Yesterday, I posted my updated 2014 Positional Tiers which includes my 2014 Fantasy Baseball Projections. However, I’ve already received requests on highlighting players that can exceed my expectations. We’ll do just that this week and next week in our 2014 Fantasy Baseball Rankings. Today, I’ll look at starting catchers.
Again, you can find their actual rankings based o their 5×5 outputs (HR, SB, R, RBI & AVG) in our positional tiers. You can look at them all in the first tab of the embedded file or you can look at each position within their own tab. In general, the tiers are clustered by $5.00. In order, here are the catchers ranked in tiered format based on my projected 5×5 output:
Tier 1: Buster Posey
Tier 2: Wilin Rosario, Joe Mauer, Jonathan Lucroy, Yadier Molina & Carlos Santana
Tier 3: Salvador Perez, Brian McCann, Matt Wieters, Wilson Ramos
Tier 4: Miguel Montero, Jason Castro
Replacement Value: Yan Gomes & let’s say Evan Gattis
Tier 5: Travis d’Arnaud, Dioner Navarro, Mike Zunino, Alex Avila, Russell Martin, Hank Conger & Jarrod Salty.
Our over-sized bubble includes: Devin Mesoraco, Geovany Soto, Josh Phegley, Carlos Ruiz, Yasmani Grandal, AJ Ellis, Ryan Lavarnway, Josmil Pinto, Stephen Vogt and John Jaso.
***No projection system is perfect. In fact, we’re all fighting for 4% more effectiveness I think it is. So per the original request, who can be expected to exceed my expectations? Here’s my feedback in Matrix form followed by an explanation for each player (Highlighted in yellow are the stats that changed):
…And the notes:
Brian McCann – He will have one short porch in RF. His HR/FB ratio could reach upwards of 17%. In 140 games (w/ health &/ the DH spot) that’s 27 HR, 66R and 80RBI making him the 4th best C option. Some luck in the BABIP (let’s say in between last year and 2011), and we’re talking a .273AVG which would output $14.62 making him the 3rd best fantasy catcher option after Posey & Rosario.
Salvador Perez - I’m already calling for a FB% increase to 34% at age 24, but what happens if his HR/FB ratio jumped back up to his 2012 level of 13%? Well that means 20HR and naturally a bit more counting stats in the Runs Produced department. We would be talking a .300-20hr-0-49r-84rbi line which would output $13.00 making him the 4th best C option or 5th if you’re taking into account my McCann feedback above.
Yan Gomes - Consider this your warning. Don’t overdraft on Gattis or names like D’arnaud & Zunino if you’re in re-draft leagues. Sit-back and wait on Gomes for similar 5×5 output. I’d consider him your 2014 replacement level based on his projected GP/AB, but keep an eye on Carlos Santana’s “encouraging” work at 3B. If Gomes gets additional PA as the Indians’ primary catcher, he can be a valuable asset. Check out what he could do in 130 games. This would output $4.96 putting him right above Jason Castro and Miguel Montero (again, consider their PA totals in my projections). On a similar note, although he is the Tigers’ primary catcher already, Alex Avila still has 15+HR pop with enough GP/PA as he continues to wind up near the top of Baseball Heatmaps’ FB & HR Average Distance Leaderboard.
Evan Gattis - The kids a monster with enough plate appearances. There’s a chance Doumit, Laird and Christian Bethancourt for defensive purposes eat up some of Gattis’ time. I’d chalk him up for .250 and 20HR which is valuable at the C-slot. There’s a chance his BABIP remains near .250 which could cause an AVG. closer to .235. I’m just not over-drafting him.
Travis d’Arnaud - Write off his first go-round in the majors…but heck, I didn’t mind his initial BB/K ratio which surpassed .50 with a surprising BB-rate beyond 10%. As it relates to his AVG, I’ve associated a realistic .291 BABIP. What happened if he wound up closer to his expected BABIP of .310 and stays healthy enough for 125 games? Lastly, let’s say CITI field doesn’t kill his power (afterall CITI had positive right-handed Homerun related park factors last year), and he winds up slightly closer to the NL HR/FB avg of 10.1% at the ripe age of 25. This gives us a new projection of .265-12HR-53R-68RBI which outputs $3.67 and would put him in the same tier as Miguel Montero and Jason Castro (and Gomes if you’re going with these new rankings).
Josmil Pinto - As a Mets fan living in Minnesota, both the summers and winters are hard. The summers are hard because I attend to two bad teams. The winters are hard because it’s minus 10 degrees outside as I write this. Well my winter got slightly worse when I heard the Twins signed Kurt Suzuki and may wind up making him their initial primary backstop. Let’s say Pinto still gets 105 games in behind the plate. I am projecting a HR/FB ratio for him near the AL league average of 10.9%. But weighing in what he did last year, let’s say he winds up on a HR/FB ratio of 14.3%, I therefore slightly upgraded his R & RBI per Plate Appearance/At-bat which outputted .260-15HR-47R-58RBI which would make him our new replacement level Catcher at $1.00.
***Based on these “Exceeds Expectations”, here are the new rankings. Keep in mind as we project different values here, the positional replacement value changed… changing each of their associated $ values. Originally the catcher replacement value was -3.33. After the revisions, it went down to -3.61 meaning +3.61 was added to all catchers increasing all of their $ values in general:
Update (1:20pm CST on 12/31) – forgot to include my passion-bucket for Wilson Ramos:
25 HR isn’t out of the question with enough Plate Appearances (top 5 in Baseball Heatmaps’ FB & HR Average Distance Leaderboard).