By David Bobke
Here's a couple reasons I'm writing his article...
A) I want to hear more about certain players, and what better way to drum up talk about them than to write an article about them. And B) I want to play the game “Like 'em, Love 'em, Leave 'em.” (If anyone can come up with a better name, please leave a comment, I'll consider changing it.) I know of a few other names for the game, one of which is NOT family friendly (so don't even suggest it!), but if you're not familiar with the game I'm talking about, you'll catch on quickly.
I'm going to start with a couple Catcher editions of the game. Here's the first...
Jesus Montero, Salvador Perez, Victor Martinez
If given a choice of these three with no other parameters, I'll take V-Mart, or “Love 'em” as the name would suggest. He's coming off an ACL injury and he's 34...but...he'll DH. He'll qualify at C, but play DH, greatly reducing the chances he'll get hurt during the season...and you have to love guys like that. In the mocks I've done so far, V-Mart is barely cracking the top 10 at C, and again, love guys like that. Mike has him #3 on his list of Catchers; I can't say I would draft V-Mart as the third Catcher in the draft, but I love the value of a guy like this that will probably go no sooner than 7th in my drafts. I love knowing that I can wait to draft my C for quite a while if I'm certain Martinez will come back strong. This guy is averaging 10th among Catchers in my early mock drafting, and barring injury, I can virtually guarantee he'll average higher than that by the time draft season kicks into high gear.
Now I'm supposed to pick my “Like 'em” pick, the guy I would take next if I had to take 2 of these guys, but would pass on if I could only select one. And this is difficult because I'm buying in heavily on 2nd year guys this year. I like Montero, I like the fences in Seattle moving in, but I also respect what Perez could do coming off his injury. I think Perez is in a better (potentially) lineup with Escobar, Hosmer, and Moustakas potentially being whatever they can be along with Butler and Gordon. I guess...I feel like I know what I'm going to get more consistently with Montero. He'll be DH-ing, so there's more chance he'll be starting every day than Perez. That's the clincher for me. So, I'll “Like” Montero and “Leave” Perez. (Update: M's acquired Mike Morse, further backing the idea of taking Montero over Perez)
Let's stay at C and throw a few more names out that Mike made specific comments on:
Geovany Soto, J.P. Arencibia, A.J. Pierzynski
I “Love” Pierzynski here. He's a big mouth and might be a punk depending on which side of the fence you're on, but he had terrific value last year. I should know, I owned him! He won't start every day, but he didn't last year with the White Sox either, and he was still easily a Top 10 Catcher. I'd like to see him get a DH appearance now and then, but I doubt they'll do that, especially with Berkman around. Nonetheless, If I'm at this point of a draft where I need one of these guys, I'm taking A.J. in a heartbeat.
I'm in “Like” with Arencibia. I don't like these “all power, no average” guys AT ALL, but I'll take that over brutal play like what I expect from Soto. I absolutely do not trust Soto. J.P. is in a very good lineup, and he could come up with some really good games if you can take the shot in the Batting Average category. I'm happy to take “all power, no average” over “no power, or anything else for that matter.”
By David Bobke