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2009 In Review: Catcher

(For more catcher analysis, check out the 3-Year Trends.)

“The past is behind, learn from it.
The future is ahead, prepare for it.
The present is here, live it.”
-Thomas Monson, American Bishop

Who is Thomas Monson? To be honest, I don’t really know, but I think he was talking about fantasy baseball when he coined that commonly heard phrase. Just think about it:

“Last season is behind, learn from it.
Next season is ahead, prepare for it.
The presents are here, it’s Christmas!”
-Bryan Curley, Baseball Professor

Ok so maybe I took a few liberties, but come on… it’s Christmas! Over the next seven days we will be taking a look back at the 2009 season as we gear up for 2010. This season-in-review will get us started with identifying key trends that developed, players that broke out, and stars that faded, all of which we’re going to need as fantasy drafts are only three months away! Oh and don’t forget to check out the other articles in the series:

First Base
Second Base
Shortstop
Third Base
Outfield
Pitchers

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MVP of 2009

Joe Mauer (MIN) – Could it be anyone else? With a PSR 57.8% higher than Boston backstop, Victor Martinez, Mauer was far and away the best player at the position in 2009. He finished the season ranked first in R, HR, and AVG and second in RBI. Oh, and he threw in four SB for good measure.
Honorable Mention: Victor Martinez (BOS)

Comeback Player of 2009

Victor Martinez (BOS) – Entering 2008, Martinez was the top-ranked fantasy catcher, but entering 2009 most rankings had him rounding out the bottom of the top 5 due to his disastrous, injury-plagued ’08 season. While a drop from 1st to 5th is normally fairly slight, at the catcher position it’s the cutoff point between studs like Brian McCann/Joe Mauer and fairly reliable stopgaps such as Bengie Molina/Chris Iannetta. With his 88/.303/23/108/1 season last year and his trade to Boston, Martinez is now a strong contender for number 2 at catcher in 2010. Welcome back to the ranks of the elite, Victor!
Honorable Mention: Jorge Posada (NYY)

Breakout Player of 2009

Kurt Suzuki (OAK) – In his third MLB season, Suzuki finally emerged as a viable fantasy starter. While he isn’t in the Mauer/Martinez/McCann category (but then again, who else is) he can give you solid AVG, R, RBI, and even the occasional SB. Before you discount his 2009 as a fluke, remember that in 2007 he posted very similar numbers on a per game basis.
Honorable Mention: Miguel Montero (ARI)

Most Disappointing Player of 2009

Geovany Soto (CHC) – The 2008 NL Rookie of the Year did his best vanishing act in 2009, posting a horrendous 27/.218/11/47/1 line. He batted above .240 in only two months (May and June) and under .140 in two other months (April and August). He will be 27 by opening day 2010, so there is still reason to believe that he will improve, and if he falls to later rounds he would be a great buy-low option because of his potential to repeat his .285/23/86 season in ’08.
Dishonorable Mention: Russell Martin (LAD)

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About the author: Bryan is the co-founder of Baseball Professor and works as a consultant specializing in operational metrics and efficiency analysis. When he’s not working, blogging, or tending to basic human needs, he enjoys pondering the vastness of the universe, rewatching episodes of Breaking Bad, and avoiding snakes. (@BaseballProf)

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