The offseason began in a very unexpected place on Wednesday, with reports of Buster Posey choosing to call it a career.
The timing is strange given that Posey enjoyed a resurgent season in 2021, and restored his previously high status in a weak position. In fact, his .889 PPP was the second highest grade in his career. True, he sat out every third game and faded somewhat in the second half, but I had already ranked him as my No. 6 catcher for 2022.
With seven All-Star appearances and three World Series rings, the former Rookie of the Year and MVP has a case for Cooperstown, but more important to our purposes is the heir to San Francisco, a former No. 2 overall pick with the power of potential to to match.
It’s just one of the offseason developments that is worth discussing in these earliest stages, with much more to come. Below is an overview of what has already happened. Be sure to check back during the low season for the latest news.
Buster Posey retires
Posey’s absence is a net loss for Fantasy Baseball, but it paves the way for one of the more well-known catcher prospects in the game, Joey Bart. The 24-year-old, who was drafted as number two overall in 2018, has spent some time in the majors the last two years, and has had minimal impact. Injuries have hampered his development among the minors, making him something of an all-or-nothing hit, and it is possible the Giants will choose to ease him in and bring in a veteran to bridge the gap. Still, the likelihood of Bart stepping into the role at some point in 2022 makes him worth aiming for as a top-15 catcher in Fantasy, the top 12 if the Giants start talking him up.
Tucker Barnhart switched to Tigers
At first glance, this feature has no serious Fantasy implications, but the role Barnhart leaves in the Cincinnati characters will be filled by Tyler Stephenson, a former first-round pick who delivered nearly .800 OPS as an offensive-minded half a tandem catch. Only five prisoners had higher PPPs, and one is now retired. Stephenson may not hit the ball hard enough to maintain that mark, but he is clearly in the mix as a top-12 catcher. Meanwhile, Barnhart’s arrival in Detroit reduces the slug of Eric Haase to backup status. He can also man the outfield, which will potentially give him enough bat to keep him relevant in two-catcher leagues, but that is only if he is not eaten alive by strikeouts. His margin of error is smaller now.
CJ Cron signs with the Rockies
It’s no secret why Cron emerged as a power contributor in 2021 after barely registering earlier. It was his first year in Colorado, hitting .326 with 19 homers and 1,073 OPS compared to .235 with nine homers and .734 OPS on the road. Now that we know he will be back with the Rockies, we can take the performance more or less to par and target him as a top-10 first baseman for 2022. There is no guarantee that he will be able to maintain this age of 32, but he will be in the one place that makes it possible.