2014 Outlook: After an encouraging 2013 season in a part-time capacity, Gomes graduates to supposed full-time duty behind the plate this year, now that Carlos Santana is ticketed for regular play at first base or DH. Like Santana, Gomes has considerable pop --his isolated power was .188 last season after .197 during his minor league career -- and additional at-bats will therefore only help him further fill the home run, RBI and runs scored departments. He'll be valued a No. 2 catcher in mixed leagues and is a worthy pick as that. However, he's an especially attractive bargain candidate in AL-only leagues that use two backstops.
2014 Outlook: To no one's surprise, Martin's homer total waned after he left Yankee Stadium for PNC Park, but he still hit a moderate total to go along with a handful of steals. He seems older but since he's still just 31, Martin should be able to keep hitting midteens homers with a low average for a few more years. Mixed leaguers needing just one receiver can look elsewhere, though.
2014 Outlook: As expected, Saltalamacchia's 2012 bloated 20 percent home run-per-fly ball rate regressed to 13 percent, right around his career average. What wasn't expected was a 100-point jump in batting average on balls in play, resulting in a career-best .273 batting average. Complicating matters is Saltalamacchia is not only switching leagues, he's moving to a venue that simply obliterates power, or at least that's the way Marlins Park has played in its short two years of existence. Writing off 2013's batting average as a hit-rate fluke, Saltalamacchia fans excessively, resulting in a detrimental average, but he does provide moderate pop. In one-catcher formats, there isn't a reason to even consider him, as he has no upside. In deeper formats, he's useful, assuming you can absorb the batting average sink.
2014 Outlook: Ruiz missed the first 25 games of the 2013 season after testing positive for Adderall. After returning, he never really got in a groove as evidenced by an average lower than any since 2009 and a home run total less than any since 2008. Despite last season's woes, Ruiz's strength is still making contact; he was just victimized by a low hit rate. Middle-range catchers run pretty deep, so Ruiz is waiver fodder in mixed leagues. Deeper leagues should be able to get Ruiz at a discount, in which case he could provide a decent return on your investment since a bounce-back season is likely.
2014 Outlook: Injuries to their other backstops forced the Chicago Cubs to summon Navarro last summer, and as a fill-in he enjoyed the best campaign of his 10-year career, including a ridiculously good .361/.451/.672 stat line as a right-handed batter. He parlayed that into a starting gig with the Toronto Blue Jays, where he'll join a deeper lineup to boost his runs/RBIs and enjoy one of the more favorable hitting environments in baseball. Navarro is a good enough defender to remain consistently in the lineup, and he makes enough contact to be a worthy No. 2 option in deep mixed or AL-only formats.
2014 Outlook: One of the top catching prospects in baseball, d'Arnaud was a .286/.347/.476 hitter who averaged 22 home runs per 162 games played in his minor league career. Injuries, however, threatened to derail his ascent to the majors, as he averaged just 84 games played from 2008-13 due to lengthy absences due to thumb (2011), knee (2012) and foot (2013) issues. D'Arnaud made it nevertheless, but his gaudy historical prospect ranks, while valid in dynasty/keeper league scouting, might do him a 2014 draft-day disservice. He's more polished with the glove than the bat at this stage, as his 2013 big league numbers show, meaning he's more of an NL-only No. 2 catcher than something more. In time, he should be a standout ... but how much time?
2014 Outlook: As a high-walk, high-strikeout and modest-power catcher, Avila is a player who has a bit more appeal in on-base percentage-oriented leagues than traditional rotisserie leagues, though even in the latter he makes a compelling case for No. 2 status. A forearm injury and a concussion limited him in 2013, but it's worth remembering that he has a 12.7 percent walk rate, .350 on-base percentage and .166 isolated power mark in his five-year MLB career. Plus, as a member of the Detroit Tigers, Avila's runs and RBIs enjoy a boost, making him a borderline No. 1 backstop in AL-only leagues.
2014 Outlook: Jaso might be a niche fantasy player, but if your league rewards his strengths, he's a sneaky little late-rounder. He's a noted walker -- he has a 15.4 percent rate and .391 on-base percentage the past two seasons combined -- and he's catcher-eligible, a viable No. 2 option in AL-only or points-based format. The Oakland Athletics also pick Jaso's spots well, starting him almost exclusively against right-handers, meaning he's more useful in leagues that afford daily transactions. He might no longer be prominent in the team's catching plans, but he still qualifies there and should accrue a fair share of time at DH in 2014.
2014 Outlook: Ellis' strength can be encapsulated in one word: Walks. He has never made a single stop of 10 games or more at any professional level in any year in which he failed to walk in at least 10 percent of his plate appearances. Unfortunately, Ellis' 2013 numbers mask this, as his .269 BABIP deflated his batting average/on-base percentage where he appeared to be a liability. He's a starting catcher with a hint of pop and more stability in those ratio departments than you realize; this is a sneaky No. 2 option even in shallow mixed leagues, and a clear No. 2 in a league heavy on walks/on-base ability.
2014 Outlook: Until J.P. Arencibia came along, Soto appeared ticketed for regular duty behind the plate for the Texas Rangers in 2014, and considering Arencibia's poor 2013 numbers, it isn't unthinkable that Soto will emerge in that role regardless. Although no longer the power source he was during his rookie year of 2008, Soto does have good pop, and his ability to mash left-handed pitching makes him a specialty fantasy player; he's a lifetime .286/.379/.489 hitter against that side. He's a viable No. 2 option in AL-only leagues, perhaps more if he emerges with the bulk of the at-bats. Stephania Bell: Soto, who had already missed time this spring as he recovered from a small surgery on his left foot, tore the lateral meniscus in his opposite knee and underwent arthroscopic surgery on March 26. The Rangers have indicated he is expected to miss approximately three months. Soto should recover fully but the demands the position places on the knees could extend the down time here (Royals catcher Salvador Perez missed three months in 2012 for a similar injury).
2014 Outlook: After two seasons of reaping the benefits of the American League and its designated-hitter rule, Doumit returns to the National League, where he'll be forced to fight for at-bats between catcher and the corner outfield spots with the Atlanta Braves. It's a puzzling arrangement; he'll pair with Evan Gattis, a fellow all-bat, no-glove catcher, but both have defensively minded Gerald Laird around to thieve at-bats. Doumit's fantasy appeal is less in Atlanta than it was in Minnesota, primarily because of diminished playing time; think of him as more the Pittsburgh Pirates model of 2007-11 -- injury risk and all -- than the one we saw the past two seasons.
2014 Outlook: Pinto burst onto both the major league and prospect scene in 2013, as he slashed .309/.400/.482 between Double- and Triple-A while flashing improved enough defense that he was no longer a liability behind the dish, and in a 21-game stint for the Minnesota Twins he batted .342 with four home runs to convince the team to shift Joe Mauer to another position permanently. Still, the Twins brought in veteran tutelage in Kurt Suzuki, affording them the luxury of returning Pinto to the minors, or making him a little-used backup. Pinto would need a strong spring to capture half or more of the gig, but if he does, he's an intriguing AL-only or deep-mixed No. 2 catcher with upside.
2014 Outlook: More defensive- than offensive-minded catcher, Castillo nevertheless showed some promise during the second half of 2013, his first year as a full-time big-league catcher. He batted .288/.388/.475 with six home runs in 44 games after the All-Star break, chasing 6 percent fewer pitches outside the strike zone and hitting 7 percent more fly balls; that gave hope he could, in Chicago, match his .267/.343/.488 rates and 19 home runs per 100 games played at the Triple-A level. He's more of an NL-only than mixed-league asset, but with a hot start to 2014, he could be a handy No. 2 option in the latter, with a tick more value in on-base percentage leagues.
2014 Outlook: Norris couldn't look more the part of specialty player: He's a .280/.361/.496 hitter against left-handers in his two big league seasons, .173/.271/.270 against right-handers. The Oakland Athletics, a team notorious for using platoons, will lock Norris into a similar role in 2014, picking his spots smartly and maximizing his value in AL-only leagues. Daily-league owners will squeeze the most value out of this up-and-coming backstop, but it's not entirely unthinkable he could improve enough against righties to be an in-season pickup in mixed leagues that start two catchers.
2014 Outlook: Before declaring Zunino's rookie season an out-and-out bust, consider a mulligan: He suffered a broken bone in his left hand in late July and batted .176/.256/.311 in 23 games thereafter. Granted, he struggled before the injury, too, but as catchers typically take time to fully adapt to the bigs, Zunino warrants at least your second chance. He was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft, Keith Law's No. 2 catching and No. 15 overall prospect entering 2013 and was a .286/.365/.571 hitter with 24 home runs in 96 career minor league games. Always more an offensive than defensive prospect, Zunino is ticketed to start for the Seattle Mariners, and, while veteran John Buck lurks to steal at-bats, he'll get a large enough opportunity to warrant No. 2 catcher status in most leagues.