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Catcher Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 12


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.

Omar Narvaez (C, SEA) - 65% Owned

Omar Narvaez' ownership has slowly dropped off over the last few weeks in the midst of his struggles at the plate. A recent 13-game stretch had him hitting just .182, but he snapped this skid with a three-hit effort on Friday and is 6-for-15 in his last four games. It's an opportune time to scoop up the 27-year-old in leagues where he was dropped as his pure-hitting ability separates him from most backstops in the league.

Narvaez is batting .284 on the season and is a .277 career hitter, the fifth-best mark among all catchers since his major league debut in 2016. HIs lifetime 17.5% K-rate and 11.8% walk rate are also both elite numbers for his position; his only conceivable qualm resides in his outlook for counting stats. On the year, Narvaez has posted 33 runs, 25 RBI, and a career-high 10 home runs already through 58 games for the Mariners. Despite having the fourth-most hits among catchers this season his stats haven't blossomed as much as they could have, but there's still plenty to like with his bat.

With the departures of Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion from the roster, Narvaez has moved up to the five-spot in the Mariners batting lineup. Supplanted in the meat of the order will supply him with more RBI opportunities the rest of the way, especially if he can keep up the long ball. With his fly ball rate up nearly 10% from his career mark to 32.5% this season, and his Hard Hit% sitting at a refreshing 30.8%, his 2019 pace looks to be sustainable. Narvaez is having a breakout year and deserves ownership in all formats.

Jorge Alfaro (C, MIA) - 40% Owned

Sitting just outside the top-10 at the position is Marlins backstop, Jorge Alfaro. His first year in Miami is going smoothly as he's slashing .264/.317/.430 with nine dingers, 21 runs, and 27 RBI. With not a lot of fantasy focus surrounding the Marlins this year, Alfaro's strong season has gone somewhat unnoticed.

Although he doesn't shine in one specific area, all of his roto stats place him within the top-15 in every category. His value takes a hit in on-base percentage and points leagues, however, in lieu of his susceptibility to strike out. Alfaro's 32.7% K% and 3.8% BB% this year are anything but desirable, but when he puts the ball in play, he makes it count. His 47.5% Hard Hit% is the third-best mark among catchers and his 91.2 MPH Exit Velocity ranks second.

Marlins Park grades dead last in HR Factor (0.637), so It makes you wonder what Alfaro's stats would look like if he played half of his games anywhere else. He's hit for a much better average at home (.313) versus on the road (.217), but only three of his big flies have left the yard in Miami. This troublesome park factor and lack of depth around his bat limits his ceiling, but he's proven to be a top contributor despite these odds stacked against him.

 

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.

Danny Jansen (C, TOR) - 20% Owned

Despite his struggles with the Blue Jays this year, we shouldn't forget about the potential that Danny Jansen possesses. It's undoubtedly been an ugly year statistically for the 24-year-old as he's slashing a miserable .175/.257/.250 with just two homers and 14 RBI. Highly regarded in the preseason as an above average hitter, Jansen has yet to find his groove in 2019 focusing more on his defense behind the plate rather than his offensive prowess in the batter's box.

Jansen held a .291 average in his Double-A career followed by a .285 mark in his Triple-A tenure, remarkable numbers for any catcher. This productivity had many experts hopeful for this season especially after he swatted a healthy .247 in 31 games with the Jays at the end of last year. Drafted as a top-10 catcher in numerous re-draft leagues this spring, the return on his investment has been a clear-cut loss, but there's still a glimmer of hope.

Jansen has turned a corner so far in June hitting .269 with a 16.7% K-rate and 13.3% walk rate. These plate discipline metrics are the most encouraging numbers as they sat at a worrisome 25.5% and 9.0% respectively through the end of May. His keen eye and ability to put the ball in play is what made his bat so admirable as a prospect to begin with, and this may be the beginning of something much greater now that he's settling in as an everyday catcher. Toronto is also slated to face five left-handers this week, pitchers that Jansen has handled well this year batting at a .261 clip against them. If we see his bat continue to roll this week, managers may want to think about scooping him up in two-catcher leagues before the rest of your league takes notice.

Chance Sisco (C, BAL) - 12% Owned

Chance Sisco has started to redeem some of the qualities that formerly had him pegged as a top catching prospect in baseball. After lighting it up in 44 games at Triple-A with 10 homers and a .289 batting average, he's kept it rolling at the major league level after his call-up to the Orioles on June 3. In his first seven games for the O's, Sisco bashed a pair of round-trippers with four runs and five RBI in a 6-for-22 tear proving he belongs on a big league roster.

With Pedro Severino hitting well, the club will rotate the two backstops evenly although it wouldn't be a surprise if the playing time starts to lean Sisco's way. The left-handed swinger was once thought of as the future at the position for Baltimore, but after slashing an abysmal .181/.288/.269 in 63 games with the big league club in 2018, those plans were put on hold.

With more experience and seasoning in the minors, Sisco has triumphantly resurfaced, and we as fantasy owners need to take notice. Playing half of his games in the hitter-friendly confines of Camden Yards gives his value a boost, and he has the double-digit pop to be a fantasy contributor the rest of the way. Sisco does need to cut back on his strikeouts if he wants to continue hitting for a high average, but the ceiling is still high for the 24-year-old.

 

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.

Brian McCann (C, ATL) - 5% Owned

Featured in this article one week ago as a potential streamer, Brian McCann has now solidified himself as a viable two-catcher league starting option. Going 8-for-16 in his last five games, the veteran has popped four home runs and nine RBI in this stretch upping his average to .303 on the season. Although McCann is in a virtual 50/50 timeshare with teammate Tyler Flowers, he's made the most of his 37 games with seven homers, 15 runs, and 29 RBI.

Preserving his body by playing every other game and generating nearly all of his at-bats against right-handers, this formula has been the remedy for McCann's fantasy resurgence. Exposed to southpaws in just 15 of his 122 at-bats, this concept has worked wonders for the aging catcher's batting average. He's batting .327 off righties this season, the second-best mark among backstops only behind his namesake James McCann (.331).

With the Braves using him exclusively in these matchups, McCann's average is sustainable in this neighborhood, and with that holding strong, his counting stats will assuredly follow suit. He serves as a useful second catcher who can help in all roto categories, and he can be a difference maker with his high batting average.

Carson Kelly (C, ARI) - 3% Owned

Carson Kelly has seized control of the starting duties behind the plate in Arizona with his play of late. He's hitting .333 over his last 15 games with four homers and 12 RBI living up to the potential that had him once touted as a top catching prospect. He's especially crushed southpaws to a .400/.478/.850 slash line, a perfect attribute for the heavy dose of left-handers that occupy the NL West.

After being stranded behind Yadier Molina in the Cardinals system, Kelly has flourished in his everyday role at the major league level seemingly improving the more the season wears on. Through the month of April, Kelly held a .196 average with an atrocious 24.5% K% and 1.9% walk rate. Since the start of May, he's nearly evened these numbers out to a 15.5% and 14.4% mark showing much more discipline and aiding his .317 average in this span.

At his low ownership, Kelly needs more love on waiver wires, especially in two-catcher formats. He holds a respectable .271 average and has swatted eight big flies with 16 runs and 24 RBI on the season with most of this production concentrated into a month and a half sample size. Batting in the NL's second-highest scoring offense further cements him as a fantasy asset, and we should expect his breakout campaign to continue through the end of 2019.

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers


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




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