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Catcher Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 11

As we approach mid-June, catching situations are becoming clearer and some players' numbers are starting to normalize with a larger sample size. We now have over two month's worth of games to better evaluate some early season cold streaks as well as some scorching-hot starts to the season.

If you're in the market for a catching upgrade this week or in the near future, we'll go through a few tiers of backstops who will fit your specific league format. Every season the waiver wire is full of potential league-winning gems and to be a successful fantasy player you need to be an active fantasy player. Some people may believe that catchers are next to worthless for your team, but if you find an unowned superior performer in your league, you'll wind up with a massive advantage over your opponents.

The catching position has the least amount of volume of any other spot on the diamond with the number of platoons utilized by teams, so understand that a part-time backstop can still be productive at the position. Whether you plan to stream this spot on your roster weekly or if you're looking to find a long term option, we'll go through a vast range of backstops who'll hopefully take you to the fantasy promise land.

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Top-Priority Adds

This tier is targeted towards single-catcher mixed leagues as they are likely to only be available in these formats. These backstops are also particularly serviceable and could return top-10 value in their respective lineups making it a mystery why they are unowned in the first place.

Robinson Chirinos (C, HOU) - 62% Owned

Robinson Chirinos made headlines last week homering in four consecutive games as he’s quietly putting up superb numbers in his first year in Houston. Slashing .240/.375/.506 with 10 big flies, 31 runs, and 29 RBI, the veteran may be in the midst of having his best offensive year to date. After crushing 17 homers in 2017, and 18 in ’18, he’s well over his pace to keep the tradition going for 19 in ’19. The improved home ballpark isn’t the only element factoring in for Chirinos’ tremendous campaign; his patience at the plate has him honed in on the baseball.

Chirinos has seen his 32.9% K-rate and 10.6% walk rate from 2018 drastically improve to 24.2% and 14.4% respectively this season. His BB% is the best mark among all major league backstops, and his .375 OBP ranks third among all catchers with 120 plate appearances. Chirinos has also found a way to hit right-handers slashing .250/.370/.552 off these arms in 2019 compared to .227/.320/.435 lifetime. Expect the 35-year-old to remain on this course throughout the season feasibly staying within the top-10 at the position.

Christian Vazquez (C, BOS) - 38% Owned

Enough can’t be said about Red Sox backstop Christian Vazquez and his offensive outburst this season. He’s already set a career-high in homers (7), while he remains on pace to set new bests in runs and RBI currently sitting at 22 in each category. He’s paired these laudable counting stats with a .276/.322/.459 slash line proving to be one of the top hitting catchers for average this season. Vazquez’ batted ball metrics also has him dialed in for power numbers, which really catches our eye in terms of fantasy. He’s set new highs in Hard Hit% (39.1%), Exit Velocity (88.8%), and Barrel% (4.3%) as he continues to square up the baseball at rates better than ever before.

Many people lose sight that Vazquez finished off his 2017 campaign with a .290 batting average in 99 games. His .207 mark last season automatically relegated him out of any fantasy relevance talk in the preseason, but 2018 is now looking like the outlier. His excellent 28.3% line drive rate and ability to hit the ball to all fields gives him the tools to sustain this level of success, making Vazquez a safe bat to ride the rest of the way.


Streamers/Players to Watch

The catchers in this group are either in waiver wire limbo as they are likely scooped up in two-catcher and league-specific formats or they are worth streaming for this week depending on your league size. They are not ideal single mixed league targets unless you have a deep bench to stash one of these backstops. These bats, however, have a shot at returning significant value if everything breaks right.

Austin Barnes (C, LAD) - 15% Owned

Austin Barnes is a player to watch now that he’s fresh off the IL after suffering a groin strain two weeks ago. He had a prompt recovery and is looking to add on a decent start to his 2019 campaign. Barnes has swatted an improvable .220/.331/.374 this season with four round-trippers, 17 runs, and 15 RBI while stealing a couple of bags for good measure. He had been receiving the majority of starts over teammate Russell Martin prior to his injury, and we should expect the same favorable 65/35 timeshare moving forward.

Barnes had just begun to catch fire at the dish before suffering his injury going 7-for-18 in his last five starts with four RBI. He hasn’t offered much in terms of power over his career knocking out a career-high eight in 2017, although he’s displayed a much improved Launch Angle of 14.3° this season compared to his 9.5° lifetime mark. So far his BABIP has lagged over .030 points lower than his career mark as well, so we should expect a bit of fortune coming his way shortly which will boost his average in parallel. Batting in one of the league’s top offenses should help keep his counting stats blossom, and he needs to be on the radar in two-catcher leagues.

Brian McCann (C, ATL) - 4% Owned

The top stream of the week likely available in your player pool is the veteran, Brian McCann. The Braves opened up a homestead on Monday and will face a full slate of right-handers this week who McCann has mashed against this year. He’s slashing .307/.365/.465 against these arms with three home runs making him a formidable play this week. SunTrust Park also ranks in the top-10 in both Run Factor (1.107) and Home Run Factor (1.261) perhaps hinting that McCann breaks out of a 13-game homeless drought soon.

McCann and Tyler Flowers continue to split time evenly at a 50/50 pace, although it’s been the former who has outplayed the latter. Hitting .274 on the season with 20 RBI, McCann hasn’t shown much age in his return to Atlanta. He’s walked almost as much as he’s struck out with a 9.6% walk rate and a 10.5% K-rate demonstrating that experienced veteran eye at the plate. McCann’s play won’t win him a Silver Slugger anymore, but his bat won’t hurt any fantasy lineup, and he’s a reliable high-floor option for those looking to stream a backstop in a two-catcher format.


Two-Catcher League Options

This tier meshes catchers that may still be available in two-catcher leagues, as well as league specific setups. They may carry some single-catcher mixed league value at some point, but for now, they can stay on your watchlist. They aren’t necessarily going to win you a category, but they won’t hurt your overall production either.

Roberto Perez (C,CLE) - 6% Owned

Despite losing Yan Gomes and his offensive prowess in the offseason, the Cleveland Indians have enjoyed the benefit of Roberto Perez taking everyday at-bats in their batting order. The veteran has impressed, specifically in the power department, clobbering 11 home runs with 25 RBI and 17 runs scored in 46 games with the Tribe this season. Perez’ .232/.337/.493 slash line is nothing too eye-popping, but for his position, it’s above average.

Perez is a .208 hitter for his career so seeing a significant improvement in this category may be a bit of a stretch for the duration of the season, but it appears like his power is no fluke. He’s upped his fly-ball rate over 7% from his career pace to 27.6% this season, well above the major league average (21.8%). Perez has paired this batted ball profile with a remarkable 17.3% Barrel%, lightyears above his 8.5% lifetime clip and good enough for a mark in the top 4% in the majors. This number seems destined for regression, but it may not free fall all the way back to his previous levels if he stays locked in at the dish. Perez has earned his way into fantasy relevance and makes a surprise starter in two-catcher leagues.

Pedro Severino (C, BAL) - 3% Owned

Shooting up the catching rankings last week was Orioles backstop, Pedro Severino. A three-homer outburst helped the 25-year-old get the attention of many who follow the game nation-wide, but his success at the plate predates this one-game sample. Over his past 18 games, Severino has hit .321 with an even 12.7% K% and 12.7% BB%, and if we shrink the sample down to the past 13 games, he’s batting a scorching .359. Often ignored because of the team he plays for, his eight homers, 12 runs, and 18 RBI on the year play well in two-catcher leagues with his .277 batting average separating him from the rest of the player pool on the waiver wire.

The O’s play all of their games at the hitter-friendly Camden Yards this week and are slated to face a pair of lefties. Severino is crushing southpaws to a .364 average with five dingers making him, at a minimum, a formidable one-week pickup. Depending on your league size, he’s worth hanging onto a bit longer to see where his hot streak lands. Severino could pay dividends in the average category while piling up a sizeable home run total in his first year in Baltimore.

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