I put these out last season, and I thought it'd be time to get them going again this year. We'll do one of these each day through next Sunday, starting with Catcher. Before we start, a few basic pieces of information: first, I base my rankings on a player's primary position. Multi-position eligibility will add some value to a player, but that is not taken into consideration here as it is a personal fantasy player's preference for how much value multi-positional eligibility will add to a guy. Does Martin Prado jump over other 3B on the draft boards because he qualifies at 2B? That's up to each owner. I also base all my eligibility/previous year's rankings on ESPN standard websites, which use as close to the original fantasy baseball format as any free website out there. There will be some difference of opinion, and that's fine. The worry is not specifically where in number that a player is ranked in his position, but more the grouping. Lastly, I do not publish an overall list as that is also something each player has to determine. I rarely play snake-draft-style fantasy baseball anymore, having nearly completely converted to auction drafting, so overall ranks wouldn't mean anything to an auction drafter anyway!
With no further ado, here's the list:
1. Buster Posey - The clear #1, not really a question about it.
2. Joe Mauer - Pretty clear #2 as well. Playing more at 1B/DH can only help his fantasy numbers
3. Miguel Montero - Quietly has become a very steady high-end producer. Consistency puts him above the next couple on this list.
4. Victor Martinez - Could be #1 at the season's end, but could also struggle coming back from a full season off and lead you to waiver wire catcher pickups. Upside is high enough to rank here.
5. Brian McCann - Another injury recovery. He's also on a contract year, which could mean he's really got major swing between his upside and downside.
6. Yadi Molina - Not the upside of the guys ahead of him, but he's going to do nothing to hurt your team and his defense keeps him on the field to give you that solid production.
7. Carlos Santana - Hedging my bets a bit here. He's tremendously talented and shown glimpses, but he just hasn't put it all together yet to move to the elite at the position.
8. Matt Wieters - Many of us are jaded by expectations of Wieters when he was coming through the minors. If you remove those expectations, he's a very solid catcher.
9. Salvador Perez - So much upside here. Think Joe Mauer-lite with this kid. The Royals have hitched their wagon to him as well, so he'll be playing plenty.
10. Jonathan Lucroy - He doesn't provide a lot of pop and has injury issues, but I can't help but like guys with .300 bats at catcher.
Unlisted, underrated: Ryan Doumit - You wouldn't want him playing catcher for your real baseball team, but he'll get enough games to stay eligible and have plenty of ABs in Minnesota.
Unlisted, overrated: A.J. Pierzynski - Yes, he was tremendous in 2012. Yes, he's going to a hitter's park, but people ranking him in the top 7 that I've seen seem to forget that AJ played in a hitter's park for many years before 2012 and never put up those numbers.
Position strategy: If you don't get Posey or, to a lesser degree, Mauer, sit back and wait as the depth at the position goes deep with guys like Wilin Rosario, Jesus Montero, Mike Napoli, J.P. Arencibia, and others not even listed and certainly viable starting catchers.
On the way: Mike Zunino was picked 3rd overall in the 2012 draft, and he did nothing to dissuade that selection with his performance once drafted, moving up to AA and not showing any fear. He'll likely start at AA again this year, but he could move quickly, and Jesus Montero isn't going to keep him from being behind the plate.