Derek Norris: The Perfect Fantasy Catcher in 2014


Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Catcher is always one of the thinnest positions in fantasy baseball and for a good reason.  Even the elite catchers do not match up with the elite players at every other position.  It leads to an important decision every year during your draft.

Do you spend the high draft pick on Buster Posey or do you try to find value later in the draft?  There are merits to both methods, but bargain hunting on backstops has paid off in 2014.

Derek Norris has been almost as good as any catcher offensively this season, and he could still be available in your league.  Norris is still unowned in two-thirds of ESPN leagues.  We are talking about a guy slashing .301/.403/.512.  That is the type of slash line you would want to see out of the premier hitters in baseball, not a catcher.

I really do not think I need to convince you any further to pick up Derek Norris, but maybe his eight homers are a little more incentive.  That is more than Wilin Rosario, Yadier Molina, and Joe Mauer. Norris is only one homer behind Buster Posey with 65 less at-bats. Also, Norris has .145 point advantage on Posey in OPS.

Derek Norris is the type of guy that shows that numbers matter more than names. If I asked you who the elite fantasy catchers were, then you would probably say Mauer, Posey, Carlos Santana, and Yadi.  The answer to the question almost halfway through 2014 is Jonathan Lucroy, Evan Gattis, Devin Mesoraco, and Derek Norris.  All four of these backstops have a .900+ OPS and at least eight homers and 34 RBI’s.

If you have one of the four big name catchers, then find a way to offload them for another position of need if you can fill a slot with the names of Lucroy, Gattis, Mesoraco, or Norris, but Lucroy and Gattis have probably developed some brand recognition at this point, especially if you play with Brewers or Braves fans.

Bonus: Deeper leagues may be interested in taking a look at the A’s second catcher/DH, John Jaso, or the ever underrated Chris Iannetta.  Iannetta has some of the best plate discipline in all baseball.  Both players will have an OPS that will probably hover around .800 as well as provide a little pop in their bats.