Sunday, December 24, 2006

A.L. Catching in Review

Josh Bard, Jeff Mathis, Adam Melhuse, Guillermo Quiroz, Kelly Stinnett.

These are the five catchers who were on my league's Auction Day rosters who didn't place in the Top 24 final catcher list.

This isn't exactly an ignomy that should be taken lightly. The 24th best A.L. catcher last year, Josh Paul, earned a mere 59 cents last year; these guys all lost their owners money, even if they just threw a $1 down on the first warm body that popped into their minds.

The free agent pool isn't exactly like a B-12 shot, either. Only Mike Napoli ($5) and Vance Wilson ($4), among the non-drafted A.L. catchers, earn more than $1. So the 24 drafted catchers earn an average of $8.39. Looking at it another way, the 5 "replacements" (Napoli, Wilson, Dioner Navarro, Paul Phillips, and Josh Paul) only add 76 per player to the average catcher value.

Did Mike Napoli hurt you or help you? If you needed power and your batting average was safe, then he sure did. If, on the other hand, you were in a tight batting average race, he might have hurt you to the point where the extra power didn't matter all that much. The Patton $ value tries to take all possible scenarios into account, so Napoli's $5 season was not quite as good as Mike Redmond's empty .341 average and 23 RBI, which earned $1 more.

Was it better to spend $1 on two catchers or go for two producers?

If you drafted one of the top nine catchers, you got $13 or more worth of stats. But you also probably paid for those stats, as none of these guys was a surprise. Joe Mauer was a surprise in that he earned $29, but he probably went in the low $20s in most leagues.

At a glance, I'd say you were better off with production. Drafting Ben Molina and Pudge and a combined $37, for example, may have only netted you $32 of stats. But drafting Josh Paul and Adam Melhouse at $2 would have only netted you $1 of stats. And, looking at the free agents of the world, Mike Napoli was the best you were going to do through FAAB. Unlike the OF, where some free talent almost always sneaks in, the catchers you draft are probably going to be the catchers you wind up with at the end of the season.

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