2011 Rankings and Projections: Catcher

Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer follows through on a two-run homer scoring Denard Span during the second inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Celular Field in Chicago on August 10, 2010.   UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom

I’m taking a new approach to my rankings this year. What I’ve come up with is a way to quantify value within each position using my 2011 projections. The goal is to find how much more or less production each player is from the average projection per category at that position. For example, my projections have the average catcher at 11 home runs. Joe Mauer is projected for 14 home runs, so he gets three points for that category. That’s the gist of “Value Index”, which is represented as “VI” on the chart below.

With that in mind, here are your top 51 catcher rankings and projections for 2011.
  • There is clear cut top two of Joe Mauer and Victor Martinez, who are the only two to crack the 100 Value Index score mark. 
  • The drop off after the top five is big. Buster Posey ranks fifth with an 85 Value Index score and Mike Napoli ranks sixth with a 66 Value Index score.
  • Carlos Santana edges out Posey for the fourth spot due to the extra RBI and four steals. With Shin Soo Choo, Grady Sizemore and Asdrubal Cabrera hitting around him, Santana should have more runs to drive in in 2011.
  • Mike Napoli is projected to hit two more home runs than he did in 2010. I firmly believe that Napoli will be traded this offseason and receive even more at-bats in 2011.
  • Kurt Suzuki is lined up for what could be a career year in 2011. His BB/K rate improved in 2010, but a huge spike in infield fly balls hurt his AVG. Look for more line drives in 2011 and a few more home runs and RBI if he can stay healthy.
  • J.P. Arencibia ranks in the top ten due to 20 home run potential and a lineup in which he could produce 65-70 RBI.
  • Jesus Montero‘s rank is based on him winning the catcher’s job in spring training. His offensive game is top-notch and he could make an immediate fantasy impact.
  • Matt Wieters has shown small signs of improvement over his last two seasons such as an improvement in BB/K rate and contact rate. He still has the potential to put it all together.
  • Chris Iannetta makes the top 15 cut due to a lack of competition in Colorado and big-time power potential.
  • Jorge Posada may be the Yankees’ primary DH, but he turns 40 in 2011 and a sharp fall off in skill could happen at any time.
  • Padres’ catcher Nick Hundley is set to get more at-bats in 2011 and he his power potential should result in more home runs in 2011 along with more RBI.
  • John Buck‘s career year in 2010 is just that. He goes from a good home run park in Toronto to a big space in Florida. He’s also not likely to be helped by a similar .335 BABIP going forward.
  • When the Angels realize that Jeff Mathis‘s defense isn’t good enough to justify the hole he creates in their lineup, Hank Conger should get his shot and put up nice numbers for deeper formats.
  • Wilson Ramos is a deep league sleeper in Washington, but he’ll need to find at-bats between Ivan Rodriguez and Jesus Flores.