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Week 14 Waiver Wire - Catcher

The 2018 Fantasy Baseball season has not been kind to catchers. The highest ranked catcher is J.T. Realmuto. Players like Wilson Ramos and Evan Gattis rank higher than Buster Posey, while fantasy darlings such as Gary Sanchez and Willson Contreras rank ninth and 11th among catchers respectably.

Due to the amount of uncertainty at the position, the waiver wire could be your best friend when it comes to catchers. It may be more valuable to add the hot-hitting catcher du jour, rather than trading a reliable starter for Realmuto or Posey. If you're able to spot the trends and see which "no name" guys are performing, you can land yourself a top season-long catcher.

The seven catchers listed below are all owned in less than 50% of fantasy leagues. Some provide value in just Week 14 whereas some could be valuable for the entire season. If you're struggling at the catcher position, adding one of these players would be the quickest way to finding success at the position in your league.

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Tier One

This catcher remains below 50% owned, yet has found his way into a meaningful starting role. If you're looking for help at the backstop position, this players is your best bet as he should get a majority of his team's starts and has been performing at a rosterable level.

Yan Gomes (C, CLE) 36% owned

Cleveland Indians' catcher Yan Gomes has always been an interesting case in fantasy baseball circles. In seasons in which he has appeared in at least 95 games, Gomes has at least 12 home runs and 45 RBI. Gomes has double-digit home runs in four of the last five seasons and plays in one of the most potent offenses in the MLB. However, he has never truly been considered a top-tier catcher. After a slow start to the season, it appears as if Gomes has found his stride and has begun to turn his season around.

Over his 54 games in 2018, Gomes has hit .253 with nine home runs and 24 RBI. His nine home runs is tied for ninth in the MLB among catchers and is only five off of his 14 total from last season. Over his last ten games, Gomes has hit .314 with three home runs, eight RBI and five runs scored.

Gomes usually bats seventh behind players such as Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley, Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion. As he earns more and more playing time, he'll have ample opportunity to both score and produce runs for a team that currently ranks fourth in the MLB with 384 runs scored.

For Week 14, Gomes has matchups with two solid pitching staffs in the Cardinals and Athletics. Currently St. Louis ranks 10th in the MLB in team ERA while Oakland ranks 17th. However, if you're adding Gomes it is more likely that he is your season-long catcher rather than a streamer.

Yan Gomes plays in one of the best offenses in the MLB. He has been on a tear in the month of June and is already more than halfway there to duplicating his stats from all of last year. If you're in a bind at catcher, it may be time to pick up Gomes. If he keeps up this pace, and there are no signs that he is going to slow down, he won't be available in over 60% of leagues for much longer.


Tier Two

Both catchers listed have excelled recently, but have not gotten enough regular playing time to be considered "Tier One" options. However, both have an opportunity to earn more playing time if their strong play continues. If you prefer to week-to-week stream at catcher, or the tier one option isn't available in your league, these backstops are your best bet for high fantasy value in Week 14.

John Ryan Murphy (C, ARI) 8% owned

The Arizona Diamondbacks catcher position has been one of the more confusing ones in the MLB. All three of Alex Avila, Jeff Mathis and John Ryan Murphy have appeared in at least 28 games with Avila and Murphy appearing in at least 45. However, while no one catcher has run away with the job, Murphy has been the best of the bunch and should see more playing time going forward.

On the season, Murphy has hit .242 with nine home runs and 19 RBI. His nine home runs are tied with Gomes and two others for ninth best in the MLB among catchers. Six of those home runs have come since May 29th. With Murphy on a hot streak, and playing on the 14th highest scoring team in the MLB, there's a strong chance the backstop continues to produce at a high level.

Despite Murphy's strong play, he still isn't the everyday catcher. What makes him such a strong add?

In Week 14, Murphy faces the Marlins and Giants. Both teams have an ERA over four with San Francisco ranking 14th in team ERA and Miami ranking 27th. Both rank in the top 15 of walks allowed while also ranking in the bottom 10 teams of the league in strikeouts.

Murphy has been one of the best power-hitting catchers in the league this season and now gets to face two of the worst pitching staffs in the MLB. He should have an opportunity to shine and is arguably the best streaming catcher for next week.

Tom Murphy (C, COL) 9% owned

If John Ryan Murphy's playing time woes are a problem, then Rockies' catcher Tom Murphy's could be considered a disaster. Murphy, the Colorado version, has only appeared in nine games at the MLB level this season. However, he has looked solid in his small sample size and could be in line for more playing time.

In his nine games, Murphy has hit .306 with six RBI and four doubles. This comes after a strong stint in Triple-A where he hit .289 with 16 home runs and 45 RBI over 49 games.

Murphy's call up came on the heels of starting catcher Chris Iannetta's struggles. Iannetta is hitting an impressive .234 with five home runs and 18 RBI on the season, however, he is hitting just .167 over his last seven games and .214 over his last 14 with no other counting stats. Murphy offers much more offensive firepower and as the Rockies continue to struggle, he could earn more starts over Iannetta.

The Rockies as a whole are one of the best offensive teams in the league, currently sitting sixth in the MLB in runs scored. While they don't play any games in the daunted Coors Field in Week 14, Murphy should still have an opportunity to shine.

Murphy should have an opportunity to earn more playing time if his performance from Triple-A translates to the MLB. Any player in the Rockies lineup is worth rostering, and Murphy won't remain at just 9% owned for long.


Injury Reserve

While both of these players would normally have little fantasy value, they are now being sprung into starting roles due to injuries suffered by their starting catcher. They won't have value for long, as they'll shift back into backup roles once their starter has returned; however, for the upcoming week they are some of the most valuable pieces on the waiver wire and should be picked up in most leagues.

Elias Diaz (C, PIT) 3% owned

Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz has appeared in just 37 games during the 2018 season. He has been the clear backup to Francisco Cervelli, who has played in 55 games. Diaz' meager 1.5% ownership shows how scantly he has been used in fantasy baseball circuits this season. However, with Cervelli being placed on the seven-day disabled list with concussion symptoms, Diaz will have a clear path to playing time and could be a sneaky short-term addition.

In his 37 games, Diaz has hit .286 with five home runs and 15 RBI. Over his last ten games played, Diaz has hit .346 with one home run, two RBI and six runs scored. While his playing time hasn't been consistent, Diaz has made the most of his opportunities.

Diaz has mashed against left-handed pitchers during his 2018 campaign, hitting .433 with two of his five home runs. He'll have a prime opportunity in a matchup with Steven Matz in game two of the Pirates three games series against the Mets. Diaz overall won't see Noah Syndergaard or Jacob deGrom in the Pirates series against the Mets before facing the 35-44 Padres.

Elias Diaz will only be valuable when Francisco Cervelli is on the shelf. Assuming Cervelli's concussion symptoms don't linger he should be back when first eligible. However, Diaz has a prime opportunity to shine in Week 14 as he should get the majority of starts against two of the weaker teams in the National League.

Austin Romine (C, NYY) 19% owned

Much like Diaz, Yankees' backup catcher Austin Romine has been rarely used this season, only appearing in 28 games. However, New York is placing started Gary Sanchez on the disabled list with a groin injury. Romine will be a rosterable catcher in Week 14 and beyond as Sanchez is suspected to be out for 3-4 weeks.

For the season, Romine has hit .305 with four home runs and 20 RBI. While his sample size is much smaller, Romine's .370 on base percentage is comparable to that of Manny Machado and Francisco Lindor.

Romine also plays in an offense that is almost guaranteed to score runs. Currently, the Yankees rank third in the MLB with 388 runs scored and first in home runs with 124. Even though Romine will likely hit towards the bottom of the lineup, he'll have an opportunity to both score and drive in runs, making him a valuable backstop.

In Week 14, Romine does have two tough opponents in the Phillies and Red Sox. Both teams have team ERAs that rank in the top half of the league. However, Romine has a batting average over .300 against both righties and lefties this season, and could still find success in a potent Yankees lineup.

Romine will be the Yankees starter for as long as Sanchez remains out. He needs to be added in most leagues as a guy who will get opportunities in one of the best offenses in the league and is having his best statistical season of his career, albeit appearing in just 28 games.


Other Potential Options

Both options have a permanent starting role on their teams, making them viable starters. However, they haven't been as consistent as some and don't have as much potential as others. Both options won't win you any leagues, but you could do much worse at the catcher position.

Tucker Barnhart (C, CIN) 27% owned

Reds' catcher Tucker Barnhart has been good yet unspectacular in 2018. Currently, he is hitting .264 with five home runs and 25 RBI. He has yet to hit for double-digit home runs in his four-year MLB career despite appearing in at least 81 games the past three seasons.

While the power numbers may not be there, he does hit second in a lineup that features Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez and a slew of talented outfielders. The Reds currently sit 12th in the MLB with 346 runs, meaning Barnhart's spot atop the lineup should help him offensively.

For now, Barnhart is a decent catcher to own in 12-team leagues. He hasn't blown the doors off the 2018 campaign, but he has been solid for the month of June, hitting .273 with two home runs, 11 RBI and nine runs scored.

John Hicks (C/1B, DET) 44% owned

John Hicks was a hot waiver add when Miguel Cabrera went down with a season-ending injury. While the Tigers' catcher may not be as coveted as he was earlier in the season, he's still seeing regular playing time for Detroit, making him a potential option if you're struggling at backstop.

For the season, Hicks has hit .273 with six home runs and 23 RBI. While those numbers look impressive on paper, Hicks is currently in the midst of a 1-20 slump at the plate. He also plays on a Tigers' team that ranks 22nd in the MLB in runs scored.

Hicks isn't being removed from the starting lineup anytime soon, making him a usable catcher in most leagues. However, as his slump continues, it may be time to consider trying a different option.


Waiver Order

Of everyone listed in this article, this is the order of which they should be claimed. If one or more players are already owned in your league, then it'd be wise to claim the next best option.

1) Yan Gomes
2) Austin Romine
3) John Ryan Murphy
4) Tom Murphy
5) Elias Diaz
6) Tucker Barnhart
7) John Hicks


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