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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups - First Base (1B)

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups by Position:

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

 

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.

Jorge Alfaro (C, PHI) - Week 9 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in Two Catcher Leagues OWNED IN: 7% of leagues ANALYSIS: Philadelphia Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro has hits in eight of the last 19 games, scoring a run in the last two. Alfaro also had back-to-back multi-hit games on May 13 and May 17, hitting doubles on May 18 and 21. He has a .281 batting average this month, hitting three extra-base hits and scoring six runs. Unfortunately for Alfaro, there are a lot of negative traits in his portfolio, starting with his .469 BABIP. He has a 6.6% soft hit ball rate, which could explain his high BABIP, but he only has a 27.3% hard hit ball rate and has hit 48.5% ground balls. A 27.3% line drive rate is also good, but he still has two times as many ground balls than fly balls, a troubling trend for a player not known for his speed. A player known for his power, he only has one home run this month, while striking out in 39.3% plate appearances and walking in 6.6% 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.

Yan Gomes (C, CLE) - Week 8 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in Two-Catcher Leagues OWNED IN: 10% of leagues ANALYSIS: Yan Gomes has been a streaky staple at backstop for the Cleveland Indians for six years, and it appears as if the one-time Silver Slugger has removed the varnish and found his stroke once more. Last year, Gomes produced passable HR and OPS figures of 14 and .708 but through 110 AB in 2018, Gomes has already stepped it up. He currently holds a slash line of .264/.336/.473 with six homers on the year and has also maintained a superb BA of .286 through the last two weeks. Now, Gomes has a BABIP of .365 so far in 2018. That typically doesn't bode too well for a catcher. However, there is much less reason to fret when you read the story that his metrics tell of his action on offense. He has upped his line-drive percentage by 4.3%, his fly-ball rate by 7.4% to a solid 49.3%, and has lowered his grounder rate by 11.7% all the way down to 29%. Additionally, he has super-sized his hard contact rate by 11.5% while inversely lowering his soft contact rate by the same amount, respectively producing highly impressive figures of 40.6% and 10.1%. Catcher is never an easy position to add depth to, and many of the mid-season options available leave a lot to be desired in their game. With that considered, Yan Gomes has a solid track record of being able to rack up all-around production at the plate with particular power upside. His K% and BB% (33.6%/7.4%) are cringe worthy, this much is true. Despite that you can feel a little more safe in trusting Gomes as a Two-Catcher league option while he is producing an XBH%, HR%, and average exit velocity that sit well above league averages and his personal tendencies for the top-10 ranked Cleveland offense.

Mitch Garver (C, MIN) - Week 8 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in Two Catcher Leagues OWNED IN: 0% of leagues ANALYSIS: Minnesota Twins catcher Mitch Garver is a young, basically unowned player who has been given a chance to prove himself after the primary catcher, Jason Castro, was lost for the year due to a knee injury. Garver has dominated the minors; most recently, he had a great year in Triple-A last season, where he continued to show power with very good plate discipline. He hit 17 HR and 29 doubles to go with a 13.4 BB% and .291 AVG which earned him the Minor League Player of the Year for the Twins in 2017. Garver was called up in August of 2017 for a cup of coffee and has served as the primary backup since the first day of spring training. Once Castro went to the disabled list in early May, Garver stepped into the full-time role. He only has a .259 average in 27 at-bats with two runs and three RBI. However, there are few full-time catchers available on the waiver wire, let alone one who is more of an offense-first profile on a team with little other options. Garver has a 38.6% rate for both hard hit and fly ball to go with a 80% contact rate. As a full-time catcher, Garver becomes an option for those in deep leagues and even more if his performance improves. He has matchups that he can take advantage of this week with Milwaukee and Detroit at home and Seattle on the road.  

Jorge Alfaro (C, PHI) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in Two Catcher Leagues OWNED IN: 7% of leagues ANALYSIS: Philadelphia Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro only has a .212 batting average this season, and has struck out a staggering 41 times in 93 plate appearances, but he still has value in two catcher leagues. He has walked seven times, so his .280 on-base percentage is not terrible, and he has hit four home runs. Also, Alfaro showed last season that he can be a legitimate slugging catcher, as he posted a .874 OPS in 114 plate appearances at the end of the season. Alfaro has not been as good in basically the same sample size this season, as he also had six doubles in 29 games last season, but he is at least showing that he has 20+ home run potential. As he is valued as a second catcher, his ability to at least show power is very nice. Alfaro has hits in three of his last four games and has a nice matchup against the Orioles to open the week before the Phillies play the Cardinals. He is a decent option as a second catcher for his power and has mid-tier C1 upside as well.    

Chris Iannetta (C, COL) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 34% of leagues ANALYSIS: Once again, Colorado Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta is below the 50% threshold of ownership. Sure, he is hitting .217 with three homers, but his home park is still one that can revive his bat VERY quickly. The weather will continue to get warmer and his bat should heat up some along with those temperatures. He is now hitting just .143/.268/.314 over his last 10 games and .217/.323/.361 on the season, losing some playing time to Tony Wolters as well, but the 35-year-old veteran was brought in to give the team stability behind the plate. He is coming off of his best offensive season since 2008, posting 17 home runs in just 89 games, and has a career-best 38.3% hard hit ball rate. 44.1% ground balls will not help anyone, but, if he can continue to make hard contact, his .268 BABIP will rise. Look at Iannetta as a lower-tier catcher, or even a second catcher if you have a stable option, as he will likely bounce back quickly. Matchups next week in San Diego and San Francisco are less than ideal, but the Rockies do play in a strong hitter's park this weekend (Milwaukee).    

Yan Gomes (C, CLE) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 10% of leagues ANALYSIS: Cleveland Indians catcher Yan Gomes is a solid second catcher in deeper, two-catcher formats. There were some other catchers ahead of him, ownership-numbers-wise, but he is the only one in that group that's hitting above his weight. Gomes is not going to contend for a batting title, but .244 is a darn sight better than some of those other catchers. What can distinguish Gomes is that he has hit four homers and is a part of a strong Indians lineup. He also has seen his walk rate jump over 7% in each of the last two seasons (7.3% this season) and has a .430 slugging percentage (his highest since 2014). Use Gomes as a second catcher, or a decent backup in deeper formats, as he does have 15 home run potential and produce some runs as well for the Tribe.

James McCann (C, DET) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 25% of leagues ANALYSIS: Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann has been grabbed off of the wires because he has raised his average to .276. This comes even though he still only has two homers and 13 RBI and three of those runs were plated in May. Still, you need warm bodies in there and he is just as good a choice as any other one. A big change for McCann is that he has cut his strikeout rate (albeit in a small sample of 119 plate appearances), as he has gone from striking out 22.8% of the time to 17.6%. While that is good, there are some issues, mainly that his hard hit ball rate is down (38.2% to 36%), his ground ball rate is up (37.6% to 42.7%), but his BABIP is at a career-best .314. Catcher is an extremely shallow position, so we have to take the players that are hot. McCann is and should be owned in deeper leagues.

John Hicks (C/1B, DET) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 4% of leagues ANALYSIS: Detroit Tigers catcher/first baseman John Hicks is the hottest hitter in the Tigers lineup over the last few weeks. While that does not always equate to fantasy production, there may be some great value here. Hicks has taken over for the injured Miguel Cabrera for the time being, and he has put together an impressive five-game stretch , collecting nine hits and a homer. He is slashing .283/.333/.528 in 57 plate appearances this season and has a ludicrous 48.6% hard hit ball rate. While it is highly unlikely that Hicks sustains this production over a long period of time, he has shown that he can make an impact while Cabrera has been out. The best part of all? He is a catcher in Yahoo! leagues. If you are having trouble finding catcher production, especially in a two-catcher league, Hicks is certainly worth a shot, at least while Miggy is sidelined.

Robinson Chirinos (C, TEX) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in Two-Catcher Leagues OWNED IN: 16% of leagues ANALYSIS: It's not often that you'll see us recommend picking up a player with a strikeout rate north of 40 percent, but the scourge of the two-catcher format makes for strange bedfellows. Chirinos has homered four times in his last nine games, giving him a total of six on the season. That's more than any other catcher in baseball save for Gary Sanchez, who is probably not available in your league. Sure, Chirinos has also struck out 16 times in that nine-game span, but he's hit a passable .265 anyway. The 34-year-old plays often - only eight catchers have more plate appearances - and can put a ball in the seats every now and again. That's more than can be said for most backstops, and it's enough to make him worth picking up if you are a glutton for punishment and willingly participate in a league that requires rostering multiple catchers.

Kurt Suzuki (C, ATL) - Week 4 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 40% of leagues ANALYSIS: Tyler Flowers is nearing a return from the disabled list, but Kurt Suzuki is worth adding to your roster anyway. Receiving the bulk of starts behind the plate for the Braves while Flowers has been recovering from an oblique strain, the 34-year-old has continued the remarkable transformation he began last season. Suzuki was always good at making contact, but he's figured out how to unlock some hidden pop in his bat without sacrificing any of that bat-to-ball ability. In 20 games, he's hitting .311/.389/.557 with four home runs and 23 R+RBI after putting up a .283/.351/.536 with 19 homers in 81 games last season. Even more impressive, he's chopped seven percentage points off his already low strikeout rate. Only a few catchers can be said to have outhit Suzuki so far, and they're all close to universally owned. It's time for fantasy owners to recognize Suzuki as deserving of a roster spot in more than 40 percent of leagues.

Matt Wieters (C, WAS) - Week 3 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 7% of Yahoo leagues ANALYSIS: Washington Nationals catcher Matt Wieters has been getting picked up by a decent amount of Yahoo! owners, as he is just coming off the disabled list. The good news for those looking at a catcher is that he is still WAY under-owned. He is only 1-for-10 since coming off of the disabled list and only had a .632 OPS with the Nationals in 123 games last season. While Wieters' OPS has dropped in each of the last four seasons (and he has not played more than 125 games since 2013), he is a four-time All-Star that averages 20 home runs per 162 games in his career. Before going all in on Wieters, remember that Pedro Severino exceled with a .368 average as the main replacement for Wieters to begin the season. While Severino is now the backup, and is better in a two-catcher league, he could get more playing time if Wieters gets hurt, though. Keep an eye on Severino and consider platooning the two catchers in the Nation's capital.

Jorge Alfaro (C, PHI) - Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in Two-Catcher Leagues OWNED IN: 12% of Yahoo leagues ANALYSISJorge Alfaro represents the ultimate problem for fantasy owners: is a toolsy player without production worth rostering for the upside? To be fair, Alfaro last season was certainly passable with a .318 AVG, five home runs, and 127 WRC+ in 29 games. At the same time, a 28.9 K% compared to a 2.6 BB% limits the ability to keep that line going. So then why does he appear on this list? Andrew Knapp. Of the two, Alfaro has the clearer offensive profile, and his strong arm (Fangraphs 70 CV) makes him an excellent defensive player for manager Gabe Kapler. Expect Alfaro to get the ABs in a potent Phillies offense and rely on production by association when compared to a weak catcher pool in general. Now the good on Alfaro: a 2018 14.3 BB% is promising and shows a better approach at the plate so far. Also, a 2.5 GB/FB ratio should end up dropping to his career line of 1.81 (including the minors), meaning an increase in his power profile. Is Alfaro a starting fantasy catcher? No. In two-catcher leagues is he worth the upside? The profile says yes.

Chris Iannetta (C, COL) - Week 1 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in Deeper Leagues OWNED IN: 33% owned ANALYSIS: Most of you expect nothing from your catcher slot, but that doesn’t have to be the case! The 35-year-old Iannetta quietly enjoyed 2017’s homer party with 17 dingers in just 316 PAs for Arizona, and he now leaves the humidor-stricken Chase Field behind him as he heads to the only park that was more hitter-friendly last season. Say it with me now: “Coooooors”. C’mon, say it like you’re one of those objectively-wrong people who doesn’t think Larry Walker should be in the Hall of Fame! Seriously though, Iannetta may not do much more than hit 20-plus homers, but what more do you need? You know the counting stats should be decent in that lineup, too. If you want metrics, his average exit velocity of 93.8 MPH on liners and fly balls was tied with Yasmani Grandal and Welington Castillo. I want Tom Murphy to be a thing just as much as the next writer, but Iannetta is the backstop to own.

Austin Barnes (C/2B, LAD) - Week 1 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in Deeper Leagues OWNED IN: 36% owned ANALYSIS: Barnes pushed aside Yasmani Grandal for starts down the stretch last year by rocking an .895 OPS with eight homers and four steals in 262 plate appearances, which led to his also starting over Grandal through much of the postseason. Grandal is no slouch, especially defensively, and he’s also on the last year of his contract. The age-28 Barnes and his “J.T. Realmuto but with more power” needs to be watched like a hawk should he get four or more starts a week, let alone if Grandal goes down or is traded.

Evan Gattis (C, HOU) - 2018 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers & Draft Values

BALLER MOVE: Target ~135 CURRENT ADP: 148 ANALYSIS: Houston Astros catcher/designated hitter Evan Gattis became a vital piece in the Astros 2017 championship run. He has, however, seen a steep decrease in playing time over the past few seasons, from 153 games in 2015 to only 84 appearances last season. This can be attributed, not to injuries, but Gattis becoming more of a designated hitter/spot starter at this point in his career. When he was given opportunities he contributed, hitting .263 with 12 home runs, 22 doubles and 55 runs batted in with only 300 plate appearances. He surprisingly fared well against right-handers last season, smacking eight home runs, 16 doubles and hitting .272. With Carlos Beltran now retired, it is possible more plate appearances have opened up for Gattis. But the youth and talent running up and down the Astros roster will make it tough for Gattis to improve upon his 2017 numbers. Gattis will be a strong starting catcher for fantasy owners, with top-five (or even top-catcher) potential.

Yasmani Grandal (C, LAD) - 2018 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers & Draft Values

BALLER MOVE: Target ~230 CURRENT ADP: 269 ANALYSIS: Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal had such a terrible season at the plate that he was replaced by Austin Barnes in the postseason. A popular sleeper pick at this time last year, Grandal saw his stock drop by doing all the wrong things that terrible batters do. He sliced into his walk rate (8.3% in 2017 versus 14.0% in 2016), increased his K-rate (27% in 2017 versus 25.4% in 2016) and saw his ISO drop from .249 in 2016 to .212 in 2017. His 2.5 WAR come solely from his defensive value which is derived from his excellent pitch framing, which is useless for fantasy purposes. Grandal is a strong bounce back in 2018, even if he is unlikely to be a top-ten catcher, as he is the "best shape of his life". While Barnes will continue to press him for playing time, look for Grandal to still get 450 or so plate appearances and hit close to 20 home runs.

Alex Avila (C, ARI) - 2018 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers & Draft Values

BALLER MOVE: Target ~350 CURRENT ADP: 398 ANALYSIS: Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Alex Avila was great last year with a .264/.387/.447 line and 14 bombs in 376 PA. Avila has two elite skills (plate discipline and contact quality) and is a disaster everywhere else. OBP and power are more than most fantasy catchers bring to the table though. Moving to Chase Field could potentially help Avila's power numbers. Both Comerica Park (98 HR factor) and Wrigley Field (97) suppressed left-handed power slightly in 2017, while the ball flew out in Phoenix (110). However, there are whispers that the Diamondbacks plan to start using a humidor in 2018, a change dramatic enough to render previous ballpark factors unreliable. Arizona signed the backstop for less than $10 million guaranteed over two years, so the market apparently was not that high on his skill set. If your league-mates make the same mistake, pounce on this potential top-five fantasy backstop.

Austin Hedges (C, SD) - 2018 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers & Draft Values

BALLER MOVE: Target ~220 CURRENT ADP: 266 ANALYSIS: Regarded as a top-shelf defensive catcher, Austin Hedges bucked his one-sided reputation in 2017 by hitting 18 homeruns, tied eighth-best for signal-callers. Unfortunately, the power did not translate into other fantasy-useful categories. Hedges finished outside the top-20 for backstops with a meager 36 runs, 55 RBI and .214/.262/.398 slash. Entering 2018, the 25-year-old Hedges spent his offseason working on a steadier swing and plate discipline. Last year's power surge wasn't a complete surprise. In 2016, Hedges mashed in Triple-A with 21 homers, 82 RBI and a .951 OPS in 334 PAs. A leap in ISO from .042 to .183 last season supported encouraging trends observed in the minors. His 33.1% Hard% also put him top-10 amongst catchers. His average in 2017 was depressed by a .260 BABIP. A lingering head injury undoubtedly affected performance for months. Hedges projects to bat sixth or seventh in an improved Padres offense and has a shot to surpass last year's runs and RBI totals. Because of his defense, Hedges will play regularly. Catchers share the same structural risks: injuries, playing time, and a dearth of speed. However, Hedges possesses growth potential, a trait hardened veterans Salvador Perez and Yadier Molina lack. He's not Perez or Molina, but Hedges' basement-level ADP presents a free option for managers reluctant to bear catcher risk early in drafts.

Francisco Mejia (C, CLE) - 2018 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers & Draft Values

BALLER MOVE: Target ~300 CURRENT ADP:  340 ANALYSIS: Francisco Mejia, though he has been a catcher throughout his minor league career, might get some action elsewhere in the 2018 season. In the Arizona Fall League this year, Mejia played third base, and on the Glendale website (the AFL team he played for), he was listed as an infielder, not a catcher. The Indians have made it clear that they want his bat in the lineup, and are willing to be flexible with his position in order to do so. That bodes extremely well for fantasy owners because it means that not only will he have multi-positional eligibility at catcher and third base, but it also means that he will have regular playing time. Mejia broke out in a big way in 2016, triple-slashing .342/.382/.514 in 1o2 games at catcher. He was nearly as brilliant in 2017, triple-slashing .297/.346/.490 in 92 Double-A games before getting the call to the majors for a brief period of time. Mejia has a special bat, and he will reward his owners in 2018 with his great tool at a relatively weak catcher position.