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Pod’s Picks: Catcher

This week, I will be identifying the players at each position in which my rankings differ most from the consensus that was unveiled last week. The funny thing about comparing my rankings to the other three RotoGraphers is how many times I am surprised at who I value much more or less than them. Most of the time, I could guess who I am more or less bullish on even before I see everyone else’s rankings as it simply comes down to a difference in projections. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes I am bewildered as to why my rankings differ so drastically because my projections seems right in line with general expectations. So I will attempt to figure out and explain why I am higher or lower on each player.

Since I don’t know what the other RotoGraphers’ projections are, I will be referencing the projections systems frequently and using those as a proxy. To make this more useful, the bullish section will only include players who I project to earn positive value in a 12-team mixed league, while the bearish one will only include players the consensus expects to earn positive value.

First, I will start with catchers. The bullish section will include players from my top 24, while the bearish group will only include those whose consensus is in the top 24.

Bullish

Chris Iannetta

My Rank: 24 | Consensus: 30

This appears to strictly be a playing time difference. I am projecting 400 at-bats, which would be a career high. Iannetta may have reached that total last season, but a wrist injury cost him several months. He’s the starting catcher and if he could stay healthy, should be able to get to that at-bat level. From a performance perspective, I am pretty much in line with everyone else.

Mike Napoli

My Rank: 6 | Consensus: 11

This might have a little playing time difference factored in, as I’m projecting 450 at-bats, just three behind the Fans projection, which is the highest of the projection systems. I am not concerned about his hip and do not believe he will have to miss any time with the issue. I may also be a bit more optimistic about his batting average as Fenway Park should really help Napoli’s BABIP.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia

My Rank: 20 | Consensus: 25

Could be another difference in opinion on playing time. It depends on whether one thinks that Ryan Lavarnway will eventually be promoted and steal at-bats, or Salty is traded and move into a backup role. I am projecting 400 at-bats, essentially the same as last year, and my performance projection is in line with the projection systems.

Bearish

Welington Castillo

My Rank: 32 | Consensus: 24

Once again, playing time might play a role here as I am only projecting 350 at-bats. Aside from that, my projections are generally in line with the systems, aside from the Fans inflated batting average. Castillo makes poor contact and his BABIP is likely to decline, so he is going to hurt you in batting average and not make it up with his RBI and runs scored totals in a rather weak lineup.

A.J. Ellis

My Rank: 27 | Consensus: 21

I am unsure of why I am less optimistic than the others here. My projection actually seems slightly optimistic compared to most of the systems, and is the only one aside from the Fans projecting over 400 at-bats.

Miguel Montero

My Rank: 13 | Consensus: 9

I noticed in all my drafts so far that I am apparently valuing Montero less than everyone else. He is another I never would have guessed. I am going to speculate that it relates to my relatively low batting average projection of .264 after he has hit over .280 the last two seasons. It looks like all the projection systems are on board with the lower batting average, except of course the Fans. I figure his BABIP will regress back toward his career average of .320.