With the regular season over and the postseason rumbling along, it’s time to look back at the top performers of 2016. As is usually the case, we’re starting at the catcher position. For those of you who are familiar with this series from previous offseasons, we have a major change to the way we’re calculating values. Let’s talk about that first before diving into the numbers.
In the past, Zach Sanders has used his own methodology to determine dollars of production. For those interested in history, here are four articles on the subject (1, 2, 3, and 4). It was a good approach. Not perfect, but that’s because there are no perfect ways to build a dollar sheet.
This time around, we’re Zach-less. As friend Eno announced earlier today, we’ve imported 2016 values into our auction calculator. We’re going to use it to build our end of season rankings. The calculator offers a vast range of flexibility. As opposed to our former ranking technique, the calculator can be easily customized to match your league settings. Seriously, try it out. Use 2016 YTD for the projections.
For these articles, I’m going to assume a 12 team, 5×5, standard deep roster with a pitching cap of 1475 innings (most leagues are 1450 or 1500, I split the difference). I set the batter split at 65% because that produces what I consider to be the most realistic position adjustments. The calculator does have some quirks which I’ll go into more detail tomorrow. Today is all about the ranks.
Here we go…
|55||Bruce Maxwell III||33||101||1||8||14||0||0.283||-$6.80|
What we have here is a list of all catchers who made at least 100 plate appearances. The actual auction calculator doesn’t display the above roto values. Instead, it shows how many dollars above average a player is in each category. If you’d like to look at the dollars by category or tinker to find values for your league, use this link.
In some ways, catcher is a weird place to start. Before considering the $20.70 positional adjustment, only two guys provided positive value – Lucroy at $1.20 and Posey at $0.10. This highlights a “feature” of the calculator – players with low plate appearance totals are heavily penalized. Basically, it assumes you aren’t streaming or micromanaging.
For example, let’s think about how you used Sanchez. He was worth $8.60 if you popped him into your lineup after the draft and left him there. However, most owners snagged him in early August. From that point on, he was the most valuable catcher by a wide margin. Anybody who replaced somebody like Wieters with Sanchez had a very successful season at catcher – at least for one of the two slots.
And now, a few general comments
Replacement level for a 24 catcher league was right around James McCann, Babe Herrmann, and Castro. If you were playing in the deep end of the pool, you could have maximized value by using McCann against left-handed pitchers, streaming Ross on Jon Lester days, and taking advantage of Zunino’s brief power spike in August.
Aside from Sanchez, Ramos was the biggest positive surprise of the season. It’s shame his campaign ended with a serious injury. For the most part, the good catchers performed as they were supposed to. A few flopped like Wieters, Norris, and Cervelli. At least they still provided positive value.
Gomes and d’Arnaud were horrific this season, and Montero wasn’t much better. At least Gomes can blame injuries. While it appears that Montero is probably on his way out as an everyday fantasy option, Gomes and d’Arnaud will present interesting buy low opportunities next spring.
You can follow me on twitter @BaseballATeam