I had touched on it briefly in my fantasy baseball strategy articles before the season started how I was shifting away from going after a top tier catcher early in the draft and instead focusing on more of the middle tier catchers in part because there was solid value I felt as well as the home plate collisions the past couple of seasons that wiped out top rated catchers early in the year.
If you followed a similar type strategy in 2012, chances are you are probably doing pretty well at your catcher position if you check the first half stats compared to the average draft position of where players were getting picked in March. Here is a look at the top 18 catchers for the first half of the 2012 fantasy baseball season.
1. Carlos Ruiz – his 13 home runs are almost as many (14) as he hit in 2010 and 2011 combined. Add in a .350 batting average with three stolen bases and you get the top catcher so far in 2012.
2. Yadier Molina – just one home run short of his total from last season, with eight stolen bases and hitting over .300 for the second straight season.
3. A.J. Pierzynski – power numbers just like Ruiz as he is just one home run short of his combined output from the last two seasons and he is just two home runs short of his career best of 18 back in 2005.
4. Joe Mauer – his numbers are all slightly up from he did last season in 296 at bats. A return to a .320+ batting average has helped to boost his value along with four stolen bases.
5. Buster Posey – power numbers are in between his 2010 and 2011 pro-rated seasons while batting average is flirting with .300 again. Has managed to hit just one home run in 124 home at bats so far in 2012.
6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia – still can’t hit lefties (.179) and has bad plate discipline, but his fly balls all seem to be heading over the fence this season and he will set a career high in at bats.
7. Matt Wieters – numbers in line for what many had projected, though his sub .250 batting average needs to come up. Looked lost at the plate in May with a .188 batting average and 24 strikeouts in 96 at bats but turned it around in June
8. Wilin Rosario – lucky for his owners he hits in Coors Field (.295) to keep his average respectable because he has struggled mightily on the road with a .206 batting average. With only eight walks and 53 strikeouts in 190 at bats, his average is going to be at risk until that gets corrected.
9. Brian McCann – salvaged his first half right before the All-Star break with home runs in four straight games and 11 RBI. Current batting average of .238 is 31 points down from his career season low in batting average of .269.
10. Miguel Montero – turned dismal season around in June with a .324 batting average, six home runs and 22 RBI.
11. J.P. Arencibia - pretty similar to 2011, decent amount of home runs, few walks, lots of strikeouts, very low batting average.
12. Mike Napoli – has already surpassed strikeout total from last season in 128 fewer at bats. Last season’s batting average was obviously a fluke, but an almost 100 point drop is a huge cut into his value.
13. Ryan Doumit - he can hit when healthy and so far he has managed to be available for the majority of games. Numbers are right in line with his 2011 season.
14. A.J. Ellis – did the majority of his damage in May with a .333 average, four home runs and 16 RBI. Then came crashing down in June with a .222 mark and only three runs driven in. Hopefully you sold high on him.
15. Jonathan Lucroy – has been out of action since the end of May, but still ranks 15th at catcher, thanks to a .345 batting average and 30 RBI.
16. Carlos Santana – biggest disappointment of the position, especially since he was the first or second catcher selected in most drafts. Slugging percentage of .336 is more in line with a 160 pound middle infielder. Has not hit at all on the road with a .177 average in 113 at bats.
17. Jesus Montero – has struggled at SAFECO Field with a .209 average and has not been able to solve right-handed pitching either with a .204 average against. Really needs to improve his pitch selection to give his batting average a chance.
18. Alex Avila – the surprise of 2011, he has struggled this year with a drop in power, probably due to a sore patellar tendon and hamstring issues that plagued him for much of May and June. Has hit only one home run since May 4th.