Solid article. I like you really like Towles because, also like you, I don't care to pay a premium price for a catcher, but I think Towles could give very solid value where he's selected (or watched and added in shallower leagues). I do have one point of contention however, I do believe Geovany Soto will be worth drafting in a 12 team league. I do understand that he hit in a hitters league in AAA last year, and that his numbers there were considerably better then anything he'd done before, but he's also going to be 25 going into next season. I feel like maybe he was finally starting to put it together. Another reason I believe Soto will be worth selecting as say like the 8th catcher, is because even in 2006 he had a respectable K:BB ratio, which to me shows he's got relatively good plate discipline. Maybe I'll be wrong, but I'd definitely take Soto after the likes of Victor, Martin, Mauer, Posada, McCann, Johjima start flying off the board. I'd put him in about the same class as Salty at what will likely be a fraction of the draft price because of Salty's hype. Finally, obviously the article can only be so long, but I wouldn't be surprised by Michael Barrett proving to be a quality catcher this year. Yes he's going to be playing his home games in the spacious PETCO, but he's only one year removed from being a very solid fantasy catcher, and he's put together some solid, ownable fantasy season's prior to that. Anyways, nitpicking aside... awesome article.
Thanks for the positive feedback....many solid points and I'll try to address my opinions on them...
Soto: Like I said, he is a high upside guy and not someone I'd totally avoid, but look at his minor league numbers before his gaudy 2007 at AAA...it was his 7th year in the minors and 3rd trip through the PCL. If someone in one of my leagues wants to over-react on those #'s, let them. I will throw a few bucks at him, and he could be a better bang for the buck than Salty considering how much Salty is likely to get, but I won't expect Soto for 15 HR, 70 RBI, .285 BA.... Especially in a 12 team league where you start 2 catchers and the premium on them is higher, I would take someone like R. Hernandez, Pudge, Pierzynski, possibly Varitek to be my #1 before him. In a 1 catcher 12 team league I wouldn't take one till the last round unless I saw a bargain available for me.
And in all honesty, I thought about putting Soto as an "up" until I saw the split between the rest of his #s and his 2007 AAA. I knew it was his 3rd trip through AAA, but I didn't know that disparity between his career and season was so much. I'm not betting against him, but I'm not betting my team on him before guys like Salty or Towles.
Barrett: I would take Soto before Barrett though. Barrett is a wait and see guy. I know he was injured, but he dropped off a bunch from the .307 he hit only one year earlier.
Other guys considered for up: Kurt Suzuki, Miguel Montero, Mike Napoli Other considered for down: Joe Mauer - I can't make a case against him finishing as the #1 catcher, he's so damn talented, but I would never take a C as early as he's gonna go. That, and he missed 50 games last season.