TRI Position Projections: Catcher

Scott Barzilla begins the fantasy season by ranking the top 20 catchers according to his total run index statistic.

Many of you my fantasy manifesto. Now, it is time to jump in and start ranking players by position.

Total run index is able to forecast player performance for players with three or more years of experience. Here, we are comparing each player’s rank with where they are being selected on average in fantasy drafts to date.

1. Mike Napoli

TRI: 121.2 

ADP: 46.2 

Position: 2

Napoli is right around where he should be, but Carlos Santana has been overvalued in most drafts early on. Napoli will be spending more time behind the dish after he proved he is a better defender than Yorvit Torrealba.

2. Alex Avila

TRI: 98.5

ADP: 109.1 

Position: 8

Avila is severely undervalued in most draft rooms. Apparently, most observers think he is a flash in the pan, but without Victor Martinez he is clearly the only catcher worthy of playing everyday in Detroit. Like I said in the beginning, keep this one under wraps and get ready to pounce somewhere around the ninth or tenth round.

3. Joe Mauer

TRI: 59.7 

ADP: 81.9 

Position: 5

While he is the fifth rated catcher in current drafts, there is quite some distance between him and the fourth catcher. If the first few guys go off the board and your league and you don’t feel comfortable with Avila, you can still get a lot of value here late in the seventh round.

4. Carlos Santana

TRI: 57.2 

ADP: 36.9 

Position: 1

Santana is going first among catchers. That’s awfully ambitious. Yes, he had a lower average than he should have last year, but that is a ton of ground to make up between him and Napoli. Santana may be the second or third best catcher when all is said and done.

5. Brian McCann

TRI: 51.7 

ADP: 50.7 

Position: 4

McCann is going right where he should on draft day. Last year he took a step forward and would have been in the top three overall at catcher had he not missed time with nagging injuries.

6. Nick Hundley

TRI: 44.0 

ADP: 231.5 

Position: 13

Here is the first shocking finish in TRI. Hundley has been steadily improving for the past three seasons. Yasmani Grandal may be the catcher of the future, but Hundley is the catcher for now in San Diego.

7. Carlos Ruiz

TRI: 44.0 

ADP: 240.7 

Position: 21

Keep this one under your hat for awhile. You can draft Ruiz to be your backup catcher and then flip him when everyone figures out he’s really good enough to be the regular catcher. Then again, you can load up everywhere else and get this guy at the end.

8. Miguel Montero

TRI: 39.2 

ADP: 102.9 

Position: 7

Montero has been a steady performer and should be one of the better run producers for the Dbacks this season. He is going in the appropriate spot.

9. Buster Posey

TRI: 30.0

ADP: 59.5

Position: 3

Buster Posey is getting picked way too high. Yes, he was great in 2010 and he should be healthy this year, but no one knows how much he lost when he had that major knee injury.

10. Matt Wieters

TRI: 23.0

ADP: 99.5

Position: 6

Total run index is projecting growth, to be sixth among catchers he would have to have a similar jump as he had last season. That would put him around 30 home runs and a .270-.280 average. I’m not buying that kind of a jump.

11. Yadier Molina

TRI: 20.0 

ADP: 180.4 

Position: 9

He’s going around where he should in terms of catcher rank, but the upside isn’t there like it is for Posey or Wieters. So, I would wait awhile to add him. He might even be a backup fantasy catcher these days.

12. Ramon Hernandez

TRI: 18.2 

ADP: 241.3 

Position: 22

In some leagues, he isn’t even being drafted. That’s insane. He is catching half of his games in Coors Field for crying out loud.

13. Salvador Perez

TRI: 15.1 

ADP: 239.0 

Position: 17

Perez got a little time last season and looked very good. He is a bit of a wild card in the sense that no one is quite sure how much he is going to play. He might be the ninth or tenth best catcher in reality.

14. Wilson Ramos

TRI: 14.2 

ADP: 209.2 

Position: 11

Ramos will not have to compete with Ivan Rodriguez for playing time (although he probably never should have had to in the first place). So, his level of production should jump enough to match his draft position.

15. Ryan Hanigan

TRI: 11.0

ADP: 345.4

Position: 33

Hanigan is not getting drafted in most leagues because most experts seem to think Devin Mesoraco will get the playing time. I think they will likely split the time which means Hanigan wouldn’t be a bad bench player.

16. Chris Iannetta

TRI: 6.4 

ADP: 238.8

Positon: 16

The placement seems appropriate for Iannetta. His numbers will likely drop outside of the thin air of Coors Field.

17. A.J. Ellis

TRI: 3.5

ADP: Not Drafted

Position: 38

Ellis is likely to be the catcher for the majority of the games in LA and he was solid offensively last season. There is no reason for him to go undrafted in every single league.

18. Devin Mesoraco

TRI: o.0 

ADP: 239.0

Position: 18

I’m just not quite sure how much he is going to play. Is he going to platoon with Ryan Hanigan? Is he going to be his backup or will his hitting overwhelm Dusty Baker enough to make him the regular? I suppose taking a flyer on him late is not a big deal, but this seems a tad too early.

19. John Buck

TRI: -1.0

ADP: 242.9

Position: 25

I’m not a huge John Buck guy, but are you telling me that guys like Kurt Suzuki, Jonathan Lucroy, and A.J. Pierzynski are honestly better? If you need a backup catcher at the end of the draft go ahead and take a flyer. He might give you good power numbers.

20. Geovany Soto

TRI: -8.5 

ADP: 229.0

Position: 12

If you want to gamble on him becoming the Geovany Soto that he was in 2010 then go right ahead. There isn’t much separation between the 12th guy and 25th guy.

Scott Barzilla plays fantasy baseball. He also writes for TheFanManifesto and can be followed on twitter at @sbarzilla.

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