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Austin Barnes (C/2B, LAD) - Waiver Wire Pickups Week 1

BALLER MOVE: Add in Two-Catcher Leagues

OWNED IN: 14% of Leagues

ANALYSISAfter all the hype leading into 2018 drafts, Austin Barnes was one of the main disappointments of the campaign. And yet, with news emerging that he was dealing with elbow issues most of the year, there is a real reason to doubt what the eye test said about his value. If Barnes can return to his 2017 slash of .289/.408/.468, then he will be a bargain for owners in one or two-catcher formats. The reasons to buy back in on Barnes are twofold.

The first is that he will be the starting catcher most of this year, with Russell Martin not being able to play 100 plus games, and also not posting the skills and production to force his way into the team. This means 350 or more plate appearances for Barnes, inside a team that looks to be able to mash with the best of them. Second, the walk rate was right in line with his 2017 numbers, and his swing rate jumped 12% to 47.5% last year. More specifically, the chase rate shot to 29.2% from a flat 20% in 2017. Add in that the swinging strike rate jumped to 10% from 5.8%, and there is a clear indicator that Barnes was unable to square pitches due to the elbow, and then started to press to try to produce. If Barnes can return to the overly patient hitter that he looked like in his debut, then this will be an excellent batting average source from the abyss that is the catcher position this year.

Check out RotoBaller's entire fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and sleepers list, updated daily!