Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

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.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. Sign Up Now!

 

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


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




More Recent Articles

 

2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

Points leagues may seem like a slight variation from traditional 5x5 category scoring leagues but you must approach draft day with a very different strategy if you wish to truly compete. All preseason long, RotoBaller has you covered with the latest rankings for all fantasy baseball league types. Here we present our points league rankings... Read More


Second-Half Improvements: Buy Into These Starting Pitchers

The second half of the season is always put under a microscope for starting pitchers. Fantasy players have a love for the second half of the season, as the belief is that pitchers who take a step forward could carry over that success the next season and perhaps even build upon it. But, as we... Read More


How to Attack RP in SV+HLD Leagues

No position has seen as much evolution in recent seasons as the relief pitcher. Gone are the days where starters were expected to go seven innings as most teams have embraced the idea of "super-bullpening" and try to fit as many pitchers that can throw 95+ MPH into their bullpen as they can. Many fantasy... Read More


Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Pitch Info

One of the most fundamental questions in fantasy sports is if a player's current performance is sustainable. More than any other sport, baseball has a slew of statistical measures that can be dissected in numerous ways to analyze player performance. Pitch Info is a publicly-available pitch tracking system that provides a lot of different data to... Read More


Mock Draft Review: Best Late-Round Targets

Last week, some members of the RotoBaller staff completed a 12-team mock draft for standard 5x5 format. After the draft, we each broke down our strategy and some of our favorite picks, which can be found here. However, I want to take a closer look at one portion of the draft in particular. Since we know that... Read More


Faster and Furious: Pitchers with Rising Velocity/Performance

Welcome fantasy baseball players! I’m sure that you, like me, are anxiously counting down the days until your drafts and Opening Day. While the fantasy season may not start for several weeks, there are plenty of things we can do to start preparing for a successful season. One of those things is to take a good... Read More


James Karinchak Is A Relief Pitcher To Know in 2020

One of the lesser-known players that intrigues me for the 2020 MLB season is Indians relief pitcher James Karinchak. The former Bryant Bulldog was drafted by Cleveland in the ninth round in the 2017 draft and went on to have one of the most outrageous statistical seasons in minor league baseball history. As someone who... Read More


2020 Relief Pitcher Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

Often regarded as an inferior fantasy baseball format, points leagues offer a different style of boasting over your friends or coworkers similar to that of fantasy football. These setups are typically head-to-head formats for a one-week stretch where the player with the most points gets a win. Easy right? While it's true that roster construction... Read More


2019 Barrel Breakouts: Who's For Real and Who's Next?

As pitchers and catchers get even closer to reporting and most fantasy leagues prepare for their drafts, everybody is looking for a leg up on the competition - a way to get in on a guy before everybody else does. In this article, we're going to look for a way to identify hitters who improved... Read More


Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Pitcher BABIP

While FIP is a useful tool to predict a pitcher's future ERA performance, fantasy owners should remember that ERA, not FIP, is what really matters in most formats. This means that we are interested in the "luck" that separates the two statistics. While some of this luck is unpredictable, we can and should predict some... Read More


Second Year Player Preview: Fantasy Baseball 2020 ADP Analysis

Host Anthony Aniano of RotoBaller Radio discuss the 2020 fantasy baseball season and keeps you updated with all the latest news and analysis Be sure to tune into RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM (channel Sirius 210, XM 87) - every weekday morning between 6-7 AM ET, every weekday afternoon from 1-2 PM ET, Saturday nights from 9-11 PM ET... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Jorge Alfaro

Miami Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro was a key piece in the J.T. Realmuto trade that was executed before the 2019 season. The Marlins have high hopes for Alfaro and he continued his development in 2019 by slashing .262/.312/.425 with 18 HR, 57 RBI, 44 R, and 22 BB. The overall numbers may not seem all that... Read More


2020 Shortstop Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

Points leagues may seem like a slight variation from traditional 5x5 category scoring leagues but you must approach draft day with a different strategy if you wish to truly compete. Rankings themselves are a different beast altogether, as category specialists like Mallex Smith and Dee Gordon (stolen bases), Kyle Schwarber and Franmil Reyes (home runs),... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers – Victor Reyes

With a 457 ADP in 2020 NFBC leagues, Detroit Tigers outfielder Victor Reyes is an afterthought in all but the deepest leagues.  Perhaps the 25-year-old shouldn't be, though, as Reyes was quietly solid in 2019, slashing .304/.336/.431 in 292 plate-appearances, with three home runs and nine stolen bases. Having made stops in Arizona and the... Read More


2020 Keeper Value Rankings - First Base

Many years ago, I noticed the managers in my long-time keeper league were consistently making terrible keeper decisions year after year. I thought I would help them out instead of taking their money every year and find a good set of Keeper League Rankings to share with them. What I found was quite disturbing. There... Read More