Monday, January 31, 2011

Norman Homers: Tackling The Fantasy Man’s 2011 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Rankings

I love fantasy baseball advice and I’m not here to judge, just to add an extra opinion to The Fantasy Man’s 2011 Fantasy Baseball rankings. Producing fantasy baseball rankings alone is hard…really hard. All those big corporate sites have big brain trusts of really smart dudes making their rankings. The problem with that? No outside-the-box thinking. All the outliers, breakout or busts, good or bad, right or wrong, get diluted into the big corporate player pool. If a mediocre season is your goal then go use a major site. Their rankings will help you…except they’ll also help everyone else in your league. No risk, no reward. The Fantasy Man does his rankings without any outside influence. That’s a winning strategy in my opinion.

I’m not here to criticize the ranking or to knit pick each player’s individual rank. My goal is to call out a select few that drew my eye (or ear – check out The Fantasy Man's catchers rankings podcast if you haven’t yet).

1. Joe Mauer
2. Victor Martinez 
3. Brain McCann

Norman Notes: Brian McCann is 26 and now has Dan Uggla’s power stick behind him. If Jason Heyward takes off like I think he will, then Mccann could easily finish as the #1 catcher. Pass on Mauer (seeing it seems he forgot how to hit for power) and V-Mart (age + injuries) and take McCann a round or so later.

4. Buster Posey

Norman Notes: Sophomore slump or comeback of the year? My money is on slump. Unless it’s a keeper league I’d let someone else pay for Posey. Just look at Matt Weiters last year. He was last year’s can’t miss guy.

5. Miguel Montero
6. Matt Wieters

Norman Notes: Post Hype Sleeper Alert!

7. Carlos Santana
8. Geovany Soto
9. Jorge Posada

Norman Notes: I know it’s hard for some to admit this but Jorge is 39. Looking rationally, the Yankees have too many DH options. We all know the guy can hit (but he could hit a lot better 10 years ago). 2008 – 51 games, 2009 - 111 games, 2010 - 120 games. I want more than an average of 94 games/season from my catcher. The Yankees are looking to get younger and trotting out a nearly 40 year old catcher isn’t the way to do it. Look for them to faze him out this year. Rumor has it someone from the Posada Family has made several calls to Sunny Side Communities inquiring about availability.

10. Mike Napoli

Norman Notes: Get out your highlighter because this is the sleeper catcher of the year. Napoli gets traded to the Blue Jays, and then before he can even unpack his suitcase, gets traded to the Rangers, thus vaulting his fantasy value in a similar manner to Apple releasing the iPhone. In my own personal rankings, Napoli checks in around #4-6. His 25+ homerun talent and new location in a hitter friendly park give him sleeper of the year potential.

11. John Buck
12. Russell Martin

Norman Notes: If you like a sub .250 BA with no power and a bad knee then he’s your guy. Otherwise pretend he’s a Lady Gaga-esque (note, I forgot her name and just googled “meat dress”) car accident, I’m the traffic cop waiving you on…”Nothing to see here folks…move along.” Trust me; you won’t regret skipping Russell on draft day.

13. Kurt Suzuki
14. Yadier Molina
15. Ryan Doumit
16. Carlos Ruiz
17. Jesus Montero
18. J.P. Arencibia

Norman Notes: Keep your eye on Arencibia. He strikes out too much but that power potential is hard to ignore as the starting catcher for America Jr’s Jays.

19. John Jaso
20. Jason Castro
21. Chris Ianetta

Norman Notes: Every year I think its Ianetta’s year and ever year I’m disappointed…Is this the year? I’m guessing history repeats itself.

22. Ramon Hernandez
23. Wilson Ramos
24. Jonathon LuCroy
25. Josh Thole
26. Chris Snyder
27. A.J. Pierzynski
28. Miguel Olivo
29. Alex Avila
30. Bengie Molina
31. Adam Moore
32. Rod Barajas

Norman and Red Sox Nation wonder where Jarrod Saltalamacchia (nicknamed Carpal Tunnel for making me type his stupidly long name) fits on this list. In that loaded Sox lineup, he needs to be considered as an AL only catcher option with mixed league upside. Especially since Varitek is battling Posada for that newly available townhouse at Sunny Side Communities. I’d slot Salty in around the mid 20’s.

Next up reviewing The Fantasy Man’s 1B Rankings…

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