will get his value in drafts this year. So I plan on entering the draft punting the position.

  33. Steve says:
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    Stickin my hand up for an RCL too. First time playing roto, so when I’m getting my arse kicked I’d like it to be in familiar surroundings.

  34. sean says:
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    @grey: the rules seem to indicate to me that starting anything other than five pitchers is entirely optional, so I wouldn’t have to play any catchers if I didn’t want to, and I definitely don’t have to start two catchers in these “two” catcher leagues… so my question would be, is starting two catchers worth the drag on average for the mediocre gains in power?

  35. sean says:
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    ps: i’d be down for RCL

  36. I know I’m new but I’d like to throw my (Mets) hat in the ring on this RCL also if there’s room. I promise to make lots of cock jokes.

  37. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Iamweasel: Guys worth looking at are in the tier starting at number 13 on the top 20 catcher list (http://razzball.com/top-20-catchers-for-2009-fantasy-baseball/)

    @sean: You still want two catchers for counting stats. Say you had two Jason Kendalls that’s still 100 runs and RBIs added to your team.

    Re: RCL — Depending on demand there will be more than one league.

  38. Mark says:
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    This is good stuff. What an idiot that guy was for taking VMart in the second round. I lucked out and got him in the third!

  39. Nick says:
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    Uh. PECOTAs are out. Weiters is projected for .311 with 31 HRs. Probably won’t get quite that many PAs, but WOW.

  40. big o says:
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    @jasonbayniac:
    when grey says “hillshire” ,
    you say “farms” .

  41. @Nick: No doubt they’ll scale back that PA number. I’d expect 450 PAs which would scale his HRs down closer to 20. hopefully the hype bubble pops and he can be had at decent value…

  42. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Nick: I hope people think he’s going to get 45 HRs with a .325 average and draft him in the 3rd round.

  43. Pops says:
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    Just when I come to you looking for advice on trolling catchers, I find this tasty nugget. Also, spot on with your “no one wants a catcher as a utility guy” reasoning.

    How do you feel about taking a flier on, lets’ say, Jeff Clement late in a draft?

  44. and YAHOO lays down a big fat hype article on “the orioles/WEITERS” Now not only does every D-bag on earth know of weiters, so does his brother…. Hopefully its too early in the season and they slack off on putting out another article on him. I am not hardcore deadset on getting weiters, but anytime 13th round on i’m game. I’m just not jumping the gun on the kid when we probably won’t see a full season.

    Although H2H? Might be worth the gamble, the stretch is when it really counts anyways!

    nahhhhh

  45. The same people who draft Weiters early drafted Saltalamacchiavich in the 10th or so round last year. It got them a big pile of bupkus.

  46. For some reason i think weiters is gonna pan out a little better. He’s got a much clearer path than Salty. And most people can spell his name.

  47. Nick says:
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    Dudes, Weiters > Salty. Much greater. (there’s a dick joke there somewhere)

  48. cockyphoenix says:
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    This Wieters talk will be a lot more productive during/after spring training. If he tears the cover off the ball from day one, it could make management consider keeping him around. But I think that’s what it would take

  49. Yeah they’re def’ly going to try and save themselves money and years they can hold onto weiters cheap by not bringing him up right away…. ex: Longoria

  50. jon says:
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    I live right across from the verrazano bridge, you could be talking about me!

    BROOKLYN!

  51. Catcher-love says:
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    I’m in a league that starts 2 catchers. I had McCann and Victor, and despite Victor sucking, I picked up Ramon Hernandez, and he saved me. In a 2-catcher league, the dropoff is so large between the good and the bad catchers, I think you want good ones. By the way, I won my 12-team league last year.

  52. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Catcher-love: In 2 catcher leagues, catchers are a bit more necessary. I agree with you there. But you said it yourself, you lost V-Mart and still won the league. And McCann was good, but he was still only equal to Melvin Mora-type numbers. You could’ve probably won with Doumit and Hernandez. Or Hernandez and Hot Catcher Pickup of the Week.

  53. AMACK says:
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    I am able to keep three keepers for this upcoming draft.
    I Was going to keep Johan Santana, Kevin Youkilis and need to pickone more from. Adrian Gonzolez, Mariano Rivera, Magglio Ordonez, Chris Davis or Russell Martin. It’s a one catcher league, so is the catcher as important as everyone has been saying.

  54. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @AMACK: Catcher’s not important in a one catcher league. I’d keep A-Gonz.

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