Hey everybody, NL King here! Happy 2013! It's been a while. I hope everyone is refreshed and getting ready for another fun season of fantasy baseball. I feel once we head into the two weeks into the Super Bowl it's a great time to start your fantasy baseball research and prep for the upcoming season. Today we take a look at the NL Only Catchers.
First, a few basic principles to the catching position in terms of putting your team together in NL Only leagues. A good-to-great roto catcher almost always goes at an inflated price on draft day. This is even more true in an NL only league. Do not fall in that trap. There are no Mike Piazza's in his prime currently in the NL in terms of fantsy value, not even Buster Posey. Catchers easily get hurt and catchers in many cases wear down in the 2nd half especially from a stats point of view. My personal advice is to stay away from catchers that can give you some pop but kill your average. With those thoughts let's break it down.
Buster Posey - SF - The only elite catcher in the NL. Showed the horrible injury in 2011 did not effect him at all. Posey will be a dominant hitter but with no steals. If you can get him great just don't overpay based on the injury risk to catchers.
Yadier Molina - STL - Every year this guy gets better with the bat. Last year Molina had career highs in every category. Molina use to be a nice steady player to have that would not cost you a lot on draft day. Those days are gone and given the amount of games Molina has played in his career do not pay on a draft day a price based on last season.
Miguel Montero - ARZ - Montero has stayed healthy the last two seasons and has been able to put up very good numbers to be a #1 catcher on your team. I expect more of the same as long as he stays healthy. Safe bet.
Brian McCann - ATL - McCann really struggled last season and maybe all those games played in prior years has caught up to him a bit. McCann is most likely going to miss the beginning of the season due to injury. Follow his progress in MLB spring training. McCann is playing for a contract as he is a free agent after the 2013 season so if he slips in your draft I think he is a good gamble and just maybe has one more elite year for a catcher left in him.
Wilin Rosario - COL - He always had pop in the minors but I don't know if he is truly a .270 hitter. Rosario did hit .249 in AA in 400+ AB's in 2011. Expect pop especially in Colorado but beware of a .sub .250 Avg.
Jonathan LuCroy - MIL - I wanted to see that 2011 was not a fluke and although LuCroy missed a chunk of the season last year due to injury he had another strong season. I like him but I am still wary.
Carlos Ruiz - PHI - Do not expect a repeat of last season and will miss the 1st 25 games do to PED suspension However should put up a steady year.
Russell Martin - PIT - Going from Yankee Stadium and their lineup to Pittsburgh ballpark and their lineup Martin's numbers will come way down but his average will still be poor. Let someone else draft him.
Wilson Ramos - WAS - Will split time with Kurt Suzuki and is coming back from a major injury but if he goes cheap in your draft perfect guy to grab to fill one of your two spots at catcher.
AJ Ellis - LAD - I have to see it again but again last year went for a bargain in almost every draft and put up solid numbers. That's what your looking for in terms of your catchers. If his draft day price is based on his stats from last year then let someone else draft him.
Michael McKenry - PIT - Even though he is #2 catcher in Pitt I thimk he will get a fair amount of AB's and has some pop. I also think McKenry can hit around .250 this year. McKenry found something in the 2nd half last season.
Ramon Hernandez - I know he is the backup in Colorado but if he goes cheap could be a great #2 catcher for your squad.
Players to avoid because they're average killers - Kurt Suzki, John Buck, Nick Hundley.
Nice End Game Draft Buys or Sleeper picks - Ryan Hanigan, Martin Maldonado, Eric Kratz.
Sleeper Alert - Devin Mesoraco is still a talented youg kid who can swing the bat and still plays in a in a bam box with a strong lineup in Cincinnati. If he goes cheap on draft day then pounce. Welington Castillo of the Cubs showed pop in the minors and is going to get a chance to play. If he can hit .250 I think he can be a nice addition to your squad. Again pick up if he goes cheap in your draft.
The Grandal Effect - Yasmani Grandal of the San Diego Padres should be on the top of this list but due to a PED 50 game suspension we will not see him until at least Memorial Day and probably well into June as I am sure the Padres will start him in the minors for a bit. Having said that this kid can hit and if at the end of your draft he is still on the board and you need a slot for your 2nd catcher, Grandal would be a great play for your team for the second half. Also if your in a keeper league he would be a steal for next year and beyond.
I will be doing articles every few days. Glad to be back.
NL King - C.Lizza