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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Fantasy baseball rankings: Catchers

We'll dive into our baseball preview this week, starting with the position the Tribe's Victor Martinez and the Yankees' Jorge Posada used to own. Both will try to come back from injury-riddled 2008 seasons, and both will be undervalued on draft day because of it.

Martinez is a safer bet to return to his former self, the one who averaged 21 home runs, 99 RBI and 37 doubles from 2004-07, a span in which he batted .301 or batter three times. He says his right elbow is fully recovered from 2008 surgery. If true, he will be a mid-round steal on draft day.

Before we get to the rankings, here's a tentative schedule for the rest of the week:

Tuesday: First basemen; Wednesday: Second basemen; Thursday: Shortstops; Friday: Third basemen; Next week: Designated hitters and outfielders, along with a complete list of the top batters. We'll get to the starting pitchers and closers the following week.

Note: Each player is listed at the position he is projected to play this season, according to the depth charts at … Statistics listed are from the 2008 season.


Rank, player, team: R-HR-RBI-SB-Avg.
1. Brian McCann, Braves: 68-23-87-5-.301
2. Russell Martin, Dodgers: 87-13-69-18-.280
3. Geovany Soto, Cubs: 66-23-86-0-.285
4. Ryan Doumit, Pirates: 71-15-69-2-.318
5. Joe Mauer, Twins: 98-9-85-1-.328
6. Victor Martinez, INDIANS: 30-2-35-0-.278
7. Jorge Posada, Yankees: 18-3-22-0-.268
8. Mike Napoli, Angels: 39-20-49-7-.273
9. Chris Iannetta, Rockies: 50-18-65-0-.264
10. Bengie Molina, Giants: 46-16-95-0-.292
11. Ramon Hernandez, Reds: 49-15-65-0-.257
12. Chris Snyder, Diamondbacks: 47-16-64-0-.237
13. A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox: 66-13-60-1-.281
14. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rangers: 27-3-26-0-.253
15. Kelly Shoppach, INDIANS: 67-21-55-0-.261
16. Ivan Rodriguez, Astros: 44-7-352-10-.276
17. Matt Wieters, Orioles: ROOKIE
18. Dioner Navarro, Rays: 43-7-54-0-.295
19. Kurt Suzuki, A’s: 54-7-42-2-.279
20. Jeff Clement, Mariners: 17-5-23-0-.227


Don’t be surprised if Martinez outperforms every catcher but McCann. ... Mauer is a great hitter, but has only 44 homers in 2,059 career at-bats and his back injury is enough of a concern to drop him below Soto and Doumit. ... In 714 career at-bats, Napoli has 46 homers and 125 RBI. ... If Posada regains his old form, he’s underrated at No. 7. ... If Martinez and Posada are healthy, there are seven productive catchers, followed by a big drop at No. 8. ... Beware of the high strikeout totals of Snyder (101 in 334 at-bats) and Shoppach (133 in 352). The latter will get a significant amount of time behind the plate for the Tribe, with Martinez shifting to first base and DH. ... I wouldn’t overrate the highly regarded Wieters, who has never batted in the big leagues. ... Saltalamacchia was overrated last season, then flopped. He could be a draft-day find as a backup.


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