Shuffle Up and Deal: Charting the catchers

You know the rules, you know the lifelines, let's play Shuffle Up and Deal. Today, we tackle all the catcher-eligible players. Stats to this point are an audition only - we're trying to identify the best players from this point forward.

$24 Joe Mauer(notes)
$24 Victor Martinez(notes)
$22 Brian McCann(notes)
$18 Kurt Suzuki(notes)
$17 Buster Posey(notes)
$16 Jorge Posada(notes)

Comments: Posey is the perfect fit for a fantasy backstop; an offensive stud who spends most of his time not behind the plate. The faux-catcher is a long-accepted winning strategy. … The Athletics throw a heavy workload at Suzuki and that might be a problem later in his career, but for now, enjoy the volume, and the sneaky production (.478 slugging, eight homers in 41 games). … Posada has an ideal backdrop pushing him up here, but can he stay healthy in later years? He turns 39 in August.

$15 Carlos Santana(notes)
$15 Mike Napoli(notes)
$14 Matt Wieters(notes)
$13 Miguel Olivo(notes)
$13 Ryan Doumit(notes)
$13 Rod Barajas(notes)
$13 Geovany Soto(notes)
$12 Miguel Montero(notes)
$10 John Buck(notes)
$10 A.J. Pierzynski(notes)

Comments: Wieters is one of the most frustrating players in fantasy baseball right now, both from a ranking and ownership standpoint. His numbers to this point certainly don't justify this price, but his pedigree certainly suggests that he could (and maybe should) be a Top 10 catcher the rest of the way. I'm just glad I'm not tied to him in any way for 2010 (that said, most of my catchers have been fairly pedestrian). … Miguel Olivo's batting average is a sure bet to fall; a catcher has zero chance to keep a .400 BABIP. But Olivo's power is real and the thin air of Colorado still provides a nice floor. The statheads love to rail against this type of season, but nine weeks in, I think we have to accept it as mostly real. … Santana is a Victor Martinez clone all the way: same stance, same switch-hitting skills, even the same uniform number (41). You have to love how the Indians immediately cleared the deck for Santana, putting him in the third slot and pushing Lou Marson(notes) down to Triple-A. … Napoli didn't hit a lick in April, but he's on a zesty .280/.338/.566 tear since then, with eight homers. You always worry about what Mike Scioscia might do when Jeff Mathis(notes) returns, but I'm cautiously optimistic the skipper is done jerking Napoli around.

$9 Russell Martin(notes)
$9 Bengie Molina(notes)
$9 Ivan Rodriguez(notes)
$8 Yadier Molina(notes)
$7 Ronny Paulino(notes)
$6 Ramon Hernandez(notes)
$5 John Jaso(notes)

Comments: I've always liked Paulino, it's just been a question of playing time for him. He's stepped up nicely during the John Baker(notes) injury, and Baker won't be returning anytime soon: mid-August is his best-case scenario. … Guys like Martin and Rodriguez will play a lot, but there's no longer anything special about their offensive skills.

$4 Carlos Ruiz(notes)
$4 Nick Hundley(notes)
$3 Yorvit Torrealba(notes)
$2 Jason Kendall(notes)
$2 Jonathan Lucroy(notes)
$2 Chris Snyder(notes)
$2 Alex Avila(notes)

Comments: If the Tigers ever commit to Avila as the regular catcher, he's got the potential to be a $7-10 option. Alas, Gerald Laird(notes) is a strong defensive backstop (and an excellent thrower) and Jim Leyland seems to be loyal to him. … If you rented Kendall for a while, congratulations, you snuck out a small profit. Now cash out and bank those gains before things really get ugly on you. … I'm still holding out hope that Hundley might take over for Torrealba full-time at some point in 2010. Maybe that's misguided optimism. … Snyder's value is just about cashed with Miguel Montero headed back into the fray. And speaking of Montero, he'll probalby jump up a tier by this time next month if he can prove that he's healthy.

$1 Francisco Cervelli(notes)
$1 Jason Varitek(notes)
$1 Chris Iannetta(notes)
$1 Matt Treanor(notes)
$1 Humberto Quintero(notes)
$0 George Kottaras(notes)
$0 Dioner Navarro(notes)
$0 Eli Whiteside(notes)
$0 Jeff Mathis
$0 Kelly Shoppach(notes)
$0 Rob Johnson(notes)
($2) Gerald Laird
($3) Jason Jaramillo(notes)

Okay, I've had my say on the prices. I retain the right to tweak this list between now and first pitch Tuesday night. Bring your intelligent disagreement to the comments; it's fine to have a different opinion, but tell us why you disagree and how you'd adjust the list. Let's find a win-win here.

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Image courtesy U.S. Presswire

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