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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups - Catchers

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups by Position:

ALL  -  C  -  1B  -  2B  -  3B  -  SS  -  OF  -  SP  -  RP

 

Jorge Alfaro (C, PHI) - Week 20 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in Two Catcher Leagues OWNED IN: 10% of leagues ANALYSIS: Philadelphia Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro has hits in three of the last four games, driving in a run in each of those three games. Alfaro also tallied a multi-hit game on August 3, tallying a run scored and RBI in that game. He has a .250 batting average since the All-Star game, hitting three extra-base hits, knocking in six runs and scoring eighth. Unfortunately for Alfaro, there are a lot of negative traits in his portfolio, starting with his .393 BABIP since the All-Star break. He has a 3.5% soft hit ball rate, which could explain his high BABIP, and he also has a 55.2% hard hit ball rate and has hit 44.8% fly balls. A 17.2% line drive rate is solid and it is appears unlucky that his batting average is so low. A player known for his power, he only has one home run in this period, while striking out in 35.1% plate appearances and walking in 7% of appearances. Fantasy owners can hope for power upside with Alfaro and have to like that he will potentially hit for more power as well. It is likely that his average drops as his power rises, though, as fantasy owners will have to prepare for regression in his batted ball numbers.

Austin Hedges (C, SD) - Week 20 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 31% of leagues ANALYSIS: San Diego Padres catcher Austin Hedges looks like he is turning the corner after a 2017 season with a sub-par .660 OPS. Thanks to a slash line of .288/.345/.558 since the All-Star game, including four homers, he is now well on his way to the best season of his professional career in a Padres uniform. Hedges started the season with mediocre batted ball contact in April, producing more soft contact (31.1%) than hard contact (26.7%). Though when he returned to big league play in June, he was able to string together two months of 40% and 42% hard contact as well as soft contact of 10% and 18% through the end of July. Though Austin Hedges still strikes out a ton at 29.5%, he has seen that number drop to 19% since the All-Star game and has been taking walks at improved frequency of 8.6% in the same period. Though this proclivity for frequent flyers is helpful for sending balls yard, it does explain his drastic OPS splits of .647 at home and .811 with five dingers on the road. He has been making solid contact on batted balls (only 14.3% soft hit ball rate) and has made significant improvements to his all-around offensive game lately that remind us that he was at one point one of the top 25 prospects in all of baseball. He can be added in all formats and has potential to help with both power and speed.

Austin Hedges (C, SD) - Week 19 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in Two-Catcher Leagues OWNED IN: 11% of leagues ANALYSIS: Though Austin Hedges finished 2017 with a sub-par .660 OPS, he did manage to wrack up 18 total HR and four stolen bases, both of which are encouraging for a 25-year old catcher playing his home games in Petco Park. This year, thanks to a recent two week stretch of four homers and a slash of .323/.389/.742 through 31 AB, he is now well on his way to the best season of his professional career in a Padres uniform. Hedges started the season with mediocre batted ball contact in April, producing more soft contact (31.1%) than hard contact (26.7%). Though when he returned to big league play in June, he was able to string together two months of 40% and 42% hard contact as well as soft contact of 10% and 18% through the end of July. He also got off to yet another excellent start in August with hard contact of 66.7% and with no soft contact at all in his limited sample for the month. This powered Hedges to a season high ISO (by a margin of .111) of .231 for a complete month in July, and helped cement his place atop the Padres catching depth chart above A.J. Ellis. Though Austin Hedges still strikes out a ton at 30.2%, he has been taking walks at improved frequency for 2018 with a rate of 7.3%, and he sports ideal power-hitting peripherals of 46.8% for a pull rate and a GB/FB ratio of 0.85 off of 43.6% fly balls. Though this proclivity for frequent flyers is helpful for sending balls yard, it does explain his drastic OPS splits of .647 at home and .822 with five dingers on the road in an equal number of AB (82 AB each). He has been making solid contact on batted balls and has made significant improvements to his all-around offensive game lately that remind us that he was at one point one of the top 25 prospects in all of baseball. Though he has only stolen one base this season, his ability to swipe bags has been demonstrated with season steal totals as high as 14 in the minors, and this skill set could indicate Hedges to be a J.T. Realmuto type asset down the road. He is a prime candidate for Fantasy Baseball Managers in two-catcher leagues now, and could be a whole lot more next year if he continues to make strides with the lumber.

Robinson Chirinos (C, TEX) - Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 40% of leagues ANALYSIS: The Texas Rangers were one of the more active teams at the deadline, trading away pitchers Cole HamelsKeone Kela and Jake Diekman. With essentially every team in the AL West outside of the Rangers set up for success in the immediate future, it looks as if Texas could be headed towards a lengthy rebuild. With their future murky, the Rangers can at least be thankful that they are getting a positive season out of catcher Robinson Chirinos. Chirinos is hitting .223 with 14 home runs, 45 RBI and 36 runs scored this season. While his batting average is sluggish, Chirinos ranks tied for fourth in home runs, seventh in RBI and tied for eighth in runs scored among catchers. You are not going to find catchers in the top 10 in three of the most important fantasy categories on the waiver wire. The Rangers' backstop has been especially on fire over the past month. In his last 15 games, Chirinos is hitting .273 with three home runs, 10 RBI and 10 runs scored. His three home runs in the month of July ranked tied for sixth among catchers in the league. Texas is not the best team for fantasy purposes right now, but Chirinos has been swinging a hot bat and is one of the better power hitting catchers in the league. While you cannot count on him for batting average, there is a good chance he reaches 20+ home runs and 55+ RBI on the season, making him a worthy addition in 12-man leagues.

Francisco Arcia (C, LAA) - Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 8% of leagues ANALYSIS: The Angels trading Martin Maldonado to the Houston Astros before the deadline came as a bit of a surprise. Not only was it an inter-division trade, but Maldonado was coming off of a Gold Glove season and seemed to be a solid member of the Angels. Nonetheless, with Maldonado moved, Los Angeles called up Francisco Arcia. The rookie has looked strong during his short time in the majors and should have an opportunity to shine going forward. In just four games, Arcia has hit .500 with two home runs, 10 RBI and three runs scored. His batting average is incredibly impressive while two home runs in four games is nothing to scoff at. Arcia ranked tied for 10th among catchers with 10 RBI during the month of July. Arcia was just a .244 hitter in minors with 25 home runs, 220 RBI and 17 stolen bases over 12 seasons. There is a chance that his hot start becomes a fluke and he ends up falling back to the norm. However, we have seen plenty of no-name players turn into fantasy stars; Max Muncy being the latest case this season. Even if he does end up regressing, Arcia is worth picking up while he is swinging a hot bat. With the Angels out of contention, there is a chance the team gives him a chance to prove why he deserves a roster spot. Arcia is not necessarily a safe add, but he is on an impressive streak, making him viable in 12-man leagues.

Russell Martin (C/3B, TOR)- Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 12% of leagues ANALYSIS: Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin has fallen off a bit over the past few seasons. While Martin has seven straight seasons of double digit home runs, he is no longer the All-Star he was in 2015. While he has not necessarily returned to form in 2018, the Blue Jays' catcher has looked better recently and could be in for a strong finish to the year. On the year, Martin has hit just .190 with nine home runs and 22 RBI. On the surface, everything outside the home runs is not all that impressive. However, Martin has hit .292 with three home runs, five RBI and seven runs scored in his eight games since the All-Star break. He is tied for the third most home runs, 12th most RBI and fifth most runs scored since the break. There is no guaranteeing that Martin will be able to keep his hot streak up. However, he is going to see everyday starts on a team that is a modest 18th in runs scored and is going to get former MVP Josh Donaldson back soon. You could do worse than taking a chance on Martin.

Mitch Garver (C, MIN) - Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14%  Leagues OWNED IN: 9% of leagues ANALYSIS: Minnesota Twins catcher Mitch Garver has been somewhat of a forgotten man in 2018. He has seen regular starts with Jason Castro going down, but with the Twins struggling, not many are paying attention to his performance. Garver is not setting the world on fire, but he is been a consistent source of offense and could be worth a pickup. On the season, Garver is hitting .269 with five home runs, 22 RBI and 23 runs scored. His .269 batting average would rank fourth among all catchers had he qualified while his .350 on base percentage would rank fifth. Home runs and RBI may get the headlines, but Garver has been doing his damage with consistent base knocks. Again, Garver is not going to win you any leagues, but he is going to see regular playing time in 19th best offense when it comes to scoring runs. If you are in a deep 12-man or 14-man league, Garver should be a boost to your catcher position in the batting average category.  

Mike Zunino (C, SEA) - Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in All Leagues OWNED IN: 45% of leagues ANALYSIS: Seattle Mariners catcher Mike Zunino has seemed like a breakout candidate for multiple seasons now. While he has not become the dynamic catcher Seattle hoped, Zunino remains one of the best power-hitting catchers in the league. With the catcher position so weak in fantasy, it does not hurt to have a guy like Zunino in that spot. On the season, Zunino has hit just .197 with 13 home runs, 33 RBI and 22 runs scored. His batting average is undoubtedly ugly, however, he has five straight seasons of double digit home runs, including 25 last year. Zunino is certainly a risk/reward type prospect. However, at catcher, with only so many "sure-fire" options, it does not hurt to take a chance. Last season, his 25 home runs ranked third among catchers while his 64 RBI ranked seventh. He will need to limit the strikeouts and get a bit more consistent at the plate, but there is no reason Zunino cannot reach 20 home runs and 50 RBI in 2018. He is one of the riskier options on the market, but not many catchers are available that offer legit 25+ home run potential. If you are in need of offense and have a hole at catcher, it might be worth taking a chance on Zunino's bat.

Jonthan Lucroy (C, OAK) - Week 18 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 38% of leagues ANALYSIS: Oakland Athletics catcher Jonathan Lucroy is hitting .243 on the season with two home runs, 32 RBI and 26 runs scored. Lucroy has looked strong recently with hits in four of his last six, including a home run and seven RBI. He hasn't been the same catcher offensively since his trade from the Brewers two seasons ago, however, he finds himself in a great position for offensive production. Lucroy will see regular playing time on a team that currently ranks sixth in the MLB with 488 runs scored. Over the last week, the A's rank second in the MLB with 39 runs scored. Despite hitting at the bottom of the lineup, Lucroy is usually followed by potent hitters such as Marcus Semien, Davis and Stephen Piscotty. With speedsters like Dustin Fowler in front of him, Lucroy should still have an opportunity to produce and score runs. The A's seem to be streaking right at the moment, and Lucroy has followed suit with an impressive showing over his last few games. Oakland's catcher is just two years removed from an All-Star appearance and has shown he has what it takes to be an elite offensive weapon. As he continues to see regular starts, Lucroy remains an option in 12-man leagues. If he's able to continue his strong hitting, it may not be long that he remains under 50% owned.

Austin Romine (C, NYY) - Week 18 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 12% of leagues ANALYSIS: After costing the Yankees a game earlier this week by not running out a ground ball, starting catcher Gary Sanchez was placed on the disabled list with a groin injury. With Sanchez on the shelf, Austin Romine will now have another opportunity to start. Some reports have Sanchez out for at least a month, giving Romine a longer shot at being a fantasy contributor. On the year, Romine has compiled a .264 batting average with six home runs, 28 RBI and 18 runs scored. The runs and RBI are already career highs. Romine has solid splits in 2018, having a higher average, .282, against lefties and five of his six home runs against righties. Arguably the best thing about Romine is the offense he is playing in. Currently, the Yankees rank fourth in the MLB with 515 runs scored. He normally hits at the bottom of the lineup, however, since he plays in the AL with a designated hitter, he'll always have an opportunity to produce or score runs. Romine has been in this position before, and now should see regular playing time for at least 10 days and possibly a month. General Manager Brian Cashman has already said he trusts Romine as his starter and fantasy owners should too as Romine makes for a fine starting catcher in 12, and deeper 10-man leagues.

Elias Diaz (C, PIT) - Week 18 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 22% of leagues ANALYSIS: Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz is hitting .286 with seven home runs, 25 RBI and 27 runs scored in 59 games this season. He already has career highs in runs scored, home runs and RBI. Diaz's .286 average would rank third among catchers if he were qualified while his seven home runs rank tied for 19th among back stops. The Pirates have noticed Diaz's offensive breakout as the catcher has been batting clean up in the majority of his starts, including every start since the All-Star break. He is batting behind players such as Corey Dickerson and Starling Marte while he is followed by a power hitter in Josh Bell. Overall, Diaz is batting in the middle of a lineup that currently ranks 11th in the MLB with 468 runs scored. Diaz is going to be the Pirates starter going forward as Francisco Cervelli battles concussion symptoms. He has performed well at the plate and is hitting in the middle of a strong lineup. As Pittsburgh tries to surge into the playoffs, Diaz will be a big part of what they do on offense, making him a player to target in 12 and even 10-man leagues.

Tom Murphy (C, COL) - Week 18 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 2% of leagues ANALYSIS: Colorado Rockies catcher Tom Murphy is hitting .271 with one home run, eight RBI and three runs scored over 22 major league games in 2018. Prior to his call-up, Murphy was batting .286 with 16 home runs, 46 RBI and 34 runs scored in 50 Triple-A games. Murphy has proven he can hit the ball with impressive power potential. The only problem, is that the Rockies currently have both Chris Iannetta and Tony Wolters on the roster. Iannetta has hit a weak .224 this season, however, he provides the Rockies with a strong defensive catcher who can help mold the young Colorado rotation. Wolters is hitting an even worse .154 on the year and it looks as if Murphy may have jumped him on the catcher hierarchy. Iannetta was forced from the team's game on Tuesday with a wrist injury, leading to a Murphy start. If Iannetta is forced to miss more time, it appears that Murphy, not Wolters, would earn more starts behind the plate. Murphy is the best offensive catcher on a Rockies team that is known for their offense. If he is given more playing time, he could become a solid fantasy catcher in deeper 12-man leagues. Currently it's unknown if that playing time will come, making him a risky gamble in all leagues.

Yan Gomes (C, CLE) - Week 16 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 36% of leagues ANALYSIS: Yan Gomes has been pleasantly surprising. He has 10 home runs this year which are often hard to come by at the catcher position. He has 34 runs and 31 RBI. Gomes has been very successful against southpaws this year. He's hitting .324 against them with numbers that aren't much lower even in 26 fewer games than against right-handed pitching. He's owned in 36% of leagues, and should be added in 12+ team leagues. Like most catchers, he bats toward the bottom of the order. He still manages to produce, and benefits from the Cleveland Indians being highly productive. Yan Gomes has a .319 wOBA that in't great, but it suffers mainly from right-handed pitching. He's a good rest of season add especially if you have plenty of bench space. While rostering multiple catchers is often frowned upon, it may be worth while. Gomes offered a great upside against the southpaws. This makes him a great streaming option based on his matchup. Feel confident in starting Gomes against left-handed pitchers.

Willians Astudillo (OF/2B/C, MIN) - Week 15 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 2% of leagues ANALYSIS: Minnesota Twins catching prospect Willians Astudillo has been featured over at Fangraphs.com a couple of times as being the strangest minor league player since his callup, and we are inclined to agree. He is primarily a catcher, but has played infield and outfield enough in the minors to qualify there in a number of leagues. What is even more odd is that the Twins seem fine with running him out almost literally anywhere. In fact, The Ringer’s Ben Lindbergh noted that Astudillo is the only player ever listed at 5’9 or shorter and heavier than 215 pounds to have ever played center field. It was just an inning, but that is a hell of a trivia question.

Regarding Astudillo the hitter and fantasy asset, coming into last season he was more of an anomaly than prospect. A gifted pure hitter with elite bat-to-ball skills, Astudillo regularly produced both walk and strikeout rates under 4%. In 2015, he struck out and walked at the same rate, 2.4%. That’s not a typo, and it is also not an aberration; those numbers came over 418 plate appearances. This season, the trend has continued, walking just 2.7% of the time and striking out 4.8%. So far in the bigs, he has not disappointed, as he has yet to walk or strike out in his first 14 at-bats. Aside from the weird plate discipline, something changed for Astudillo in 2017. Once regarded as an extreme contact hitter with no power, he started lifting the ball. Suddenly, this gifted hitter who could connect with almost anything he wanted to connect with was putting his hits in the air, and thus producing more power numbers. The Fangraphs piece by Travis Sawchik compares this adjustment with that of another short, thick, but brilliant contact hitter who started producing league average power: Jose Altuve. Now, it’s a lot to expect from a guy that before two weeks ago only those who actually worked in baseball knew about, but it’s also not out of the realm of possibility. After all, the first step to hitting a home run is actually hitting the damn ball; something Astudillo can do with aplomb. If there’s more power hidden in there, and combined with his infield and catcher eligibility, fantasy owners might find themselves a diamond in the deepest of roughs.  

John Hicks (C/1B, DET) - Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 10+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 44% of leagues ANALYSIS: Detroit Tigers first baseman/catcher John Hicks was a hot waiver add when Miguel Cabrera went down with a season-ending injury. While the Tigers' catcher may not be as coveted as he was earlier in the season, he is still seeing regular playing time for Detroit, making him a potential option if you're struggling at backstop. For the season, Hicks has hit .273 with six home runs and 23 RBI. While those numbers look impressive on paper, Hicks is currently in the midst of a 1-for-20 slump at the plate. He also plays on a Tigers' team that ranks 22nd in the MLB in runs scored. Hicks is not being removed from the starting lineup anytime soon, making him a usable catcher in most leagues. However, as his slump continues, it may be time to consider trying a different option. As for the time being, Hicks' multi-positional eligibility makes him a good player to own in deeper leagues.

Austin Romine (C, NYY) - Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 19% of leagues ANALYSIS: New York Yankees catcher Austin Romine has been rarely used this season, only appearing in 28 games. However, New York is placing started Gary Sanchez on the disabled list with a groin injury. Romine will be a rosterable catcher in Week 14 and beyond as Sanchez is suspected to be out for three-to-four weeks. For the season, Romine has hit .305 with four home runs and 20 RBI. While his sample size is much smaller, Romine's .370 on base percentage is comparable to that of Manny Machado and Francisco Lindor. Romine also plays in an offense that is almost guaranteed to score runs. Currently, the Yankees rank third in the MLB with 388 runs scored and first in home runs with 124. Even though Romine will likely hit towards the bottom of the lineup, he will have an opportunity to both score and drive in runs, making him a valuable backstop. In Week 14, Romine does have two tough opponents in the Phillies and Red Sox. Both teams have team ERAs that rank in the top half of the league. However, Romine has a batting average over .300 against both righties and lefties this season, and could still find success in a potent Yankees lineup. Romine will be the Yankees starter for as long as Sanchez remains out. He needs to be added in most leagues as a guy who will get opportunities in one of the best offenses in the league and is having his best statistical season of his career, albeit appearing in just 28 games.

Tom Murphy (C, COL) - Week 14 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 9% of leagues ANALYSIS: Colorado Rockies catcher Tom Murphy has only appeared in nine games at the MLB level this season. However, he has looked solid in his small sample size and could be in line for more playing time. In his nine games, however, Murphy has hit .306 with six RBI and four doubles. This comes after a strong stint in Triple-A where he hit .289 with 16 home runs and 45 RBI over 49 games. Murphy's call up came on the heels of starting catcher Chris Iannetta's struggles. Iannetta is hitting an unimpressive .234 with five home runs and 18 RBI on the season, however, he is hitting just .167 over his last seven games and .214 over his last 14 with no other counting stats. Murphy offers much more offensive firepower and as the Rockies continue to struggle, he could earn more starts over Iannetta. The Rockies as a whole are one of the best offensive teams in the league, currently sitting sixth in the MLB in runs scored. While they do not play any games in the daunted Coors Field in Week 14, Murphy should still have an opportunity to shine. Murphy should have an opportunity to earn more playing time if his performance from Triple-A translates to the MLB. Any player in the Rockies lineup is worth rostering, and Murphy will not remain at just 9% owned for long.

John Ryan Murphy (C, ARI) - Week 14 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 8% of leagues ANALYSIS: The Arizona Diamondbacks catcher position has been one of the more confusing ones in the MLB. All three of Alex AvilaJeff Mathis and John Ryan Murphy have appeared in at least 28 games with Avila and Murphy appearing in at least 45. However, while no one catcher has run away with the job, Murphy has been the best of the bunch and should see more playing time going forward. On the season, Murphy has hit .242 with nine home runs and 19 RBI. His nine home runs are tied with Gomes and two others for ninth best in the MLB among catchers. Six of those home runs have come since May 29th. With Murphy on a hot streak, and playing on the 14th highest scoring team in the MLB, there's a strong chance the backstop continues to produce at a high level. In Week 14, Murphy faces the Marlins and Giants. Both teams have an ERA over four with San Francisco ranking 14th in team ERA and Miami ranking 27th. Both rank in the top 15 of walks allowed while also ranking in the bottom 10 teams of the league in strikeouts. Murphy has been one of the best power-hitting catchers in the league this season and now gets to face two of the worst pitching staffs in the MLB. He should have an opportunity to shine and is arguably the best streaming catcher for next week.

Yan Gomes (C, CLE) - Week 14 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in All Leagues OWNED IN: 36% of leagues ANALYSIS: Cleveland Indians catcher Yan Gomes has always been an interesting case in fantasy baseball circles. In seasons in which he has appeared in at least 95 games, Gomes has at least 12 home runs and 45 RBI. Gomes has double-digit home runs in four of the last five seasons and plays in one of the most potent offenses in the MLB. However, he has never truly been considered a top-tier catcher. After a slow start to the season, it appears as if Gomes has found his stride and has begun to turn his season around. Over his 54 games in 2018, Gomes has hit .253 with nine home runs and 24 RBI. His nine home runs is tied for ninth in the MLB among catchers and is only five off of his 14 total from last season. Over his last ten games, Gomes has hit .314 with three home runs, eight RBI and five runs scored. Gomes usually bats seventh behind players such as Francisco LindorMichael BrantleyJose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion. As he earns more and more playing time, he will have ample opportunity to both score and produce runs for a team that currently ranks fourth in the MLB with 384 runs scored. For Week 14, Gomes has matchups with two solid pitching staffs in the Cardinals and Athletics. Currently St. Louis ranks 10th in the MLB in team ERA while Oakland ranks 17th. However, if you are adding Gomes it is more likely that he is your season-long catcher rather than a streamer.

John Hicks (C/1B, DET) - Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in All Leagues OWNED IN: 44% of leagues ANALYSIS: Detroit Tigers catcher/first baseman John Hicks is a player to watch for fantasy purposes, as he has a .295 batting average this season. He has hits in seven of his last nine games, including four multi-hit games, and has also scored a run in five of his last six games. Since the beginning of May, Hicks has a .319 batting average, .464 slugging percentage, and 11 extra-base hits. He has a .408 BABIP since the beginning of May, but also has a 41.2% hard hit ball rate and 19% line drive rate. Hicks is only hitting 40% ground balls in that period of time while driving in 19 batters and scoring 22 times. What is also nice for fantasy owners is that Hicks can fill in at first base as well as at catcher. Hicks looks like he is not as much as of a fantasy threat in the way of power, but he looks like he will be able to contribute in batting average and extra-base hits for fantasy owners.

Tom Murphy (C, COL) - Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 2% of leagues ANALYSIS: Colorado Rockies catcher Tom Murphy is about to get more playing time at Coors, considering the struggles of Chris Ianetta. A post-hype player who most owners will know, but few will own based on the past seasons. This year at Triple-A, Murphy is hitting about 40 points better than last season and is still showing good pop with 16 homers. The other key stat is that his HR/FB rate is up to 22%. If Murphy can continue this run of form, the major league environment should help keep those homers up. The concern will be playing time moving forward, but this is a player who could fall into production and help prop up a lineup. At the same time, the limited playing time might help owners concerning matchups and other supporting numbers.  While cliche, do not pass up a potential impact bat at Coors.

Max Stassi (C, HOU) - Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 9% of leagues ANALYSIS: Houston Astros catcher Max Stassi burst into the fantasy scene earlier this season and has since cooled off since as evident by his low ownership rate. So far he has almost split the playing time with Brian McCann, so the usual risks of playing time with the backup role do not apply here. At the same time, his production has been much better than McCann's with a .256 batting average and six homers. There is a lot of swing and miss in the profile with a K rate of 30%, but the .487 SLG makes for that with production when he does contact. A five percent jump in hard contact from last season, even if last year was only a short stint, bodes well for fantasy owners. If a catcher upgrade is needed, this might be the best option for power and playing time, and not just to replace McCann. Take a look at Stassi in all deeper formats.

Kevan Smith (C, CHW) - Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 1% of leagues ANALYSIS: Chicago White Sox catcher Kevan Smith has been recently recalled to Chicago and getting a run of games.  Still, Smith is relatively under-owned and looks to have a key spot on this team. In all fairness, Smith might not be a top prospect but could be a nice fantasy add in the short term at least. Only six games so far mean a small sample size, but the results so far have been promising to say the least. The batting average sits at .409, and the K rate sits at 4.5%. The numbers at Triple-A are up from past seasons, and with Castillo suspended for a while, Smith looks like a good bet to continue to get games. Even better?  If owners are willing to look at a small sample, the last three games have been against Cleveland and the top of the rotation.  Avoid small samples, except when they are positive against Corey KluberTrevor Bauer, and Mike Clevinger.

Andrew Knizner (C, STL) - Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 0% of leagues ANALYSIS: St. Louis Cardinals catcher Andrew Knizner has had his best season to date with a slash of .333/.400/.444 at Triple-A after a strong showing to start the season at Double-A. In Springfield, he hit .305/.376/.424 with two homers in 31 games. While the numbers do not show the power upside, contact has always been his highest graded tool and there is no reason for it not to continue moving forward. With the power jump that comes from any promotion to the majors, perhaps he can walk into 10+ bombs while keeping that average close to .300. If that is the case, all of a sudden he moves to a top fantasy catcher in a weak pool this season. The issue is that with Yadier Molina manning the plate in St. Louis it is hard to find playing time. At the same time, Knizner offers much more upside over fellow prospect Carson Kelly, and if there are injuries, he could be in line for a shot to play. The other rumor with Knizner is a potential move off the plate, but even then, he should keep the catcher eligibility for the time being. It is wise to stash him in deeper leagues.

Devin Mesoraco (C, NYM) - Week 10 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in Two Catcher Leagues OWNED IN: 19% of leagues ANALYSIS: New York Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco has found new life since being traded from the Reds. The new-ish Mets catcher has seen his ownership rise 20 percentage points in the last week and a half. Despite his continued hot hitting (5 HR, 11 RBI, 11 R in the last 30 days), he is set to split time with Kevin Plawecki, who recently returned from a stint on the DL. A 25-home run hitter in 2014, Mesoraco has a 30% hard hit rate for the second time of his career (38.7% in 2014 and 31.6% this season). He is also going to opposite field more this season, as his 21.5% rate is his best since 2012 (23.5%). Mesoraco has his highest value in two catcher formats, but he has some value in deeper formats as well. Fantasy owners would like to see him get more consistent playing time, but he does appear to be the best hitting catcher for the Mets.

Max Stassi (C, HOU) - Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 15% of leagues ANALYSIS: Houston Astros catcher Max Stassi has been tearing the cover off the ball all season (.303/.367/.562 in 89 AB) and will finally get a chance for more playing time. He will get a chance to take over behind the plate for the next week or so as Brian McCann occupies a spot on the disabled list. Stassi’s specialty is crushing lefthanders; while he has four of his five homers against righties, he is 16-of-32 against lefties with a 1.324 OPS. Considering that McCann is left-handed, there is a good chance that the Astros platoon their two catchers once McCann is healthy. McCann is not exactly a spring chicken either, so Stassi should continue to see some starts even after the veteran backstop returns. As of now, Stassi would be a great option as a starting catcher in deeper leagues as long as McCann is out.

John Hicks (C/1B, DET) - Week 9 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 44% of leagues ANALYSIS: Detroit Tigers catcher/first baseman John Hicks has been a fantasy sweetheart for the past few days, with people lining up to grab him. It might not be a product of actual play at catcher; they love that they can start him there even though he has been getting the bulk of his playing time at first base since he is subbing for Miguel Cabrera Hicks has a .281 batting average, five home runs, and 17 RBI this season, not great, but very solid for a player with catcher eligibility. In fact, Hicks has a .314 batting average, 13 RBI, and 14 runs scored this month, hitting three home runs and six doubles. A player with multi-positional eligibility and the ability to fill the catcher's spot is very valuable. The Tigers' offense has been surprisingly solid, and now has Jeimer Candelario, so it is good to pick up Hicks if you are in the need of catching help.

Kurt Suzuki (C, ATL) - Week 9 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 39% of leagues ANALYSIS: The return of Tyler Flowers saw a drop in the ownership of Atlanta Braves catcher Kurt Suzuki, as he is been playing every other game. He is still among the league leaders in home runs at catcher and other categories, so it would be unwise to not pick him up, especially given the dearth of hitting catchers. Suzuki only has a .200 batting average this month, with two doubles and two home runs, scoring five runs and driving in six. This comes after he opened the season with a .290 batting average and eight extra-base hits, but he also has a .196 BABIP this month. On top of a drop in playing time, Suzuki has also been unlucky, as he has a 39.6% hard hit ball rate this month. He only has a 16.7% line drive this month, but he also has a 39.6% fly ball rate. Suzuki is also fortunate to be a part of a strong Braves lineup and he is likely to produce better results if he continues to keep up his batted ball profile. He may not be a top-10 catching option, but he is a great option for a fill in for desperate owners.

Yan Gomes (C, CLE) - Week 9 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 14% of leagues ANALYSIS: Cleveland Indians catcher Yan Gomes has a hit in six of his last 10 games, including two multi-hit games, and has two home runs and eight runs scored this month. The top performance for the backstop was a 4-for-5 performance against the Royals on May 13, in which he hit a double, home run, scored three runs, and drove in three runs. Gomes is only hitting .237 this month (and has a 34.9% strikeout rate), but he does have a 37.8% hard hit rate and only a 13.5% soft hit rate. His .343 BABIP may seem to be unsustainable, but with a good hard hit ball rate and a 32.4% line drive rate, Gomes may actually be a bit unlucky to be hitting .237. While it may not be wise to trust Gomes as a starting catcher in all formats, he is a good option as a starter in deeper leagues or as a second catcher. The Indians lineup will start heating up as the summer draws closer and Gomes has been a 20 home run hitter in the past  

James McCann (C, DET) - Week 9 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ team leagues OWNED IN: 25% of leagues ANALYSIS:  The state of the catcher’s union is not strong this year, as Gary Sanchez is the class of the position with a .228 batting average. All that is to say, with this position, an owner can get value from many places, and the hot hand is worth a shot. Enter Tigers catcher James McCann. So far in 2018, a slash line of .271/.327/.389 keeps him as the starter without much question the rest of the season. Add to that marked improvements in BB and K rates from last year, and this seems like a lock as the backstop in Comerica. Not just the playing time should interest owners, as that .271 AVG plays at catcher, and might actually end of as one of the top bats at the position. He will not slug like Sanchez, but three homers and 15 RBI are not something to ignore either. Playing in a good hitter's park also keeps the floor relatively high, and so far McCann is eighth on the Tigers in terms of runs scored. Keeping in mind that he plays less due to the position, this puts into perspective how valuable to the team he is.