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With the top ten overall for fantasy baseball here and the top twenty here, we move onto where to draft each positional player. First up is everyone’s favorite position to skip, the catcher. This year is no different than past years — pretty weak. The best that can be said for these twenty is that they are the cream of the crap. Now, I’m all for drafting a catcher late, but somehow I’ve ended up with Brian McCann and Victor Martinez on one of my most important teams the last two years. So, as much as I preach drafting a catcher late, I don’t always practice it. Hey, you have to draft value, no matter the player. If you’d like to take a look at our 2007 Player Rater, it can be found here. Now, your 2008 catchers:

1. Victor Martinez – One and two were real close and I briefly had Russell Martin at number one, but I can’t trust a catcher to run as much as he did last year. Not to mention, Russell slowed down a lot in the 2nd half. Anyway, this is about Martinez and he’s about as solid as you can get in a packed lineup. Projections: 75/25/115/.300

2. Russell Martin – As mentioned above, he slowed down a lot in the 2nd half last year, which means he may try and pace himself more this year and slow down a bit in the 1st half. Not a good thing for someone who’s ranking relies a lot on his steals. Nevertheless, the catching position isn’t great so here’s Russell. Projections: 85/20/90/.290/15

3. Brian McCann – I like him more than Mauer; all right, shoot me. Last year, he struggled with an injury to his hand that he sustained while catching, causing his numbers to look a bit down. He’s still very young (24 in 2008) with time to grow into more power. With Andruw gone and a full year of Tex, McCann’s numbers should get a bit of a plus. Projections: 75/25/105/.285

4. Joe Mauer – Mauer yawnstipates me. Everyone know what yawnstipates means? It’s when you have to yawn, but can’t. Basically, you’re constipated with your yawning. You want to yawn at his numbers, but he manages to do just enough so you can’t yawn. Mauer turned down hernia surgery in the offseason that seemed to be required and opted for rest. He’s yet to prove he can give anything other than average and runs. Average and runs are a great yawnstipator. Projections: 85/15/70/.310/10

5. Jorge Posada – With his lineup, Posada can ground out to 2nd and force in 30 RBIs. There’s little upside here, and the average last year was a blip on the radar, but steady as he goes. Projections: 70/20/90/.270

6. Jason Varitek – He’s basically Posada with facial hair. Projections: 70/20/85/.265

7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia – I tried, but I had to cut and paste that last name. The boy is young and in a hitter’s paradise. This might be a bit of a reach, but it’s the catching position, take a few gambles. Better to look for upside at catcher, than at 1st base. His numbers could exceed Posada’s but he comes with some risk, obviously. Projections: 75/22/85/.285

8. Kenji Johjima – Now you see why Salty was at number six. Folks, your 2008 catchers! Kenji makes me full on yawn. Projections: 60/17/70/.295

9. Ramon Hernandez – Last year he caused you to rah-MOAN. Oofa! But he’s not completely over the hill just yet. Could be a late-round steal on draft day in mixed leagues. Projections: 60/20/85/.275

10. Bengie Molina – The most successful of The Catching Molina Bros. and the only one that should be on a fantasy team. Sorry, Yadir. Projections: 45/20/80/.270

11. Ronnie Paulino – Now things get interesting with some upside. Sure, there’s a chance he’ll bungle a pop-up and get sent to the minors, but, if things work out right, he could give decent numbers. Projections: 60/17/70/.275

12. Carlos Ruiz – More beautiful, beautiful upside. I posted a blog here all about Carlos Ruiz. Suffice it to say, I got high hopes for this sumbitch! Projections: 60/17/70/.275/10

13. Ivan Rodriguez – Here, there’s no upside. Not an ounce of it. Unless he starts juicing again. Weird how his nickname Pudge went from stating the obvious to being sarcastic in four years. Projections: 55/10/65/.285/5

14. Yorvit Torrealba – More upside or as they say in da hood, “Snoops upside your head.” I was worried when it looked like Yorvit might go to the Mets. In Coors, he just might surprise you. Or, at the least, you can do a lot worse in an NL-only league. Projections: 55/12/55/.265/3

15. Johnny Estrada – It could be worse; it could be Paul LoDuca. In the Mets lineup, he should get you some RBIs and runs, but don’t ask for more. Projections: 60/9/70/.285

16. A.J. Pierzynski – Maybe he’ll get into a fight with the Cubs’ Soto. Projections: shit/shit/shit/and more shit. Seriously, if you’re drafting this bozo, you’re in an AL-only league and you know what you’re getting. 60/15/50/.260

17. Paul LoDuca – He says he wants to prove the Mets wrong. I say, how? By hitting 7 homers and twelve doubles. Please. Projections: 50/7/55/.275/3

18. Mike Napoli – There’s some upside here, if Rex Hudler (The Hud!) is right. Cause The Hud sees a thing of beauty. Then again, The Hud would probably draft Garrett Anderson in the second round. Um, well… At least it looks like Napoli’s starting for the Halos. Projections: 45/13/50/.260/7

19. John Buck
John Buck is a rich man’s David Ross. Projections: 40/17/45/.250

20. Michael Barrett – I like Barrett here a lot and considered moving him up. Unfortunately, Barrett’s not even the number one catcher on his team right now. Luckily, Bard is no sure thing. I explained what happened to Barrett once before, but here goes again. In Chicago, he got depantsed by the school bully right in front of the girl he had a crush on. Disgraced, he left town, but it lingered with him for the remainder of the year. Now, he gets some new threads, a new haircut and, at the start of a school year, he can be a new guy. I say Barrett can give as much value as rah-MOAN, if he can put his past behind him and get a starting job. Keep a close eye on how Bard and him shake out, because Barrett can still produce. Projections: 55/17/60/.285, if he plays. Put him in, Black!

  1. IowaCubs says:
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    Soto, Towles? Soto had a monster year last year in AAA, and was solid after the callup. Towles could steal 15 bases and hit 15 hrs.

  2. Who We Are says:
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    Soto looks like he can be very good. He has a patient eye at the plate and power. But you’re talking very long odds that he’s going to breakout in a big way. The last time a catcher won ROY was Piazza in ’93. Catcher is the toughest position to play and it taxes the offensive numbers. Can Soto be ROY? Sure, but the horn isn’t the safest bet on the craps table either. Can he simply be productive? More so than LoDuca, definitely.

    As for Towles, he never did 15/15 in any year of pro ball. I’d like to see it first. An end of the draft flyer? Sure.

  3. IowaCubs says:
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    ZiPS projection for Soto:
    284/44R/20HR/73RBI in 458AB.
    That sort of production is hard to come by from a catcher. I’ve watched him for three years at AAA Iowa, and the guy’s changed from a scrub project to a MLB ready starter. He lost all sorts of weight and started hitting to all parts of the park.

    I’ll eat my words if he sucks.

  4. Who We Are says:
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    I like his plate discipline and his power. But someone who had even better plate discipline in the minors, Chris Iannetta. Catching is the toughest out of the box when they first get to the majors. Not to mention, Pinella isn’t the kindest to rookies.

  5. jimo says:
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    OK, I can see why Posada is so highly ranked this year, after his monster year last year.

    But Varitek 6th? Really? Color me shocked. And I do think Salty is high for 2008, at least. Maybe after a full season playing in 2008, I might rank him 7th, but before the 2008 season has even started? I’d hesitate to put him in the top 10 at this point.

    And Ruiz, I-Rod, and possibly John Buck should all be higher.

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  14. BluSamuraiG says:
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    no no no…Yadi Molina should be in the top 8.. he has the fastest arm of any other catcher in the game. And he has recieved one of the best batting coaches out there, and is alot better hitter this year.

  15. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Is this drunk Tony LaRussa commenting?

  16. mike says:
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    I really like Napoli….but im in a league where there is (no max) for games played at offensive positions. His loss of at bats to Mathis are killing me right now….do you think there gonna keep switching them up every day or two?

  17. hey mike –
    i see no reason to expect napoli to get more playing time than he is currently unless mathis gets hurt. napoli’s offense has been great to start the year and he still isn’t getting the ABs – what’s going to change?

    don’t get wowed by the HRs. a catcher with 300 ABs is going to hurt your runs and RBI totals. if there’s an alternative on the waiver wire in a 10-12 team league with one catcher, do it. i’m happy with napoli in one league only b/c it’s a 2 catcher league…

  18. mike says:
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    to replace Napoli im deciding on Ramon Hernandez or JR Towles…..does Towles have the gig all to himself?

  19. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Towles was just fighting a little injury. He’s the Astros’ starter. I’d try his upside over Ramon.

  20. mike says:
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    Think Salty is in the bigs to stay? If so, do you still think hell make good on your projections for him?

  21. Hater Bell

    Grey says:
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    @mike: I think he’s in the bigs for good, but only to play three times a week so that’s going to hurt his counting stats. I’d cut my projections to 45/15/60/.285 but there’s upside there obviously. If Laird gets hurt, or they start playing Salty at first, he’ll get more. When he does play though, he’s a very solid option.

  22. mike says:
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    cool…thanks for the quick reply as usual. Quick thoughts on this move….Aramis Ramirez,Carmona for Hafner,Vazquez,Greinke. Id be getting Aramis….in this league 3B is my only position where I dont have a sure fire everyday starter and all my pitchers get K’s so the loss of k’s from Vazquez wouldnt kill me. my starters would be Oswalt,Young,Wainwright,Hill,McGowan,Billingsley,Carmona(via)trade….think Aramis its worth the hit in pitching?

  23. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @mike: Right when you say quick reply, you don’t hear from me, right? Sorry, went to sleep after the last Q and A. I like Aramis a lot and think that’s a decent move. You might be able to do better, but your pitching is very deep so it seems you can take the hit. I’d do the trade.

  24. mike says:
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    Big fan of Aramis also….yeh i think my pitching is deep enough to make the move, and i didnt draft a pitcher till the 8th round. Waiting on pitching is the way to go, definetely taking the same approach next year. I ended up crazy stacked on offense….1BHoward,2BKinsler,3BAramis(via trade), SSTejada, OF1Crawford, OF2Rios, OF3Markakis, UTIL1Berkman, UTIL2 i platoon Weeks, Edwin E and Konerko. Not to sound too cocky but barring any injuries, this league is mine!

  25. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @mike: Just don’t forget to thank us when you receive your trophy.

  26. mike says:
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    haha…all praise be to Grey and Rudy. My team definetely wouldnt have looked this good without ur guys advice/help. Keep it up, a team can always be better…right?

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