The 2015 Fantasy Baseball season is right around the corner, believe it or not, and it’s time to start preparing for your drafts in February and March. Our “Early Busts for 2015” series will help you think twice about drafting certain players at different positions, while our “Early Sleepers” piece keeps you thinking about some undervalued players.
If you look back at the 2014 season, there were plenty of Fantasy catchers that we could consider busts, including guys like Wilson Ramos and Jason Castro.
You could consider Yadier Molina a bust, in many circles, as well. Considering he was a top-five catcher going into drafts, but he finished with a lackluster .280 batting average, his lowest mark since 2010. While he did miss about 20 percent of his normal at-bats due to injury, he also knocked in about 50-percent fewer RBI.
Make sure you check out RotoDaddy’s Top 30 Fantasy Catcher Rankings, too!
Overvalued Fantasy Catchers – Busts for 2015
I expect these two players to be drafted higher than what their true values will end up being. In other words, here are two players I believe are overvalued for 2015.
High-End Bust: Derek Norris, San Diego
The A’s gave Norris more bats than he has had in his career last season, and then they traded Norris in mid-December, along with Seth Streich and international bonus slot 117 to the Padres for right-handed pitchers R.J. Alvarez and Jesse Hahn.
Going from one pitcher’s park to another pitcher’s park won’t make much difference for him or his Fantasy outlook, really.
Norris hit just two home runs, with 37 RBI, in the second half of 2014, compared to the eight HR and 18 RBI he hit in the first half. He also had plenty of trouble against right-handed pitchers in the second half last season, as FanGraphs.com’s Nicholas Minnix pointed out.
“Given his 2014 production, I expect that more folks will be buying in the beginning, so I may shy away – perhaps at the expense of some good production out of the gate, granted. If so, then his 2015 drafters might be better served to explore what he’d bring on the block, and if not, then he might come on the cheap as a rest-of-season rebounder.” – Minnix
My outlook on him is that he’s a good player I’d like to have – but that he’s going to be drafted too soon for me to get him.
Back-End Bust: Jason Castro, Houston
After blasting off in 2013 with 18 home runs, 45 RBI and a .276 batting average (placing him seventh among catchers in Head-to-Head leagues), Castro came down hard in 2014, after many Fantasy owners drafted him as a No. 1 catcher. He finished as the 19th-best catcher in points leagues, with 14 home runs and 56 RBI – but with a .222 batting average.
So as we enter 2015, owners are curious as to which Castro will show up – the .485-slugging 2013 version or the .366-slugging one of last season?
Fortunately, the Astros helped make our decisions easier, by trading for both Hank Conger from the Angels and (more importantly) Evan Gattis from Atlanta.
It seems like the Astros are cornering the market on free swingers these days!
Gattis will get at-bats in left field, first base, designated hitter – and catcher. While he’s certainly spread thin across positions, it’s the addition of Conger that could cause Castro misery. He’s better than Carlos Corporan, in spite of his modest statistics.
For the most part, we can expect Gattis to play left, Castro to start behind the plate and Conger to back him up. (We expect Corporan (the oldest of all of them at 31), to get moved this preseason.
“I was pretty out of practice [as an outfielder] last year, but I’m working hard and feeling good,” Gattis said. “My M.O. has always been trying to get better and learn from the guys that have done it. The Astros have quite a few outfielders that are pretty good. I’m not as comfortable as I am catching, but you have to be ready.” — Evan Gattis to MLB.com
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But if Castro struggles, the Astros have answers now, as opposed to last season. Robbie Grossman can move into the outfield, and Gattis can go behind the plate if needed.
There are a ton of back-of-the-draft Fantasy catchers to pick up rather than to risk a 15th-round pick on Castro. In a recent one-man mock draft, I got to choose between Miguel Montero, Travis d’Arnaud and Matt Wieters (I went d’Arnaud) in Round 17. I’d prefer all three over Castro.
Let us know who you think might be overvalued this season with a comment or two about some of your favorite catcher busts for 2015.
Derek Norris Photo Credit: Keith Allison
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