Free Agent Catchers — What Do The Moves Mean For Fantasy Baseball?

By on January 22, 2013

There were several high-profile deals regarding catchers this year. Here they are.

Mike Napoli, Boston Red Sox; 1 year, $5 million
Napoli and the Red Sox reached agreement in early December, but had still not finalized a deal in early January after the Red Sox found an issue with Napoli’s hip. The offer was changed from 3 years, $39 million to 1 year, $5 million.

Napoli hit .238 in 2010, .232 in the first half of 2011 and .227 in 2012. But in the second half of 2011, he hit .383 with 18 homers, then hit .350 with two homers and 10 RBI in the World Series.

Napoli’s power is more consistent than his batting average. Napoli has hit at least 20 homers in five straight seasons, a number that is even more impressive since he has played in more than 114 games only once.

During Napoli’s two years in Texas, he had more homers and hit for a higher average on the road than at home.

A.J. Pierzynski, Texas Rangers; 1 year, $7.5 million
Pierzynski finished second among all catchers in 2012 with 27 homers.  But that total shattered his previous career best of 18, which he reached back in 2005. While Pierzynski is moving to a hitter’s park in Texas, he compiled his 2012 numbers in another hitter’s park – hitting 18 of his 27 homers at U.S. Cellular Field. While Pierzynski’s homers are not likely to be repeated, his .278 batting average was actually below his career mark of .284. Pierzynski just turned 36 but he has been durable, with 500 plate appearances in nine of the last ten seasons (and 497 in the other one).

Russell Martin, Pittsburgh Pirates; 2 years, $17 million
Martin hit 21 homers last year after hitting 18 homers in his first year as a Yankee in 2011. Of those 39 homers, almost half (18) came away from Yankee Stadium.  Martin had hit 19 homers back in 2007 when he played his home games in Dodger Stadium.  But Martin also hit .293 in 2007, and since then, his batting average has gone down every year, from .280 to .250 to .248 to .237 to last season’s .211. In the first half of 2012, Martin hit just .179. For the season, Martin hit just .191 at Yankee Stadium.

Martin also had 21 steals in 2007, but he has not reached double digits in steals since 2009. While he did average seven steals per season in his two years with the Yankees, more catchers than you might think have a small amount of speed – nine catchers had at least four steals in 2012 and 14 catchers had at least three steals. Click here to read more about what to know about fantasy baseball.

Ben Hargrove writes on fantasy sports topics for DraftStreet.

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