1. Russell Martin—LAD — 20/20 catchers don’t grow on trees ya know. Ok, so he fell one homer short of that mark, but in just two seasons Martin has quickly ascended to the top of fantasy catcher rankings. Add a .300 average, a good BB/K ratio, and soon to be gold glove defense, and you can be sure that Martin will be behind the plate the majority of days for the Dodgers.
2. Victor Martinez—CLE — Victor had an incredible year at the plate, and an embarrassing one behind it. Martinez couldn’t throw out my 90-year old grandmother trying to steal second, but hey, in fantasy that really doesn’t matter. Cleveland has been experimenting with him at first, but I think they actually found a position that he is worse at defensively than catcher. Expect another solid season from Martinez (.285/25/95), just slightly below Martin.
3. Brian McCann—ATL — McCann had a roller coaster season, but looking at the back of the baseball card now, it was still pretty good. His numbers dropped across the board, but I don’t think his owners were complaining too much. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia shipped out of town, McCann is once again the Braves every day catcher. Expect him to hit for a decent average and lead all catchers in homers and RBI
4. Joe Mauer—MIN — I have never been on board with this guy. He has been dubbed the next big thing for a number of years now, and I just haven’t seen it yet. Maybe if he could stay healthy we could get a glimpse of the greatness, but that has yet to happen. Lucky for Mauer he plays a position filled with mediocrity, so he is still a good option, just don’t stretch for him.
5. Jorge Posada—NYY — The old timer had good timing to have a career year. On the last year of his contract, Posada hit .338 with 20 HRs and 90 RBI. Don’t be delusional and expect that again, but Jorge always puts up respectable numbers. There’s going to be a significant drop off in his numbers soon, possibly this year, so be careful expecting too much from Posada. He is 36 and needs a decent number of days off.
Rising Star—Jarrod Saltalamacchia—TEX — Stuck behind Brian McCann in Atlanta, Salty finally got out from behind the roadblock and was traded to Texas last season. After it looked like they would move him to first, Salty will be the starting catcher in Arlington. After a roller coaster minor league career, Saltalamacchia is expected to be a dynamic offensive force in the majors. How long will he be behind the plate is anyone’s guess, but for the short term enjoy his time in the battery
Falling Stock— Kenji Johjima—SEA — After coming to the US expecting to be an All-Star caliber player Johjima has just been OK. Now in his third season here, he has yet to hit .300 or 20 HRs. Definitely a top 10 option at the position, Johjima has been disappointing. With Jeff Clement coming through the Mariners organization behind him, Kenji better put together a good year this season.
Make Or Break Year— Joe Mauer, MIN - Will he ever realize his potential, or will he start to sneak into that “bust” category. For years we have heard that his power is coming, he will mature into it, but he has less than 30 HRs in the last three years. Don’t hold your breath waiting for a 25 HR season. On top of that, is there any part of Mauer’s body that hasn’t bothered him in recent memory. His supporters will tell you when he is healthy he is the number one catcher. My question is, when will he EVER be healthy all season. It isn’t like catching is easy on your body.
Risky Pick—Jorge Posada—NYY — This pick is based on two factors, age and the 2007 season. Not too many backstops have great offensive years at the age of 36. Couple that with the fact that Posada had an incredible year last season, and his owners are bound to be disappointed with his performance in 2008.
Top Prospect—Geovany Soto—CHC — After an uneventful minor league career, Soto exploded in ’07 at AAA Iowa. He hit .353 with 26 HRs and 109 RBI on his way to the Pacific Coast League’s MVP Soto has almost no competition for the starting catching job in the Windy City. The only question, was ’07 a fluke? He did go .272/6/38 the year before. Also deserving consideration: JR Towles, HOU.
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