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Recent Catcher ADP Trends

Now that we’re two weeks into spring training and games have begun in both the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues, it’s time to re-visit the ADP rankings for each position. Some leagues have already started drafting and for those owners who haven’t had their big day yet, their participation in mock drafts is starting to increase. Again, the data isn’t as abundant as we’d like, but it is growing and giving us a much better view as to where exactly the players are coming off the board in drafts.

So we’ll start with the catchers again and see what kind of changes we’ve seen in their ADP over the past week. We’ll focus primarily on the NFBC data, but if you notice on the chart below, we’re also going to take a peek at the ADP rankings at Mock Draft Central for comparison's sake. Remember, the NFBC data is based on a 15-team, two catcher league while the data at MDC, comes from a mixture of leagues of different sizes as well as different roster requirements.

Here’s a look at what we’ve got right now…

Rank Player Team Current ADP 1 Week Ago Trend MDC ADP %Diff
1 Buster Posey SF 14.36 13.75 -4.25% 13.56 5.57%
2 Joe Mauer Min 58.06 62.53 7.70% 56.53 2.64%
3 Carlos Santana Cle 65.20 64.49 -1.09% 50.78 22.12%
4 Yadier Molina StL 70.17 72.73 3.65% 39.51 43.69%
5 Victor Martinez Det 77.47 80.78 4.27% 112.72 -45.50%
6 Matt Wieters Bal 78.68 78.08 -0.76% 55.06 30.02%
7 Wilin Rosario Col 80.71 80.20 -0.63% 73.91 8.43%
8 Miguel Montero Ari 96.48 100.27 3.93% 61.62 36.13%
9 Salvador Perez KC 103.35 105.84 2.41% 137.68 -33.22%
10 Jesus Montero Sea 117.94 117.90 -0.03% 91.24 22.64%
11 Jonathan Lucroy Mil 133.20 134.76 1.17% 140.94 -5.81%
12 Brian McCann Atl 160.76 164.04 2.04% 169.69 -5.55%
13 Ryan Doumit Min 170.95 170.98 0.02% 160.28 6.24%
14 A.J. Pierzynski Tex 175.97 180.00 2.29% 198.57 -12.84%
15 Carlos Ruiz Phi 200.67 206.96 3.13% 246.77 -22.97%
16 J.P. Arencibia Tor 226.09 223.37 -1.20% 167.16 26.06%
17 Alex Avila Det 230.42 230.75 0.14% 233.87 -1.50%
18 Russell Martin Pit 246.60 245.88 -0.29% 239.58 2.85%
19 Jarrod Saltalamacchia Bos 249.42 249.49 0.03% 230.31 7.66%
20 John Jaso Oak 280.50 284.00 1.25% 251.2 10.45%
21 A.J. Ellis LAD 289.62 285.59 -1.39% 262.76 9.27%
22 Chris Iannetta LAA 292.85 293.63 0.27% 267.62 8.62%
23 Travis d'Arnaud NYM 300.37 298.49 -0.63% 253.58 15.58%
24 Rob Brantly Mia 318.20 316.71 -0.47% 312.27 1.86%
25 Tyler Flowers CWS 326.97 332.22 1.61% 226.06 30.86%
26 Wilson Ramos Was 327.20 328.20 0.31% 288.49 11.83%
27 Yasmani Grandal SD 332.77 331.61 -0.35% 287.45 13.62%
28 Welington Castillo ChC 347.81 349.55 0.50% 251.42 27.71%
29 Kurt Suzuki Was 353.11 352.62 -0.14% 282.28 20.06%
30 Jason Castro Hou 357.23 356.14 -0.31% 337.08 5.64%
31 Devin Mesoraco Cin 375.25 375.35 0.03% 348.46 7.14%
32 Mike Zunino Sea 386.06 389.70 0.94% ND  
33 Geovany Soto Tex 420.24 417.00 -0.77% ND  
34 Ryan Hanigan Cin 421.03 421.57 0.13% ND  
35 Derek Norris Oak 429.17 420.90 -1.93% ND  
36 John Buck NYM 439.44 441.67 0.51% ND  
37 Nick Hundley SD 447.94 452.69 1.06% ND  
38 Ryan Lavarnway Bos 448.18 450.08 0.42% ND  
39 Erik Kratz Phi 477.42 474.66 -0.58% 370.17 22.46%
40 David Ross Bos 508.42 507.31 -0.22% ND  
41 Hector Sanchez SF 521.49 526.94 1.05% 341.22 34.57%
42 Austin Romine NYY 525.07 518.14 -1.32% ND  
43 Miguel Olivo Cin 536.39 535.71 -0.13% ND  
44 Gerald Laird Atl 548.56 556.00 1.36% ND  
45 Michael McKenry Pit 553.23 554.46 0.22% ND  
46 Martin Maldonado Mil 556.70 554.90 -0.32% ND  
47 Jose Molina TB 565.02 575.04 1.77% ND  
48 George Kottaras KC 591.68 590.00 -0.28% ND  
49 Francisco Cervelli NYY 607.42 604.09 -0.55% ND  
50 Josh Thole Tor 616.05 610.17 -0.95% ND  

Overall, there’s really not a lot of movement to be seen amongst the catchers. The position is surprisingly deep this year and those who decide to not take the risk of drafting a backstop too early are able to wait a reasonably long time before even thinking about the position. Just scroll down to numbers 16 and 19 on the list – J.P. Arencibia and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. While neither one is going to help you in batting average, both are more than capable of hitting 20-plus home runs. Should you build up an offense with a high batting average, you can afford wait a while, draft these guys and not take too big a hit in the category. The points you may lose in batting average are easily made up for in home runs and RBI.

That’s not to say there aren’t a few noticeable changes though, so let’s take a look at a few…

Buster Posey, SF (-4.25%) – There’s no question as to who the number one catcher is in fantasy, however, slowly but surely, as stated above, more owners are coming around to the fact that drafting a catcher so early might just be too risky a proposition. It is the most taxing position and probably poses the greatest risk for injury. Is that what you want from your first round draft choice or do you want to feel a little more secure? Posey is still coming off the board at the tail-end of the first round, but each week, his ADP is dropping bit by bit. His ADP at MDC is right about the same but it’s actually starting to slip there as well.

Joe Mauer, MIN (+7.70%) – A full season of health and a .319 average with 10 home runs is all it took for numerous owners to forget about Mauer’s injury struggles from 2011. He’s obviously not going as high as he was a few years ago, but he is starting to climb up the ranks some more. His climb may be by just a few picks, but he’s now made the jump from early fifth round to mid to late fourth and seems to be trending upwards.

Victor Martinez, DET (+4.27%) – V-Mart is definitely an interesting case this season. Despite missing all of 2012 with a knee injury, he maintains his catcher eligibility in the NFBC and remains a fairly hot commodity in drafts, slowly climbing the ranks. But his ADP over at MDC is way off in comparison, not because the masses don’t believe in his comeback, but because there are numerous leagues where he only qualifies as a DH. If he does qualify at catcher in your league, then trust in the NFBC rankings and consider him a solid pick sixth round pick.

As for the differential you are seeing between the two sets of ADP ranks, the majority of it, at least where you see a negative differential, comes from the fact that the average size of the leagues at MDC is 12-teams as opposed to the 15 in the NFBC. Take a look at Salvador Perez as an example. He’s ranked as the ninth best catcher in the NFBC and is going somewhere in the early ninth round while he’s also the ninth ranked catcher at MDC yet going somewhere early in the 12th. While the difference may look significant if you look at the ADP numbers in a vacuum, in reality, it isn't all that great.

One thing to note, before getting into the data analysis, is that Mike Napoli isn't listed amongst the catchers in the NFBC ADP list and has thus been omitted here. His ADP in the NFBC is listed at 104.91 (seventh round), ranking him tenth at the position while it hovers around 67.22 (sixth round) over at MDC. Napoli's ADP ranks, pretty much, fall in line with exactly what we just said about Perez's rankings.

However, in looking at the positive differentials going from MDC to the NFBC, those are based in personal preference. Catchers like Tyler Flowers and Wellington Castillo are late round, second catchers in the NFBC, but there are plenty of owners over at MDC who are taking these guys significantly early based on their starting status with their teams. Matt Wieters and Miguel Montero fit this profile as well, as both are going much higher over at MDC, likely due to their consistent popularity over the years. Sure, a lot of that could have to do with an abundance of one-catcher leagues, but guys like Flowers and Castillo are supposed to be taking their games up a level with new starting gigs this year. Those who are taking Wieters earlier and earlier are still awaiting the big breakout and with each year of anticipation comes a slight rise in ADP.

Other outliers who deserve a little more scrutiny as we get further into the draft season include Jesus Montero, Carlos Santana and even Kurt Suzuki.

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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy and for more detailed questions, thoughts or comments, you can email him at rotobuzzguy@gmail.com.

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