RealClearSports
Advertisement

Fantasy Football Maniaxs


June 10, 2010 4:15 AM

A Good Fantasy Catcher Can Be Hard To Find

jesus montero.jpgSave a very select group, there are few options that can be counted on on a year in, year out basis.

 

The Giants and Yankees are both hoping to add their own dynamic catching prospects to that list within the next couple of years with offense-oriented backstops Buster Posey and Jesus Montero.

 

Posey, 23, has already found his way onto the Giants' 25-man roster (.478/.478/.609 in six games in San Fran, .349/.442/.552 in 47 AAA games), while Montero, 20, is toiling away with the Yankees' AAA affiliate (.229/.309/.343 in 47 games).

 

Both appear to have very bright futures, and both have the opportunity to move into the Brian McCann-esque category of perennial fantasy catching "studs."

 

The 6'1", 205-lb., right-handed Posey was selected fifth overall in the 2008 MLB draft out of Florida State by the Giants and has lived up to all of the hype he received as a high-average (.333 average through 172 minor league games), possibly above-average-power (18 homers in 115 games split between AA/AAA in 2009) catcher.

 

His eye has also garnered a lot of attention, as he has posted a 98:102 BB:K ratio in his minor league career (by comparison, Jason Heyward, who a lot of people feel has one of the better "feels" for the strike zone for a youngster, posted a 105:138 BB:K in 66 more games on the Braves' farm).

 

Posey projects into a ~.300 hitter that could top 25 homers if he fills out his Jorge Posada-like frame.

 

Oh, and there are almost no worries about MLB.com's 2010 No. 4 prospect moving out of the catcher position--he's plenty athletic, and Bengie Molina should be out of town in 2011 after his one-year deal with the Giants expires.

 

Dude's as close to a lock as you can be.

 

Jesus Montero, on the other hand, is in a bit of a different boat.

 

The 6'4" Venezuelan, who was ranked as the No. 19 prospect in baseball heading into 2010 by MLB.com, has all of the stick of Posey (.337/.389/.562 between A+/AA in 2009 as a 19-year-old) but lacks some of the athleticism (11 passed balls and a measly 25 percent CS rate in 59 games caught--the remainder of his 92 games were as a DH--in 2009 to Posey's one passed ball and 44 percent of runners nailed in his AAA experience in 2010) and plate discipline (98:181 BB:K in 304 minor league games) that make Posey so special.

 

That makes him more of a fit at a corner outfield position (though he's a little slow to justify that) or at a corner in the infield, though we all know that Alex Rodriguez, who plays the position Montero manned when he was signed, and Mark Teixeira aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

 

Plus, with the overall aging state of the Yankees, the DH spot is going to be turning into a bit of a carousel in the next couple of years.

 

So, to sum it up, he's really not good enough defensively to overtake Francisco Cervelli on the MLB roster (because, let's face it, someone has to play D with Posada's diminishing play) or to move to the outfield and is blocked at every other position he could reasonably play.

 

That's a pretty good recipe for trade bait right there...

 

But with the potential for some sort of total collapse behind the dish for the big Yankees, I don't think that's too likely.

 

Montero could be a very valuable asset to any MLB team or fantasy roster once he gets some sort of consistent playing time.

 

The question remains of when that time will come or if it'll be behind the plate (the bat could justify staying there, though it loses a lot of its value anywhere else on the field).

 

But if both of those factors align, Montero could be right "up there" among the fantasy elite behind the plate (hey, defense doesn't count).

 

The sure bet here in the "young catcher" category is definitely Posey...but the higher ceiling can certainly be dubbed to Montero (and we didn't even talk about Carlos Santana).

By Cameron Britt, analyst at Fantasy Baseball Maniaxs


A Member Of