2015 Outlook: Pierzynski, who was awarded the Silver Slugger in 2012, has seen a steep decline in his performance the past two seasons. His OPS fell by more than 100 points in 2013, and he limped to a .254/.286/.348 batting line in 72 games with Boston to begin the 2014 campaign, leading to his release in July. The Cardinals brought Pierzynski aboard after Yadier Molina went down with a thumb injury, but he eventually slipped into a timeshare with Tony Cruz and was relegated to bench duty upon Molina's return. Between the two stops, Pierzynski hit five homers, his lowest total since 2000, and posted a career-worst .625 OPS. Granted, his 5.4 percent HR/FB rate was the lowest mark of his career, and his .283 BABIP was below his career norm (.297), but his skills are clearly deteriorating as he enters his age-38 season. After signing with Atlanta in the offseason, Pierzynski appears in line to serve as the top backup to Christian Bethancourt to start the season, though he could take on a greater share of the time if Bethancourt's bat lags significantly behind his glove.
2015 Outlook: Ellis has supplied the Dodgers two key things: on-base percentage and comfort for Clayton Kershaw. The 33-year-old managed to post a .323 OBP in 2014 despite failing to break the Mendoza line and could continue to see his abilities age away, making him a very risky player to keep around on offense. Ellis is no longer the starter in Los Angeles, giving up the starting spot to the newly acquired and much younger Yasmani Grandal. However, as long he remains Kershaw's favorite catcher, Ellis likely will continue to have a job with the Dodgers. He carries very little fantasy value in non-OBP leagues, considering he has been demoted to the backup position, might fail to surpass the Mendoza line again in 2015, and never had great power to begin with.
2015 Outlook: Gosewisch spent the 2014 season as the backup behind Miguel Montero, appearing in 41 games with 132 plate appearances. He finished the season with a .225/.242/.310 batting line with just one home run and seven RBIs. While his strikeout rate (18.2 percent) was nearly par for the course, Gosewisch's 0.13 BB/K rate was poor. However, given his small sample size, it's tough to know how consistent playing time could change his numbers. With Montero dealt to the Cubs in the offseason, more time behind the plate has opened up for the 31-year-old catcher in 2015, and his numbers in a larger sample size will be revealed. Gosewisch and the 21-year-old Oscar Hernandez are the only two catchers on the roster, with Hernandez having not played above high-A coming into the season. If the Diamondbacks head into the regular season with just the duo on the roster, Gosewisch could become an option in NL-only and two-catcher leagues due to the volume of work he figures to see behind the plate. He doesn't figure to post eye-popping power numbers, however, with just one home run over 174 career at-bats in the majors.
2015 Outlook: McKenry entered 2014 as the Rockies' third catcher behind Wilin Rosario and Jordan Pacheco, but overtook Pacheco for backup duties by June. He wound up seeing even more playing time than expected after Rosario dealt with injuries and an illness, and took advantage of the opportunity to the tune of a .315/.398/.512 batting line with eight home runs and 22 RBIs in 192 plate appearances. McKenry's biggest deficiency comes in the form of his arm, as he threw out just 19 percent of would-be base stealers last season. However, Rosario was even worse in that category last year, and McKenry's performance at the plate afforded him extra playing time even with Rosario healthy. Moving into 2015, McKenry's role will likely be minimized following the addition of Nick Hundley in the offseason. Hundley gives the Rockies a better defensive presence behind the plate, while Rosario remains the favorite for the top catching duties, leaving the 29-year-old McKenry likely as the odd man out.
2015 Outlook: Pena found some extra playing time thanks to the Joey Votto injury (53 games at first base; four in his first nine seasons), but he didn't really do much with it. In fact, all three of his triple-slash figures took significant dips and he added just one home run and four RBIs from 2013 despite a 129-PA boost. The C next to his name is where he draws any of his value, but even at his best it is still limited to obscenely-large mixed leagues or NL-only leagues with two catchers. Playing him at 1B/CI should never be done. Sometimes older catchers experience a late-career power spike, but we haven't seen that from Pena with three sub-.400 SLG totals in his thirties so far. With injuries in two of his last three seasons, Votto isn't guaranteed to stay healthy, but the majority of Pena's playing time will come as a backup to Devin Mesoraco.
2015 Outlook: Susac spent his rookie year backing up Buster Posey for the World Series champs and will likely continue to do so again in 2015. Hector Sanchez's concussion caused Susac to move onto the major league roster, but Susac will have to face off with Sanchez in spring training for the backup role. The 24-year-old should have the advantage, considering he hit a strong .273/.326/.466 in a limited sample last season and is a real prospect for the future in San Francisco. If Susac can put up the rate numbers he registered last season -- or at least somewhere close to them -- he will be a strong backup and a decent contingency plan if Posey goes down with an injury or has to change positions.
2015 Outlook: Ross backed up A.J. Pierzynski behind the plate for the Red Sox at the beginning of 2014, and later worked behind rookie Christian Vazquez during the final few months of the year. The veteran backstop missed the first half of August due to a foot injury and finished the season with a rough .184/.260/.368 batting line, but he did manage to knock seven balls over the fence. The 37-year-old Ross signed a two-year deal with the Cubs in the offseason, but the recent addition of Miguel Montero -- not to mention the presence of Welington Castillo on the roster -- severely limits his value in 2015. He will likely require a much more efficient season at the plate to see any consistent playing time, but he served as Jon Lester's personal catcher with the Red Sox and could do so again with Lester joining him in Chicago.
2015 Outlook: Doumit is still looking for a home for the 2015 season, and as his age continues to climb and his production continues to decrease, he may have to keep waiting a little longer. The 33-year-old put up the worst offensive season of his career in nearly every statistical category in 2014 and appeared in by far his fewest games behind the plate, catching just twice. Doumit should be able to find his way onto a major league roster, but there's a significant possibility that he'll see even fewer than the 157 at-bats he got a year ago, as he'll likely just pinch hit or be the occasional DH if he lands with an AL club. Combined with his declining defensive availability, this could be nearing the end of the line for Doumit.
2015 Outlook: Recker entered the 2014 season with hopes of nabbing the starting catcher job for the Mets, but ultimately lost out to Travis d'Arnaud. His numbers were pretty poor across the board, as he finished with a .201/.246/.374 batting line, with seven home runs and 27 RBIs in 189 plate appearances. He once again posted poor rates in strikeouts (33.9 percent), walks (5.3 percent) and contact rate (63 percent). He did perform better defensively than his counterpart (0.7 WAR versus d'Arnaud's -1.1), but his floundering offensive numbers made him less of an overall impact in the lineup, and much less in terms of fantasy. The 31-year-old heads into 2015 trailing d'Arnaud for the starting job, but neither player was overly impressive last season, meaning Recker could still have a slight chance of securing the top gig with a strong spring training performance. Regardless, he figures to see a fair amount of time behind the plate compared to other backups, and remains an injury away from seeing significant playing time, making him an option in some two-catcher and deep leagues.
2015 Outlook: Stewart missed part of April due to a torn meniscus, but came back and turned in a solid season backing up Russell Martin. In the course of 49 games, the backstop managed to post a career-best slash line of .294/.362/.331, but failed to hit a home run and collected just 10 RBIs. What's more concerning is his .367 BABIP, which led to the high numbers, indicating a decline is likely to occur in 2015. With Martin leaving for Toronto in the offseason, Stewart initially looked to be the favorite to take the starting catcher job for the Pirates, but the addition of Francisco Cervelli hinders expectations a bit. However, Cervelli figures to be on much less stable ground behind the plate than what Martin had in 2014, and Stewart's chances of receiving a chunk of playing time are much higher heading into 2015 given Cervelli's health issues during the course of his career.
2015 Outlook: Lobaton served as the Nationals' starter from Day 2 once Wilson Ramos went down with a hamate fracture, and he returned to his backup role when Ramos came back in May. The 30-year-old will continue backing up the injury-prone Ramos in 2015, supplying a weak bat and decent defensive abilities. Lobaton's OPS fell from .714 in 2013 to .591 in 2014, while also seeing his strikeout rate take a big jump and his isolated power take a nosedive. With his peripherals not looking good, it's very possible his offensive slide will continue in 2015 and create a difficult question. The Nationals don't possess many alternatives to Lobaton if he becomes a real liability, with only career .189 hitter and minor league veteran Sandy Leon waiting in the wings.