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Catcher Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 14


As we sit a week away from the All-Star Game 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.

James McCann (C, CHW) - 58% Owned

James McCann is continuing a strong debut season with the White Sox in 2019. With nine homers, 36 runs, 28 RBI and a surprising four-steal total, the 29-year old currently sits in the top-5 at the position. McCann's .319 batting average also leads all major league backstops, truly separating him from the rest of the pack in this category. He's hit exceptionally well over his last 12 games as well sporting a .333/.400/.689 slash line with five big flies and 13 RBI in this span.

McCann's offensive prowess this season has come as a surprise to most people in and out of the fantasy community. Coming into this year as a .240 career hitter, he was comfortably left off all draft lists with his best season coming in 2017 when he swatted 13 homers with 39 runs and 49 RBI in 105 games. Through 57 games this campaign, McCann is easily on pace to eclipse all of these totals as he continues to get his at-bats as the team's cleanup hitter. When the Sox decide to give him a break behind the dish, they insert him in the lineup as the designated hitter, something you don't often see with catchers. Look for McCann to keep his momentum going throughout the year as he's yet to show signs of slowing down.

Mitch Garver (C, MIN) - 54% Owned

With Mitch Garver's ownership taking a small hit recently, it's an appropriate time to remind us all how productive Mitch Garver has been this season. Through 41 games, Garver is sporting a .284/.369/.603 slash line with his SLG leading all catchers and his 152 wRC+ also setting the league-high benchmark. His 12 dingers, 32 RBI, and 30 runs have him sitting comfortably in the top-10 at the position despite having ~100 fewer plate appearances than most of his counterparts. With Willians Astudillo hitting the IL last week, that's one less mouth to feed for starts behind the plate as Jason Castro will split time evenly with Garver moving forward.

Relatively unknown to the majority of fantasy players at the beginning of the season, Garver has made a huge impact that few predicted to happen. The 28-year-old is lighting up Statcast with career-highs across the board in Barrel% (13.4%), Hard Hit% (47.4%), and Exit Velocity (91.1 MPH) with all of these metrics sitting within the top-5 among catchers. His minor league stats should have foreshadowed a bit of his breakout after posting a lifetime .298 average in his Triple-A career with 18 homers in 110 games, but a crowded depth chart overlooked his potential. Garver's bat is legit and is worth owning throughout the duration of the 2019 season.

 

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.

Francisco Mejia (C, SD) - 23% Owned

Virtually untouched on waivers last week, Francisco Mejia is flying underneath the radar after leaving a sour taste in owner's mouths through the first month and a half of the season. After an injury and a demotion following a .167 batting average to open the season, Mejia has made a triumphant return to the Padres going 8-for-26 in nine games with a pair of bombs and seven runs scored. The 23-year-old was finding limited at-bats pre-injury, getting sporadic starts on the wrong side of a 70/30 split with Austin Hedges up until his injury date on May 10. Since his call-up on June 18, it's been Mejia starting nearly 70% of the games as Hedges has done nothing but struggle offensively for the Friars this season.

Mejia is a former top prospect and for a good reason. The switch-hitter tailored a historic 50-game hit streak in 2016 and holds a lifetime .302 average in 128 Triple-A games, unprecedented for a catcher. He never hit more than 14 home runs in one minor league season, but most players don't find their power stroke until they reach the bigs. As long as Mejia maintains steady at-bats to keep developing his bat, he will remain a reliable contributor for the second half of the 2019 season. Mejia should be rostered in two-catcher leagues for his potential upside, and is worth monitoring in single-catcher mixed leagues as he could become a difference-maker down the stretch.

Chance Sisco (C, BAL) - 6% Owned

Since Chance Sisco's call-up on June 5, he's been a top-10 backstop hitting .267 with four round-trippers, 10, runs, and 14 RBI in 15 games played. He swatted homers in back-to-back games over the weekend and has an incredible nine RBI over his last four starts. With Pedro Severino hitting well in addition to Sisco, it remains a two-headed monster offensively for the Orioles. As a left-handed bat, Sisco is in a favorable spot to keep getting starts against right-handers who he's hit to a .280 average off of so far this season.

Sisco disappointed in 63 games with the O's in 2018, swatting just two homers while slashing a miserable .181/.288/.269 as he split time with the Triple-A affiliate squad. After clubbing a crisp .292 with 10 taters and 37 RBI through 45 games with Norfolk this year, Sisco hasn't skipped a beat since joining the major league club. His susceptibility to strike out limits his overall potential as he sports a 31.5% mark so far with the Orioles this season, but the ceiling remains high with the 24-year-old. Sisco should be on the radar in all league types, especially if he starts stealing more playing time from Severino.

 

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.

Travis D'Arnaud (C, TB) - 2% Owned

Travis D'Arnaud has shown some resurgence in the fantasy world since joining the Tampa Bay Rays at the beginning of May. He originally joined the team to fill in for Mike Zunino, who had been placed on the IL, but d'Arnaud has yet to totally relinquish starting duties with the club. D'Arnaud has hit five homers with 16 runs, 17 RBI, and a .235/.286/.431 slash line in 31 games for Tampa Bay, with the club even using him out of the leadoff spot on a handful of occasions. His numbers don't jump off the page at you, but he's still managing to outplay Zunino this year and is finally doing something he hasn't done much of his whole career, stay healthy.

Riddled by numerous injuries throughout his tenure with the Mets, the 30-year-old is enjoying a bounce-back season in the hitter-friendly AL East. The Rays have utilized d'Arnaud behind the plate as well as occasional starts at first base to keep his revived bat in the lineup regularly. He's proving some worth in two-catcher and AL-only formats showing some of that pop he had as an up-and-coming prospect. The club continues a homestand right up until the All-Star Break with a full slate of games this week against an underwhelming Orioles staff and a banged up Yankees rotation. D'Arnaud has also clubbed a pair of long balls over the last week making him a serviceable catcher to close out the first half.

Curt Casali (C, CIN) - 0% Owned

With Tucker Barnhart landing on the IL over the weekend, it's the Curt Casali show in Cincinnati as he looks to take over the number one job permanently. Casali has outplayed his teammate handily batting .254 with four big flies, 15 runs, and 20 RBI in 53 games compared to Barnhart's flimsy .191 average and 18 RBI. With the latter out for an extended absence with a worrisome oblique injury, it's reasonable that Casali could usurp Barnhart as the starter for the second half of the season.

Serving his entire career as a backup catcher, Casali has dipped into some untapped skills in his second season as a Red. He's set a career-high in walk rate (12.3%) while elevating the ball at a lifetime best 28.3% fly-ball rate. Playing in one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks has helped him already match his home run output from 2018, and he's finally shown the ability to hit right-handed pitching. Hitting a career .216 of righties, Casali has made significant strides against these hurlers clubbing .294 off them this season. With the few small adjustments he's made this year, Casali is showing some fantasy value in two-catcher and NL-only formats, and could produce some sneaky value in the second half in a favorable home stadium.

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