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Catcher Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 7


As we approach the middle of May, catching situations are becoming clearer and some players' numbers are starting to normalize with a larger sample size. We now have nearly two month's worth of games to better evaluate some early season cold streaks as well as some scorching-hot starts to the season.

If you're in the market for a catching upgrade this week or in 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.

Robinson Chirinos (C, HOU) - 44% Owned

There likely isn't a better everyday catcher than Robinson Chirinos available in your fantasy league. He's started in nearly 75% of games for the Astros, and he handles the bat exceptionally well for a 34-year-old veteran. On the season Chirinos has six homers, 20 runs and 20 RBI while slashing .278/.412/.567, all numbers that are within the top-10 among catchers. His bat has picked up some steam of late as well with three round-trippers and a .389 batting average over his last seven games.

Houston is set up for a six-game slate this week all on the road visiting Detroit followed by a trip to hitter-friendly Fenway Park in Boston. Chirinos is a terrific stream play this week for those looking for an option in shallow leagues if you recently lost Buster Posey or Mike Zunino to the IL. Chirinos also fits the mold of anyone looking for a long-term option to occupy their catching spot as he's sure to hover around the top-10 at the position this season. His counting stats will continue to flourish in his first year batting in the Astros potent lineup, especially with the amount of playing time he'll receive this season.

James McCann (C, CHW) - 36%

The White Sox offseason signing of James McCann is shaping out to be a steal of a deal with his performance of late. Over his last 14 games, he's spanking the ball slashing .446/.475/.714 with three homers and 10 RBI. The White Sox have rewarded McCann with his superb play batting him either in the cleanup or fifth spot in the lineup and by giving him more starts behind the dish. McCann's .382 batting average on the year leads all major league backstops although it is helped out by an inflated .476 BABIP.

Some regression is bound to occur for McCann as he holds a .247/.294/.379 career slash line now entering his fifth full season in the big leagues. Although regression may not impact him as drastically as he's made improved contact at the plate by increasing his Hard Hit% from a 34.2% career mark to 46.3% in 2019. McCann is worth owning until we actually witness some decline in his game. The White Sox will continue to give him opportunities to pile up the stats batting in the meat of the order keeping him fantasy relevant even if his bat slows down. Ride his hot swing as far as it goes; it may wind up being one of the more valuable waiver wire discoveries this season.

 

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.

Willians Astudillo (C/3B, MIN) - 29% Owned

Activated off the IL on Sunday was Twins backstop and fan favorite Willians Astudillo. After missing the last two weeks with a strained left hamstring, "La Tortuga" returned to the lineup as the team's leadoff hitter in Sunday's game going 1-for-5 followed by a 1-for-4 performance Monday with both hits going for doubles. Astudillo was enjoying an excellent start to his 2019 season slashing .327/.340/.531 in his first 16 games before the injury, and it won't take long for him to regain his stroke. Although he qualifies as a catcher, he's been used all over the diamond getting starts at first, third, and in the outfield to keep his bat in the lineup.

It'll be interesting to see how the Twins utilize their deep lineup once Miguel Sano returns from his rehab within the next week or two. Astudillo still appears to be in line for quite a bit of playing time as he's one of the top players who hits for average for the Twins. His amazing contact skills have netted him just one strikeout and one walk on the year, a rare skill set in this day and age of baseball. Take advantage of those owners who dropped Astudillo after his injury. He's undoubtedly capable of remaining one of the top hitting catchers in average by season's end with substantial counting stats that will follow.

Pedro Severino (C, BAL) - 0% Owned

Fantasy managers in two-catcher or AL-only leagues looking for a streamer this week should turn their attention towards Orioles backstop Pedro Severino. The O's have a full schedule of games this week with a series at Yankee Stadium followed by a four-game set in Cleveland. It's a terrific opportunity for the 25-year-old to add on to his five home runs as he'll play in two top-10 ballparks that favor hitters. For the year, Severino is slashing .246/.333/.525 on an underwhelming Baltimore team, but he's worth at least a one-week flier in a thin catching pool.

Severino has played approximately every other game for the Orioles making this his most prominent role as a major leaguer to date. He came up in the Nationals system playing a career-high 70 games with the major league club last year before getting placed on waivers this offseason. He showed some pop in the minor leagues swatting 13 big flies across 174 games in his Triple-A tenure, so keep an eye on him to run into one in this week's slate of games.

 

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.

Jason Castro (C, MIN) - 1% Owned

Despite Astudillo and Mitch Garver receiving all the attention in the fantasy world, Jason Castro is having himself a fine season of his own. Slashing .245/.362/.612 with five homers, 11 runs, and 12 RBI in 18 games, the 31-year-old journeyman is proving that he can also be a fantasy asset in 2019. Starting the season as the team's number one catcher, he's since relinquished some playing time to Garver who's swinging one of the hottest bats of all backstops this season. Castro's play of late, however, has given the Twins an embarrassment of riches behind the dish.

Over his last seven starts, Castro has hit four homers and 10 RBI amid a 6-for-19 offensive tear. He's an even bigger asset in OBP leagues as he's consistently put up walk rates in the double-digits through the years. His current 13.7% BB% would be a career-high, and it is also the second-best mark among all catchers. After striking out a miserable 35.1% of the time in 2018, he's also improved on this category with a 24.1% mark this season. Castro has never hit for much of an average, which is commonplace for most backstops, but he has eclipsed double-digit homers in his last five full seasons. The left-handed swinger is certainly on pace for much more this year and could provide sneaky value in two-catcher formats.

Stephen Vogt (C, SF) - 1% Owned

With Buster Posey on the 7-day IL with a concussion, the door has opened for Stephen Vogt to take advantage of some more at-bats. The Giants hit Vogt second in the batting lineup twice over the weekend which is a welcoming compliment for any player. While he is unlikely to stay in this spot throughout the season, he may get some more starts at the top of the order this week making him a decent streamer in two-catcher leagues.

Since getting his call up to the majors on May 3, Vogt has hit .350 in his eight games including a home run and three RBI. He's also hit a trio of doubles as he's taken over the backup job after the club recently designated Erik Kratz for assignment. Posey may return for a portion of the weekend series against the Diamondbacks, but will likely be eased back into action after his concussion last week. Deep league managers can afford to take a flier on Vogt as the 34-year-old could earn more starts behind the plate if Posey misses more time or begins transitioning to first base.

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers


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