To be truthful, and everyone knows I’m nothing if not honest, I went to the bathroom today and grabbed the 2009 Fanball Annual Guide for a quick read. As I perused the magazine I started looking at my top-10 selections at each position and thought – I bet their would be some value to reviewing how accurate my predictions were last season. With that, I thought I would plow through each position on the diamond over the next while doing just that. Today, I’ll start with the catchers, and look for the other reviews soon as I move through each position.
* Note: These projections were rendered in January of 2009, so keep that in mind if some of them seem a bit off in retrospect.
1. Joe Mauer
2. Brian McCann
3. Russell Martin
4. Geovany Soto
5. Victor Martinez
6. Bengie Molina
7. Ryan Doumit
8. Kelly Shoppach
9. Chris Iannetta
10. Mike Napoli
Now you know why I suggest skipping on taking catchers early in a draft.
Of that group, I was dead on with the top-2, of course that wasn’t too hard to predict. After that, it got spotty in a hurry.
Martin really wasn’t as bad as he appeared to be even though he had full season lows in homers (seven), RBI (53), runs (63) and average (.250). Honestly he wasn’t, he was just really unlucky. I’m looking for a nice rebound effort in 2010 – he should come cheaper than he should.
Soto was a total flop, due to injury and the fact that he simply wasn’t as good as he appeared to be in 2008. Simple really.
V-Mart was a remarkable comeback story after an abysmal 2008 effort (.278-2-35 in 266 ABs). All he did was rebound to his established levels hitting .303-23-108, but it was still a wonderful season thanks to full health.
Molina continues to do his thing, and do it well despite being the slowest man on Earth. He was basically the Giants second best hitter behind Pablo Sandoval as he hit a career best 20 homers while knocking in at least 80-runs for the third time in three years in a Giants uniform.
Doumit was injured and never really able to get going last season. He isn’t the .318-15-69 hitter he was in ’08, but he also isn’t the bum that hit only .250-10-38 last year.
Shoppach was supposed to flourish behind the dish when the Tribe eventually traded V-Mart. Well they traded Martinez all right, but Shoppach wasn’t able to take advantage of anything as he fell to 12 homers and 40 RBI a year after hitting 21 long balls with 55 ribbies. He did lose 81 at-bats in 2009, and that certainly didn’t help. Neither did his .214 average.
Iannetta hit only .228, this after hitting .264 in 2008, and he also lost two homers and 13 RBI from his 2008 effort (18 HR, 65 RBI). Chris was given 44 fewer at-bats thanks to a late season surge at the dish by Yorvit Torrealba so the power numbers would have likely been right there if he had been given the same opportunity.
Napoli wasn’t at his best either. First off, Jeff Mathis continued to eat into his playing time. Secondly, was limited a but by injury, though he still was able to post 155 more at-bats than in 2008. As a result there was little difference in his homers (20 and 20) or RBI (49 and 56), but obviously the rate at which he produced them dipped a ton.
So there is my list at the catcher position. I know it doesn’t look great in retrospect, but then again, I always preface my rankings at this position saying that there is no accounting for the injuries and wear and tear on the body for the men who pull on the tools of ignorance.
By Ray Flowers