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Catcher Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 21


As we near the end of August 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) - 55% Owned

James McCann continues to put up sterling numbers in his 2019 breakout season. He's now set new career-highs across the board with 14 dingers, 52 runs, 49 RBI and a .290 batting average in 94 games with the Pale Hose this season. McCann's average currently sits best in the bigs among all backstops with 300 PA while his .343 OBP and 117 wRC+ both sit in the top five, making him a no-brainer addition in all league types.

After a cold month of July where he hit a measly .173, a recent hot streak has helped boost McCann's numbers back into elite company. He's hitting .357 over his last five games with a pair of bombs and 11 RBI batting out of the cleanup spot in the White Sox lineup. The 29-year-old journeyman is also receiving starts as the designated hitter to keep his bat in the everyday lineup while giving his legs a breather behind the dish. McCann has been a surprise with the bat this season, but there's no reason to believe he won't keep contributing terrific numbers 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.

Robinson Chirinos (C, HOU) - 43% Owned

Robinson Chirinos' first year in Houston has been successful, although there's still room for improvement with a month and a half to go in the season. The Venezuelan is slashing .229/.340/.409 with 13 homers, 45 runs, and 44 RBI this year while sporting new personal bests in walk rate (11.6%) and line-drive rate (26.4%). His 38.0% Hard Hit% isn't sitting far off from his personal best 39.2% mark from a year ago either, suggesting his batting average may see some positive regression come his way before the season ends.

Chirinos is a lifetime .232 hitter so more growth in his average won't be that dramatic, but he's due for a hot streak. With a full slate of games this week all at home and three lefties scheduled to take the hill, the veteran is in an excellent spot to tee off. Chirinos is batting .281 off of these hurlers this season, and his home splits are also much superior with a .825 OPS at Minute Maid versus a .692 OPS everywhere else. Batting at the tail end of one of the league's most potent lineups also plays a factor for his overall production, giving him the perfect formula to go wild this week.

Welington Castillo (C, CHW) - 15% Owned

Yes, we already mentioned a White Sox catcher as a priority pickup, but there's room for two South Siders in this article. It's truly been a disappointing season for Welington Castillo in 2019. Serving a couple of stints on the IL this year has limited him to 54 games, but his production beforehand wasn't making him a dearly missed player. Castillo was batting on the interstates with a .196 average prior to the All-Star break before getting activated on July 17. He remains playing second fiddle to McCann as the number one catcher, but his bat has started to gain momentum when he does get in the lineup every other day as the DH.

In nine August games, Castillo has hit .314 with a pair of round-trippers and seven RBI, giving him some late-season fantasy value. At age-32, he's certainly no spring chicken, but he undoubtedly will help out teams in two-catcher formats. Also, if anything were to happen to McCann, Castillo would not only get more playing time, but he'd likely move up from the sixth spot to a better run-producing place in the order. He held a .270 batting average combined over his previous three seasons averaging 15.5 HR per 100 games played, so a healthy Castillo the rest of the way could turn out to be a difference-maker.

 

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) - 10% Owned

Kurt Suzuki is once again quietly putting up another productive season in his first year with the Nationals. Through 70 games played, the 35-year-old veteran is hitting .270 with 13 homers, 28 runs, and 47 RBI. Nothing too snazzy, but nothing to scoff at either. He continues to split time evenly with teammate Yan Gomes, but that hasn't hurt his overall production especially with a .343 batting average so far in August.

Consistency is an under-appreciated quality in a player and Suzuki is the definition of the word. His three-year averages (.270/13/39/50) looks eerily similar to his 2019 mark already, although he's currently outpacing these marks with six weeks left in the season. The former All-Star is your model second catcher in two-catcher formats and would be an asset in single mixed leagues if Gomes were to miss any significant time. Bank on Suzuki to keep doing his thing until the campaign wraps up.

Tom Murphy (C, SEA) - 1% Owned

Despite a prominent backup role, Tom Murphy has slugged his way into the fantasy conversation this season. Spelling off Omar Narvaez behind the dish for the Mariners, Murphy has still managed to club 15 big flies this season with 22 runs, 33 RBI, and a .296 batting average in 53 games played. We've seen the former Rockies prospect bat as high as fifth in the order when he's inserted into the lineup, and with Narvaez receiving more work as the DH, Murphy has been able to get more starts.

The 28-year-old never paved out much of a path for playing time in the Mile-High city but has asserted himself into the M's lineup with his pop. He's earned most of his starts against southpaws as he's slugged ten of his homers off these hurlers this season while hitting a superb .348, the third-best mark among all catchers. Murphy has also hit safely in each of his last seven starts including an impressive five home runs over his last three contests. Managers looking to tally up a few more ticks in the HR column should look at rostering Murphy, and he won't drain your batting average number either.

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers


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