Preseason Deep Leaguer Team: Catcher

The Preseason Deep Leaguer Team features players that lurk just beyond the top of the rankings.  Guys that you can find later in drafts that have potential to give you "top ten" value at a position without spending a "top ten" price.

So by that logic, when considering players for the team, Rotofunk and myself will automatically exclude the guys at the top of the list.  We know Robinson Cano is great already, but have you met (insert lesser known second basemen here)?

Today we kick things off with catcher.  Not the sexiest position by a long stretch but still one that warrants proper attention.  While some might think beyond the top three or four catchers it really doesn't matter, there's actually some wealth to be had if you look in the right spot.

First let's list the Top 12 catchers according to our most recent rankings.

1. Buster Posey, SF
2. Joe Mauer, MIN
3. Carlos Santana, CLE
4. Yadier Molina, STL
5. Matt Wieters, BAL
6. Wilin Rosario, COL
7. Mike Napoli, BOS
8. Miguel Montero, ARI
9. Jesus Montero, SEA
10. Salvador Perez, KC
11. Jonathan Lucroy, MIL
12. Brian McCann, ATL

If Victor Martinez qualifies at catcher in your league I would probably say he's 12b right now, so we'll go ahead and exclude him as well.

Jake's picks

Carlos Ruiz, PHI - CHOOCH!  Honestly, if Ruiz had finished the season healthy as well as not been handed a 25 game suspension for a failed drug test, he would most likely be in the top ten right now.  But his misfortune is your gain.  Mark April 28th on your calendar.  That's the first day Ruiz will be eligible to return. Let's keep in mind, the fantasy season is a long hard grind and that first month will seem like a distant memory come August.  Ruiz is well worth stashing away for the first few weeks if you can nab him late in your draft.  Despite playing only 114 games last year, Ruiz managed to post the 10th most runs and RBI totals among catchers.  He also batted .325, which to find a catcher outside of the top 5 that can hit for AVG let alone hit well above .300, is like spotting a 'Squatch at your local Qdoba.  Do you play OBP instead of AVG?  Even better!  Ruiz can easily flirt with .400.  If he's still available after a dozen catchers are off the board, he's well worth waiting a month and starting a John Jaso in his spot for the interim.

Travis d'Arnaud, NYM - One of the prized pieces the Mets received in the R.A. Dickey trade, d'Arnaud is the best catching prospect in baseball right now.  Free of the positional logjam in Toronto and hopefully free of injuries that plagued him the last couple years, d'Arnaud brings a promising power bat to the Mets lineup.  In just 67 games with AAA Las Vegas last season, d'Arnaud hit 16 home runs with 52 RBI and posted a .333/.380/.595.  He may be stuck initially behind veteran John Buck who is one of the top catchers defensively. But if the Mets need offense, and there's a good chance they will, then look for d'Arnaud to finally get his chance to shine in the big leagues.

Rotofunk's picks

A.J. Ellis, LAD - I'm just going to come out and say that A.J. Ellis will not be as good as he was last year. He clubbed 13 homers in 2012, which is 3 shy of the total homers he hit in his entire minor/major league career COMBINED. And in the Dodger's star-studded lineup, he's probably going to hit 8th. Hitting with a pitcher protecting you in the lineup is never ideal. So why do I like Ellis this year? To put it simply, he can get his ass to first base. His OBP in 2012 (.373) was a full .103 higher than his AVG. In leagues that count OBP, Ellis is gold. And even in regular AVG leagues, he's still valuable. If you've got a 15-20 team league, or you're stupid and play 2 catchers (NOTE: Why the hell does anyone do this?), sometimes you need someone that can just get by. Ellis is your guy. He'll only cost you a late round pick, which is usually the point in the draft where if someone can help you in any category, you draft them.

Yasmani Grandal. SD: The date was June 30, 2012. Lizzy Caplan, Mike Tyson, David Alan Grier and Yngwie Malmsteen were all celebrating their birthdays (Hopefully all together. God, how much would that party fucking ROCK???). A "leap second" was added to our clocks (Sadly, this is a thing that happened). And Yasmani Grandal got his first career start for the San Diego Padres. Grandal smacked two homers that day and finished the season with 8 homers in just 226 plate appearances. On November 7th, Grandal was slapped with a 50 game suspension for failing a drug test and will miss the first 30% of the 2013 season. Now he's going 26th overall for catchers because people think missing that much time is the end of the world. But remember last year, when Salvador Perez missed a big chunk of the season too? He came back and rewarded all the owners that drafted or picked him up with great stats when he came back. I could see him hitting 12-13 homers in 100 games.

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