Friday, January 25, 2008

Matt's Stats: Baseball Preview Edition


Welcome back to Matt's Stats. While football season is still going strong, the fantasy baseball season is already on the horizon. With that in mind its time to get going with the draft preview. How it will work is every Friday leading up to the season, a different position will be previewed. I would also be happy to answer any specific questions anyone has, so if you want to have your question answered in Matt's Stats, please post it in the comment section and I will answer it during the next week's article. Let's get on with the first preview!


CATCHERS:


1) Victor Martinez (C - Cleveland Indians) - Martinez continues to improve every year by getting over 100 RBIs for the first time in 2007 and hitting .300 for his third consecutive season. The Indians are a team on the rise and there is no reason for Martinez's stats to fall anytime soon.


2) Joe Mauer (C - Minnesota Twins) - Mauer has proven to be injury prone but when playing is one of the best catchers in the game. Mauer is consistent with a lifetime .313 avg. You can also count on 10-15 HRs and 70-90 RBIs. There was a time when the Twins drafted Mauer over Prior and everyone was complaining and calling them cheap, but it was clearly the better move. Draft Mauer if you have a chance in 2008.


3) Russell Martin (C - Los Angeles Dodgers) - In 2006 Martin was considered to be one of the best Canadian players in MLB, but after 2007 (.293 avg., 19 HR, 87 RBI) he is now considered to be one of the best Catchers in MLB. At only 25 by opening day, Martin should only improve and could be one of only two or three catchers this year to get 100 RBIs.


4) Jorge Posada (C - New York Yankees) - As a Mets fan I hate to say this, but Posada is good and one of the best hitting catchers in the majors. He hit .338 with 20 HR and 90 RBI in 2007, and while he is getting old should still get the same run production in 2008. While you can expect a lower avg this year (closer to his career .277 avg.) Posada still makes an excellent pick at catcher for the new season.


5) Brian McCann (C - Atlanta Braves) - McCann has been so good that the Braves traded Saltalamacchia last year, a player that was believed to be the future at the position for Atlanta. McCann has gotten over 90 RBIs in both full seasons he has played and there is no reason to think that 2008 should be any different.


Stay away from Paul Lo Duca (C, Washington Nationals) - He may give you decent stats (.272 avg., 9 HR, 54 RBI, .680 OPS, in not his best season in '07) as a catcher in deeper leagues, but he is ready for a big time down fall in 2008. Aside from the fact that he got a slight injury this week, he has been unresponsive since the Mitchel Report and is going to a new team where Jesus Flores is the future at the position. Look for Lo Duca to post one of his worst seasons this year and stay away from him if possible.


Have a great week and look for the First Base preview next week!





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2 comments:

Eddie Fenster said...

Matt:

Three questions for you.

1) I am in a keeper league and I always hear about Victor Martinez becoming a 1B or DH. Should I be concerned?

2) My other league is an NL-only league with two catchers meaning we need backups. As a Mets fan, is Ramon Castro a viable option?

3) Also for my NL-only league with two catchers, where does Ryan Doumit rank on your list?

Marc Edelman said...

Readers:

I am going to have to disagree with Matt on two of his six points:

(1) First, I think Paul LoDuca enters 2008 a tad underrated particularly because of the Mitchell Report. As I wrote in a column last month, the few named players and taking the heat for what was well spread. The biggest reason to downgrade LoDuca this year is because he is playing for a much worse offensive team. In any event, the guy is still a .270-.280 hitter, making him a potential bargain at $3-$4 (or a late round) in an NL-only league.

(2) Second, I would stay away from Jorge Posada. Everybody has upgraded him after his career year. While I don't expect Jorge Posada to turn into Jorge Fabregas in 2008, I also don't think at this stage of the game one can predict a repeat from last season. I project a healthy Posada at .280, 20 HR, 75 RBI, which is more in line with his career numbers.