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Shuffle Up and Catch: The Joe Mauer dilemma

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Something happened on the way to Cooperstown (US Presswire)

Some fantasy leagues require one catcher, some pools require two. It's been a position with respectable depth of late; if you hold off in a one-backstop league, you can probably land a solid option in the late rounds. I almost never spring for a designer catcher, but all roto strategy is situational and context-driven to begin with.

The usual Shuffle Up rules apply. Assume a 5x5 scoring system, because we're civilized men and women. Players at the same price are considered even. I reserve the right to move players up and down on the day this list debuts. Next week, we'll go back to the mound, look at the starting pitchers. Don't stress over the actual prices, focus on how the players relate to one another. That's the crux of this exercise.

Bring your best stuff and your respectful disagreement to the comments, but don't forget to provide reasoning, a cogent argument. Further the conversation, gamer. Respect the room. Respect yourself.

Make the jump and we'll price em' all out. Today, it's catchers only

$21 Carlos Santana
$19 Mike Napoli
$18 Brian McCann
$17 Matt Wieters
$15 Alex Avila
$15 Buster Posey
$15 Miguel Montero
$14 Yadier Molina
$13 Joe Mauer
$11 *Jesus Montero
$10 Wilson Ramos

Wieters batted eighth almost exclusively in 2011, something that just blows my mind. He ended the year in a run-production spot and it's continued in 2012. I guess someone finally talked some sense into Uncle Buck. … I liked Ramos in March as a cheap Wieters alternative; they had similar slash lines last year and Ramos no longer has to share with Pudge Rodriguez. But Ramos has batted eighth in every start this year. Davey Johnson, you're killing me, softly. Don't you need more pop in the middle of your order with Michael Morse hurt? … Joe Mauer homered at Target Field on Thursday, which much mean Haley's Comet is on the way for Friday. Mauer has been the most difficult catcher to rank for a couple of years. At the end of the day I don't feel good about his durability or power potential, and Minnesota's lineup also concerns me. Too many flags here. … Obviously Jesus Montero doesn't have the catcher tag yet, but he will soon enough (thanks for the suggestion, @Robert_Lennox). I'm not going to expect miracles right away, especially in that park.

$9 A.J. Pierzynski
$9 Geovany Soto
$8 Ramon Hernandez
$8 Russell Martin
$6 Jonathan Lucroy
$6 J.P. Arencibia
$6 Ryan Doumit

Say this for AJP: he plays most of the time and sometimes he hits. He's the ultimate "at least he doesn't hurt you" option, and he never costs that much. Statistical certainty has a value, too. … Arcencibia doesn't have time for an extended slump, because Toronto has outstanding or-gan-i-za-tion-al depth behind him. … I'm not letting go of Doumit yet, hoping he could be one of those faux-catchers, a catcher-eligible hitter who isn't forced to don the tools of ignorance very often. But man, do I hate him in right field. With Justin Morneau blocking the DH spot, I'm less interested in Doumit. Hurry up and prove me wrong.

$5 Carlos Ruiz
$4 Chris Iannetta
$3 Kurt Suzuki
$3 John Buck
$2 A.J. Ellis
$2 Josh Thole
$2 Miguel Olivo
$2 Jarrod Saltalamacchia

If Iannetta doesn't pop this year, I hope his gigantic fan club disbands and decides to start following someone else. I've stopped waiting for the breakout that's called for in so many other stations. … Ruiz is a little like a NL Pierzynski, though he's slotted lower in the order and better-liked in his clubhouse. … It's amazing that Salty sometimes gets a hit after falling behind in the count; he's a hacking mess when you get him in a hole. Maybe it's time for the Red Sox to switch to Pepper.

$1 Devin Mesoraco
$1 Rod Barajas
$1 Nick Hundley
$1 Victor Martinez
$0 Savador Perez
$0 Ryan Hanigan
$0 Josh Donaldson
$0 Jason Castro

For Martinez, you need a DL spot. I would not waste an active position on him unless you have gigantic rosters. It's nice to see him still carrying the catcher tag in Yahoo!, though his backstop days in real life are probably over  . . . Mesoraco was the sucker play of the spring - this is Dusty Baker, amigos - but I have to rank him a buck higher than Hanigan based on upside. Maybe an injury or a hot streak comes into play down the road and the kid gets his chance. In the meantime, they're both buried in the order and going nowhere in our stat pursuit.

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