Like Tobias from Arrested Development, the Miami Marlins will forever be known for their offseason fire sale. OH, THE BURNING! Giancarlo Stanton seems to be the last man standing in South Beach. However, rebuilding can often mean opportunities for young talent to shine. This will be the case for catcher Rob Brantly. Brantly, 23, will have the chance to be the every-day catcher (sorry, Jeff Mathis) for Miami in 2013.
Rob Brantly, along with Jacob Turner, were acquired by the Marlins in the Anibal Sanchez trade to the Tigers last July. Before being traded, Brantly was considered a top 10 prospect in the Tigers organization. After being traded to Miami, Brantly instantly got his chance to catch behind the plate at the big league level.
In 100 at bats for the Marlins in 2012, Brantly hit .290/.372/.460. Coming up through the minors, Brantly was known for his offensive output. He’s not going to provide a lot of power to fantasy owners, but will be known for his ability to hit the ball into the gaps. Brantly has also maintained a low strikeout percentage (12.1%) throughout the minors and his time with the Marlins.
Towards the end of 2012, Brantly was hitting 6th in the batting order with Miami. Now, after trading John Buck to the Blue Jays in the 12-player deal, Brantly doesn’t have to worry about losing playing time. And although the Marlins will most likely struggle offensively in 2013, his spot in the batting order seems to be safe, providing chances to get on base and drive runners home.
Brantly’s low strikeout rate, mixed with ability to get on base, gives him a legitimate chance to surprise fantasy owners in 2013. If you’re looking for him to hit 15-20 home runs or steal bases, he’s not your guy. I would say his numbers will fall somewhere slightly above those of Chicago Cubs second baseman, Darwin Barney.
So where does this put Brantly in terms of fantasy ranks for catchers? Realistically, he sits somewhere overall between 15-20. His upside makes him worth taking a flyer as a quality backup catcher, with potential to be a starter as the year progresses. In deeper leagues, and especially two-catcher leagues, don’t let this guy go undrafted. He has the tools to provide stability to an always thin and inconsistent fantasy position. My 2013 projected line for him is: 400 AB, 45 R, 10 HR, 45 RBI, .270/.340/.440, 4 SB, 40 BB, 60 SO