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Geovany Soto was Peter Gammons’ choice for MVP in 2008. As a rookie he tied Brian McCann for the lead among all catchers in home runs and had one fewer RBI than McCann for the lead in that category. At age 26 it seemed logical that Soto would take another step forward and could even approach 30 home runs hitting behind Aramis Ramirez. That didn’t happen. And Soto isn’t alone among catchers who rise and dive in the player rankings every year. Ryan Doumit, Russell Martin, and Kelly Shoppach all fell at least 300 spots after being top ten catchers the season before. The only logic in the system is that realistically no catcher is safe.

Going back to 2006, not one catcher has been in the Yahoo top 200 for four consecutive seasons. First base has had 11 players with four consecutive top 200 seasons. Even among relief pitchers – where so much can change based on who is saving the game – has had nine players acheive four consecutive seasons with a top 200 ranking.

Joe Mauer is the face of the position and if he can replicate his 2009 season he deserves to be a top three pick. That’s a very big if though. Mauer was hurt at the start of 2009 and missed significant action in 2007 which was the last time he hit under .300. As good and as established a hitter Mauer is for average and even OBP now, he is still not a 30 home run power threat. Mauer came out of the gates on fire with 11 home runs in May, but just 17 the rest of the season. The bet here is that 28 home runs will end up being the most Mauer will ever hit in a season.

The safest way to attack the catcher position is to pick guys that aren’t catchers. Pablo Sandoval gave a better return on investment than any catcher eligible player this season. Brandon Inge was also a pretty good option in the first half. These guys don’t have to worry about the physical wear the position can have on players like it has in the past with Mauer and Victor Martinez in 2008. The Pirates have considered changing Doumit’s position and with Tony Sanchez, the second overall pick in last June’s draft, waiting at catcher in the low minors perhaps it’s a move that happens sooner rather than later.

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3 Responses to Caution with Catchers

  1. Brozif says:

    You must he hoping for a 7 game world series so that you can trim the fat at the end of your rankings…

  2. Brozif says:

    That was totally unrelated to this post but I couldn't find anywhere else to put it. Solid post, btw…if only Sandoval could get C eligibility next year…

  3. Schruender says:

    I absolutely can't wait for the World Series to end Brozif.

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