The problem with catchers in fantasy baseball is that there probably are not 12 of them that you would like to have on your team. So that means that a few managers will get stuck with a catcher they don’t really want.
Mike Napoli of the Boston Red Sox might be the 11th or 12th catcher off the board in your draft this year, as he is being taken around position 140 in some leagues. But you don’t need to feel bad if he’s the catcher that you get. He has drifted down in the rankings because of a quad injury last year that caused a drop both in his production as well as the number of games played. But don’t be fooled by last year’s numbers.
Thanks to his career average of better than a walk every two games, Napoli can usually be counted on to help your team OBP. He should be able to deliver 25 HR this season as well. This makes pretty darn good production from the catcher position with a mid-round pick.
Ironically, Napoli might not play very many games this year at catcher but that doesn’t matter to you since he has fantasy eligibility this year. Jarrod Saltalamacchia will likely get the bulk of the playing time at catcher while Napoli dons the first baseman’s mitt.
With Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia batting ahead of him in the order, Napoli should have ample RBI opportunities and be assured of getting his fair share of fast balls to hit. He could bat fourth or fifth depending on the status of David Ortiz and be protected with Will Middlebrooks batting behind him.
All this adds up to making Napoli a good draft value in the middle rounds.