Time to finally hang up the fantasy football helmet, slip into my official Steve Balboni athletic supporter and get ready for some of the base and the balls talk. Your humble-but-nonetheless-handsome Guru has already given you the top 100 players, the top players by position and now it’s time to go deep sleeping as we find those players that separate the fantasy studs from the fantasy duds.
When drafting catchers I’m not one to go crazy drafting Buster Posey or Joe Mauer in the early rounds – let someone else make that mistake and finish in tenth place. Usually, I grab a catcher late then stream away the hot bat at the position throughout the year. Last season, I owned Jarrod Saltalamacchia, AJ Pierzinski and any other catcher whose name I had to spell check and won my league.
With all that said, let’s go deep sleeping and find the best bargain catchers for 2014 fantasy baseball.
Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers, ADP 8.75: Lucroy was top 10 among catchers in all standard fantasy categories last year, yet he was the 15th catcher taken off the board. OK, maybe Lucroy isn’t as sexy as Brian McCann, but he could be a top three catcher this season who also has first base eligibility. While the power disappeared in the second half last year (just five homers after the All-Star break), he does make contact with a LD% of 22.8, a BABIP of .290, a strikeout rate of 12.7% and the career power numbers sure look sexy enough to me with a HR/FB rate over 10% each of the past three seasons. 2014 Projections: 55/17/66/5/.292
Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals, ADP 10.9: Perez is a middle round steal. Perez is young – just 24 – has the full-time job, doesn’t strike out, hits line drives and has some pop. His stats aren’t too far off from Joe Mauer’s either and you can get him about 7 rounds later. Last season, in 138 games, Perez hit .291 with 13 HRs and 79 RBI with 37 of those coming in the last 50 games. Mauer hit .324 with 11 HRs and 47 RBI in 113 games and is coming off a concussion. I’m sold on my pal Sal. 2014 Projections: 55/14/67/1.293
Jason Castro, Houston Astros, ADP 17.0: As a rookie on a bad team Castro had 18 homers, 35 doubles, ranked third among catchers with .485 slugging percentage and had a tasty LD rate just over 25%. If Lucroy and my pal Sal go too early, Castro is my backup plan. And by backup plan I mean this is probably who I end up with. 2014 Projections: 59/16/56/2/.260