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Catcher Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 17

As we enter the second half of the season 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.

Mitch Garver (C, MIN) - 55% Owned

Minnesota Twins backstop Mitch Garver continues to impress in his first year as a somewhat regular player. Slashing .304/.385/.674 with 19 homers, 42 runs, and 41 RBI, Garver is establishing himself as one of the league’s top offensive players at the position despite not receiving everyday reps.

Splitting time behind the dish with Jason Castro, Garver is making the most of his opportunities batting anywhere between fifth and first on a team that’s third in the majors in runs per game. Garver has also caught fire of late swatting five homers last week and holds a stellar .375 average in July. Expect the 28-year-old to keep producing the rest of the way in one of the league’s best lineups.

Travis D'Arnaud (C, TB) - 31%

After a three-homer outburst at the beginning of last week, and a grand slam on Sunday, Travis d’Arnaud’s ownership has skyrocketed nearly 30% since accomplishing these incredible feats. For good reason, as it was almost foreshadowed beforehand by continued production since joining the Rays at the beginning of May.

D’Arnaud sits comfortably in the top-10 at his position in wRC+ (119) since his first game with Tampa Bay on May 11. If we shrink this sample size down to his production since June 1, his 154 wRC+ ranks as the best mark among all major league catchers. Paired with a .303 average and an impressive 18.0% K-rate and 8.2% BB% in this span, it’s no fluke d’Arnaud had an outburst a week ago that finally grabbed the attention of fantasy managers. The 30-year-old is now looking like the hyped prospect more than he ever did as an injury-plagued catcher in the Mets organization.


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.

Brian McCann (C, ATL) - 8% Owned

Those fantasy managers looking to stream a catcher this week should look towards Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves. With a five-game slate ahead lined up against all right-handed starters, McCann is in a prime spot to produce as he’s pulverized these pitchers so far this season. In 189 plate appearances, the veteran has collected all nine of his homers against righties while slashing .293/.360/.500, one of the best marks among catchers.

McCann is having his best offensive season average-wise since 2009 and is showing no significant signs of age sporting a .357 batting average since the break. This is the best mark among backstops in this span, and although he’s not the 20-homer hitter anymore, he’s still contributing in the other roto categories. McCann is a solid option for this week and can undoubtedly remain an asset in NL-only and two-catcher leagues as the season wears on.


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.

Stephen Vogt (C, SF) - 1% Owned

San Francisco Giants catcher Stephen Vogt is having a surprisingly good offensive season so far since returning to the Bay Area. After back-to-back All-Star seasons with the Athletics in 2015 and 2016, Vogt fell off the baseball map at the beginning of the 2018 campaign after missing the entire season with a shoulder injury. After the Giants scooped him up at the start of May, he’s nearly outproduced his teammate and fan-favorite Buster Posey.

Swatting .262/.336/.508 with four homers, 18 runs, and 18 RBI in 143 plate appearances, Vogt’s slash line is superior to Posey’s, and he only sits one dinger shy despite having half as many PA’s. He’s splitting time behind the plate at a near 50/50 rate and batting cleanup in those games that he does receive the starting nod. The Giants have been one of the league’s hottest teams this month, and Vogt’s ownership deserves a little more respect in lieu of this.

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