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Sunday 19th Feb 2017

How to handle catcher pricing and ranking is an oft-debated topic. If positions are ignored and a positive price is assigned to exactly enough hitters necessary so everyone has a full active roster, the number of draft-worthy catchers isn’t sufficient to stock them all if positions aren’t ignored.

As such, there is a contingent of fantasy players that contend some owners are forced to pay a positive amount for players that will return a deficit. Others insist that pricing should be adjusted such that there are at minimum, ample players at each position with a positive price to comprise all the active rosters. I’m a card-carrying member -- if not the leader -- of the latter.

Mathematically, this is accomplished by setting the price of the worst drafted player at each position to the minimum cost and scaling everyone else up. Our Platinum archives store a plethora of essays on this topic.

Good news, gang. As part of an impending site facelift, said essays along with a treasure trove of additional strategy pieces will soon be brought out from behind the firewall and will be available for free in our new MastersVault.

Let’s take a look at what’s actually happened the previous three seasons in terms of catcher earnings at the end of the season. Dollar values from 15-team mixed leagues, standard 5x5 scoring with 23-man (two-catcher) rosters will be calculated – both forcing positions and ignoring positions. The top earning along with number 30 (worst positively valued) backstop will be presented.

Force Ignore Diff
2015 Buster Posey $34 $23 $11
Cameron Rupp $1 -$8 $9
2014 Buster Posey $28 $23 $5
Jarrod Saltalamacchia $1 -$3 $4
2013 Yadier Molina $21 $17 $4
Jose Lobaton $1 -$3 $4

Yikes! Last season’s catcher bump really spiked.

Values are reflective of the player’s contribution to the draft-worthy populace. To force positions, each player’s raw stats are adjusted by subtracting away the respective replacement level by position. This sets the worst draft-worthy player at each position to the minimum price, conventionally $1. The worse the replacement level, the bigger the price bump since fewer stats are taken away from the player.

Perhaps a look at replacement level catcher stats will help elucidate the impetus for the alarming catcher bump last year.

HR RBI SB BA RUNS
2015 8.0 27.7 0.3 0.235 25.3
2014 9.1 38.0 0.3 0.243 29.1
2013 7.1 33.6 0.4 0.250 32.7

Sure enough, the replacement level receiver is indeed declining – most notably in batting average. There’s a cascade effect as a lower average results in fewer runs and RBI. For those unaware of valuation protocol, there is a means of converting batting average into a pseudo counting stat. Last season after this conversion, each catcher’s adjusted average along with being docked fewer runs and RBI resulted in the huge delta between forcing and ignoring position.

So what’s the early forecast for catchers based on our 2016 projections? All you need to know is, at least presently, Buster Posey is the third ranked overall player (not catcher, PLAYER) with Kyle Schwarber occupying the seventh spot.

Bad news, gang. The rest of this discussion is for Platinum subscribers only. Before you get all pissy, please realize the aforementioned site revamp is subsidized via Platinum sales. In other words, you’ll be benefiting from the site upgrade made available by the Platinum subscribers. That said, I promise the remainder of this discussion, along with a bevy of upcoming essays, is well worth the cost. This doesn’t even consider you’ll have access to the same player projections, profiles and tools utilized by four of the past six National Fantasy Baseball Championship grand prize winners. This includes our own Greg Morgan, who along with his father Dale took down the 2014 NFBC title.

I apologize for the vagueness of this addendum but we’re excited to be on the verge of unveiling a promotion where you’ll have Platinum access at a significantly lower cost. However, if you’re anxious to subscribe now and are eligible for the promotion, we’ll be happy to honor it with your payment adjusted accordingly.

Hang tight everyone. We have some exciting plans in store for the 2016 campaign.

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