Week 1 Waiver Wire: Catchers

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The first week of the baseball season is maddening in so many ways. The schedule stops and starts worse than a senior citizen driver who isn't sure if the light is turning red or not. Judging players in these first few days is difficult.

It also means that people shouldn't make any snap judgments yet. "WHAT? BUSTER POSEY DOESN'T HAVE A HIT YET? I'm releasing him!" The sample sizes for these are ridiculously small. Yasmani Grandal already has two homers. That doesn't mean he's going to sustain this and hit over 80 long balls. He was drafted a lot more this year though - he has 94% ownership in Yahoo! leagues now. So, let's just take a deep breath and just go over some players that you can grab off the waiver wires that will work out in the long run this year.

Here are some catcher waiver wire pickups for Week 1, to consider adding to your teams. We'll show you three players to snag in 10-12 player leagues and also three to look out for in two-catcher leagues. All of these players are just at or below 50% ownership in Yahoo! fantasy leagues.

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10-12 Team League Pickups

Stephen Vogt (OAK) - 50% owned

Remember my cautious words above about taking these early season stats to heart? Well, Stephen Vogt has already cleared the fences once... and we were keen on him having a rebound year anyways. Nick Mariano wrote earlier this week about Vogt wanting to cut down on his swinging-strike rate and also become more judicious with his strike zone. Well, if he keeps going like this early on, Vogt will surely climb well over the 50% ownership mark soon. So, if you do grab him, remember that we reminded you early on that he would be a good waiver wire pick.

Matt Wieters (WAS) - 49% owned

Matt Wieters isn't the superstar-in-waiting that he used to be. He's on the other side of 30 and he's never hit more than 23 homers or driven in more than 83 RBIs. Still, given that there really is no complete superstar catcher right now - unless Gary Sanchez starts getting going soon - he's going to still help fantasy teams more than hurt them. He has Bryce Harper in the lineup, along with Daniel Murphy, Trea Turner, and Adam Eaton, along with Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman. He could have a very strong season and surprise a lot of people.

Yan Gomes (CLE) - 7% owned

OK, nobody wants to start a season going 0-for-7. As a team player, Yan Gomes must be happy the Tribe won those first two games, but he's got to want that first hit. Fantasy players are also waiting for him to get that first hit, since they are clearly holding back on drafting him. Gomes shouldn't feel THAT bad. Posey also started off 0-for-7. He's still the starting catcher for Cleveland. It's ugly, but he doesn't have complete zeroes across the board... he did score a run.  Look, it's early in the season and the lineup is still adjusting to Jason Kipnis being injured. Once the second baseman comes back sometime this month, everything should shift into place. He's still young at 29, though he will be turning 30. If he stays healthy, he could possibly regain that 20+ homer pop, though, with this dearth of catching depth, 15 homers would be great.

 

Two-Catcher League Pickups

Cameron Rupp (PHI) - 16% owned

If Cameron Rupp can hit 16 homers or more this year, then he would make a perfect second catcher in a two-catcher league. Since he's the starting catcher this year, he's also likely to get into more than 105 games, which was his career high. His OPS+ is NOT going to remain at -100 for very long. It was 99 last year and it should vastly improve soon. Oh, one small non-fantasy related tidbit that may have gone unnoticed: Rupp and his backup, Andrew Knapp, both have double-p's at the end of their last name and they also play for a team that has two P's at the beginning of its name: Philadelphia Phillies. OK. I'm weird. I notice stuff like that.

Sandy Leon (BOS) - 15% owned

Sandy Leon is hitting for a ridiculously high average again, hovering around .600. OK, OK. He's had five at-bats as of this writing, so let's not go TOO crazy here. Still, Boston was hoping he would hit out of the gate again and it seems like he is. He's not going to give you much via the power route, though he might crack the double-digit barrier given that he'll have a full season's worth of at-bats. He'll likely have a better-than-average OPS. Given the lack of choices of backstops, you could do a lot worse than picking him in a two-catcher league.

Francisco Cervelli (PIT) - 15% owned

I wonder if the Pittsburgh Pirates wish they could invent a time machine and go back to 2016 to stop themselves from giving Francisco Cervelli his three-year, $31 million extension. It seems that right after that, his production cratered. After starting off like a house on fire, he tailed off to finish at .261. I did champion him for a while last year as a possible 10-12 team pick. Not right now. He's off to a poor start this season, though having to face a 1-2 punch of Rick Porcello and Chris Sale in his first two outings might have something to do with it. He's going to raise that average some, but he's likely not going to drive in enough runs to be more than a second-catcher choice. He'll be rich, but he'll likely never be close to being a high fantasy pick. Still worth a shot in the two-catcher leagues.

 

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