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Catcher Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 22

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.

Robinson Chirinos (C, HOU) - 42% Owned

Quietly sitting just outside the top-12 at the position is Astros backstop Robinson Chirinos. The 35-year-old veteran has been the player we expected him to be at the start f the season, good counting stats with more to be desired in the batting average category. He’s slashed .236/.342/.428 so far in 2019 with 14 dingers, 47 runs, and 45 RBI batting in the bottom third of the potent Astros lineup. Chirinos gives consistent production weekly, and there’s no reason to believe that will change as the clear-cut number one backstop in Houston.

Chirinos snapped a five-game hitting streak over the weekend which included a game where he finished 4-for-4 and a triple shy of the cycle. His 30.0% K-rate will keep his batting average limited, but his 11.3% BB% is a top-5 mark among all catchers giving him a boost in OBP leagues. Chirinos is hitting at the highest line-drive rate of his career (25.6%) with a 38.4% Hard Hit% that also sits above his career mark. The base hits will keep piling up, and with a stacked offense around him, Chirinos will keep contributing counting stats across the board.


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) - 45% Owned

With the San Diego Padres trying Francisco Mejia in the outfield recently, a path to more at-bats may be on the way for the 23-year-old. He’s received the starting nod in left field twice over the last week, and with the club calling up prospect Austin Allen on Saturday, this may be a trend moving forward. The largest obstacle standing in Mejia’s way this year has been his limited playing time splitting starts behind the dish with Austin Hedges. Now with a potential part-time role in the outfield, he could truly blossom into a fantasy asset in single-catcher mixed leagues.

Mejia has still managed to take advantage of his part-time ABs this season with eight homers, 25 runs, 20 RBI, and a .265 batting average through 68 games. It was a struggle out of the gate for the switch-hitter, but after a return from a Triple-A stint in June, he’s been one of the league’s top hitting backstops. He’s hit .307 since his June 18 call-up, the best mark among all catchers, and .323 since the All-Star break which sits third-best. Mejia’s AB’s have become less sporadic over the last month, but a shift to the outfield on non-catching days will undoubtedly help keep his bat more consistent through the final month of the season.

Tom Murphy (C, SEA) - 16% Owned

Tom Murphy continues to crush the baseball despite serving as the Mariners primary backstop this season. With only 55 games of action under his belt, he’s managed to swat 16 long balls and 35 RBI while sporting a shiny .288 batting average in his first year in the Pacific Northwest. He’s forced the club into shifting Omar Narvaez to more starts at designated hitter and first base in order to keep his potent bat in the lineup.

What was once thought of as an unsustainable home run pace earlier in the season has been all but clarified with his recent play of late. Murphy has launched six bombs over his last five starts giving him the highest SLG% (.597) and wRC+ (140) of all big league catchers with at least 190 ABs. The M’s will face four lefties this week, and the 28-year-old will take his .355 batting average versus these hurlers into these games making him a formidable option for this week and beyond. He’s a two-catcher league option at a minimum and would immediately become an option single-catcher formats if Narvaez were to miss any time.


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.

Francisco Cervelli (C, ATL) - 15% Owned

Now a member of the Atlanta Braves, Francisco Cervelli has the opportunity to return to fantasy relevance in 2019. With Brian McCann landing on the IL last week, the Braves wasted little time adding a new veteran to split time with Tyler Flowers behind the dish. Cervelli has made an impact early going 5-for-9 with three RBI in his first two games with his new club on Saturday possibly hinting that his concussion woes are behind him. He hit a miserable .193 through 34 injury-riddled games with the Pirates with him even considering retirement at one point.

Cervelli is a gamer, and with the Braves in the thick of a playoff push, he’ll be out to prove he’s got more left in the tank. With Flowers hitting an abysmal .135 against lefties, Cervelli will see most of his playing time against these arms which he’s hit to a lifetime .287 mark. It’s clear the Braves don’t want Flowers behind the plate every day with the quick signing of Cervelli, and it’s quite possible he earns more playing time if he provides with the bat. Managers in two-catcher leagues may want to give the veteran a second chance now with an improved lineup around him.

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