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Catchers: Tiered Rankings

By now you’ve had the chance to take a look at the catcher rankings done by our esteemed RotoGraphs panel, digest the information, set up your draft day depth charts and maybe toss out a snarky comment or two. It’s time now to start grouping these guys into tiers so that you can see who might be a comparable pick-up should you miss out on your originally intended target. Save for the guy who is apparently pushing for the creation of a 1.5-catcher league, I think we can all agree that the position, on the whole is fairly deep this season; or at least much deeper than in years past which just makes for good drafting. I’d say the position is heating up and for that, I turn to the Scoville scale and our friend the pepper for our tier headings…

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion
Buster Posey

The spiciest of the spicy here as Posey, after last year’s performance, still sits in a class by himself above the rest. This could obviously change as the year progresses, based on how well some of the other backstops do to equal his level of performance, but for now, he is the king of the mountain. I’ve seen him go as high as the tail-end of the first round in numerous drafts, both real and mock, and if he continues to hit the way he has, he’ll be sitting in the top tier for years to come.

Naga Viper Pepper
Joe Mauer
Carlos Santana
Yadier Molina
Wilin Rosario
Victor Martinez
Matt Wieters

Difficult to argue against any of these guys as your choice for top backstop on your team. A full year of health for Mauer keeps him in the fantasy community’s good graces, Santana continues to flash his power and ability to draw a walk, and Yaddy keeps on stepping forward. Some might argue that he, too should be of the Moruga Scorpion variety, but out panel sees a pretty significant power regression. The power of Rosario puts him with some pretty strong company, Wieters is holding steady, and welcome back V-Mart. Whether it’s a one, two or even a four catcher league, with one of these guys as your number one, you’re pretty psyched.

Red Savina Habanero
Jesus Montero
Miguel Montero
Salvador Perez
Mike Napoli
Jonathan Lucroy

They’re close. Real close. Miguel Montero is really the benchmark here as his numbers have been both steady and helpful to fantasy owners over the years. Napoli is on his way down the ranks this year thanks to a bum hip and an even bummier average. Jesus Montero, Perez and Lucroy are all potential stars on the rise.

Scotch Bonnet
A.J. Pierzynski
Ryan Doumit
Brian McCann
Carlos Ruiz
Alex Avila

OK, not bad. You waited on the position in your draft and this is what you’ve got. The power should be decent, but obviously there are some flaws/concerns with which you should be acquainted. I’ll buy 50 of you a FanGraphs+ subscription next year if Pierzynski repeats last season’s mind-numbing performance and yes, I know he’s playing in Texas now. Doumit is always a bit of an injury risk, as is McCann who is probably tilting downwards these days. Ruiz has a suspension to deal with and could be hampered all year by the plantar fasciitis he was diagnosed with last year. And Avila, just needs to show some sort of consistency.

Piri Piri
John Jaso
Jordan Pacheco
Russell Martin
A.J. Ellis
Yasmani Grandal
J.P. Arencibia
Welington Castillo
Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Well, they’re not bland, but we’re certainly turning south on the spicy-scale here. You’ve got some decent power potential in guys like Salty and JPA, Grandal could be interesting once the suspension is over now that the fences are coming in at Petco and if you play in an OBP league, Jaso is a nice late steal.Everyone else is….well, everyone else. They’re all starters and should offer some semblance of help.

Wilson Ramos
Rob Brantly
Ryan Hanigan
Jason Castro
Chris Iannetta
Tyler Flowers
Kurt Suzuki

Sigh. If only they could hit the way their tier’s namesake does. Maybe an offering of some rum to Jobu would help? We’re starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel and the overall production form this tier seems like it’s going to be fairly minimal. Maybe these are the half-catchers that guy was talking about in the comments section of the rankings piece.

Devin Mesoraco
Travis d’Arnaud

Who knew that Jalapeno was actually Spanish for catcher upside? As long as Hanigan is there, Mesoraco is always going to have a tough time developing and getting more playing time but slow and steady win the race, right? His time will come soon enough. There’s still hope being held out that d’Arnaud will start the season in the majors, but consistent playing time won’t come until a little further in. With a run of consistent at-bats, he should have no problem leapfrogging Buck on the depth chart.

John Buck
David Ross
Ramon Hernandez
Nick Hundley
Ryan Lavarnway
Josh Thole

Speaking of leapfrogging Buck, how appropriate that he leads the group best know for its olive-stuffing quality. If these guys are in your starting lineup come opening day, you really went cheap on the position. Just remember that you get what you pay for here.