Fantasy Baseball 2012 Strategy and Advice: Breaking Down in Tiers – Catchers

Tackling fantasy drafts leaves owners with many options and decisions at virtually every position. The bare bones key to success lies in being able to snap up the undervalued guys who will produce the same exact stats as guys who are being drafted at a higher price.  Remember, the standings only look at the numbers, not the name attached to them.

This brings us to our series on fantasy baseball tiers for the 2012 season.  When organizing each position into tiers, it enables owners to see which players should produce relatively the same statistics, and easily spot under/overvalued players in each tier.  Tiers are a simple solution for finding bargains in every draft.


Mike Napoli is an elite catcher. (Photo by Red3biggs via Wikimedia Commons)

To begin, let’s define the tiers that we will classify each position by:

  • Elite: These players can be the foundation for your fantasy team and are the best players at their positions. Albert Pujols and Matt Kemp are examples of elite players that will help carry your team to a fantasy title.
  • Valuable: Cannot go wrong with this group. These solid players, who will produce for your team, are dependable and can help win a fantasy title for you. A notch below the elite, the valuable players nevertheless are very productive.
  • Solid: These players will put up numbers and can even lead in certain categories. However, inconsistency and poor performance in other categories will hurt your fantasy team at times.
  • At Your Own Risk: Limited production at this level, this group either struggles to get at bats on a regular basis or are the least producing players at their position. Proceed with caution and do your research.  The bargains found here are truly the ones that can drive a championship season. This group also includes younger players with potential.

Catchers: Elite

  • Carlos Santana
  • Mike Napoli
  • Brian McCann

You will be in good shape with any of these three elite catchers. Santana is potentially the top catcher in both leagues but needs to improve his average, which we expect this season. Napoli really came in to his own with a potent Texas offense and looks comfortable in the Rangers lineup for the next few seasons. McCann is the best hitting catcher in the National League and with more at bats may hit closer to 30 HR.

Best Bet: Mike Napoli

Catchers: Valuable

  • Matt Wieters
  • Joe Mauer
  • Miguel Montero
  • Buster Posey
  • Alex Avila
  • Yadier Molina

Can Mauer return to his MVP-like form? Getting playing time at 1B will help, and you get the feeling Mauer has a big comeback year in him for 2012. Will Wieters take the next step as the highly touted young catcher? Is Posey able to bounce back from injury? This group will solidify your catching position and may possibly feature several “elite” statuses before the season is completed.

Best Bet: Matt Wieters

Catchers: Solid

  • J.P. Arencebia
  • Geovany Soto
  • Chris Iannetta
  • Russell Martin
  • Devin Mesoraco
  • Kurt Suzuki
  • Wilson Ramos
  • Jesus Montero
  • Miguel Olivo
  • Jarrod Saltalmacchia

These are starting catchers and will give your team production from the catcher position. Arencibia is a powerful slugger who will help your HR category while hurting your average. Martin and Olivo will hit for less power but are capable of 6-8 SB a year.

Best Bet: J.P Arencibia

Catchers: At Your Own Risk

  • Ryan Doumit
  • Ramon Hernandez
  • Carlos Ruiz
  • A.J. Pierzynski
  • John Buck
  • Nick Hundley
  • Ryan Hanigan
  • Jesus Flores
  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Rod Barajas
  • Branyan Pena
  • Wilin Rosario
  • Chris Snyder
  • Salvador Perez
  • Robinson Chirinos
  • Hank Congar
  • Josh Thole
  • Yorvit Torrealba
  • Ryan Lavarnway
  • Tyler Flowers
  • John Jaso
  • Francisco Cervelli
  • Ivan Rodriguez
  • Gerald Laird
  • Jason Castro
  • Victor Martinez
  • Travis D’Arnaud
  • Jake Fox
  • David Ross
  • Kelly Shoppach
  • George Kottaras
  • J.R. Towles

Several starters are included in this group but have proven not to put up productive numbers in a full season. These are prime choices to be your back up catchers. Be sure to grab a starter from the first three groups above; do not wait for any of this group to be your No. 1 catcher.

Best Bet: Nick Hundley

About Jim McGrew

A lifelong Chicago sports fan, Jim enjoys playing, writing about and watching sports. He can be reached at or on twitter at @MySports1.
Jim lives in the Chicago area and is married with 2 children.


  1. I’m in a 10 redraft and this is my first time ever of starting 2 catchers. Is it a must to get one of the top 4-5 guys then?

  2. Jim McGrew says:

    No, it’s not a must and I would recommend not drafting a catcher too early that would be better spent on top tier guys at other positions. The catcher position can be unreliable and I would suggest you make sure you get a starting catcher from at least the “Solid” category for your #1 pick, then a low end catcher in later rounds. Getting Arencibia or Soto around rounds 11-12 is possible, then a AJ Pierzynski or sleeper Salvado Perez (Royals) in round 20-22.
    Good luck to you!
    Jim McGrew

  3. Jim McGrew says:

    Check that on Salvado Perez…SURPRISE, Ariz. — Catcher Salvador Perez was on crutches in the Royals’ clubhouse Sunday morning, heading for what will be a daily destination for him — the training room. Perez has launched his rehabilitation work after knee surgery on Friday for repair of a torn lateral meniscus. The initial estimation is that he’ll be out for 12 to 14 weeks and might not be ready for Major League action until around the All-Star break.

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