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Catcher Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 6


With the calendar flipping over to May last week, we as fantasy managers, have to legitimately assess the state of our team's play so far. We now have over a month's worth of sample size to evaluate whether we can chalk a hitter's slow start to either wrongful misfortune or simply genuine failure.

If you're in the market for a catching upgrade this week or the near future, 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) - 20% Owned

Chicago White Sox backstop James McCann is shooting up the catcher rankings recently with his terrific play of late. Over his last 10 starts, he's hit .395 as the Sox have even utilized his right-handed bat as their designated hitter in two of these contests to ride his momentum. Not only are the South Sider's trying to keep his bat in the lineup, but they have used McCann out of the cleanup spot in seven of these last 10 games to boost his fantasy stock further.

For the season, McCann is hitting .351 with four homers, nine RBI, and 13 runs scored after accumulating the bulk of these stats out of the seventh and eighth spots in the batting order. With a short list of options for the White Sox to use in their cleanup spot, expect McCann to remain sandwiched between the bats of Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada. We should ride the 28-year-old's hot bat this week with a full slate of games upcoming and owners should also anticipate hanging on to him for the foreseeable future if the results continue to prosper.

Josh Phegley (C, OAK) - 25% Owned

If an eight-RBI single-game performance isn't enough to convince you to roster Josh Phegley, then prepare to be persuaded. The A's backstop is second the majors in RBIs by a catcher with 21, four behind Yadier Molina who has 50 more plate appearances. Phegley's 16 runs are also a top-five number among catchers, and his four home runs suggest he's not a player who relies solely on the long ball to attain this superb level of production.

Phegley holds a .273/.300/.519 slash line on the year and has started in roughly three-quarters of the Athletics' games. The 31-year-old has never played in more than 73 games in his career so it'll be interesting to see what he can do if he can eclipse this total amount of games in 2019. Phegley has excellent contact skills and is currently hitting the ball at nearly a 10% higher Hard Hit% than what he's done throughout his injury-riddled career. We'd like to see a little more production with his on-base percentage to pair with his average, but expect Phegley to continue to post a stable slash line as well as steady progress in his counting stats.

 

Streamers/Players to Watch

The catchers in this group are in waiver wire limbo as they are likely scooped up in two-catcher and league-specific formats. They are not ideal single mixed league targets unless you have a deep bench to stash one of these backstops. These bats, however, have an outside shot at returning top-10 value if everything breaks right.

 

Christian Vazquez (C, BOS) -12% Owned

Christian Vazquez is having himself a career year in just over a month of action so far in 2019. He's already tied his career-high in homers with five and, he's swatted in 14 RBI and scored another 15 runs in his 27 games played to date. Vazquez is enjoying a .267/.326/.489 slash line which seems sustainable since he's only a year removed from a .290/.330/.404 season which occurred back in 2017. His average dropped to .207 in 2018, so perhaps this is the happy medium for Vazquez, although he has added some more pop to his game.

The Puerto Rico native is flourishing in his age-28 season now that he has almost a full handful of big league seasons to his credit. He's barrelled up an impressive 6.1% of balls in play which is lightyears ahead of his 1.9% clip in 2018. His dramatically improved 37.9% Hard Hit% also has him on pace to hit more homers this year than all of his other seasons combined especially with his larger fly-ball approach. With the rest of the Red Sox batting lineup returning to form, look for Vazquez to continue to put up stellar numbers the rest of the way.

Kurt Suzuki (C, WSH) - 6% Owned

The ageless Kurt Suzuki is having himself another productive year in his first season with the Washington Nationals. Despite only 14 starts with his new squad, the 35-year-old has clubbed five long balls with seven runs and 14 RBI, and he's also batting a crisp .283 to cap it all off. Suzuki has never been the type of backstop to have drool-worthy numbers at season's end, but he's remained one of the most consistent catchers over the past half-decade.

Suzuki is the ideal player to roster if you don't want to have to worry about continuously adding and dropping catchers throughout the year. His .277 average since the start of 2017 resembles his overall game in a nutshell, nothing eye-popping but nothing that won't hurt you either. He's averaged 15 HR, 42 R, and 50 RBI in this span which certainly plays well in two-catcher and NL-only leagues. Suzuki has picked up his play lately batting .400 over the last seven days including three-straight games with a home run which snapped Monday night. Yan Gomes was also forced to leave Monday's contest early after a hit-by-pitch opening the door for more at-bats for Suzuki. If Gomes were to miss any significant time, Suzuki's increased role would unquestionably boost his value making him a distinct target in all formats.

 

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.

 

Brian McCann (C, ATL) - 3% Owned

Two-catcher league owners should turn their attention to Braves backstop Brian McCann to occupy a prospective roster spot moving forward. The 35-year-old veteran is having himself a decent season in his return to Atlanta as he's currently slashing .302/.391/.472 in 16 games played. McCann landed on the IL earlier this season with a hamstring injury but appears to have put this minor ailment deep in the rearview mirror.

McCann continues to work in an even 50/50 timeshare with Tyler Flowers, but he's made the most of his opportunities with 14 RBI and a pair of home runs to go along with his excellent slash line. The 20 HR bat he formerly possessed is long gone, but he still makes a formidable play in deep league squads. His walk rate (12.5%) is dead-even with his strikeout rate so Father Time doesn't appear to be knocking at his door quite yet.

Tony Wolters (C, COL) - 1% Owned

Those of you looking to stream a catcher in a deep league this week, look no further than Tony Wolters. With the remainder of this week's games for Colorado all coming at home, Wolters is in a terrific spot to rack up a few runs and RBI with the Giants and Padres visiting town. He's also 5-for-13 in his last four games, so he will be riding a hot bat right out of the gate for the Rockies as the week starts.

Not only has his bat been producing lately, but his .292 average for the season isn't anything to scoff at either. Wolters is still waiting to swat his first round-tripper of the campaign, but his six doubles indicate that one is due to come shortly. Wolters isn't a long-term option, but for instances like what this upcoming week holds, he possesses value especially in H2H category leagues.

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers


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