The second half of my 2010 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Rankings gets very ugly very fast. While there are some decent options to consider as your second catcher, none of them make an ideal number one catcher. You may be best served by making an effort to grab two catchers from the top ten.
11. Ryan Doumit (.270, 63 R, 14 HR, 63 RBI, 2 SB)
After a breakout season in 2008, Doumit spent much of 2009 on the shelf, and failed to perform at his 2008 level when he was in the line-up. Now healthy and coming off a smoking hot September, Doumit is assured to bounce back in 2010. He has a lot of upside, and could be a steal in 2010, but his injury history makes rostering him a risky move as well.
12. Bengie Molina (.268, 55 R, 16 HR, 75 HR, 0 SB)
Molina had a very nice 2009, despite batting in a pitiful Giants line-up. To everyone's surprise the Giants decided to bring back Molina in 2010 instead of turning to young stud Buster Posey. The Giants line-up will be better in 2010, but don't expect Molina to be. He is clearly on the downside of his career, and his numbers are due for a dip in the power categories. Then again everyone was saying the same thing entering 2009, and Molina posted a career high 20 homers last season.
13. Chris Iannetta (.252, 54 R, 16 HR, 62 RBI, 0 SB)
Iannetta has been one of fantasy baseball's biggest disappointments to past two seasons. Everyone was prepared for Iannetta to bust out last season, but he posted considerably worse totals than he did in 2008. To make matters worse, the Rockies have brought in Miguel Olivo, who very well could steal a great deal of at bats from Iannetta. With two capable, but equally unreliable, options bidding for at bats in Colorado, this situation looks like one you are best off avoiding.
14. Yadier Molina (.296, 47 R, 7 HR, 56 RBI, 5 SB)
The major's best defensive catcher is not quite as good with the bat, but offers something different than most mid-level catching options. Where as most of the guys around Molina in the rankings will offer something in the power categories, Molina will provide a nice boost in batting average, without the long balls. Depending on the make-up of your team, Molina may be a better option than guys like Iannetta and brother Bengie.
15. A.J. Pierzynski (.282, 55 R, 12 HR, 52 RBI, 1 SB)
Pierzynski is widely considered to be one of the league's least liked players. However, he also qualifies as one of the league's hardest working players. He is a very reliable source of mediocre numbers. He won't do a lot to help you, and he won't be do a lot to hurt you. A safe, but boring, number two catcher option.
16. John Baker (.274, 56 R, 10 HR, 50 RBI, 0 SB)
Baker is another mediocre number two catcher option. He doesn't have the proven reliability of Pierzynski, but does have more upside. Baker is not a bad option to fill out your roster with, but you certainly don't want him as your number one catcher.
17. Carlos Ruiz (.252, 47 R, 11 HR, 55 RBI, 1 SB)
Ruiz will not produce the solid average that you'll get from Baker and Pierzynski, and therefore represents the beginning on the next tier of catching options—also known as the guys you really would prefer to avoid. Ruiz will bat in the powerful Phillies line-up, but will likely bat in the eighth hole where he can frequently be pitched around in RBI situations.
18. Miguel Olivo (.252, 40 R, 14 HR, 50 RBI, 5 SB)
The other half of the potential Rockies platoon has no brighter an outlook than Iannetta. A repeat of 2009's 23 homeruns is highly unlikely, and he could spend a lot of time on the bench should Iannetta finally get on track. As I stated with Iannetta, this is a situation you're better off avoiding.
19. Rod Barajas (.245, 40 R, 14 HR, 55 RBI, 0 SB)
Although as of right now he is unsigned, it seems unlikely that Barajas won't find a job somewhere with so many teams lacking an able catcher of any sort. Even if he plays everyday, Barajas qualifies as nothing more than a last resort option, and you're better off taking a chance on one of the sleepers below.
20. Ramon Hernandez (.258, 40 R, 12 HR, 50 RBI, 1 SB)
Four years ago Hernandez was a top tier catching option, but his stock has fallen drastically since then. Much like Barajas, he is a last resort option that is better off avoided. He will be playing home games at the Great American Ball Park, which should help him reach double digit homeruns.
2010 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Sleepers
Former Phillies prospect Lou Marson was dealt to the Indians last season in the Cliff Lee deal. Marson is a solid talent and finds himself in a positive situation heading into 2010. The Indians lack any better option behind the plate, meaning Marson could enter the season as the starter. Top prospect Carlos Santana, another sleeper, is the catcher of the future, but the job could be Marson's in 2010, making him a decent sleeper for this season.
Castro, like Marson, may find his way into the line-up because his team has no better option. Castro is considered by many to be the Astros' best prospect, and while it's unlikely that he starts to season in the majors, the combo of Humberto Quintero and J.R. Towles are unlikely to get the job done for Houston. A mid-season call up is a strong possibility, making Castro a nice NL-only sleeper, especially in keeper leagues.
Santos is scheduled to enter the season as the Mets starter in 2010. Last season, Santos collected 252 at-bats and was more productive than most people predicted he would be. Backup Chris Coste is capable with the bat, so if Santos struggles the Mets could turn to Coste. He is another example of a solid late-round NL-only sleeper option.
In addition to these sleepers, there are a surprising number of young catching prospects to keep an eye on. None are guaranteed to see significant playing time in 2010, but any of them could be productive should they take over a starting job. Keep the names Buster Posey, Adam Moore, Carlos Santana, Jonathan Lucroy, and Jesus Montero in mind. Also, figure out where Jeff Clement qualifies in your league. He may get significant at bats for the Pirates this season as a first base men, but may qualify at catcher in your league.
Next time, we'll take a look at the top ten designated hitters for 2010.