The 2012 group of NL Only Catchers are few and far between, similar to just about every other season. Oh, how us NL only owners miss the days of Mike Piazza, and to an lesser extent, Javy Lopez. Last year my recommendation in an NL only league was to pounce on Miguel Montero if he went in the mid to upper teens. In my league I landed Montero at $17 and he gave me excellent production at a very thin position. Anyway let's break it down....
You can't spell elite without ELI! I know, its baseball season! Anyway, while I'm calling this trio the elite roto catchers, let's not confuse this by saying these are elite roto hitters. Take into consideration the scarcity of quality bats at catcher I rank this elite catcher group as one level or so below your elite hitters give or take.
Brian McCann - His 2008 numbers are a thing of the past I believe and he has played a lot of games behind the plate in his career even though he is only 27 so that's a bit of a red flag for me. But having said that, he should provide similar numbers in 2012 as he has the last 2 years.
Miguel Montero - Showed what he can do when he is healthy for a full season. This man can flat out hit and he is in a great hitters ballpark with a real strong supporting cast around him. Last season is the only year Montero played more than 130 games in a season and I am still high on Montero for 2012. Montero in real life is playing for a contract as he is a free agent after the 2012 season.
Buster Posey - Plain and simple Posey is an elite bat but coming off a horrific injury. You have to see how his spring is going and how Posey is feeling. If all signs are good in spring and on draft day teams are leery because of that horrible collusion last May and Posey goes for a real nice discount - POUNCE !!!
Solid But Not Sexy - In no particular order:
Carlos Ruiz, Wilson Ramos, Yadier Molina, Jonathan LuCroy, Ramon Hernandez, Nick Hundley -
These guys provide solid value and decent numbers at not a high cost. That's not a bad way to go in terms of building your team. Each one has a bit of a red flag, Ruiz needs to stay healthy more, Molina probably won't do what he did last year hitting wise (although he is also playing for a new contract, free agent after the season), LuCroy I want to see him do it again, Hernandez will be 36 in May and Nick Hundley has to show he can stay healthy and does play in Yellowstone and has a limited supporting cast.
Over-Rated - In no particular order:
John Buck, Geovany Soto and Rod Barajas - All three of these guys can give you pop but bury your batting average. Let some other owner draft them.
Devin Mesoraco - Cinn - Not guaranteed an opening day roster spot but based on the Reds depth chart have to imagine only a poor spring stops him from making the team. Has potential to be on this list in the near future under the elite group due to his bat. My red flag with him is due to the fact that 2012 is a big year for the Reds (they should contend for the division) that the Reds can't have a kid play the majority of the games and lead a pitching staff defensively if he is not ready. I am not saying that Mesoraco will be a butcher back their but he is not Yadier Molina either. Even though Mike Piazza had a terrible throwing arm he did handle a pitching staff pretty good and called a good game. Given what's at stake for the Reds in 2012 that is asking a lot of a kid. Again Mesoraco is a guy you should be researching thoroughly during Spring Training.
Wilin Rosario - Col - He might start the year in the minors and if it wasn't for a knee injury back in 2010 Rosario could be the starting catcher for the Rockies now. If he is in your draft and even if he starts the year in the minors I love the idea of grabbing him for a $1 as your #2 catcher because I think by mid June he will be up with the Rocks and give you nice value the rest of the way as well as a good keeper going forward. Then draft a #2 catcher in the reserves as a stop gap.
It's really sifting through a bunch of guys, Ryan Hanigan won't hurt you but won't help that much so if you can get him for $2 or $3 that's fine. Keep an eye on Jesus Flores of the Nationals during Spring to see if he is finally healthy. Could be a great pick up for a $1
Watch the Springs very closely of Posey and Mesoraco to see where they are at. Grabbing 2 guys from the solid but not sexy group for a few dollars each would be a good way to go.
C.Lizza - NL King