The baseball regular season ends today and as Senator Clay Davis would say, “Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!” I already feel myself falling into a deep, dark depression where the only cure is recapping the preseason top twenty lists and being hand fed Doritos. First up, Cool Ranch and our Preseason Top 20 Catchers for 2008. Of course with catchers (or any position really), you didn’t need to be tied to these guys just because you drafted them, but I think it’s important to look back to ’08 before we look ahead to 2009. How do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been? Thank you, B-Real. Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2008 and how they compared to where we originally ranked them:

1. Joe Mauer – Flipping through the book, “Paint Drying: A Photo Collection,” is less yawnstipating than Mauer’s year. I’d argue you’re better off drafting Brad Ausmus, punting him before the season begins, then going with the hot hand from week to week, or at least that’s what I did. We’ll cover more about catcher strategy in the offseason. For right now, let’s say I expected less of Mauer number-wise and he didn’t disappoint, but he actually ranked higher because of how poor the catching position is. Preseason Rank #4, Preseason Predictions:  85/15/70/.310/10, Final Numbers:  97/9/83/.330/1

2. Brian McCann – Here’s the one top catcher I actually have on a team and this was the team that struggled the most offensively. Buh-but, Grey… Wha happened? Because I paid for a high-priced catcher, I had to skimp on positions that could actually make a difference. Well, ain’t that something? No, not really. Preseason Rank #3, Preseason Predictions: 75/25/105/.285, Final Numbers:  68/23/87/.301/5

3. Russell Martin – If Vin Scully had said, “Martin reminds me of Benito Santiago and we know what happened to him,” then Scully would’ve been half right. No one has any idea what happened to Santiago. (Renting out scuba gear to tourists on the beach in Barbados is my guess.) All right, pop quiz, random Razzball reader, would you prefer Theriot at 2nd and Shoppach at catcher? Or Martin and Robinson Cano? Catchers that make you go Hmm… Preseason Rank #2, Preseason Predictions:  85/20/90/.290/15, Final Numbers:  87/13/69/.279/18

4. Ryan Doumit – First out of nowhere, “How’s Your Father?” As mentioned in Mauer’s entry, you could’ve drafted some other schmohawk then grabbed Doumit sometime in April, just as I did in a few leagues. BTW, Rudy and I were talking about how important it is to grab hot-starters in April and he’s thinking about writing a feature on it. We shall see… What, how come I’m not talking more about Doumit? Because he’s a catcher and a Pirate, I’m not trying to purposely drive people away from reading the blog.  Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers:  71/15/69/.319/2

5. Geovany Soto – I’d love to see the Cubs win the World Series on the strength of Soto’s three home run clinching game. Not because I particularly like the Cubs or Soto, but I want him to be ridiculously overrated going into 2009. Muahahahaha… (Note: I didn’t rank most rookies in preseason top 20s, but I did make some preseason predictions for rookies. Unranked in Preseason, Preseason Predictions:  17/65/.270, Final Numbers:  66/23/86/.285

6. Bengie Molina – I’d go as far to say he’s actually less valuable than Shoppach at #8, but the most productive of The Flying Molina Bros. is more valuable than every other catcher below Shoppach so that should tell you all you need to know about the catching position. Pee-ewe-en-tee. Punt! Punt! Punt! Preseason Rank #10, Preseason Predictions:  45/20/80/.270 Final Numbers: 46/16/95/.292

7. A.J. Pierzynski – Shoppach is the number one reason why you don’t draft catchers. (Actually, Doumit is the number one reason and Shoppach’s number two, but don’t nitpick. People don’t like that.) Let’s say you drafted Victor Martinez and he was crap. Well, you’re stuck holding Victor Martinez for longer than you want because you drafted him early, while your opponent drafted Ausmus, punted that schmohawk and grabbed Shoppach. Wait, why am I talking about Shoppach? Let’s put it this way, do you have something to say about Pierzynski? Yeah, me neither. Preseason Rank #16, Preseason Predictions:  60/15/50/.260, Final Numbers:  66/13/60/.282/1

8. Kelly Shoppach – His numbers are far less exciting than the fantasy baseball media made them out ot be. (Ha! Sorry, I couldn’t write that without laughing at it. The “Fantasy baseball media” is to real reporters as To Catch a Predator is to law enforcement.) Still, for what you paid for Shoppach, you take your medicine and you like it! Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers:  67/21/55/.261

9. Chris Iannetta – Well, I put Yorvit Torrealba down as 55/12/55/.265/3 so I wasn’t that far off, except for the name. Here’s a guy that I told you to pickup in the first week of May so you were, ya know, warned. Recognize!  Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers:  50/18/65/.267

10. Mike Napoli – Here’s a good example of why it doesn’t matter if a guy starts every day. Preseason Rank #18, Preseason Predictions:  45/13/50/.260/7 Final Numbers:  39/20/49/.273/7

11. Yadir Molina – Here’s a guy that wasn’t even owned in some leagues at the end of the year. I don’t necessarily disagree with that.  Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers:  37/7/56/.305

12. Dioner Navarro – Tale of two seasons with this schmohawk. I was touting him in April and May until I was blue in the face. He got selected to the All-Star game and left his game there, so then I started deriding him. At the end of the year, his numbers make yawnstipating numbers yawn. He’s just boring. (But he’s still young and I may not be done with Dioner just yet.) Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers: 43/7/54/.295

13. Ivan Rodriguez – And you thought the first twelve names were boring. Zoinks! Preseason Rank #13, Preseason Predictions:  55/10/65/.285/5, Final Numbers:  44/7/35/.276/10

14. Ramon Hernandez – Kinda like his end of the year numbers more than Dioner’s. ¿Porque, Grey? Well, a .292 average from a catcher doesn’t do much, but 15 home runs and 65 RBIs is preferable to Dioner’s girly numbers.  Preseason Rank #9, Preseason Predictions:  60/20/85/.275, Final Numbers:  49/15/65/.258

15. Kurt SuzukiKurt Suzuki? Fantasy baseball junkies, your 2008 catchers!  Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers: 54/7/42/.280/2

16. Gerald Laird – Considering where he played his home games and Teagarden had 300 less at-bats and exactly the same number of home runs, Laird’s only listed here because he had more Runs and RBIs than some below. You would’ve been much better off streaming catchers that are not listed here instead of owning Laird. Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers:  54/6/41/.278/2

17. Chris Snyder – The last full-time catcher that had any sort of value. For those in 18 team deep leagues, here’s hoping you drew a seventeen or higher in the draft. Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers:  47/16/64/.237

18. Miguel Olivo – There were moments when Olivo was actually valuable to have, unlike Laird. Yes, I’m still looking at Laird! I thought Olivo would miss Miguel Cabrera’s hugs down in Florida, but obviously he didn’t. No matter the climate, Olivo remained marginally usable. Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers: 29/12/41/.255/7

19. Jesus Flores – Paul LoDuca was supposed to start for the Nots, but Flores took the job and never relinquished it. This is not endorsement of Flores as much as an indictment of LoDuca. Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers: 23/8/59/.256

20. Rod Barajas – What better way to end the catchers’ recap than by mentioning the first catcher on the list that wasn’t mentioned once by me on this blog. He was mentioned during a Comment O’ The Week, from commenter Knighttown explaining how he managed 0 HRs all year from his catcher spot.

“-I wasted a second round pick on V-Mart.
-Now he’s taking up a DL spot for me which leaves me with 3 for 2 (Putz just sitting idle)
-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.”

Barajas’s Preseason Rank: Ha!, Preseason Predictions: Look Elsewhere, Final Numbers: Crap/Crap/Yuck/Serious Crap