Thursday, April 24, 2008

Grading Catchers

Many owners eschew the top catchers on draft day and instead opt for whoever is left at the end of the draft. Depending on the league set-up, this can be a very profitable strategy. In order to make it profitable though an owner must make sure that he either catches lightning in a bottle with his/her draft choice or must troll the waiver wire to ride the current hot hands.

With that said, let's take a look at the top 12 catchers through yesterday's games. We will rank them using their GPA's (if you are unfamiliar with this term see our previous post on Gross Production Average). I used a 45 plate appearance cut-off for these rankings.

1) Geovany Soto .347
2) Ryan Doumit .312
3) J.R. Towles .301
4) Brian McCann .299
5) A.J. Pierzynski .297
6) Paul Bako .290
7) Jason Kendall .279
8) Jorge Posada .271
9) Russell Martin .269
10) Bengie Molina .268
11) Mike Napoli .267
12) Victor Martinez .266

There are a few things of note here. First off, the two hottest rookie catching prospects on draft day, Soto and Towles, are living up to the hype so far. Soto's price tag was generally high but he is currently earning it. Towles value dropped a little in March due to a nagging hamstring injury but he is looking like he was worth the gamble.

Ryan Doumit was a suggested waiver wire pick-up after week one. He has continued to hit well and has taken over the clean-up spot in the Pirates order. If he is still somehow available I would definitely take the plunge.

Another interesting note is the fact that the consensus top 2 catchers heading into the season are rated 9th and 12th on this list. Now, I'm sure that they'll surge past Jason Kendall any day now, but it does show that using high draft picks on catchers is usually not fruitful. And have you noticed who is not on the list? That's right, Joe Mauer. He is currently sporting a .240 GPA. He will certainly end the year amongst the top 12 catchers (barring injury), but he hasn't really gotten going yet.

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