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Bernie On The Scene: Grading the Catchers

Bernie Pleskoff

Bernie Pleskoff

Bernie Pleskoff is a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.

This is the last edition of my series on power hitting position players in the major leagues.

This week I will concentrate on catchers.

Please not that evaluations are relative to other catchers, not all position players overall.

I believe there are a number of catchers now playing in major league baseball with power to hit home runs and drive in a meaningful number of runs for fantasy owners.

I believe catching is a position of relative strength and depth in baseball. More and more clubs are paying attention to the balance of offense and defense behind the plate.

Grades noted are heavily, heavily based upon power. Grades do not relate to the overall value of a player. In most cases, that would be a totally different evaluation.

I am concentrating on the most prominent player(s) used at the catching position for each club.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Matt Wieters - B- ()
Taylor Teagarden - C- (+)

BOSTON RED SOX

Jarrod Saltalamacchia - B+ (+)
Kelly Shoppach - C- (-)

Prospect = Ryan Lavarnway C (+) (2012 late)
Prospect = Blake Swihart C (+) (2015)

CHICAGO WHITE SOX

A.J. Pierzynski - B+ ()
Tyler Flowers - C ()

Prospect = Flowers

CLEVELAND INDIANS

Carlos Santana - C+ (-)
Lou Marson - D (-)

Prospect = Alex Monsalve D (-)
Prospect = Alex Lavisky C (+)

DETROIT TIGERS

Alex Avila - C (-)
Victor Martinez - B ()

Prospect = James McCann - D (-)

KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Salvador Perez - B- (+)
Brayan Pena - C ()

LOS ANGELES ANGELS

Chris Iannetta - C- ()
Bobby Wilson - D ()
John Hester - D ()

Prospect = Hank Conger - C ()

MINNESOTA TWINS

Joe Mauer - C- ()
Ryan Doumit - C ()
Drew Butera - D ()

Prospect = Chris Hermann C ()

NEW YORK YANKEES

Prospect = Russell Martin - C ()
Prospect = Chris Stewart - D ()

Gary Sanchez B- (2014) (+)
Austin Romine D (2015) (-)

OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Kurt Suzuki - D ()
George Kottaras - C ()

Prospect = Derek Norris (has played in Oakland already) - B (+)

SEATTLE MARINERS

Jesus Montero - B- ()
Miguel Olivo - C ()
John Jaso - C ()

Prospect = Jack Marder - C (2014)
Prospect = Tyler Marlette - D (2016)

TAMPA BAY RAYS

Jose Lobatan - D ()
Jose Molina - D+ ()

Prospect = Justin O'Conner - C- (2015)

TEXAS RANGERS

Mike Napoli - A- ()
Geovany Soto - C ()

Prospect = Jorge Alfaro - D+ (2015)

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

J.P. Arencibia - B+ ()
Jeff Mathis - C- ()

Prospect = Travis d'Arnaud - B+ (2013)

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Miguel Montero - C ()

Prospect = Michael Perez - C- ()

ATLANTA BRAVES

Brian McCann - B ()
David Ross - C ()

Prospect = Christian Bethancourt - C ()

CHICAGO CUBS

Steve Clevenger - C (+)

Prospect = Welington Castillo (playing with Cubs now) C (+)
Prospect = Tucker Barnhart - C ()

CINCINNATI REDS

Ryan Hanigan - C- (-)
Devin Mesoraco - C- (-)

COLORADO ROCKIES

Wilin Rosario - B (+)
Ramon Hernandez - C- (-)

Prospect = Wil Swanner - B (+)

HOUSTON ASTROS

Jason Castro - C- ()
Carlos Corporan - C (+)
Chris Snyder - D+ ()

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

A.J. Ellis - C (+)
Matt Treanor - C- (+)

Prospect = Tim Federowicz - C (+) (2012 late)

MIAMI MARLINS

John Buck - C ()
Brett Hayes - D (+)

Prospect = J.T. Realmuto C (+) (2014)
Prospect = Rob Brantly D+ (+) (2013)
Prospect = Kyle Skipworth B- (2014)

MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Jonathan Lucroy - C+ (+)
Martin Maldonado - C () recently promoted

NEW YORK METS

Josh Thole - D (-)
Rob Johnson - D (-)

Mike Nickeas - D (-) (has played for Mets this season)

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Carlos Ruiz - B (+)

Prospect = Sebastian Valle - B (+) (2013)
Prospect = Tommy Joseph - B- (+) (2014)

PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Rob Barajas - C ()
Mike McKenry - C+ (+)

Prospect = Tony Sanchez C (+)

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Yadier Molina - B (+)

Prospect = Tony Cruz D (-)

SAN DIEGO PADRES

Yasmani Grandal - B (+)
John Baker - D (-)

Prospect = Austin Hedges - C (+) (2014)

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Buster Posey B- (+)

Prospect = Andrew Susac - C () (2014)

WASHINGTON NATIONALS

Jesus Flores - C-
Jhonathan Solano - C-

Prospect = Sandy Leon - D (2012 now playing)

CONCLUSIONS

Yes, the position remains scarce, but there are some current catchers that can really hit with power.

There are guys that surprise with their power (Saltalamacchia) and guys we think should be hitting more homers (Santana) Beware when drafting or bidding at auction on catchers. They surprise.

Most teams are now resigned to having an offensive/defensive catcher as their main man and a defensive specialist as their backup.

There are catcher that are very good hitters (Mauer, Perez) that may not hit home runs in any significant number. But their batting average and ability to drive in runs elevates their value.

Park factors make a huge difference with catchers as they do with other position players related to power. Don't forget to figure the home park when ranking catchers.

Some catchers will change teams. Don't assume the current team for a prospect or regular will be the catcher's team as 2013 begins.

BUNTS

*Josh Collmenter returns to the bullpen for Arizona. Pat Corbin will assume a starting role.

*Lars Anderson has a chance to become the regular first baseman of the Indians next season. He will be given a good look.

*Neftali Feliz will have Tommy John surgery and is done for the season. For now, Alexi Ogando remains in the Rangers' bullpen.

*Yes, we have learned that Greg Holland will close for the Royals. I'm still not ruling out Aaron Crow being in that role at some point.

*Brandon League may get some save chances with the Dodgers.

*Paul Goldschmidt is on fire.

*Hunter Pence may take lose some home runs in San Francisco, but the guy can hit. Great addition for the Giants.

*There may be some deals between now and September 1. Players must pass through waivers to be traded. That may happen with large salaried players like Alfonso Soriano.

Note: I will be away on personal assignment until the second week of September. I won't be writing this column or joining DVR on the radio until my return. Be well and enjoy August.