This marks the return of Bernie on the Scene for the 2013 season.
I'll begin by providing my position rankings in the next few weeks. They will be complete by the last week of spring training or before. Pitchers will be the last position ranked. I will do that so I can monitor injuries during spring training.
Every fantasy player has his/her own means to rank players. Who is to say that one person's rankings are better or more accurate than another? Below I explain what I consider in my rankings.
I also include the categories I believe the player can offer. They are in no particular order of strength. A category about which I am particularly bullish is in bold.
I certainly welcome your comments and agreements or disagreements.
1. Buster Posey - average, home runs, RBI, runs
2. Joe Mauer - average, RBI, runs, some SB
3. Victor Martinez - average, RBI, runs, some home runs
4. Yadier Molina - average, RBI, power, runs, stolen bases
5. Wilin Rosario - home runs, RBI, runs, stolen bases, average
6. Salvador Perez - average, runs, RBI, home runs
7. Carlos Santana - home runs, RBI, runs
8. Mike Napoli - home runs, RBI, runs
9. A.J. Pierzynski - home runs, runs, RBI, average
10. Jonathan Lucroy - average, home runs, runs, RBI
11. Miguel Montero - average, runs, RBI, home runs
12. Matt Wieters - home runs, runs, RBI, a few stolen bases
13. Ryan Doumit - RBI, runs, home runs, average
14. Jesus Montero - RBI, home runs, runs, improving average
15. John Jaso - RBI, runs, home runs, a few stolen bases
16. Brian McCann - (injured) home runs, RBI, runs (caution)
17. Alex Avila - runs, RBI, a few home runs (rebound candidate)
18. Russell Martin - runs, RBI, home runs, stolen bases
19. J.P. Arencibia - home runs, RBI, runs
20. Jarrod Saltalamacchia - home runs, RBI, runs
21. Kurt Suzuki - a few home runs, runs, RBI
22. Geovany Soto - home runs, RBI, runs
23. A.J. Ellis - average, runs
Travis d' Arnaud
*Both would be ranked in my Top 15 if they were not suspended and missing games. You may want to draft them, stash them and have them ready to come off your bench.
ABOUT MY RANKINGS
When I rank specific positions, I weigh several factors.
I look at a player's long-term history, his last year, his age, his home park, division's pitching, protection and makeup of his lineup and his attitude. I want guys that step up with a runner on base. I want a complete player both offensively and defensively. Why? I want him playing, not watching from the bench. And I do not want a liability to his club on the field or in the clubhouse.
For example, these are guys I will grab whenever I can:
Some guys that I have ranked highly I don't want on my team. I'll keep that short list to myself.
MY CONCERNS AT CATCHER
- I have a slight concern about how far back V-Mart can come after having missed a season. However, he has the heart of a lion. I'll go with him and take my chances. I've watched him since he was in the low minor leagues. He's a battler. And historically, he's been a tremendous hitter; especially with men on base. There certainly will be men on base for him in Detroit.
- I have a real concern about Brian McCann. To begin, I think his skills have begun to erode. Most importantly, he is coming off surgery and I don't think he'll be ready to start the season. That costs at-bats and counting numbers. I'll pass, thanks.
- I think we have only begun to see what Salvador Perez can do. Those of you that have read my work know how bullish I have been from the first time I saw him play. The man can hit. And his power is coming. Don't sleep on him. The team will be better and he'll benefit. That's why he's so high in my ranking.
- The same can be said for Wilin Rosario. I have been very high on him, like Perez, since the moment I first saw him. He hasn't disappointed me, or those that follow my recommendations. He has power to spare and he plays half his games in Coors. I worry about his defense possibly causing him playing time at catcher, but I'll take the risk. His bat is too loud for the Rockies to keep him out of the lineup.
- I haven't quite purchased stock in the Yadier Molina Fantasy Fan Club. Yes, he had a phenomenal season and earned his high ranking, but my jury is divided. I can't convince one half of myself to buy in. That always troubles me. The other half of me really likes him.
- Jesus Montero is a defensive liability behind the plate. Period. If he starts causing pitcher's trouble or even games, he'll have to DH or play first base. And man, the Mariners are loaded with those guys. So, the bottom line is that I'm concerned that Montero will lose some at-bats and pout. I have him in one keeper league, but that's it for me until he proves he can hit like his press clippings have indicated. I haven't seen it yet.
- Yasmani Grandal and Carlos Ruiz are both better than anyone in my list below McCann. I think they are both good offensive catchers. How many games do you want to waste without them? I won't predict any category strength for them because I don't know what shape they'll be in when they return.
- Who's the real Mike Napoli? Yes, I have concerns about the hip. So do the Red Sox. I also have concerns about his batting average. I do think the Green Monster could help him drive in runs. Or, it could kill him if he thinks he has to poke every pitch over the wall.
- My message to Matt Wieters: Show me. Prove me wrong. I don't see any clutch in Matt's hitting machine. I think he should be better than he has shown so far. Good player. Not much more. Power can be real and he could break out.
- I absolutely love what Joe Mauer does for a fantasy team. His batting average at catcher allows me to take a hitter with less batting average as a balance. I also like his consistency.
- Park factors makes me bullish on Jonathan Lucroy. I've always liked him. If he stays healthy, he should hit with big time power. If he stays healthy. Could be a big surprise. I'll take him if I get the chance.
- I've seen enough of Carlos Santana to last me a lifetime. He hits some home runs, true, but he leaves men on base in droves. He's easily fooled at the plate. Until he gets better pitch recognition and plate discipline he will be limiting his offense. He came alive in the second half when the pressure was off.
Scribbles from my Notebook:
I believe Justin Upton will be under more pressure this season than any other player. He will be followed in that category by his brother B.J. Why? Too many people expect too much. I don't think either can live up to expectations. They're good, not great.
I don't understand why the Cubs invited Javier Baez to spring training. He isn't close to being ready as a major league player. Maybe it's to motivate him about what he's working towards.
I still like the future of the Mariners and the Padres. I really like the Joe Saunders signing for Seattle in that park. They made up for the loss of Jason Vargas and got Kendrys Morales in the process.
Keep a close watch on the Cardinals' Oscar Taveras. If any of the big bat Cards collapse or get hurt, Taveras is only a phone call away.
The Diamondbacks have solidified third base and second base for years to come by signing Martin Prado and Aaron Hill long term. Both are grinders and fit the D-Backs' mold. Cliff Pennington signed now for two years sends a confusing message to me about what they'll do with Didi Gregorius, who is now recovering from a UCL injury.
Willie Bloomquist probably sticks, but what about John McDonald? That's a lot of infielders in Arizona.
The Felix Hernandez issues with his elbow/arm give me pause. Could be trouble ahead? I'm not paying premium auction dollars or a high draft pick for him. It could be nothing, but maybe not.
I will be commenting on Twitter at every spring training game beginning February 22nd.
I've also started a new Twitter feature - B's Comment For The Day. Hope you give it a look.
Follow me on Twitter @BerniePleskoff and at MLB.com in the Voices section.