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Best NL Fantasy Baseball Catchers for 2013
The following is a list of the top ten National League fantasy baseball catchers for the 2013 season. There is a deep crop of players at this position in the NL so if you miss out on one of the top picks you can still find value in the later rounds. The rankings are based on personal opinion formed while watching a tremendous number of National League baseball games.
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10. A.J. Ellis, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ellis had somewhat of a breakout season at age 31 as he got a chance to start for the first time in his career. He started the season off hot and through June 3rd was hitting .315 with 6 homers, 25 RBI, and an amazing .934 OPS. He tailed off dramatically from that point and hit only .246 with a .710 OPS the rest of the way to finish the year with totals of .270 batting, 13 homers, and 52 RBI. If you miss out on one of the top catchers he is not a bad pick for the later rounds and should be able to put together a .275, 15 homer, 55 RBI campaign in 2013.
9. Wilson Ramos, Washington Nationals
Ramos missed out on all the fun in DC as a leg injury took him out for the season on May 12th. He finished 2012 batting .265 with 3 homers and 10RBI in only 83 at bats. However, he is the starting catcher in Washington and will be fully healthy to start the 2013 campaign. Expect him to rebound with 15 homers and 65 RBI in a potent Nationals lineup. He will be 25 years old when the season starts so he is just entering his prime.
8. Yasmani Grandal, San Diego Padres
Grandal lit a fire under the Padres when he was inserted in the lineup at the end of June last season when he famously hit 4 homers in his first five games played. He didn't continue that pace but he did finish with a solid line at .297, 8 homers, and 36 RBI in only 229 at bats. He will be 24 at the beginning of the 2013 season and will be the starter from opening day. With his sweet swing he should put together a nice season. I conservatively project 15 homers and 70 RBI with a .280 average. Unfortunately he was just popped for testing positive for testosterone and will have to serve a 50 game suspension to start the season so look elsewhere on draft day.
7. Carlos Ruiz, Philadelphia Phillies
Ruiz would be higher on the list if he was a few years younger but I have a hard time investing too much in catcher that will be 34 at the start of the 2013 season. This in no way takes away from the great 2012 year Ruiz put together. At age 33 he was able to carve out a career season with highs in every major statistical category. He hit .325 with 16 homers, 68 RBI, .935 OPS and only 50 strike outs in only 372 at bats. A foot injury derailed him somewhat in the second half, which is kind of a preview a coming attractions as he gets older. I think he will go higher than he should in most drafts, but if he falls to later rounds he would be a nice pick-up. With so many other great catchers available don't reach for him. Catchers are going down in droves. First Grandal and now Ruiz with a 25 game suspension for amphetamine use. Most will shy away from him on draft day, but I think he will make a nice pick up in the later rounds.
6. Wilin Rosario, Colorado Rockies
Be honest. How many of you were even aware of Killin' Wilin before the 2012 season? Well, I have to admit that I didn't hear about him until Ramon Hernandez went down with an injury and Rosario become the defacto starter for the Rockies. He went on to have an amazing rookie campaign hitting an astounding 28 homers with 71 RBI, .270 batting, and .530 slugging only 396 at bats. This athletic catcher will be only 24 at the start of the 2013 season and he is the clear starter heading into opening day. He fits nicely into the fifth lineup slot after Gonzalez and Cuddyer.
5. Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers
If not for a freak injury that cost him six weeks (his wife dropped a suitcase on his hand) Lucroy may have placed higher on the list. In only 96 games he batted .320 with 12 homers, 58 RBI, .512 slugging, and only 44 punch outs. He also threw in 4 steals for good measure. Projected over a normal 140 game season for an NL catcher he potentially could have had close to 20 homers and 80 RBI. He hit well when he returned from the injury so there appears to be no lingering effects of the hand injury. He will be 26 at the beginning of the year and hitting in the middle of the Brewers lineup he should put together a nice line in 2013.
4. Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves
McCann had a lost 2012 season due to a nagging shoulder injury that really sapped his ability to drive the ball. In spite of this he still managed to hit 20 homers for the fifth straight year. He also managed 67 RBI and only 76 strike outs. However, his percentages really suffered as he batted only .230 with a career low .698 OPS. With the Braves early exit from the playoffs he will have 4 solid months to recuperate for 2013. Brian seems like he's been around forever but he will only be 29 at the start of the 2013 season so he should have several good seasons left in the tank. He also has one of sweetest strokes in the game. For these reasons he is my early choice for comeback player of 2013. With so many other good catchers available in the NL he will make a great buy-low candidate in your 2013 draft.
3. Miguel Montero, Arizona Diamondbacks
Montero was the forgotten man last season as he put together an impressive offensive line in obscurity. He batted .286 with 15 homers, 88 RBI, and 73 walks. His numbers were amazingly close to his 2011 campaign so he has done this before. He will be 29 at the start of the 2013 season and should have a few years left of top level production.
2. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
You know it is a deep crop of NL catchers when a year like Molina had in 2012 doesn't get him the top spot. He put together an amazing .315 batting average with 22 homers, 76 RBI, 12 steals (for a catcher!), and with only 55 strike outs. However, I fear that 2012 was Yadier's peak since he is 30 years and has a lot of mileage on his body. Even if he slips some he will still reward you handsomely. His durability is also a plus as he regularly plays over 130 games a season which is no small achievement for an NL catcher.
1. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
I had Posey ranked as the fourth best NL catcher last season because I wasn't sure how he would come back from the horrific leg injury that prematurely ended his 2011 campaign. Well, with his breakout 2012 that saw him win a batting title (as a catcher in a notoriously bad home hitting park!) there is no doubt he is the best. He had one of the greatest offensive seasons by a catcher since Mike Piazza was in his prime with a .336 batting average, 24 homers, 103 RBI, .408 on-base, and .549 slugging. He also put this together at the age of 25 so he hasn't hit his prime yet. It will be fun to see the numbers he posts the next few years. Posey also has first base eligibility in most leagues after playing 29 games there last season.
If you are unable to get one of the top ten NL catchers other choices include sleeper Rob Brantley with Miami, the Wes Welker look-alike Michael McKenry of Pittsburgh (12 homers in 240 at bats), and Steve Clevenger with the Cubs.