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Backstop to the Future: Fantasy Baseball Catchers for 2013

English: Buster Posey at Dodger Stadium.

English: Buster Posey at Dodger Stadium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was a time when catcher was the worst position in fantasy baseball. The approach many owners took was to draft someone in the last rounds (or spend as little auction money as possible), stick him in your line up and pray he didn’t kill your batting average too much.
If you listen to the Fantasy Doctor (something I don’t readily recommend), he’ll have you thinking that catchers are still the worst thing to happen to your fantasy team this side of Adam Dunn in 2011. However, there is actually quite a bit of depth at the position heading into the 2013 season.
Best of all, you don’t have to nab the top player at the position (although it certainly wouldn’t hurt) in order to get value out of the catching position in your fantasy line up. Here’s an early look at the top ten fantasy baseball 
Buster Posey (SF) –
Posey would be a fantasy stud regardless of his position. The fact that he’s a catcher makes him even more valuable. Only a horrific injury in 2011 prevented him from being at the top of everyone’s list heading into last year. The fact that he has recovered (and is back with a vengeance), easily puts him at the head of the class.

Carlos Santana (CLE) 

He struggled mightily in the first half of last season. However, this wasn’t totally unexpected given his surprising breakout campaign in 2011. Power, a patient eye and batting in the middle of the order simply makes his talent potential too good to pass up.
Brian McCann (ATL) –
There are going to be a lot of people who will be really down on McCann heading into 2013. They’ll point to his poor production down the stretch last season and say he’s slowing down. A shoulder injury hampered his ability to hit for any type of average in the second half. Although he has been up-and-down during the season for several years now, he continues to put up incredibly consistent numbers. He’ll bounce back nicely. Mark it down.
Victor Martinez (DET) –
The fact that he’s the forgotten man makes him a great sleeper pick in 2013. He’ll immediately be placed into a potent lineup (okay, postseason notwithstanding) and be asked to provide protection for Prince Fielder. Add to that the fact that he’ll get the majority of his at bats from the DH spot and you’ve got the potential for some excellent production from the catcher position in most leagues.
Joe Mauer (MIN) –
Don’t be surprised to see Mauer right behind Posey on many lists. That’s a little too high for my liking. Sure, the average is elite (especially for a catcher) but limited power and the consistent threat of injury make him a little too risky for my blood.
Matt Wieters (BAL) –
People have been waiting for Wieters to put it all together for awhile now. Expect that big season to come in 2013. The key to a monster campaign will be all about hitting for consistent power, something Wieters has struggled with in-season in the past. He’s levelled off the past 2 seasons but expect a jump in Year 5.
Salvador Perez (KC) –
Only an injury out of the gate stopped him from putting up an impressive fantasy season. He could slip down the ranks on a few owners lists due to his limited overall stats last season. If he slips into your hands in the later rounds, jump on the chance to own him. He’ll reward you with a very nice season in 2013.
Yadier Molina (STL) –
I’m going to take some flak for putting him so low, but for me Molina is more valuable on the field than he is in fantasy. He’s coming off a career year, so he’ll be over-valued by most of your competition on draft day. He’s nearing the age that catchers often see a decline in numbers and he has been susceptible to nagging injuries over the years. It wouldn’t shock me to see both his home runs and stolen bases to regress to single digits. He’ll go way earlier than he should at the draft or auction. Don’t sweat it.
Mike Napoli (FA) –
Napoli is coming off a down season but don’t forget that he was atop many lists heading into last year and was a monster in the second half of 2011. Regardless of where he signs, he’ll get a bunch of his at bats out of the DH or 1B spot and he should put up some decent power numbers. Don’t forget about him.
Jesus Montero (SEA) -
The Mariners gave up their best young pitcher to get him and they did it for a good reason. He has a boatload of potential and moving in the fences will help prevent Safeco from being a graveyard for right-handed hitters again. He’ll see time at multiple positions which will only help his fantasy value as a catcher.
If you don’t land one of these catchers in 2013, don’t fret. As I mentioned, the position is deeper than you might think and there are a few sleeper options that should deliver some really nice fantasy stats next season. Players like Jonathan Lucroy (MIL),Miguel Montero (ARI), Wilin Rosario (COL) and Carlos Ruiz (PHI) can all deliver varying degrees of statistical help to your fantasy squad. Even in deeper leagues, you should be able to field a decent catcher in 2013.
Don’t let the Fantasy Doctor get you down. I never do.
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