Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2014 Draft Prep: Catcher profiles

  •  

Al's profiles: Cs | 1Bs | 2Bs | SSs | 3Bs | OFs | Ps

The art and science of making projections isn't so hard sometimes. We can feel confident in knowing Joe Mauer will hit well over .300, Clayton Kershaw will get between 230 and 250 strikeouts and Brandon Phillips will hit 18 home runs for the fifth year in a row. (Actually, I have Phillips projected to hit only 16 this year.) Most players aren't quite that consistent, though, which makes projecting a far more interesting, and occasionally, far more aggravating task.

Over the coming weeks, I'll be using this space to explain the rationale behind some of those more gut-wrenching projections. Each column will focus on a different position, and I'll dig into the projections for six players who are hard to pin down, have had surprising trends (either good or bad) or are simply the targets of many of your Twitter and e-mail questions.

We'll start with catchers, laying out their projected slash line, 5x5 stat line and overall value. For Rotisserie value, I'm using their projected Standings Gain Points, a measure introduced decades ago by Alex Patton. It estimates how many cumulative places in the standings across the five hitting or pitching categories the player will lift your team, based on his projected stats in those categories. For Head-to-Head value, I am citing the projected number of Fantasy points the player will earn this season, based on a standard scoring system.

Play on CBSSports.com in 2014!
Baseball Commissioner
Get the premium experience you deserve! Create a customized league with exclusive news and tools.
Start your league!

And now on to our half-dozen catchers, who have helped to change the way I am viewing the position in advance of Draft Day. Rising elites like Jonathan Lucroy have me thinking that my early-round catching options aren't just limited to the big three of Mauer, Buster Posey and Carlos Santana. Evan Gattis and Yan Gomes are not quite in the same class, but they're emerging talents who have strengthened the corps of No. 1 catchers, making it plausible to wait on filling that slot -- not because the position is weak -- but because there are now several more enticing options to fall back on.

Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers

2014 projections: .291/.344/.476, 20 HR, 79 RBI, 65 Runs, 6 SB in 525 at-bats
2014 overall value (projected): 11.6 Standings Gain Points (5x5), 3rd among catchers; 412 Fantasy Points, 4th among catchers

Going into last season, a discussion of elite catchers was essentially a discussion of the aforementioned Big Three. Though Lucroy didn't put up astounding numbers in 2013, he has nonetheless earned admission into the catching elite. His 18 home runs didn't draw much attention, but for the second straight season, he showed above-average power for a catcher. He also posted his second straight season of striking out in fewer than 14 percent of his at-bats. Lucroy was likely cheated on last year's .280 batting average, as he hit just .196 on grounders after exceeding .250 in his three previous campaigns. My projection of a .291 average may even be a little conservative. Even if he falls a little short of his projected 20 home runs, Lucroy could make up for it with a .300- plus average.

Evan Gattis, Braves

2014 projections: .253/.296/.486, 27 HR, 89 RBI, 68 Runs, 0 SB in 490 at-bats
2014 overall value (projected): 11.1 Standings Gain Points (5x5), 6th among catchers; 371 Fantasy Points, 6th among catchers

Because Gattis has just 105 major league games and a limited minor league track record under his belt, he's not the easiest player to project. At least he has consistent power production in his favor, so it doesn't feel like a stretch to project him for six more homers than he hit last year, especially since he's the Braves' No. 1 catcher now and he can also play first base and outfield. If he can improve his batting average and on-base percentage, and in turn, score more runs, he goes from being a second-tier catcher to the top echelon. In order to accomplish that, Gattis needs to reduce his strikeout and popup rates, and his minors stats suggest that he has at least a chance to do it. Until he actually demonstrates a greater ability to hit for average, I'm projecting Gattis for only a mild improvement from last year's .243 average and targeting him as a second-tier catcher.

Yan Gomes, Indians

2014 projections: .257/.296/.430, 17 HR, 60 RBI, 63 Runs, 1 SB in 460 at-bats
2014 overall value (projected): 8.3 Standings Gain Points (5x5), 11th among catchers; 291 Fantasy Points, 12th among catchers

Gomes snuck into a regular role last season by riding a second-half hot streak to a .294 batting average. Having played in only 88 games, Gomes' 11 home runs, 38 RBI and 45 runs represent some impressive power and run production, and he will have a chance to build on that by opening this season as the Indians' primary catcher. Gomes' power was no fluke. Though he did play parts of his minor league career in hitter-friendly venues (most notably Las Vegas' Cashman Field), he was also capable of hitting home runs while playing in tougher venues like New Hampshire. Gomes should have little problem hitting 15 to 20 home runs, but don't look for him to come close to last season's batting average. He is a subpar contact hitter, and as someone who doesn't hit many line drives and lacks speed, he probably won't make up for strikeouts with a high rate of hits on balls in play like he did last year (.349 BABIP). This is why there is a good chance he won't hit .260 or exceed 65 RBI or runs.

Jason Castro, Astros

2014 projections: .254/.335/.427, 15 HR, 52 RBI, 61 Runs, 1 SB in 445 at-bats
2014 overall value (projected): 7.4 Standings Gain Points (5x5), 14th among catchers; 296 Fantasy Points, 11th among catchers

Castro is a line drive hitter who had shown some decent contact skills in the minors, so it didn't come as a complete surprise that he broke the .270 and 30-doubles barriers last season. His 18 home runs in 120 games, on the other hand, came out of nowhere. The only time Castro had shown more than a modicum of home run clout was in the California League, and his home park in Lancaster is especially power-crazy. Because Castro outstripped even his Cal League homer pace in 2013, I was suspicious of a repeat. And when I get suspicious of home run power, one of my first moves is to go to ESPN's Home Run Tracker, and the site confirmed my suspicions. Half of his homers were in the "just enough" distance category, whereas a typical hitter might hit only about a third of his homers for short distance. I expect Castro to lose some doubles power, too. Though he's good at hitting liners, he's not likely to repeat a 29 percent line drive rate that was the eighth-highest in the majors last season (min. 400 at-bats). The loss of homers and doubles should help to knock Castro's projected batting average into the .250s, especially since he's not been the contact hitter he was as a prospect. Projected for 30 doubles and 15 home runs, Castro now appears to be a borderline No. 1 catcher at best.

Travis d'Arnaud, Mets

2014 projections: .264/.319/.443, 16 HR, 53 RBI, 48 Runs, 2 SB in 420 at-bats
2014 overall value (projected): 7.4 Standings Gain Points (5x5), 15th among catchers; 273 Fantasy Points, 14th among catchers

Last season was not what d'Arnaud's owners were hoping for, as he missed more than three months with a broken foot and then failed to produce during his first exposure to major league pitching. Maybe the best thing to do is give d'Arnaud a do-over on his injury-tarnished season, but deep within his .202/.286/.263 slash line with the Mets, there were some good signs. In 112 plate appearances, he struck out 21 times -- not a horrible rate -- and walked 12 times. His 33 percent flyball rate was only a little lower than his minors rates, though you'd like to see him show more power when he does loft the ball. Given that he didn't become a slap hitter even when returning from his foot injury, his good power numbers in the upper minors and a home park (Citi Field) that has become one of the better home run parks in the National League, a projection of 16 home runs could be conservative. Don't look for d'Arnaud to repeat the high BABIP-driven batting averages of his recent minor league career, but with better line drive and flyball power, he should muster an average in the .260s.

Dioner Navarro, Blue Jays

2014 projections: .262/.326/.403, 13 HR, 57 RBI, 49 Runs, 0 SB in 370 at-bats
2014 overall value (projected): 6.9 Standings Gain Points (5x5), 16th among catchers; 260 Fantasy Points, 21st among catchers

Navarro not only resurrected his career as a backup for the Cubs last season, but with 13 home runs, he registered his first double-digit homer season. Now for the first time since 2009, Navarro is being entrusted as a primary starting catcher, as the Blue Jays signed him to take over for J.P. Arencibia. Having played the bulk of his career with the Dodgers and Rays, Navarro never had much of an opportunity to take advantage of a good hitter's park, and his .336/.414/.595 slash line at Wrigley Field showed that he enjoyed the Friendly Confines. Rogers Centre, Navarro's new home venue, has been even more amenable to extra-base hits. Not to give too much weight to Navarro's 2013 breakout, I have projected him for another 13-homer season, but with 130 more at-bats. Still, that gives Navarro a .141 Isolated Power, which would be his second-highest mark for a season with at least 100 at-bats. He's also due for a correction in batting average, as his .261 mark on ground balls last season doesn't square up with a career .193 batting average on grounders. A lack of doubles power makes Navarro irrelevant in standard mixed Head-to-Head leagues, but a combination of decent batting average (buoyed by a low strikeout rate), power and run production allow him to be a solid No. 2 catcher in Rotisserie.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al at @almelccbs .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Zach Putnam earns fifth save Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:34 am ET) White Sox pitcher Zach Putnam made quick work of the Royals Tuesday, needing just seven pitches to post a 1-2-3 ninth inning in his team's 7-5 win.

Putnam induced three ground balls in the save, with all turning into groundouts. It was his first save since Aug. 27, with the pitcher going 1-1 with three holds since that date. Putnam owns a 2.00 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 44:20 K:BB ratio in 54 innings.


Eric Surkamp strikes out two in win Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:31 am ET) White Sox pitcher Eric Surkamp picked up a win Tuesday, striking out two and walking one in a scoreless inning of work in his team's 7-5 victory over the Royals.

Surkamp (2-0) had given up runs in two of his previous three outings before throwing up a zero Tuesday, and the White Sox offense took the lead for good after Surkamp retired the only batter he faced in the sixth inning. He was pulled with two outs in the seventh after the Royals sent a pinch hitter to the plate. Surkamp owns a 5.66 ERA and 19:11 K:BB ratio in 20 2/3 innings.


Liam Hendriks gives up four runs in short outing vs. White Sox
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:28 am ET) Royals pitcher Liam Hendriks didn't factor into Tuesday's decision after allowing four earned runs on seven hits and one walk in three-plus innings in his team's 7-5 loss to the White Sox.

Hendriks gave up a run in the first inning and another in the second before running into trouble in the top of the fourth, loading the bases on two singles and a walk before being removed. Two of the runners left on base ended up scoring on sacrifice flies. Hendriks owns a 5.76 ERA and 20:7 K:BB ratio in 29 2/3 innings. He's not yet scheduled for another start.


Chris Bassitt walks four in short outing vs. Royals
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:27 am ET) White Sox pitcher Chris Bassitt didn't factor into the decision Tuesday, allowing three earned runs on six hits and four walks in just 3 2/3 innings while striking out two in his team's 7-5 win over the Royals.

Bassitt was already at 94 pitches by the time he was removed in the fourth inning, giving him his shortest outing in his three starts with the team after making it through six frames in each of his first two starts. Bassitt owns a 5.29 ERA and 13:11 K:BB ratio in 17 innings. He's scheduled to face the Tigers Monday.


Santiago Casilla earns 16th save Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:25 am ET) Giants closer Santiago Casilla picked up his 16th save Tuesday, striking out one in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to finish off his team's 2-1 win over the Diamondbacks.

Casilla has seen his fair share of struggles recently, surrendering an earned run in three of his last five outings coming into Tuesday's game. Still, those runs have resulted in just one blown save, which came in a game in which Casilla recorded a win. He owns a 1.86 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 41:15 K:BB ratio in 53 1/3 innings.


Francisco Rodriguez delivers 42nd save Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:22 am ET) Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez picked up his 42nd save Tuesday, tossing a 1-2-3 12th inning in his team's 3-2 win over the Cardinals.

Rodriguez needed just 11 pitches to finish off the Cardinals and record his third straight hitless appearance. He encountered a rough patch from mid-August to early September, but the closer seems to have put the struggles behind him. Rodriguez owns a 3.14 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 72:17 K:BB ratio in 66 innings.


Brandon Kintzler picks up one-out win Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:20 am ET) Brewers pitcher Brandon Kintzler picked up a win Tuesday, recording the final out of the 11th inning in his team's 3-2, 12-inning victory over the Cardinals.

Kintzler needed just three pitches to get the only batter he faced to ground out with a man on first to end the 11th inning, and the Brewers broke through for the lead in the next half-inning. It's Kintzler's second straight appearance facing only one batter. He owns a 3.50 ERA and 29:14 K:BB ratio in 54 innings.


Josh Collmenter tosses eight innings in loss vs. Giants
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:17 am ET) Diamondbacks pitcher Josh Collmenter was stuck with a loss Tuesday, giving up two earned runs on seven hits in eight innings and striking out just one in his team's 2-1 defeat against the Giants.

Collmenter (10-8) has given up only four earned runs while delivering five straight quality starts, and he gave up his first home run in that stretch in the fourth inning Tuesday. After his offense got the run back in the sixth, Collmenter fell behind again on a sacrifice fly in the seventh. He owns a 3.60 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 107:38 K:BB ratio in 165 innings. Collmenter is scheduled to face the Twins Monday in what should be his last start of the season.


Jake Peavy surrenders one run in win vs. Diamondbacks
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:17 am ET) Giants pitcher Jake Peavy earned a win Tuesday, allowing just one earned run on five hits and one walk in 7 2/3 innings while striking out four in his team's 2-1 victory over the Diamondbacks.

Peavy (7-13) continued his run of excellence Tuesday, with the only damage coming on an RBI single in the sixth inning. He's allowed a total of three earned runs in his last five outings, and he hasn't given up more than two earned runs in any of his last seven starts. Peavy owns a 3.82 ERA and 151:59 K:BB ratio in 190 2/3 innings, but he's posted a 2.29 ERA since coming to San Francisco. He's scheduled to face the Dodgers Monday.


Kevin Siegrist struggles again, takes loss Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:16 am ET) Cardinals pitcher Kevin Siegrist took a loss Tuesday, allowing one earned run on one hit and one walk in one inning while striking out one in his team's 3-2, 12-inning defeat against the Brewers.

Siegrist (1-4) has now surrendered at least one earned run in six of his last nine outings, with Tuesday's blemish coming on an RBI single in the 12th. His ERA has jumped from 3.86 to 6.30 since the end of July, and the reliever owns a 37:12 K:BB ratio in 30 innings.


 
 
 
Rankings