ADP is a beautiful, terrible thing. We as humans love to rank things and it can cloud our judgement to see an arbitrary list. ADP is an incredibly useful tool, as it pools and averages where others are taking players you might be thinking of taking. You know and I know that just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t make it right. ADP is a barometer, not law. You know this, I know this… but that doesn’t mean every jabroney in your league knows that. There’s at least one in every draft. Someone who takes Chone Figgins in the 4th round. Who asks if Martin Russell is still available. Who tries to draft a retired player. Even the smartest fantasy owners fall victim to ADP (Hand raised. That sentence makes it sound like a virus). Between the bimbos and the braniacs drafting with you, you’re all going to at one point rely on ADP as some kind of deciding/tie-breaking factor. So here are some players not to forget about in 2012, as I’m betting they outperform their average draft positions. Here’s to hoping ya’ll find your Rachel Leigh Cooks, you Freddie Prinze Jr.’s, you.
As always, much love to Mock Draft Central, where you can get all kinds of ADP reports by signing up.
Catcher is a tough position to read into ADP-wise. Mock drafts reflect real leagues and they can have multiple catcher positions. There’s a reason back-up catchers are back-ups- there’s a dropoff in quality in both fantasy and reality when you get past your starting catcher. That being said, ADP still reflects how people value a player, so it’s worthwhile to compare. Buster Posey (59.7ADP) and Joe Mauer (79.9 ADP) might be the ‘names,’ but they’re injury risks, to say the least. Wait a few rounds and grab Matt Wieters (97.8). Better yet, wait an additional round and take Alex Avila (108.5).
Avila is a really good hitter. He has an excellent Line Drive rate (21.7%). He has a solid K:BB ratio (131:73), especially for a catcher. And he has good “gap power”/ is a good “doubles hitter” – I’ll let you choose the saying you’re more comfortable with, they both mean the same thing to me. He’s everything you should look for in a fantasy catcher – be reasonable, folks, don’t ask for more. He’s also the last catcher I’d draft in the first 15 rounds. Honestly. The position is such a mix of uncertainty, over-rated-ness, and mediocrity that my feeling is if I don’t get a select few catchers in the first half of the draft at a value pick (meaning a round I feel comfortable in – I’m not taking Napoli in the 4th round, despite my affection for him). Knowing that, there are plenty of players to target as you get down to you final picks who could yield a big return as your starter. Here’s a few I’d target as the draft(s) dwindle on…
Chris Iannetta (ANA)- ADP 238
I don’t have any reason to always think on the upside of Ianetta. Maybe it was those years of the Red Sox pursuing him. Who knows. Year after year though, I consider him (quietly) a sleeper. His power is legitimate. He’s a pretty good receiver and Mike Scioscia always gets good production from his catcher rotation (what Jeff Mathis? oh, shut up Jeff Mathis you’re bringing us all down.). Kidding aside, Scioscia does understand the ins and outs of catching. The question is whether Scioscia or the potential of a great lineup the Angels could trot out helps him more. He has a good eye, has demonstrated power at every level and has never really had the opportunity to shine. In the last few rounds, I’m giving him a shot.
Devin Mesoraco (CIN) – ADP 243.4
There is a reason he was not part of that Latos deal (and another prospect, Grandal, was)- the Reds think they have the real deal with Mesoraco (so does Keith Law). He has what scouts like to toss around as an ‘advanced approach’ at the plate. He has a strong arm. In 5 minor league seasons he has demonstrated the ability to hit for a good combination of average and power. Everything in the minors points to him being a starting catcher capable of hitting around .300 with 20 homers. Toss into that mix that good eye and the ability to run a little bit (leading to doubles, not singles) and Mesoraco should be able to have a .850+ OPS. In a good lineup, scoring a bunch of runs, that sounds like a very draftable catcher. If you’d rather take Ryan Doumit (235), by all means do, I’ll be happy to snag Mesoraco as the draft closes and laugh when you are in that wonderful situation where Doumit is playing drop-ably bad and you have no viable alternative. Just sayin’.
Ryan Lavarnway (BOS) – ADP 344.3 (listed as a DH on MDC)
You may say I’m being a homer with this one. You’re only partially right. Jarrod Saltalamacchia actually showed a lot of promise for the Red Sox last year. He posted a .215 ISO (measure of power, read about it) and seemed to grow a bit more comfortable as the season progressed. That being said, he didn’t put up particularly exciting numbers, save for the power. Lavarnway can match that power by every account. He showed excellent power throughout the minors and looked powerful in his 43 AB for the Red Sox in 2011. OK, that was a reach. Hyperbole aside, Lavarnway seems to project as a similar type of player to Saltalamacchia in the worst case scenario. Throw in Kelly Shoppach (hah.) and Jason Varitek (double hah.) and the question with the Red Sox becomes a matter of playing time. If Lavarnway gets 350-400 AB, it is now unreasonable to see him hitting 15-18 homers, conservatively, with a better average than Salty (.235). He’s worth a flier as a last pick of the draft in my book.
There you are, some ideas for Costco-priced catchers. I did the thinking for you, all you have to do is remember. Catchers are like relievers when it comes to drafting in my book – if you don’t get a sure thing early, move on and look for talent elsewhere. It’s not worth extending yourself out of desperation to fill the catcher position on your roster just because you already have someone at another spot. So hunt the bargain bin, look like a genius, and remember to tell your friends who told you to draft and start Lavarnway this year.