It’s common practice to not reach for a catcher early on in your fantasy baseball drafts.
Ideally in a position that doesn’t produce a great deal of offense, you want a pair of guys that won’t hurt your team, opposed to maybe one solid backstop and another guy that is going to bring your team down.
This year, in my first rankings of the season, I have my eyes on a pair of guys near the top that won’t do a whole lot of catching this year, but should sit near the top of any catcher rankings.
While I won’t take him as the first catcher off the board, I can make the case that Minnesota Twins’ first baseman Joe Mauer should be the top ranked catcher coming into the 2014 season.
Wait a second. A first baseman as my top ranked catcher?
While Mauer will be learning a new position this season, he still has catcher eligibiliy for this season.
That’s huge because the increase in games played.
While most everyday catchers could end up with 120 or so games played, there’s no reason to believe that Mauer won’t play 150 games this season. More at bats should equal increased production.
His days of hitting 25 homer runs are behind him, but he’s a guy that can still knock 15 balls out of the park while hitting .310 and driving in 85 or so runs. You can’t ask for more than that from the catcher spot.
I wouldn’t recommend Mauer in a keeper league as he will have much less value next year when he won’t be eligible at catcher, but if you are in win now mode, Mauer is a guy that you need to target.
Mauer’s ADP is currently 69.8 and if you are a guy that normally reaches for a catcher early on, based on the fact that he is going to get over 500 at bats this season, Mauer is a guy that will give you value at that spot in the fifth round.
For now I have Mauer as my No. 2 catcher, but I can easily make the case that he could be in the No. 1 spot before the season begins.
Here’s a look at my catcher rankings as spring training games get set to begin.