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These top 20 catchers for 2009 fantasy baseball will be yawnstipating compared to the top 20 1st basemen or even top 20 shortstops, but you have to start somewhere, right? (That was rhetorical.)  You can check out our other top 20 lists for 2009 fantasy baseball under 2009 Fantasy Baseball Rankings.  I usually don’t draft a top catcher, instead I hold off until the later rounds and grab one of the late rounders.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to start the top 20 catcher list at number twenty-one (Varitek?  Oy vey.), cause some of youse like to gamble on a top catcher.  You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them draft Chris Snyder.  Listed along with these catchers are my 2009 projections for each player.  Feel free to also look at our 2009 fantasy baseball player rater.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2009 fantasy baseball:

1. Brian McCann – This is the first tier of catchers.  This tier goes from here to Doumit.  I call this tier, “I won’t own one, but I hear they’re good.”  This was the one top catcher I owned in 2008 and that was only because he seemed to be discounted compared to Joe Mauer and Victor Martinez.  So my fantasy team with McCann must’ve have been the top performing offensive team I had, right?  Nopers.  The top catcher, McCann, still only gave you 68/23/87/.301.  If he did that at 3rd base, you’d call him Melvin Mora.  Zoinks!  2009 Projections:  75/25/95/.295

2. Geovany Soto – I have a personal bias against Mauer, but I’ll get to him.  (9 HRs and 1 steal in 2008!?!  Are you effin’ kidding me?)  Seems to me that the current climate (outside of Chicago) about Soto is he was great in 2008, but that’s about all we can expect from him.  He’s going to be 26 on opening day.  He can’t get better?  Actually, he can.  2009 Projections:  70/26/100/.280

3. Joe Mauer – Somewhere someone once wrote, “9 HRs and 1 steal in 2008!?!  Are you effin’ kidding me?” I forget where I read that, but it’s eloquent, profound and other razzy words for eloquent and profound.  Why are people drafting this dooode so early?  For a .330 average?  Shoot, lay off the Mark Reynolds-trans fat and you don’t need the Joe Mauer tasting-like-dust protein shake.  2009 Projections:  95/12/80/.320/3

4. Victor Martinez - I’m not drafting Victor Martinez on any teams, unless… Once again, and in caps — UNLESS he falls really far in a draft.  He’s only going to be thirty-years-old during the 2009 season; I don’t think he’s done just yet.  2009 Projections:  65/18/95/.300

5. Russell Martin – Martin is featured in our Razzball glossary for the term, “Teabagger,” but otherwise Razzball doesn’t have much love for The Backstop Who Plays Near Eagle Rock.  I don’t want to have anything to do with a catcher who gives you value because of some schmohawkian steals.  You’d be surprised at how fast a 13/18 catcher can become a 12/7 catcher. You really want to draft Placido Polanco in the fourth round as your catcher?  2009 Projections:  95/15/70/.285/10

6. Ryan Doumit – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here to Biggie Molina.  I call this tier, “The first catchers I could draft in any league.”  I originally had Iannetta at number six then put Doumit here, then Iannetta then Shoppach then… Well, you get the idea.  The next three catchers are all very close.  Doumit is injury-prone, but so what?  If he hits 17 home runs in 110 games and you can plug in someone else the other 50 games, you’re actually better off than having a subpar catcher for 160 games.  Doumit’s injury history is actually how he ended up in front of Iannetta and Shoppach.  It’s a plus in my mind.  2009 Projections:  60/17/70/.295/2

7. Chris Iannetta – Could easily finish 2009 in the top 3 of this top 20 list, which makes him so enticing.  He would’ve been ranked a bit higher on this list if not for Yorvit Torrealba’s deal with the devil to lessen Iannetta’s fantasy value.  2009 Projections:  55/19/70/.265

8. Kelly Shoppach – The Indians have to play Martinez at 1st or DH, right?  I think they do, but they might not.  Here’s a scenario, V-Mart starts off slow and says he needs to be behind the plate to get going offensively.  The Indians appease Martinez four times a week and Shoppach sits in 75% of the games.  This may sound like death for Shoppach’s value, but I still think he could put up 15 home runs in that scenario.  Remember, Shoppach was once a decent prospect.  Hopefully, he gets even more at-bats.  2009 Projections:  50/18/60/.260

9. Mike Napoli – Bill James has Napoli hitting 31 home runs if he gets 449 at-bats.  Well, that’s the catch, ain’t it? (Speaking of catch, has anyone ever seen Fishing with John?  It’s one of the best TV shows ever.  The episode where he goes ice fishing with Willem Dafoe is brilliant.  But I digress.)  Last year in 227 at-bats, Napoli’s numbers were 39/20/49/.273/7. With full-time catcher duties, he’s the number one catcher, right?  No.  His average isn’t going to be over .270 in 2009 and he’s not a full-time catcher.  Also, if he were a full-time catcher in 2009, his average would really suffer.  2009 Projections: 55/23/65/.245/7

10. Bengie Molina – And onto the next tier of catchers.  I like to call this tier, “Just punt and go with an upside pick like Salty, Teagarden or Flores.”  2009 Projections: 50/15/70/.275

11. Ramon Hernandez – Every time I convince myself Ramon Hernandez has one more big season left in him, my common sense steps in and talks about what a bloody moron I am.  I’d consider grabbing Ramon Hernandez in some leagues, but the better move is grabbing a younger upside pick real late cough Clement cough 2009 Projections:  55/17/75/.260

12. Jorge Posada – Posada has the name attached to him that says 20 home runs and 85 runs.  But he has a shoulder (barely) attached to him that says 12 home runs and a DL stint.  Don’t get nostalgic. Posada’s not worth being drafted in ten team mixed leagues.  If you’re drafting a catcher this far down the list, do yourself a favor, grab Salty or even Laird. 2009 Projections: 55/12/65/.270

13. Pablo Sandoval -  And another tier begins.  Let’s call this tier, “Guys that I wouldn’t mind having on my team.  After all, it is just a catcher.  Take a flier.”  You get an extra catcher, because Sandoval might not be eligible at catcher in your league.  If he is, you’re in luck because there’s going to be a 2009 Fantasy Baseball sleeper post about Sandoval shortly.  2009 Projections: 60/14/65/.300

14. Chris Snyder – A poor man’s Napoli.  2009 Projections:  55/18/70/.245

15. Jeff Clement – Huge 2009 fantasy sleeper right here.  I may even devote a whole post to this guy.  Maybe a few posts.  Okay, maybe just this half of a paragraph.  Last year in Triple-A, he went 40/14/43/.335 in only 173 at-bats.  173 at-bats! Okay, so he was abysmal when he was called up to the majors, but so what?  He’s only 25 and he has catcher eligibility.  I need to say more?  2009 Projections:  60/17/70/.250

16. Jarrod Saltamacchia – May not have the starting job in 2009, and he could still see 350 at-bats.  He’ll probably be in a timeshare with Teagarden and he’ll steal at-bats from Blalock (or Blalock will pull a Kotchman and be out indefintely).  Salty only feels like a guy who is a perennial bust.  He’ll only be 24 for the majority of the 2009 season.  2009 Projections:  65/16/75/.265

17. Dioner Navarro – I think Navarro and Sandoval must workout together.  They have the softball build without the upper body strength to tap the keg.  2009 Projections: 50/10/60/.285

18. Jesus Flores – If Snyder was a poor man’s Napoli, Flores is a poor man’s Snyder.  What?  Not impressed with that comparison?  Okay, what if I called him a homeless man’s McCann?  2009 Projections:  50/14/65/.245

19. Yadier Molina – And here’s a new player tier made up of two schmohawks. This tier I call, “Guys who I would never have on my team.”  Maybe I’m drunk on stupid, but I don’t buy the .300 average from Molina last year.  Though he’s not quite the guy who hit .216 one year either.  He is the guy that can’t break double figures in home runs.  As The Count from Sesame Street would say, “Bleh!”  2009 Projections: 35/7/50/.270

20. A.J. Pierzynski -  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  If you’re drafting a catcher this late and you’re taking Pierzynski, you’re not trying hard enough.  2009 Projections:  Yuck/Blah/I Feel Sick/.280

After the top 20 catchers for 2009 fantasy baseball, there’s a lot of names but three stand out:

Matt Wieters - Well, la di da.  If it isn’t the pre-preseason AL Rookie of the Year candidate, Matt Wieters, who’s now under the shadow of The Almighty Zaun.  I already went over Wieters 2009 fantasy outlook.  With the addition of Zaun, Wieters is only worth a look in deep AL-Only leagues and keepers.  In one year leagues, don’t bother or wait until Spring Training to see if Zaun is being used instead of Wieters or simply as a mentor.  If Zaun’s his mentor and Wieters is the starter, then Wieters moves back up this list.  Just don’t reach too far for him.  For every Geovany Soto, there’s six grande Salty-Mochachinos.  2009 Projections:  50/17/60/.290 or the Minors

Gerald Laird – He’s actually more valuable than Yadier Molina.  That’s right; I said it.  I placed him at the back end of the catcher tier though to highlight him and because, similarly to Teagarden, there’s more risk involved with Laird.  Yes, he’s the cream of the crap.  2009 Projections:  60/13/65/.270

Taylor Teagarden – I already went over a 2009 Teagarden fantasy outlook.  Before you write off Teagarden for being behind Salty, remember these three things. 1) Salty could move to 1st, when Davis is filling in for a DL’d DH.  2) Teagarden has already impressed Rangers’ management, unlike Salty.  3)  There’s no number three.  If Teagarden leaves spring with the job, he moves up this list.  So stay tuned!  Or not!  It’s your call really.  2009 Projections:  50/18/65/.265

26 Responses

  1. big o says:

    this ranks right up there among your best work .
    i actually read the whole thing .
    well , maybe not the player-ranking part .

    well , i have to go and rent a movie now , but before i leave ,
    take it easy on snyder .
    he’s lucky he can still even drink water.

  2. I agree with just about every rank on this list Grey. I would probably value Ianetta a bit higher because of the Coors factor (not to mention there’s probably a good number of owners who soured on him two years ago).

    I also came to the same conclusion about Napoli. I don’t think it’s going to be him “splitting-time” that causes a problem with his Bill James projections… more so the fact that he seems to get hurt all the time. I was actually thinking about it the other day, but don’t you think that the Angels will want to take some risks on guys who have been productive (as slugging% goes, anyway) in limited ABs like Napoli and Brandon Wood now that they’ve missed out on Teixeira? Re-upping on J. Rivera also virtually eliminates any chance of signing Manny to DH… I just feel like they’re going to look to their young mashers to try and fill some voids left in their offensive production.

  3. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:

    Don’t overdraft for Soto.

    He’s totally unsustainable at a BABIP of .337. This would be great for me as a Cubs fan if he could keep that up, but sadly he can’t. If that drops to the mean of .300, then you’re totally screwed. When his BABIP drops, so does his OBP, which means fewer runs and RBI even if they bat him 5th in the lineup (as they’re talking about doing).

    As much as it pains me to say this about my homeboy who I watched play in Des Moines for three years, he’s not going to keep that BABIP up. I trust the CHONE projection of 56/17/73/.271. That makes him basically Bengie Molina.

    I think it totally sucks that you left out Henry Blanco or Paul Bako, but whatever.

  4. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:

    One more thing… I doubt he’ll repeat his AB’s from last season of 494. That’s a huge workload for a catcher compared to his minor league average of 330 ab per season.

  5. @IowaCubs: Like anyone is going to fall for your ploy to knock Soto’s value down so you can snag him in a Razzball reader draft.

    @Grey: Just to provide some counterbalance….Hate much on Mauer? You know I like to punt on catchers but you’re focusing too much on HR/SB. Mauer’s R/RBI/AVG are really good for a catcher. The Marcel and CHONE Point Shares back up that he’s projected to outperform McCann…Cust kayin’

  6. Grey

    Grey says:

    @big o: Hehe.

    @bfadds: The Angels always seem to be in the hunt because of their weak division and their pitching. I don’t think that’s going to necessarily change in 2009. Down the road, I’ll be looking at Wood more in-depth too.

    @IowaCubs: His line drive rate actually makes me think he can sustain a BABIP that’s a bit higher than the norm, but you could be right. Either way, he’s not going to be on one of my teams. (Inner monologue, “Maybe he will if Cubs fans are even down on him.”)

  7. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:

    @Rudy Gamble: i love it when a plan comes together.

    @Grey: That’s probably what the projectionists are saying, and why he’s projected to have a BABIP of .340 or so. Oh well… I’ll pass.

  8. How early is too early on Weiters? H2H 12 team league, keep two each year so he’s def’ly not going to be kept…. I will not take a catcher early, so no SOTO, no mauer, No mCcaNN, and If victor falls to the 8th round I MIGHT take him, but no earlier….. 12th round too early? I think Weiters or Iannetta are gonna be my dude this year, just gotta wait and see….

  9. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Tony Y: I think if you can get Wieters in the 12th round, it’s a steal. In 12 team leagues, you might have to reach in the tenth round for him, especially in a keeper. If he’s there in the 12th round, grab him. Otherwise, you should be fine with Iannetta around the same place. If you see Wieters drafted, then grab Iannetta with your next pick before someone else does. Unless Wieters goes too early where it makes no sense to grab Iannetta.

    EDIT: Missing word. Word.

  10. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:

    @Grey: WORD

  11. Freak says:

    what are the chances wieters, clement and teagarden end up like that schmohawk from houston last year?

    what was his name? towels?

  12. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Freak: The nice thing about these catchers is their ability to slug. I warned people last year that Towles was a bit too light hitting. With that said, two of the three young catchers will probably flameout, but you can always grab a Laird or Flores on waivers.

  13. Eric W says:

    Matt Wieters hasn’t caught a inning above double A be prepared to be dissapointed with him hell J.R. Towles put up great offensive numbers in AA to.

  14. Steve says:

    @Eric W: Are you reddsoxx over at the slow draft that hippo and I are doing?

  15. Eric W says:

    @Steve: nope not me

  16. Steve says:

    @Steve: Ha! Someone just grabbed Sandoval at the start of the 15th.

  17. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Eric W: You might be right, but as long as you don’t reach too high for him, he could pay off. Catcher’s a good position to take a flier on because even the best ones aren’t that great. It’s just a matter when you draft him.

    @Steve: You better make your next comment count. It’ll be 1000.

    When did Wieters go?

  18. Steve says:

    @Grey: He hasn’t yet. I”m hoping he goes with the last pick of the 15th ;-)

  19. Steve says:

    @Grey: Hey! 1000! Not really a blockbuster, but I’m not big on milestones. Just jogging quietly to first, that’s me.

  20. big o says:

    the last line of your response to bfadds (#6 above) has me wondering what the hell is going on out there in california .

    let me give you some father-in-law-ly advice .
    either bring my daughter back home,
    or, tell me you’re going to school to be a doctor.

    don’t tell me that you’re going to give up your writing career .
    that was the one good thing that i liked about you.

  21. Steve says:

    @Grey: He actually went with the first pick of the 16th ;-). I took Capps first, just to make Weiters look a slightly bigger steal.

  22. Grey

    Grey says:

    @big o: Ha! Yeah, um, don’t take that line out of context now.

    @Steve: Nice!

  23. Doug Ault says:

    Would Taylor “I beg your pardon,I never promised you a” too long a nick?

  24. Mark says:

    Another good comment on the worth of catchers. Slowly I’m learning the value of catchers isn’t very good. Melvin Mora did have a fantastic July though for what it’s worth and he had 5 kids at once so he’s more motivated than McCann. Bad comparison by you.

  25. Simply Fred

    Fred Barker says:

    Review of Napoli spot on. From May 9 thru Sep 5 his SLG was .364.

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