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Catcher Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 13


As we near the season's halfway point you may have already found a dependable catcher that you roll with week-in and week-out, but as we know, backstops are the most volatile position in fantasy baseball. With that being said, we should always be aware of the landscape of the position just in case a few too many foul tips off the mask start adding up as the year wears on.

If you are not one of those fortunate souls who are privileged with a high-caliber catcher, 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.

Roberto Perez (C, CLE) - 19% Owned

Roberto Perez continues to thrive as the number one catcher for the Cleveland Indians in 2019. He's quietly went yard 13 times with 30 RBI, 23 runs, and a .236 average in 55 games for the Tribe in his first year as an everyday player this season. Perez is especially hot in the month of June slashing .306/.375/.714 with six big flies, making a case that he belongs on deep league single-catcher squads.

His power has come almost out of nowhere as he hit 13 homers over his last three season combined in nearly 200 games played, but we can't attribute Perez' 2019 stats to pure good fortune. The 30-year-old journeyman has made significant strides in barreling up the baseball and lifting the ball in the air perhaps hinting that his power tear is sustainable. His 15.0% Barrel% is in the top 7% of all major league batters and is second only to Gary Sanchez among catchers with 90 or more batted ball events. He's also sitting at a career-high 25.8% fly ball rate, much superior to his 19.7% career clip.

It was hard to believe that Perez would have any fantasy relevance at the beginning of the year as he was a lifetime .205 hitter coming into this season. His 2019 results are impressive and justifiable, and it appears he's only getting better as we get deeper into the season. Perez needs ownership in AL-only and two-catcher formats and should be on the radar in single-catcher leagues.

Francisco Mejia (C, SD) - 22% Owned

After failing miserably in a part-time role early this season, Francisco Mejia has found himself back on the fantasy radar. Hitting an abysmal .167 with no home runs and just three RBI in 58 plate appearances, the Padres placed their young backstop on the 10-day IL at the end of May with a knee injury putting an exclamation point on a woeful start. Following his recovery, the club kept him down in Triple-A where he flourished with everyday at-bats.

Mejia dominated at El Paso slashing .365/.411/.746 with four round-trippers and 12 RBI in 18 games. The 23-year-old has proved for years to be able to crush minor league pitching, and with his recent call-up last week, it's only a matter of time before he makes the right adjustments at the big league level. Mejia returned in grand fashion spanking a two-run homer in first game back with the Padres, and he has collected hits in all four of his games since his call-up. The Friars have put him behind the plate in all but one of their games since his return, this being a routine off-day contest on Sunday, as they look to get more out of their catching spot in their lineup.

Mejia is essentially still the same player that made him a top catching prospect and just needs a little more patience from his team and a bump in playing time to develop as a big leaguer. The ceiling is high for Mejia, and San Diego would be wise to keep his bat hot by giving him more starts behind the dish. He needs monitoring in all fantasy formats and is worthy of an add in two-catcher leagues on his potential alone wherever he's available.

 

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.

Willians Astudillo (C, MIN) - 7% Owned

With a plethora of options behind the plate and in the infield for the Twins, finding Willians Astudillo playing time has been the most challenging hurdle for his fantasy outlook. When Mitch Garver returned from the IL over two weeks ago, it was Astudillo who drew the short straw, and he was optioned to Triple-A. In nine games with Rochester, he did everything he could to show he didn't belong at this level hitting .526 with three homers and 11 RBI. With Marwin Gonzalez recently landing on the shelf, La Tortuga is getting another opportunity to keep a permanent spot on the roster.

Since his return last Wednesday, Astudillo has received starts at third base, second base, and at catcher in order to stay in the lineup. He made an impact early going 3-for-4 with a long ball against the Red Sox keeping his hot bat rolling from his Triple-A stint. Garver and Jason Castro will hold down the majority of starts behind the dish, so Astudillo needs to be defensively versatile although Garver hasn't played since Thursday with a heel injury.

For the year, the 27-year-old is batting .256 with three dingers, 18 runs, and 12 RBI, nothing stunning but even in a utility role he belongs on two-catcher squads. The ceiling is much higher for Astudillo in regards to his batting average after hitting .355 in 30 games with the Twins in 2018 and holding down a .315 career average at Triple-A. He can be a difference-maker with his ability to put the bat on the ball, but don't expect substantial production in the power department.

Tyler Flowers (C, ATL) - 2% Owned

The Atlanta Braves continue to get the most out of their platoon catching situation with Tyler Flowers hitting the cover off the ball of late. He's batting .314 in June, and just snapped a six-game hitting streak Monday going 9-for-21 in that span with a pair of long balls and seven walks building on a quietly productive season. His seven homers, 18 runs, and 15 RBI don't scream excellence, but his .264/.346/.471 slash line is commendable for his position.

The one thing that's plaguing Flowers this season is his 33.3% K-rate, but his 10.3% walk rate has helped offset this a bit making him more valuable in OBP leagues. He is in a virtual 50/50 split with Brian McCann as he gets the majority of starts against southpaws, but has surprising reverse splits hitting .171 off lefties versus .316 against righties. His career average against lefties is .244, so we should expect some positive regression in this area with his underlying metrics looking similar to his lifetime marks. With the Braves playing a full slate of games this week and Flowers' bat red-hot, he is at worst a stream option for this week, but should be on the radar in NL-only and two-catcher leagues as well.

 

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.

Kurt Suzuki (C, WSH) - 9% Owned

Kurt Suzuki continues to do Kurt Suzuki things in his first season as a member of the Washington Nationals. Through 42 games, the veteran is slashing .275/.320/.493 with eight big flies, 16 runs, and 33 RBI. While these numbers don't stand out in a vacuum, they are stats far from pedestrian, especially factoring in his year-to-year consistency.

If we look back at Suzuki's slash line from 2016-18 (.270/.327/.456), it looks eerily similar to his 2019 mark. He's averaging 97 games a year in this span with 13 bombs, 39 runs, and 50 RBI a season while never straying too far from these medians in any campaign.

If certainty is what you desire and don't want to have to worry about managing your second catcher position, Suzuki is the player for you. He continues to split time evenly with Yan Gomes although he is drastically outplaying his teammate and would be on the single-catcher radar if Gomes were ever to miss significant time. Suzuki isn't a sexy choice, but his results are certainly gratifying compared to most catchers on a per-game basis.

Pedro Severino (C, BAL) - 4% Owned

Since Chance Sisco's call-up, a fire has been lit underneath Pedro Severino convincing the team that he's the superior backstop in Baltimore. Sisco's presence should be noted, but with Severino showing no signs of slowing down, he'll continue to receive steady at-bats.

He snapped a six-game hitting streak Sunday but is on fire in June clubbing .302 this month with three taters and eight RBI in 15 games. The O's have rewarded Severino's play by using him at DH in a few games recently and moving him up into the meat of the order getting the bulk of his starts as the three or four-hole hitter in the batting order. As we know, these spots are a fantasy gold mine on any lineup even on a below average Orioles offense.

For the year, Severino is slashing .280/.353/.487 with eight homers, 17 runs, and 22 RBI in his first season as a regular player in the majors. The 25-year-old still has room to grow and isn't showing inexperience with a respectable 9.4% walk rate and 21.1% K%. He's lighting up Statcast as well with a 10.3% Barrel%, and a 36.2% Hard Hit%, both numbers well above the league average. The Orioles are slated to face a pair of left-handers this week, who Severino destroys to a .344 average, as they begin a homestand in their hitter-friendly confines of Camden Yards. It's a convenient time to add Severino as he continues to build on a breakout season.

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