Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Catching up on the Backstops

A quick look at the Yahoo! Player Rater shows that there are 4 Catchers ranked safely in the overall top 100. They are the usual names: A.J. Pierzynski, Gerald Laird, Jason Kendall and Ryan Doumit. Guys like Victor Martinez and Russell Martin are sitting comfortably on the wrong side of the top 300. What does this tell us? Well, nothing actually. One week is a pretty worthless sample size. V-Mart and Russell will turn things around soon enough and Jason Kendall will give Ned Yost a different reason to bat him behind Jeff Suppan. But if you are in a league that only requires 1 starting Catcher, and you didn't spend/waste a high draft pick on the position, you might be able to catch lightning in a bottle and ride some hot bats.

Here are some interesting options likely to still be available in your one Catcher leagues:

Ryan Doumit: Entering the season Doumit was expected to back up Ronny Paulino. However, Doumit's hot start has put him on the better side of a righty/lefty platoon. He is 11/24 to start the year with five runs scored. He even got the start against a lefty on Monday.

Mike Napoli: Here's a guy who will end up with 15+ HRs and a sub .250 AVG. He has 2 HRs in 22 AB but he is already not making good contact. If you can live with the anemic AVG then he will reward you with good pop. In leagues that use OBP instead of AVG he is a top 10 Catcher.

Gerald Laird: Heading into the season many pundits were expecting Saltalamacchia to take over catching duties in Texas. With Salty in AAA Laird has started out hot: 5/16 with 2 HRs and 6 RBI. With regular playing time Laird should continue to show decent power down in Arlington, though his average might prove detrimental.

Kurt Suzuki: Suzuki appears to be seeing the ball well thus far. He is batting .375 and has a .423 OBP. Additionally, he has a SB and a CS, which shows that he will likely end up amongst the SB leaders at the position.

Jason Kendall: Smoke and Mirrors. That is all I can come up with when trying to figure out how Kendall is currently the hottest hitter in the NL. I can't with any good conscience recommend him beyond this current statistical anomaly. However, I just saw him rip two singles off of Johnny C, so there must be something to this stretch.

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