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Oakland's Catcher Platoon: 2015 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Sleepers


 

Stephen Vogt and Josh Phegley Both Figure to be Sleepers in 2015

The magical world of Billy Beane and platooning every position on the diamond does not seem to be fading anytime soon. One of the more interesting platoons last year was the catcher platoon of Derek Norris, John Jaso, and Stephen Vogt.

The losses of Norris and Jaso to the San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays, respectively, opens the A’s catcher platoon up for the newly acquired Josh Phegley to step in and for Stephen Vogt to increase his role.

 

Josh Phegley

In 467 PA for the White Sox's AAA affiliate Charlotte Knights last year, Josh Phegley displayed impressive power to the tune of 23 HR and a .255 ISO. If he can carry that power over to the A’s, Phegley could be a surprising contributor to fantasy rosters this year.

Phegley is still raw, judging by his .10 BB/K ratio and .207 AVG in the majors (but with only 251 ABs). Growing pains are certainly going to be a common theme in 2015 but his biggest asset is, again, that magical platoon.

Phegley will get his fair share of ABs behind Vogt if Billy Beane and Bob Melvin can find good matchups for him. Stephen Vogt was in the same situation at the start of last season. The exception for Phegley this year is that he only has one other catcher competing for ABs.

In most non-two catcher leagues, Phegley will not be drafted this year. Make him an early season add to your watch list once the season gets started. Phegley has the potential to raise his value throughout the season and provide solid roster production.

 

Stephen Vogt

Vogt had a modest fantasy year in 2014, with only nine HR, 35 RBI, .279 AVG and ending 24th in ESPN’s final position rankings. However, as of today, there are only two catchers on the A’s 40-man roster. With those notable absences, expect Vogt to see a healthy increase in PA from the 287 he had last year.

A good sign that Vogt is poised for a banner year is his three-year increase in walk to strikeout ratio (BB/K) when he spent time in the minor leagues from 2012-2014. Now, this was during his minor league stints, but it's a positive sign that Vogt is getting a good feel for the strike zone. During that same three-year span in the minors, his AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS have all increased year over year.

Unfortunately, Vogt has never proven to be a power hitter or have much speed. Having said that, since Vogt is the left-handed hitter out of the two, he will most likely have the most plate appearances against right handed pitchers. He will face more favorable pitching matchups than the typical catcher would, and you can expect him to finish anywhere from 25-15 in the catcher rankings which will make him rosterable in very deep leagues.

Vogt may be a guy who will get drafted as a backup catcher on a fantasy team this year and turn into the guy who needs to be starting.

 

In Summary

If there's any GM in the league you can count on to spot talent in places that leave others scratching their heads, Billy Beane is the guy. With Vogt and Phegley seeing increased opportunities in 2015, either half of Oakland's catching platoon could be worth a very late draft pick or at least adding to your waiver wire watch list during the upcoming fantasy baseball season.