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NL Catchers: Day Three
by Tim Polko

Today's Fantasy Rx

National League Catchers without Positive Draft Value

Quick Key to the tables:
AB = At-bats.  H = Hits.  BA = Batting Average.  HR= Home Runs.
RBI = Runs Batted In.  SB = Stolen Bases.  R = Runs.  B = Bats.  T = Throws.
Pos = Position qualification based on 20 appearances or max. # of games in 2005.
Age = Player's Age as of October 2, 2005.
4x4 = BA, HR, RBI, and SB in 12-team, $260 leagues with 23-man rosters in 2005.
5x5 = BA, HR, RBI, SB, and R in 12-team, $260 leagues with 23-man rosters in 2005.
RAR = Runs Above Replacement in 2005; Adjusted RAR = RAR modified to
consider a player's 2005 defensive rating in Scoresheet fantasy baseball.

We ranked players in order from the highest draft value in a 4x4 league to the lowest. As the majority of fantasy leagues allow you to keep anyone traded to the other league, we listed each player in the league where he started the season.

Ronny Paulino42.5000001C
PIT Pirates4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 24B:R    T:R-3-40.90.9

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Pittsburgh for my comments on Paulino.

Yorvit Torrealba20147.234315132C
Age: 27B:R    T:R-3-2-2-1.1

With J.D. Closser also a better batter against left-handed pitchers, the Rockies' new catcher seems set for no more than the Todd Greene role. Torrealba moved to Seattle with Jesse Foppert for Randy Winn, assumed starting duties with few positive results over the balance of the year, and then continued to Colorado earlier this month for 2004 Rule 5 pick Marcos Carvajal and 2005 Rule 5 pick Luis E. Gonzalez. While decent patience and defensive skills insure Torrealba a big league job indefinitely, his 2.26 G-F appears particularly ill-suited for Coors Field. Expecting more than a couple bucks of profit on an endgame bids seems highly illogical.

Eddie Perez388.2112603C
ATL Braves4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 37B:R    T:R-3-4-0.6-0.8

With shoulder problems sapping his defensive prowess, few overt offensive skills, and no 2006 contract, Perez should head for an NRI and fantasy irrelevance. A career-worst 1.64 G-F also indicates the general disappearance of his power, so even if Perez lands a backup job, he no longer can compensate quantitatively for his qualitative failings.

Paul Bako4010.2500401C
LA Dodgers4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 33B:L    T:R-3-40.10

Bako's busted ACL ended his season after less than two months of actions, precipitating the emergence of Dioner Navarro as a big league regular. He actually didn't kill the Dodgers at the plate thanks to a career-high .362 OBP, however I don't envision his move to the Royals' bench especially prolonging his career. Bako remains an offensively inept Proven Veteran who offers little more than the miniscule joy of owning a journeyman backstop for fantasy owners. I don't understand why the Royals value him more than their equally capable organization soldier Paul Phillips.

J.D. Closser23752.219727131C
COL Rockies4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 25B:S    T:R-3-21.60.4

Clint Hurdle's handling of Closser absolutely baffled me. Closser hit a meager .170/.250/.191 in 47 April at-bats, improving to a .250/.352/.318 output in 54 May plate appearances, and then failed to crack fifth appearances in any of the remaining months, tailing off to an insane 29 by September. Yet Closser steadily improved until his insane fall benching for Danny Ardoin. Closser hit .242/.324/.440 in the second half, however his home/road splits tell the true tale here. Few players manage a .245/.353/.490 road performance while flailing to Coors-inflated numbers of .200/.283/.289. I highly doubt he'll suffer that difference in 2006, and given his solid all-around skill set, Closser only needs regular at-bats to develop into a $20 player in Colorado. Take advantage of his currently reduced value to snag Closser for a song this winter, hoping that the rebuilding Rockies will give him a longer look next summer. Assuming he wins the starting job during camp, Closser merits bids near double digits in every league.

Benito Santiago236.2610001C
PIT Pirates4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 40B:R    T:R-3-4-0.1-0.3

Don't be surprised to see Santiago land in Padres' camp, but given his tremendous fragility over the last two years and his diminishing skill set, he looks highly unlikely to spend more than the briefest time in the majors next summer. I see no reason to view him as a viable fantasy option in any league.

Julio Mosquera10.0000000C
MIL Brewers4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 33B:R    T:R-3-4-0.1-0.1

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Milwaukee for my comments on Mosquera.

Geovany Soto10.0000000C
CH Cubs4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 22B:R    T:R-3-4-0.1-0.1

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Chicago(N) for my comments on Soto.

Miguel Perez30.0000000C
CIN Reds4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 22B:R    T:R-4-4-0.4-0.4

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Cincinnati for my comments on Perez.

Dane Sardinha30.0000000C
CIN Reds4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 26B:R    T:R-4-4-0.4-0.4

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Cincinnati for my comments on Sardinha.

Ryan Jorgensen40.0000000C
FLO Marlins4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 26B:R    T:R-4-5-0.6-0.6

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Florida for my comments on Jorgensen.

Keith Osik40.0000000C
WAS Nationals4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 36B:R    T:R-4-5-0.6-0.6

With scarcely two hundred professional at-bats over the past two seasons, Osik no longer resembles the Pirates' long-time backup from earlier this decade. He only offers his experience to clubs as nothing in his stats indicates an ability to produce at an acceptable offensive level in the majors, rendering him worthless to all fantasy teams.

Mike Rose439.2091102C
LA Dodgers4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 29B:S    T:R-4-5-1.2-1.3

Posting a .259/.343/.439 performance with 5 HR, 36 RBI, and a 25:51 BB:K over 53 AB for AAA Las Vegas(PCL) apparently attracted the attention of Tampa's new management as the Rays claimed Rose off waivers in October. The Devil Rays, apparently dissatisfied with his obviously terrible performance since joining the club, then non-tendered Rose last week, effectively wasting both the cost of a waiver claim and ten weeks on the 40-man roster. I still view him as a viable big league backup due to Rose's impressive historical plate discipline, but you definitely need to wait until he secures regular work in the majors before adding him anywhere.

Justin Knoedler101.1000000C
SF Giants4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 25B:R    T:R-4-5-1.2-1.2

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: San Francisco for my comments on Knoedler.

Humberto Quintero5410.1851806C
HOU Astros4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 26B:R    T:R-4-5-3.5-3.6

The Astros' third catcher for one more year until Hector Gimenez reaches the majors, Quintero registered a .288/.327/.482 performance for AAA Round Rock(PCL), along with 8 HR, 31 RBI, and a 10:30 BB:K. Although I don't envision him emerging as a regular, Quintero easily could spend a decade on a big league bench, albeit without warranting much fantasy attention during the majority of his career.

Koyie Hill7817.2180606C
ARI Diamondbacks4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 26B:S    T:R-4-5-2.1-2.3

Hill missed a perfect chance to emerge as Arizona's starter by flopping at the plate this summer. Contact problems continued to limits his effectiveness, and although he remained reasonably patient, he lost his Opening Day roster spot by the end of May, failing to return as more than injury filler. With his mediocre AAA numbers and the acquisition of Johnny Estrada, Hill almost certainly will head back to the minors next spring, once again needing a change of scenery to begin fulfilling his former expectations as a top catching prospects.

Catcher Week concludes tomorrow.

Today's Fantasy Rx: After a remarkably unlikely season where no Colorado catcher earned positive value, the Rockies should report to camp with a near-certain chance of fixing that problem. J.D. Closser nicely developed at the plate over the course of the season, Yorvit Torrealba remains a safe endgame option in the best hitters' park of his career, and AAA backstop Miguel Ojeda still owns an intriguing skill set. Any of these three could emerge as a very useful fantasy option, although barring another ridiculous season of managerial decisions, Closser still belongs relatively high on all your NL draft lists while the others only qualify as Dollar Days targets.

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