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Keeper League Thoughts for Catchers

As the calendar gets ready to flip to August, it’s time for those of you that have fallen out of contention in your keeper league to start making plans for the 2013 season.  You’re probably sitting on a number of players that can help the contenders in your league make that final push for a championship, so it’s time to turn those guys into a little something for your efforts this year.  The catcher position is not usually long for guys you’re dying to protect from year to year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grab yourself some quality options for cheap that can be fruitful components to next year’s championship squad.

Keeper rules are different in virtually every league, so it’s pretty difficult to assign an actual value to a player without knowing your league’s parameters for protecting guys.  So for today, I’m just going to generalize here with some thoughts on specific players based on a broad scope of criteria such as expected performance, potential 2013 ADP, and possible 2013 costs based on 2011 and 2012 draft results among other things.  Obviously, the cheaper you have them for, the better, but a number of these guys, in a number of different leagues are going to come with a middle to high-end cost, thus making the decision process a little tougher.

This piece is actually meant to inspire discussion so that we as a fantasy community can intelligently discuss these players and hope to help each other out as we try to make some trades now to invest in our future.  Here are some of my thoughts, in no particular order…

Buster Posey, SF — In my opinion, a quick and easy note here.  Whether it will cost you a fourth or fifth round draft choice or a few extra bid dollars from your 2013 budget, this is probably the easiest decision to make.  Based on what he’s done to date and given the recovery process from last year’s devastating injury, this kid is nails.  I own him in two keeper leagues and protecting him doesn’t require a lick of thought.

Carlos Santana, CLE — A lot depends on how he performs here in the second half.  If it’s anything like the first half, then he can go right back into the player pool.  But if he powers up int he second half and is slated for more time at 1B and DH next year, then I lean towards holding onto him if it is cost-effective for my league.  Given this season’s first half and the obvious injury risk for catchers, I cannot justify investing too much into him regardless of his potential.  He needs to show more consistency to reach that “no-brainer” protect status for me.

Carlos Ruiz, PHI — He may be having a phenomenal year this year and he probably cost you pennies on the dollar to own, but I’m not buying it as a long-term thing.  Ruiz fluffers can rake me over the coals all they want, but when they’re sitting there next season with a BABIP that is closer to his career norm and an ISO that isn’t in the stratosphere, they can think back on this moment and mentally apologize for the harsh things they’ve probably said.  I’m definitely not discounting what he’s done this year, but it’s a sucker’s bet if you think he’s repeating this next season.

Wilin Rosario, COL — The batting average and the OBP may be sitting in the toilet, but from a counting stats perspective, what’s not to love about a power hitting catcher in Colorado?  Rosario definitely has the ability to continue the power numbers and he has the potentil to hit better than .260, so with a job to himself next season, if it’s not costing you an arm or a leg…or even just a finger, I’m a fan of holding onto him.  At just 23 years old, he still has enough of a shelf life to be a worthy protect for a few seasons so long as he doesn’t get too expensive.  You’ll know for your league when that happens.

Matt Wieters, BAL — What’s not to love about the power potential here, except for the fact that the operative word is still ‘potential.’  He’s a little too pricey for what he’s delivering right now, so I’m starting to lean away from him.  Of course, that just means I’ll miss his super-breakout season but given his likely proce tag for next year, that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

Mike Napoli, TEX — It’s simply a matter of what you’re willing to pay for 20-25 home runs and a mediocre batting average.  For me, he’s probably a little too expensive given where he went in drafts this season, but if you got him for super cheap the year before and the inflation isn’t going to kill you, then he’s probably worth another look.

Yadier Molina, STL — I love what he’s done this year and last, but my concern lies with the mileage he’s put on over the years.  Eight straight seasons of 110 games or more is a lot of wear and tear on the body.  I’m definitely a fan of selling high for next year.

Joe Mauer, MIN — Definitely comes down to cost here.  I never thought he’d hit for power again, but he’s certainly done plenty to get back that average and runs scored advantage he’s held for so many years.  I’m more a fan of selling him to someone who would be likely to overpay for the marquee name, but if I could hold him for one more season at a low/reasonable cost, I would consider it.

Devin Mesoraco, CIN — Get him away from Dusty Baker and then we’ll talk.