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06-01

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0

Transaction Analysis: Diamondbacks Get Salty
by
R.J. Anderson

01-12

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8

Fantasy Players to Target: First Basemen
by
BP Fantasy Staff

01-09

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8

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Catchers
by
BP Fantasy Staff

01-09

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8

Player Profile: Devin Mesoraco
by
Nick Shlain

01-09

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15

TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Episode 36: Catchers
by
Ian Lefkowitz, Ben Murphy and Jared Weiss

01-08

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2

The -Only League Landscape: National League Catchers
by
Keith Cromer

01-08

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27

Dynasty League Positional Rankings: The Top 50 Catchers
by
Bret Sayre

01-08

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3

Tale of the Tape, Dynasty Edition: Max Pentecost vs. Andrew Susac
by
Craig Goldstein

01-08

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5

Player Profile: Jonathan Lucroy
by
J.P. Breen

01-07

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17

The Adjuster: Catchers
by
Wilson Karaman

01-07

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14

Get to Know: Catcher Prospects
by
Craig Goldstein

01-07

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12

Fantasy Three-Year Projections: Catchers
by
Ben Carsley

01-07

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5

The -Only League Landscape: American League Catchers
by
Nick Shlain

01-06

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5

Tale of the Tape: Russell Martin vs. Salvador Perez
by
Matt Collins

01-06

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34

Fantasy Tiered Rankings: Catchers
by
Mike Gianella

01-06

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22

Fantasy Infographic: Catchers
by
Mauricio Rubio

01-05

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6

The Quinton: Zagging: Catchers and an Opportunitistic Strategy
by
Jeff Quinton

01-05

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20

State of the Position: Catchers
by
J.P. Breen

01-05

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1

Fantasy Players to Target: Catchers
by
BP Fantasy Staff

09-23

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12

Fantasy Freestyle: Backing Off Backstop Prospects
by
Ben Carsley

06-20

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: My Catcher Fetish and Derek Norris
by
Craig Goldstein

03-03

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7

Top Tools: Best Catcher Defense/Catcher Arm
by
Mark Anderson and BP Prospect Staff

01-17

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18

Dynasty League Positional Rankings: Top 50 Catchers
by
Bret Sayre

01-17

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6

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Catchers
by
BP Fantasy Staff

01-16

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4

Tale of the Tape: Jonathan Lucroy vs. Carlos Santana
by
Alex Kantecki

01-16

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20

Fantasy Three-Year Projections: Catchers
by
Paul Sporer

01-15

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9

Get to Know: Catcher Prospects
by
Ben Carsley

01-14

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14

Fantasy Tiered Rankings: Catchers
by
Mike Gianella

01-13

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7

Fantasy Players to Target: Catchers
by
BP Fantasy Staff

11-15

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1

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 330: A Lengthy Listener Email Show
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

08-07

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21

The Stats Go Marching In: Is it Time to Lift the Ban on Left-Handed Catchers?
by
Max Marchi

07-19

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2

Mid-Season Outliers
by
Baseball Prospectus

06-13

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3

The Stats Go Marching In: Measuring Catcher Framing in the Minor Leagues
by
Max Marchi

06-01

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Prospectus Q&A: Russell Martin and Ryan Hanigan
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-24

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5

BP Unfiltered: Chris Stewart and Miguel Montero on Catcher Receiving Skills
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-23

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3

BP Unfiltered: An AL Scout on Evaluating Catcher Receiving Skills
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-22

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1

BP Unfiltered: Kevin Towers on Catcher Receiving Skills
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-20

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1

BP Unfiltered: Brandon McCarthy on Catcher Framing
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-20

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Prospectus Q&A: The College of Coaches on Catcher Framing
by
Ben Lindbergh

03-15

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9

BP Unfiltered: A Bad Framer, a Bad Call, and an Encouraging Stat About Umpires
by
Ben Lindbergh

11-08

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22

Overthinking It: Why Nobody Gets Caught Stealing
by
Ben Lindbergh

10-08

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3

BP Unfiltered: Differences in Mitt Placement
by
R.J. Anderson

08-28

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3

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 30: Is There Racial Bias in Baseball Broadcasting?/What to Make of Brian McCann
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

08-02

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5

BP Unfiltered: Can Gregg Zaun See the Future of Bad Backup Catchers?
by
Ben Lindbergh

07-13

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14

The Stats Go Marching In: Catching Up with Catcher Rankings
by
Max Marchi

06-19

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0

BP Unfiltered: Tools of Pain
by
R.J. Anderson

02-28

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5

Transaction Analysis: Extensions for Everyone
by
R.J. Anderson

02-24

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9

The Stats Go Marching In: The Art of Handling the Pitching Staff
by
Max Marchi

09-24

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71

Spinning Yarn: Removing the Mask Encore Presentation
by
Mike Fast

03-08

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9

Purpose Pitches: Who's Got Catching?
by
Christina Kahrl

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January 7, 2015 6:00 am

The -Only League Landscape: American League Catchers

5

Nick Shlain

Surveying the junior-circuit backstop pool.

While the depth at each position varies from year to year, the American League catcher landscape has been a fairly shallow position in recent years. Despite the lack of depth, punting isn’t an option (especially in two-catcher formats). When preparing for your draft, be sure to make adjustments accounting for the depth or lack thereof at every position. How much more do you value getting a decent player at a shallow spot? Are the elite players at the position worth the risk? How these questions are handled will go a long way in determining the makeup of your roster.

As an avid AL-only fantasy player, I’ve dealt with a shallow pool of catchers before. When perusing my previous AL-only teams for this article, I noticed that the last catcher I paid a substantial amount for was Jorge Posada in 2009. In one league, my last four catchers were Dioner Navarro, Jarrod Saltalamacchia (twice), and Jesus Montero. Without many obvious catcher targets over the years—the position currently bemoans the loss of Joe Mauer and his four home runs—I’ve learned to win without a good catcher. If you’re going to choose this route, it’s obviously important to curb spending on the position. If you plan to go after Yan Gomes or Russell Martin, go ahead and do so, but don’t get caught paying only a few bucks less for Matt Wieters when he’s the last decent catcher available. The idea is to get some value at the position, of course, but it’s also important to save money at the position with an eye towards applying it elsewhere. This strategy isn’t just winning without a good catcher; it’s winning without paying for one.

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January 6, 2015 6:00 am

Tale of the Tape: Russell Martin vs. Salvador Perez

5

Matt Collins

Kicking off the series with a look at which of these two backstops will help you more in each fantasy-relevant category.

Every week, while the fantasy team here at Baseball Prospectus is rolling out our positional series, we will be running a “Tale of the Tape” series as well. For the new readers out there, or those who just don't remember the series from last year, it will be an in-depth, category-by-category comparison between two players who are ranked right next to each other in the positional rankings. We start this week with a battle between a couple of backstops, Russell Martin and Salvador Perez. The former is a veteran coming off the best year of his career, while the latter is a young player coming off the worst year of his short career. So, if you find yourself deciding between one or the other for 2015 only, let’s take a deeper look at how they match up.

Batting Average
A big part of both Martin’s career year and Perez’s down year was batting average. The new Blue Jay’s .290 mark was his best since 2007, while Perez’ .260 was 32 points lower than any mark he’s posted in his short MLB tenure. Looking purely at that, it’d be easy to give the edge to Martin, but the years prior to 2014 tell an entirely different story. From 2011-2013, Martin hit just .225, while Perez hit .301 in 989 plate appearances over the same span. Now, Martin showed some encouraging signs that point to his higher average staying, including a lower strikeout rate and a much-improved line-drive rate. On the other hand, Perez was hurt by a career-high K rate and O-swing rate. Both were also affected by BABIPs that belied their career norms. So, with all of the information we have, I’m confident in Martin hitting better than he did from 2011-2013, but would guess he won’t match the 2014 heights again. In the same vein, Perez may not get back to the .300 plateau next season, but he should improve upon his 2014 success. I would guess both players finish in the .270-.290 range, giving the edge to the youngster.


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January 6, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Tiered Rankings: Catchers

34

Mike Gianella

Breaking down the position into fantasy-value-based bins.

Today, we kick off our positional tier rankings. For the third year in a row, we have made this into a collaborative effort. Players at each position will be divided into five tiers, represented by a “star” rating.

Five-star players are the studs at their position. In general, they are the players who will be nabbed in the first couple of rounds of the draft, and they will fetch auction bids in excess of $30. Four-star players are a cut below the studs at the position. They will also be early-round selections, and they are projected to be worth more than $20 in most cases. Three-star players are the last tier in which players are projected to provide double-digit dollar value in auctions, and two-star players are projected to earn single digits in dollar value in auctions. One-star players are late-round sleepers and roster placeholders. The positional tiers aren't simply a regurgitation of last year’s values but rather try to offer some insights into what we expect will happen in 2014.

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January 6, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Infographic: Catchers

22

Mauricio Rubio

A visual look at our tiered catcher rankings and the categories in which each player can be expected to contribute.

Last year, I made fantasy infographics for each position, describing where players contribute the most in the standard 5x5 categories in a streamlined and easy-to-read fashion. I’ve tweaked my work in the offseason and I am bringing them back in a slightly different form with a slightly different process.

I’m still only comparing like positions to each other; for each position I take the top 30 players as listed by Mike Gianella, break them down into tiers, and come up with statistical averages and standard deviations using our very own PECOTA system. I did this so that we can compare like things to like things and to serve as a prep for the other graphs that are coming down the line. I’m sorry to say that the values and averages aren’t public at this time, so I can’t quite give you my formula here. Also there will be a big OBP graph at the end of the series as well as a graph that compares players to each other regardless of position, which was something of a hot request last year.

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January 5, 2015 6:00 am

The Quinton: Zagging: Catchers and an Opportunitistic Strategy

6

Jeff Quinton

Part one of a weekly strategy-based subseries that will run alongside the fantasy team's positional content.

Catchers are kind of cool because they get to wear cool gear. In Little League, catchers get to have that cool big bag for all their cool gear. In the majors, some catchers have their name on their gear and sometimes, if they have a nickname, their nickname goes on the gear as opposed to their less-cool birth name (which is kind of a weird term to begin with). Unfortunately, for fantasy purposes, this is where the coolness ends (except for Mike Piazza and that time when Jason Kendall stole those bases). As a result of this lack of fantasy prolificness, it is pretty easy to forecast catchers from a game theory perspective. What the heck does that even mean? It means that because there is no corner-infield or middle-infield equivalent for catchers and because no one sets out to put a catcher in one’s utility slot, we have a pretty good idea of the number of catchers that will be drafted, which catchers will be first off the board, and which catchers will be around if we choose to wait on the position. In other words, determining a strategic approach for how to roster catchers is easier than, say, anything else one needs to determine during a draft or auction. Relatedly, there are two key components to drafts and auctions that we should always remember:

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January 5, 2015 6:00 am

State of the Position: Catchers

20

J.P. Breen

Sizing up the backstop landscape for fantasy purposes.

The 2014 season proved to be a mixed bag at the catcher position. A few players emerged as legitimate top-10 talents, such as Devin Mesoraco and Yan Gomes, while some of the preseason darlings, such as Yasmani Grandal and Wilson Ramos, failed to produce due to injury. Those circumstances, though, seem to add up to an extremely deep position in 2015: If the breakouts carry over and the injured players return to everyday roles, the top 10 could be relatively stacked.

An underappreciated advantage at the catcher position has always been plate appearances. Position players around the diamond amass 600-plus PA with regularity, but in 2014, only three players eclipsed that mark. However, only one catcher (Carlos Santana) did so in 2013. The biggest reason for the increase? Catchers are beginning to play multiple positions. Buster Posey, Jonathan Lucroy, Joe Mauer, Yasmani Grandal, Carlos Santana, Brian McCann, Stephen Vogt, and Evan Gattis all qualified at more than one spot. The added roster versatility is always nice for fantasy owners, but more importantly, the benefit can be found in the PA category. That means more opportunities for counting statistics—a category in which catchers have traditionally struggled. Teams are searching for ways to get quality catchers more plate appearances, which is a boon for fantasy owners wise enough to capitalize on such trends.

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January 5, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Players to Target: Catchers

1

BP Fantasy Staff

You might want to highlight these players on your draft and auction lists this spring.

We’re changing things up a bit this year when it comes to our Players to Target and Players to Avoid fantasy series.

Last year, we had every member of the BP fantasy staff provide you with quick-hit blurbs for every target and every avoid piece. The problem is, this led to so many players being covered that we ended up being duplicative, supporting some guys we didn't really love or knocking down some obvious candidates. It got so bad that Mauricio Rubio told fantasy players not to target Derek Jeter, leading to one of the greatest BP comments of all time.

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September 23, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Backing Off Backstop Prospects

12

Ben Carsley

A look at the perils of falling in love with promising catchers down on the farm.

There’s nothing quite as alluring as a stud fantasy catching prospect.

Predicting which catchers beyond the obvious names will produce on a yearly basis is a tedious, difficult exercise that often leads to disappointment. Just ask people who drafted Miguel Montero, Wilson Ramos, or Matt Wieters this season, only to see the likes of Yan Gomes, Dioner Navarro, and Kurt Suzuki outperform their backstops by a long shot.

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June 20, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: My Catcher Fetish and Derek Norris

2

Craig Goldstein

The A's backstop is off to a sizzling start; what does it mean for Norris and other young catchers who struggled early in their careers?

I kind of have a thing for catchers. That’s a weird thing to have to admit, and frankly I didn’t even know this was the case for much of my life. You don’t necessarily know you’re weird until you’re on a podcast with three supposed friends and they call you out for having a catcher fetish. What a shameful moment.

All this is to say, I tend to value catchers more than your average fantasy analyst. There’s not a right or a wrong in this concept, it’s just a different approach. Except when it comes to Derek Norris, in which case it’s a totally correct approach because have you seen his slash line? His .313/.416/.531 line is likely a mirage of sorts, but there’s plenty of supporting evidence as to why Norris, who has previously struggled, is now a monster at the plate.

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March 3, 2014 12:00 pm

Top Tools: Best Catcher Defense/Catcher Arm

7

Mark Anderson and BP Prospect Staff

Part five of a several-part series on the top tools in the minors.

Scouts spend countless hours watching and evaluating players, carefully considering the appropriate grade for each tool or each pitch a player offers. Throughout the course of the season and particularly throughout the course of ranking season, grades are tossed around with near reckless abandon. This player has plus power, and that player has a below-average fastball. This player offers above-average hit projection while that player buries hitters with a potential plus-plus curveball. It's easy to talk about the quality of an individual tool, but what does it all mean in the context of other players?

In the second edition of the annual Top Tools Series, the Baseball Prospectus Prospect Staff debated long and hard over how individual players’ tools stack up against those of their counterparts. Drawing upon our own eyewitness accounts and opinions from scouts across the league, the team debated and compiled the following ratings. The end result is a product that captures the oft-missing context of how individual player tools compare and who has the best of each tool in baseball.

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January 17, 2014 6:32 am

Dynasty League Positional Rankings: Top 50 Catchers

18

Bret Sayre

From Buster Posey to Christian Bethancourt, this list is loaded with both big leaguers and high-upside prospects.

The Primer:
Because dynasty league rankings are relatively league dependent, I set up parameters for ranking the players below (and the ones who will follow at other positions). The list here presupposes a 16-team standard dynasty format, in which there are no contracts/salaries, players can be kept forever, and owners have minor-league farm systems in which to hoard prospects. Feel free to adjust this as necessary for your individual league, whether it’s moving non-elite prospects without 2014 ETAs down if you don’t have separate farm teams or moving lower-risk, lower-reward players up in deeper mixed or league–only formats.

The catcher position is a tricky one, as there are a lot of players at or near the top of the list who may be playing another position in three or so years. That, plus with most leagues using one active catcher, prospects are featured a little more prominently due to both the major-league depth right now and the fact that there are diminishing returns to carrying too many backstops.


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January 17, 2014 6:29 am

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Catchers

6

BP Fantasy Staff

You might not want to buy or draft these backstops in your leagues this spring.

On Monday, the BP Fantasy staff brought you a collection of catchers you’d be wise to target in your drafts this season. Because every internet column has an equal and opposite column, we shall now bring you the names of many backstops you should avoid.

Travis d’Arnaud, Mets
Dissing d’Arnaud, while certainly a catchy name for a cover band, isn’t something I jumped at. In long-term leagues, by all means, go crazy. But for the upcoming season, I’m not going out of my way for any Met not named David Wright (pitchers not included). The 24-year-old will be buried at the bottom of a New York lineup that finished 29th in terms of wOBA (.297) in 2013, and while the team might be marginally better with Curtis Granderson onboard, I’m not seeing an offensive revival of great significance. We have only 31 games of major-league data to go by, and that small sample size produced a lowly line of .202/.286/.263 and one home run. A full-time job doesn’t guarantee anything—even for a former no. 1 organizational prospect—and I’m afraid the name might outweigh d’Arnaud’s actual value on draft day. —Alex Kantecki


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