Catching the Wave: Fantasy Baseball Catchers in the Second Half

With the first half of the 2012 season behind us, we’ve seen a lot of disappointments, some over-achievers and a lot of surprises in regard to fantasy baseball.
Let’s look at a few catchers who have caught the attention of fantasy owners in the first half and what we might expect for the rest of the season.
Carlos Santana (CLEVELAND)
The Indians catcher topped many pre-season lists at the position. However, he has woefully under-achieved so far this season. He

Look for Carlos Santana to have a big second half offensively.

has a much higher offensive potential than most catchers at the position and his blend of power and patience made him a nice pick coming into the season. With only five home runs in the first half, he’ll have to step it up a notch to start justifying his draft position. With at bats coming at first base and DH, as well as behind the plate, he is a good bet to pile up the plate appearances (and potential for good counting stats). Expect a big second half.

Carlos Ruiz (PHILADELPHIA)
Sometimes you can predict a breakout season, sometimes they catch you by surprise. Very few (read: no one) expected Ruiz to be the best-hitting catcher in fantasy at the All-Star break. We’ve come to expect a decent average from him since 2010 but the counting stats are a real bonus. With Chase Utley and Ryan Howard back in the Phillies lineup, you should expect Ruiz to complete his career year. Add in the fact that he traditionally excels in the second half and Ruiz may very well hold onto the top spot among fantasy catchers in 2012.
Jonathan Lucroy (MILWAUKEE)
The Brewers’ backstop was the best hitting catcher in the Majors when he went down with a freak off-field injury at the end of May.  He should be on a minor league rehab assignment by late July with an eye to return by the beginning of August. Continue to stash him and get him back in your lineup when he returns. He has taken the next step in his career progression this season and is capable of adding some real value in fantasy.
 J.P. Arencibia (TORONTO)
Arencibia has certainly become a consistent offensive player. Low batting average, lots of strikeouts and a home run every 5.2 games. There were some rumblings early in the season that rookie catching phenom Travis D’Arnaud may get the call-up at some point this season and challenge Arencibia for playing time. However, with D’Arnaud likely out for the season with a serious knee injury, both playing time and consistent power can be expected from Arencibia for the rest of 2012.
 Kurt Suzuki (OAKLAND)
Entering the year, Suzuki was a pretty consistent player who you could rely on for a mediocre batting average (around .250) but with decent power (15 home-run ability) and the chance to put up runs batted in when slotted into the middle of the order. With Josh Willingham and Hideki Matsui gone in the off-season, Suzuki had a chance to get back into a run-producing role with the Athletics. It hasn’t happened. He has been brutal offensively and has lost his starting job to rookie Derek Norris. Even though Norris has had his struggles at the plate recently, expect Suzuki to ride the pine for the majority of the second half. Avoid him.
Catcher is always a tough position for fantasy owners to fill effectively. The second half of 2012 shouldn’t be any different. But there are some players worth noting for sure. Good luck!
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