Welcome back to the first edition of the 2010 tier rankings. We received a good response from last year’s series, so it’s been brought back for a repeat performance. Like last year, the tier rankings are being kicked off with catchers. There are many varying views on catchers in fantasy baseball, with some subscribing to the positional scarcity argument while others completely ignore the position until the last rounds. Whichever direction you choose to follow, it’s always a good idea to know where the large gaps in talent are in order to have the most successful draft possible. The round are based on a 12-team mixed league, however the concept will apply no matter how large the league. Now on to the rankings …
Tier 1: Rounds 2-5
Joe Mauer and Brian McCann make another appearance in the top tier of catchers, but Russell Martin’s stock fell tremendously last year and he is replaced by Victor Martinez, who bounced back from an injury-plagued 2008 with a big year. There is even more separation between this tier and Tier 2 than there was last year, when Geovany Soto was coming off a breakout rookie year. Mauer was a beast last year and is practically in a tier of his own in the mid-second round, but coming away with any of these three can give you a decent leg up on your opposition, as they are hugely superior to the mid to late-tier catchers.
Tier 2: Rounds 9-10
If taking a catcher in the first few rounds isn’t your thing, there are a couple of high-upside options in the next tier. Prospect demi-god Matt Wieters didn’t quite live up to the hype last year (and how could he), but he’s still got the potential to quickly hop into the top tier. Miguel Montero broke out in a big way last year, and many expect him to continue building on his recent success; however, he’s being taken a little too early for my liking. Still, either one option is a solid, high-upside pick if they fall to you at the right time.
Tier 3: Rounds 13-19
This tier is really the last tier of solid catching options. Jorge Posada and Kurt Suzuki are both guys that should get plenty of playing time and put up good counting stats to go with decent averages. Geovany Soto disappointed many owners who expected him to build on a great rookie campaign, and his lackluster season was cut short by injury. Still, he’s another upside play who could easily bounce back from his sophomore slump and return to the form of his rookie season. Mike Napoli combines big power with a decent average and good walk rate, the only thing holding him back from a 30-home run season is the limited number of at-bats he’ll get. Russell Martin is a decent bounce back candidate but it seems that catching 150 games a year has taken its toll and it’s quite unlikely he’ll return back to his top-tier status.
Tier 4: Rounds 20-24
Tier 4 is where it starts to get pretty shaky. Ryan Doumit is coming off a injury-shortened 2009 but showed quite a bit of potential in his breakout 2008 campaign. With better health, he could put together an all-around solid year. If your team lacks power, guys like Bengie Molina and Chris Iannetta can supply a decent amount at the expense of average. Bengie’s brother Yadier Molina is quite the opposite, as he can provide a solid average but won’t supply much power. Don’t expect A.J. Pierzynski to hit .300 again, but he gets a decent amount of at-bats and should combine a solid average with double-digit home runs.
Tier 5: Undrafted
|Carlos Santana||N/A||.290||91||23||97||2||428||in AA|
|Buster Posey||N/A||.325||84||18||80||6||422||in A+/AAA|
Most leagues don’t go deep enough for this tier to matter all that much. Keep an eye on Carlos Santana and Buster Posey, as they’re close to the majors and would instantly become fantasy relevant should they be brought up. Guys like Saltalamacchia and Flores could provide some value as well, but for the most part this tier is filled with guys who don’t have the playing time or numbers to make it on a fantasy roster.
Michael Marinakis is a 24-year-old fantasy addict. You can find him roaming the Cafe all day where he posts as GiantsFan14 and looks forward to yet another Cy Young from Timmy.
Want to write for the Cafe? Check out the Cafe's Pencil & Paper section!