2015 Fantasy Baseball2015 Fantasy Baseball Draft GuideAlan Harrison

2015 Fantasy Baseball: Catchers with Multiple Position Eligibility

Posey

Targeting players that carry multiple position eligibility in your fantasy baseball draft will provide your fake team with flexibility throughout the season. These players are typically helpful in formats that feature two catchers, a corner or middle infield slot and even with relief and starting pitchers.

It’s important to note that different sites use different formulas to determine if players will be eligible at multiple positions. Here’s how ESPN/Yahoo! determine:

Yahoo! – A player will gain eligibility at a new position after five starts at that position, or 10 total appearances at that position. Pitchers need to make three starts to be eligible as a starter, or five relief appearances to qualify as a reliever.

ESPN – A player will gain/retain eligibility with 20 appearances at that position in the previous season, but may add eligibility at that position with 10 total appearances at that position.

Buster Posey | Giants | C/1B | ESPN & Y!

If you’re sold paying the hefty price of acquiring one of the top fantasy catchers in the game, you may as well go balls to the wall and grab Buster Posey. Eligible at both catcher and first base in both ESPN and Y!, Posey will likely cost you a late-second or third round selection in your snake drafts — if the current NFBC ADP holds true as draft season wears on. Steamer pegs Posey to slash .299/.368/.476 with 19 home runs, 69 runs and 75 RBI. Zach Sanders turned that projection into a fantasy value here, suggesting he’s about the 22nd best hitter on the board and could be worth about $25 in your 12-team, single-catcher auction.

Jonathan Lucroy | Brewers | C/1B | Y!

Those in Y! leagues will be able to use the Brewers’ backstop in both their catcher and first base slots this season. He’s on the heels of a 6+ WAR season, thanks to a .301/.373/.465 season with 13 home runs, 69 runs batted in, 73 runs scored and four stolen bases. The number of balls that jumped over the fence dipped in ‘14, which could be the result of a dip in HR/FB% from over 10% in each of the previous three seasons to just over 7% last year. Fewer balls in the stands did, however, result in more than twice the amount of doubles (53) than he’s hit in any season in during his Major League career. Assume that HR/FB% creeps back up to Lucroy’s career average of about 9% and a few extra, maybe 16-ish could leave the park, but Steamer seems to think that Lucroy will settle in at about 14. Jonathan Lucroy appears to be firmly entrenched as the number two catcher off draft boards during the early goings in the NFBC (~68th overall) and I’m not sure I’ll want to pay that price, so I’ll probably be waiting for one of the next two listed here if possible.

Carlos Santana | Indians | C/1B/3B | Y!

Carlos Santana is an ideal target on draft/auction day for his multiple position eligibility, especially in Yahoo! leagues where he is still able to be slotted in at the catcher position. Santana is coming off a down year in the average department — he hit .231, the lowest mark of his career thanks in part to a career low .249 average on balls in play — but he still managed to slug 27 home runs, knock in 85 and swipe five bags. Additionally, he took more free passes in ‘14 (18.8% BB%) than in years past, saw a three-year high in ISO (.196) and should be getting some lineup protection with the addition of Brandon Moss — if you believe in that sort of thing. Right now, Santana is going at about the 74th pick according to early NFBC ADP, ahead of names like Joey Votto at first base and only behind Buster Posey and Jonathan Lucroy at catcher. That’s a fine value in the sixth round of your 12-team draft.

Brian McCann | Yankees | C/IB | Y!

From a power standpoint, Brian McCann put forth a fine effort in his first campaign in pinstripes. He clubbed 23 homers and knocked in 75 runs despite posting the second-lowest ISO (.174) of his career. McCann appeared to take a more aggressive approach at the plate, swinging more at pitches both in (59.4% Z-Swing%) and out (28.3% O-Swing%) of the zone than he has in the past couple of seasons. And while he swung-and-missed (5.9% SwStr%) and struck out less (14.3% K%) than his career averages, McCann failed to take his free passes (5.9% BB%) which is largely to blame for the 50-point dip in on-base percentage. Steamer believes that McCann will rebound from his lowest average on balls in play to triple slash .251/.317/.445 with 24 home runs and 70 RBI. The Yankees’ catcher is currently being drafted with about the 108th pick in early NFBC drafts. I like McCann in the eighth-to-ninth round to have a more balanced sophomore season in the Bronx.

Yasmani Grandal | Dodgers | C/IB | ESPN & Y!

The Padres sent Yasmani Grandal packing up the Interstate to Los Angeles this offseason, where he’ll be calling games for their National League West Rival Dodgers. Grandal returned from a PED suspension last season, but didn’t exactly fare well with the rest of the Friars’ clubhouse, so he was moved in the deal that returned Matt Kemp to San Diego. Upon returning from said suspension last season, Grandal slashed .225/.327/.401 with 15 homers, 47 runs and 49 runs batted in. He offered at pitches less in ‘14 than ‘13, swinging at more pitches out of the zone (25.9% O-Swing%), less pitches in the zone (57.3% Z-Swing%), swung-and-missed at a career-low 9.9% clip and struck out an awful 26% of the time. Due to the multiple position eligibility and the change of scenery, Grandal could be a value on draft day, but I’m looking for a guy who won’t strike out as much so he won’t be on any of my teams.

Others to consider in deeper, two-catcher and “only” leagues: J.P. Arencibia, Chris Gimenez, Jordan Pacheco, Brayan Pena, Stephen Vogt

Players that will lose multiple position eligibility for 2015:

Joe Mauer | Twins | 1B | ESPN

Mauer is one of those players whose historical average draft position has been inflated due to his namesake and catcher eligibility, but hasn’t actually lived up to the hype since his 2010 season. In other words, he’s been one of the most overrated fantasy players in the past five years. Steamer believes that the Twins’ first baseman is in store for a .284/.370/.403 season with nine homers 73 runs and 61 runs batted in. As of today, he carries an NFBC ADP of 233 — roughly equivalent to a 19th round selection in your 12-team. By Zach’s account, Mauer is the 288th player on the board and might be worth a buck ($1) in your auction.

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