It is a traditionally weak spot on fantasy teams but the catcher position was touted as being relatively deep in 2013.Â Supporting that theory, two backstops well off the radar are among the leagueâ€™s home run leaders.Â The rush to own these hot hitters rendered some early slumpers expendable.
John Buck:Â Entering Sundayâ€™s action he was one of five players with six home runs.Â He owns legitimate power but is a career .236 hitter.Â Â He is increasing his fly ball rate likeÂ Brandon Moss did last year. Â He could reach twenty home runs for the second time in his career given this start.
Drop for him:Â Chris Iannetta, A.J. Ellis, Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Donâ€™t drop for him:Â Victor Martinez, Salvador Perez, Carlos Santana
Evan Gattis:Â Saturdayâ€™s hero will get plenty of playing time as long as Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman are out.Â We have precious few plate appearances to analyze, but he showed “power and reasonable plate discipline” in the minors.Â He appears slightly chase-happyÂ and it would be wise to not totally buy in until he makes more than one trip around the league.
Drop for him:Â Ryan Doumit, Brian McCann, Wellington Castillo
Donâ€™t drop for him:Â Carlos Ruiz, Nick Hundley, Mike Napoli
Justin Masterson:Â A less than stellar 2012 pushed him to the fringes of mixed league consideration, but he is back on the map after allowing one run in three starts.Â His strikeout rate is up, but there is not enough of a change in contact rate to believe it will stay above his established level.Â He is worth owning, but do not start him if the opposition can stack their lineup with quality left-handed batters.
Drop for him:Â Tim Lincecum, Derek Holland, Jeremy Hellickson
Donâ€™t drop for him:Â Hiroki Kuroda, Homer Bailey, Jose Fernandez
Barry Zito:Â He is off to a strong start in 2013, throwing fourteen scoreless innings.Â He features a Jaime Moyer-esque 83 mph fastball, but is controlling it well.Â His walk rate is down and he is getting strike one on 60.4% of at bats.Â His strikeout rate remains very low. The low K-rate hurts him for fantasy purposes and also makes it tough to project an ERA under 4.00.
Drop for him:Â Jarrod Parker, Ryan Vogelsong, Josh Beckett
Donâ€™t drop for him:Â Marco Estrada, Roy Halladay, Dan Haren
Jesus Montero:Â He showed progress in the second half of 2012, but is starting 2013 with a thud.Â He was benched three times in the last five games in favor of Kelly Shoppach.Â He finished as the twelfth ranked catcher last year, but he faces better competition and must improve or become irrelevant in standard leagues.
Drop him for:Â J.P. Arencibia, Jonathan Lucroy, John Jaso
Donâ€™t drop him for:Â Alex Avila, Tyler Flowers, Russell Martin
Jonathan Lucroy:Â The scuffling catcher was given two days off in the last four.Â His BB/K numbers and plate discipline rates are steady, so he should rebound soon.Â He hit .361 with men on base last year.Â He will not repeat that, so his run production will decrease.
Drop him for:Â John Buck, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, A.J. Pierzynski
Donâ€™t drop him for:Â Ryan Doumit, Wilson Ramos, Jose Molina
Cameron Maybin:Â Two weeks of action is not enough to downgrade a player, but Maybin was terrible last year too.Â In deeper leagues there is probably nobody on the wire with his pure tools but those in standard leagues can cut him without remorse.
Drop him for:Â Justin Maxwell, Denard Span, Starling Marte
Donâ€™t drop him for:Â Jackie Bradley Jr., Matt Joyce, Drew Stubbs
Brandon McCarthy:Â He was shelled in both his starts and only struck out five in 11.2 IP.Â The numbers suggest his command (not control) is failing him.Â He is walking only 1.54/9 and has an 80.7% first strike rate.Â However, he is giving up line drives 28.3% of the time and hitters are connecting on 89.8% of swings.Â He should come around in time, but there is no need to stash him and wait.
Drop him for:Â Ervin Santana, Ross Detwiler, A.J. Griffin
Donâ€™t drop him for:Â Phil Hughes, Julio Teheran, J.A. Happ