With yesterday’s introductory post on ADP and what we hope to accomplish in this series out of the way, we can now start dissecting the Trend Report a little more and start breaking it down into different categories such as by position, top players, sleepers, etc. So why not start with a position by position look so that you can start highlighting (or crossing off) a few names on your own depth charts. And what better place to start than the boys behind the dish?
The catcher position is one of those “love ‘em or hate ‘em” positions in fantasy. Quite often, there isn’t much depth and most owners, if they choose not to go after someone in the top five tend to dismiss the position until they are forced to address it at the end of their draft. However, in looking at the rundown of the 2013 backstops, you’ll notice that, while it shouldn’t be a position to just dismiss altogether, there does seem to be enough depth this season to allow you to wait a bit longer before drafting one
Here’s a look at the trend report for the top 50 catchers as it currently stands in NFBC mock drafts…
|Rank||Player||Team||Current ADP||1 Week Ago||Trend|
It’s very difficult to argue against the belief that Buster Posey should, not only be sitting atop the catcher rankings, but that he should also be coming of the board as a late-first round draft choice, taken at least 40 picks earlier than the next best guy listed, according to the ADP. Given the wealth of talent that goes within the first two rounds of any draft some might be against taking a catcher so early, but considering his contributions in four of the five basic roto categories and the drop-off in multi-category contribution as you move down the list, having a guy like Posey on your roster can give you a distinct advantage over someone who waits until the ninth or tenth round to grab the first of their backstops in a two-catcher league. As far as a one-catcher league goes, there’s not much comparison as owning Posey gives you a huge leg up, provided you continue to build the rest of your offense in the early rounds.
Posey’s trend might be moving down right now, but remember, the NFBC is made up of 15-team leagues, so at the latest, he is going right at the turn. If you’re picking anywhere in the top 10 of your 15-teamer, you can almost guarantee that you won’t see him available to you in the second round.
You might be surprised to see that Atlanta back-up Gerald Laird (+13.46%) is the biggest riser here. With such a ridiculously high ADP rank, it’s obvious that he isn’t even being drafted in most leagues (15 teams x 30 rounds = 450 picks per draft), but his name is here and he is trending upwards because some people are obviously not convince that Brian McCann, who is coming off of a down year and offseason shoulder surgery, will either be ready for Opening Day or able to carry the full load all season. McCann insists that he’ll be ready and has invoked the “best shape of my life” cliché with respect to his shoulder, but the team still projects that he will miss at least the first few weeks of the season and both they and McCann’s agent have agreed to hold off talks on a contract extension until the end of the year.
A.J. Pierzynski, TEX (+12.98%) – Coming off a career year where he jacked more home runs than the previous two season combined, he’s now taking his act to Arlington which plays like an even smaller bandbox than U.S. Cellular Field. There are plenty of fantasy owners that love him, but the sudden power spike has many skeptics wondering if there’s a potential 50-game suspension coming his way.
Tyler Flowers, CHW (+10.35%) – With no Pierzynski on the South Side, Flowers finally gets his first real shot at starting behind the plate. He showed some modest power potential in the minors, so with a full-time gig, he could make for a decent second catcher.
Jason Castro, HOU (+10.10%) – Not really sure why here. People might be confusing him with someone else, I think.
J.P. Arencibia, TOR (+9.75%) – With prospect Travis d’Arnaud being shipped off to the Mets, JPA won’t be looking over his shoulder as often and might be able to finally relax into his starting position. The batting average and overall plate discipline still needs work, but a .211 ISO over 895 major league plate appearances looks awfully tasty if you’re looking for power.
Nick Hundley, SD (+7.74%) – Health has always been the biggest issue and elbow surgery and knee surgery in back-to-back seasons has certainly dulled the luster on him. But with Yasmani Grandal serving a 50-game suspension, Hundley is back in business and will resume starting duties to open the season. When Grandal comes back, you should start hearing Hundley’s name in the trade rumors, so he should play the full season as a starter. Again though, if healthy.
Looking at the other end of the spectrum, you’ll see that Geovany Soto (-24.75%) has the biggest ADP drop amongst the top 50. While that is obviously a direct result of the fact that he remains unsigned, it is also due to the fact that when he does eventually land somewhere, it is highly doubtful that he will be used as anything more than a back-up. Maybe the Astros should give him a call as the only team where his declining skills would actually be an upgrade to what they have.
Mike Napoli, FA (-10.36%) – Had his deal with Boston gone through, it’s doubtful that he’s be listed here, but since the Red Sox found something in his hip that they didn’t like, they threw away the three-year offer and are supposedly closing in on a one-year deal. He’ll play first base for them so that should limit the potential for aggravating the injury, but a red flag nonetheless.
Martin Maldonado, MIL (-9.83%) – Despite a fairly good showing in the absence of Jonathan Lucroy last year, he’s really off the map now that he’s back to being an anonymous back-up. There’s obvious potential, but similarly to Laird, he barely on people’s radar and will only be plucked off the wire in case of emergency.
Ryan Lavarnway, BOS (-9.19%) – With the impending arrival of Napoli and the presence of Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate, Lavarnway is no longer drawing much interest. If he could learn to hit lefties, then he stands a chance to work his way into a platoon behind the dish; or if the teams opts to trade Salty at some point, he could get a chance, but as my grandfather always says, “you can wish in one hand and crap in the other and see which fills up first.”
Russell Martin, PIT (-7.08) – The drop has to be concerns over the move to a much more pitcher-friendly park in Pittsburgh and the uber-disgusting batting average. However, if he shows some life this spring, we could see a turnaround for him in the ADP ranks. For now, he’s barely first-catcher material, even in a 15-team league.
Jose Molina, TB (-6.76) – The only way you end up with him on your team come draft day is if you meant to click on Yadier’s name and someone bumped your hand by mistake.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy and for more detailed questions, thoughts or comments, you can email him at email@example.com.