The SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League requires owners to start two catchers each week. The catcher position is top heavy, forcing owners to make a decision - target a catcher early in the draft or risk starting two sub-par offensive performers each week?
Teams that kept a catcher will have a different tactical decision to make - should they draft a second catcher early to maximize production from a position that two-thirds of the league will struggle to find production from or do they wait until late in the draft to grab their final backstop?
Here is a look at the remaining catchers available in the March draft. These rankings are based on the specific scoring categories and roster requirements of the SFRRC. The statistical projections are provided by CAIRO, a system that analyzes players using four years of weighted baseball data to try and determine the type of numbers they'll post for the upcoming season. Like most statistical projection systems, CAIRO is correct about 70 percent of the time, so it should be used as a guide, not gospel.
Ideally, you want power from your catchers, home runs and RBI. There are very few of those catchers in the league and most have been kept. Two elite catchers remain - Joe Mauer and Brian McCann. Both provide RBI while McCann is also a home run hitter. Mauer is unique, boasting a high OBP and low strikeout rate along with a high number of runs scored and RBI.
Miguel Montero and Alex Avila are nearly identical players while Russell Martin and Yadier Molina provide value because of their low strikeout rate. Because Martin and Molina are not traditional power hitters, they need to be paired with players at other positions that do provide home runs and RBI. A player with power and a high strikeout rate - such as Mark Reynolds - can be paired with Molina or Russell to provide balance. Jesus Montero is a high-risk player for a different reason. He doesn't have catcher eligibility yet. Montero should provide power numbers but he'll have to play in the utility spot early until he's played five games at catcher.
It's clear by looking at the statistical projections for the players in this tier how fast production drops at the catcher position. These players would be marginal bench players at any other position but at catcher, they will start. Carlos Ruiz and Ramon Hernandez both have solid OBP and a low strikeout rate. Geovany Soto offers the most power potential.
These are the best of the second catchers. Last year, Jonathan Lucroy was paired with Brian McCann for a very effective catching duo for the championship Lower Haighters. Devin Mesoraco is a rookie projected to start for the Reds while Ryan Doumit will see some time behind the plate while also DHing for the Twins.
This is the best of the rest. With the exception of Ryan Hanigan, all of these players should start (and it's worth keeping an eye on Hanigan because he could beat out the rookie for the starting job in Cincinnati) for their respective major league teams which means they'll have opportunities to accumulate statistics. Looking at these projected statistics, you can see why you don't want to wait too long before you draft your first catcher.