A friendly argument between myself and one of my league mates prompted this discussion. I feel, after drafting John Buck last year in a 14 teamer and then playing catcher carousel all year, that having an upper-mid tier catcher is very important in deep (13+ team league) or in leagues where 2 catchers are used. I am still a believer that in standard 10-12 team leagues, taking a bottom tier catcher near the end of the draft is a wise strategy. Also, I am only looking at roto leagues, mainly because h2h leagues suck.

I did a little number crunching and compared the stat lines of catchers who are considered good (but not the 2 studs, Martinez and Mauer because both of them will likely go higher than even I'm willing to pay):

Varitek

Barrett

Pudge

Posada

The average stat line for these guys in 2005 was:

Catcher A - 64 runs, 18 HRs, 63 RBI, .274 avg

I then compared to the guys who are likely to be in the 10th-16th range among catchers drafted:

Barajas

AJ Pierzynski

Jason Kendall

Mike Lieberthal

The average stat line for these guys in 2005 was:

Catcher B - 58 Runs, 13 HRs, 54 RBI, .261 avg

So you're sacrificing 5-10 Runs, 5 HRs, 5-10 RBI, and 10-15 points in average. Catchers don't have an overwhelming effect on team average in roto leagues because they generally have fewer ABs, so I did more number crunching.

10 non catcher positions in the league x 550 ABs per position = 5500 ABs. Assume they hit .280 for argument's sake.

Now, assume you have catcher A, and he has 475 ABs, which is a generally accurate guess assuming no major injuries.

.280(5500) + .274(475) = 1978.15 divided by 5975 team ABs = .2795 team avg

Now, assume you have catcher B, and he also has 475 ABs.

.280(5500) + .261(475) = 1971.975 divided by 5975 team ABs = .2784.

So you're giving up 1 team point in avg, 5-10 runs, 5 HRs, 5-10 RBI.

Not HUGE numbers, but those types of stats can make a big difference in the final standings - especially the HRs and Avg. I realize those stat lines are all based on one year of stats, but I tried to find guys who did not have tremendous or terrible years in each category to attempt to balance it out.

I guess the decision we all face is if we want to sacrifice those types of stats in order to draft a catcher, say, 10 rounds later in the draft. In most standard leagues this probably isn't much of a discussion, but deep leagues might find these numbers interesting.