2011 Fantasy Ranks: C

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Athlon presents the first release of its consensus fantasy rankings.

Athlon presents the first release of its consensus fantasy rankings.

While we still have over a month until voluntary report dates (Feb. 14th can’t get here fast enough), it is never too early for fantasy owners to start digesting mock drafts, big boards and keeper options.

With that, Athlon Sports has perused the World Wide Web for the latest and greatest positional rankings and brought them together for a one-stop shop. Big media names like ESPN, CBS, Athlon Sports and Yahoo! were incorporated as well as a variety of smaller, yet no less insightful, sites like FantasyPhenoms.com, DeepLeagues.com, RotoChamp.com, HardballTimes.com and RotoProfessor.com.

Each site’s rankings — including Athlon’s own rankings, which will be released early in February — were compiled and averaged into one “consensus” ranking. (Age on Opening Day 2011)
Catcher

1. Joe Mauer, MIN (27)
Despite declining from his off-the-charts AL MVP season of 2009 (.365/1.031 with 28 HRs, 96 RBIs, 94 runs scored), Mauer still put up numbers that you just don’t see with other catchers. The only issue you can find with the three-time batting champion is that his home runs dropped off at Target Field, where he only hit one long ball all year. However, Mauer will probably lead your fantasy team in average and be top three in runs scored — unheard of by a catcher. His .373/.974 line after the All-Star break bodes well for another stellar season from Super Joe.

2010 stats: 88 R, 9 HR, 75 RBI, 1 SB, .327/.871

2. Buster Posey, SF (24)
So, what were you doing at age 23? Mr. Posey was calling games for the World Series-winning pitching staff and taking home the National League Rookie of the Year. He has hit over .300 at every level and has a nice combination of power and plate discipline. Posey plays in a pitcher-friendly park, but he had 43 extra-base hits in 406 at-bats in 2010. The 2008 Golden Spikes winner at Florida State rocketed through the minors and looks to be a future superstar. Posey projects as a fantasy stud for years to come.

2010 stats: 58 R, 18 HR, 67 RBI, 0 SB, .305/.862

3. Victor Martinez, DET (32)
A year and a half after being traded to Boston, V-Mart will once again hit in a new yard this season as he heads to Detroit. Despite a .225 average and four home runs in 47 career games at Comerica Park, the Tigers had no issue giving the productive hitter a big free agent deal. Martinez has hit over .300 in five of the last six seasons, with the exception being 2008 when he only played 73 games due to several injuries. As he transitions to DH and bats beside fellow Venezuelan Miguel Cabrera, hitting 20+ homers with a .300 average and an .850 OPS should be no problem for Martinez.

2010 stats: 64 R, 20 HR, 79 RBI, 1 SB, .302/.844

4. Brian McCann, ATL (27)
No catcher in the game is a more consistent producer than McCann. He’s been named to the National League All-Star team for five straight seasons, and his numbers during that time have always stayed solid. The Atlanta backstop’s five-year average from 2006-10 (.290/.856, 21 HRs, 89 RBIs, 61 runs scored) should assure fantasy owners that you can count on him each season. With Dan Uggla adding a much-needed power threat in the Braves’ lineup, look for McCann to have another productive season.

2010 stats: 63 R, 21 HR, 77 RBI, 5 SB, .269/.828

5. Carlos Santana, CLE (24)
He did not disappoint in his much-anticipated debut. After being called up in June, Santana was on a stout pace in his first 35 games (.292/1.009 with 6 HRs and 19 RBIs) before struggling in his final 11 contests. His season was ended prematurely by knee surgery in August after a collision at home plate with the Red Sox's Ryan Kalish. He should be plenty healthy for 2011, where he should continue to be an on-base machine (.401). Not many players are slotted in the three spot in the batting order like Santana was in his MLB debut.

2010 stats: 23 R, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 3 SB, .260/.868

6. Geovany Soto, CHC (28)
He rebounded fairly well last season after a disappointing 2009 campaign. His concentration on offseason conditioning paid off as Soto increased his numbers despite having fewer at-bats than the previous season. His totals would have been even better if not for missing some games late in the season before arthroscopic right shoulder surgery in September. Soto’s most encouraging stat was his excellent on-base percentage (.393), and he also crushed left-handed pitching (.367/1.072) in 2010. All signs point to him being healthy for spring training.

2010 stats: 47 R, 17 HR, 53 RBI, 0 SB, .280/.890

7. Kurt Suzuki, OAK (27)
His combined average for 2008-09 was .276, but the A’s backstop saw his numbers fall across the board in 2010. Even though he plays in a tough park for hitters, Suzuki hit 43 points better in Oakland than on the road. He should be heading into his prime, but a disturbing August (.185/.492 with zero homers) led to a major decline after the All-Star break. The durable Hawaiian (averaged 142 games played over the last three seasons) can help your totals in roto leagues, but there is cause for concern with his dreadful 2010 OPS and with batting in an uninspiring lineup.

2010 stats: 55 R, 13 HR, 71 RBI, 3 SB, .242/.669

8. Matt Wieters, BAL (24)
The much-ballyhooed prospect went through a sophomore slump in 2010. Expectations were high after Wieters hit .288/.753 as a rookie in 2009, but he struggled to find his stroke for almost all of last year. One problem was that the switch-hitter only had a .210 average and two home runs against left-handed pitching. His minor-league track record (.343/1.014 and 32 home runs in 578 at-bats) provides hope, but much improvement will be expected from Wieters in his third season with the Orioles.

2010 stats: 37 R, 11 HR, 55 RBI, 0 SB, .249/.695

9. Jorge Posada, NYY (39)
He will be transitioning more and more to the DH role with Russell Martin coming to the Big Apple. Posada had fairly big drop-off in average last year (.285 in 2009), which meant a decline in runs, doubles, homers and RBIs. One major issue, besides age, is that he is very dependent on playing in Yankee Stadium (.288/.922 at home versus .205/.694 on the road). Even with the decrease in production, Posada is still a good source of power at the catching position.

2010 stats: 49 R, 18 HR, 57 RBI, 3 SB, .248/.811

10. Miguel Montero, ARI (27)
There was a ton of optimism in the desert after his breakout 2009 campaign (.294/.832 with 16 HRs). Montero started last season with three straight two-hit games before being injured on the basepaths in his fourth game. He would miss two months following surgery on the torn meniscus in his right knee. Montero came back strong in June, but then faded down the stretch (.231 in second half). With an offseason to get fully healthy, he should be a good late value.

2010 stats: 36 R, 9 HR, 43 RBI, 0 SB, .266/.770

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Athlon scours the web to compile its first consensus fantasy MLB rankings for 2011. Today, we look at the backstops.

11. Yadier Molina, STL (28)
In 2008-09, he hit a combined .298 with a .745 OPS. Those numbers declined last year, but he did hit .315 after the All-Star break.

2010 stats: 34 R, 6 HR, 62 RBI, 8 SB, .262/.671

12. Mike Napoli, TOR (29)
Was a fantasy boon last year with 51 extra-base hits. Has hit 20+ home runs for three straight seasons. Move to Rogers Centre should help add value to his power numbers.

2010 stats: 60 R, 26 HR, 68 RBI, 4 SB, .238/.784

13. Carlos Ruiz, PHI (32)
Not much power, but he was an on-base machine (.400) last year. May be tough for the .260 career hitter to repeat a .302 average.

2010 stats: 43 R, 8 HR, 53 RBI, 0 SB, .302/.847

14. Chris Iannetta, COL (27)
Optimism of 2008 (18 HRs/65 RBIs) and ’09 (16 HRs/52 RBIs) disappeared in 2010. New hitting coach Carney Lansford may help.

2010 stats: 20 R, 9 HR, 27 RBI, 1 SB, .197/.701

15. Miguel Olivo, SEA (32)
Has hit double-digit homers in five straight seasons, but now will play in MLB’s second-toughest park for long balls.

2010 stats: 55 R, 14 HR, 58 RBI, 7 SB, .269/.765

16. John Jaso, TB (27)
Had a solid rookie year. Strong on-base percentage (.372) from drawing 59 walks against 39 strikeouts.

2010 stats: 57 R, 5 HR, 44 RBI, 4 SB, .263/.750

17. Russell Martin, LAD (28)
Former fantasy star has a .249 average and 12 homers over the last two seasons. Can he revive his bat in the Bronx?

2010 stats: 45 R, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 6 SB, .248/.679

18. John Buck, FLA (30)
2010 All-Star had career-highs in homer-friendly Toronto; now headed to pitcher-friendly South Beach.

2010 stats: 53 R, 20 HR, 66 RBI, 0 SB, .281/.802

19. J.P. Arencibia, TOR (25)
Hit 32 HRs in Triple-A last year and then played 11 MLB games. Went 1-for-30 after his 4-for-5, 2 HR debut.

2010 stats: 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 0 SB, .143/.532

20. A.J. Pierzynski, CWS (34)
His numbers trended downward in ’10, but he did hit .364 over his last 36 games.

2010 stats: 43 R, 9 HR, 56 RBI, 3 SB, .270/.688


**Rookies to monitor: Jesus Montero, NYY