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Week 19 Waiver Wire - Catcher


With the MLB Trade Deadline fully behind us, it's time to start preparing for the Fantasy Baseball playoffs. With likely major trades happening in your league, one position that could be forgotten is catcher. There's only so many superstars and many teams have to dig through the waiver wire to find their starter.

That being said, the trade deadline has opened up multiple opportunities for players. Outside of that, different back stops have been on a tear lately and could be worth a look. Overall, the waiver wire is flush with more potential starters at catcher in Week 19 than it has in the past.

If you need help at the catcher position, one of these six players could help lead you to the playoffs. Whether it be in the long-term or just as a streaming option, these catchers hold the most upside in Week 19 and potentially going forward. Catcher might be the toughest position to figure out in fantasy baseball, but the waiver wire makes it a whole lot easier. Finding the perfect back stop could be key to whether you're in the playoffs or eliminated early.

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Tier One

If you're looking for help at the catcher position, these are the players to target. All three will see regular playing time and have produced on a consistent basis. All are safe to be added and could be used regularly in most leagues.

Robinson Chirinos (C, TEX) 40% owned  

The Texas Rangers were one of the more active teams at the deadline, trading away pitchers Cole Hamels, Keone 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're 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 aren't 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 isn't 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 can't count on him for batting average, there's 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) 8% owned 

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. Arcia 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's a chance that his hot start becomes a fluke and he ends up falling back to the norm. However, we've 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's a chance the team gives him a chance to prove why he deserves a roster spot. Arcia isn't necessarily a safe add, but he's on an impressive streak, making him viable in 12-man leagues.

Mike Zunino (C, SEA) 45% owned 

Seattle Mariners catcher Mike Zunino has seemed like a breakout candidate for multiple seasons now. While he hasn't 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 doesn't 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. But at catcher, with only so many "sure-fire" options, it doesn't hurt to take a chance. Last season his 25 home runs ranked third among catchers while his 64 RBI ranked seventh. He'll need to limit the strikeouts and get a bit more consistent at the plate, but there's no reason Zunino can't reach 20 home runs and 50 RBI in 2018.

Zunino is one of the riskier options on the market. But not many catchers are available that offer legit 25+ home run potential. If you're in need of offense and have a hole at catcher, it might be worth taking a chance on Zunino's bat.

 

Tier Two

These players don't offer as much potential as the Tier One options, but are still viable in deeper leagues. They all have an opportunity for regular playing time and have produced regularly recently. While there's no telling how long they'll remain relevant, they are all worth a pickup if the Tier One options are unavailable in your league.

Michael Perez (C, TB) 0% owned

 The Tampa Bay Rays acquired catcher Michael Perez prior to the deadline in a deal sending pitcher Matt Andriese to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Perez has looked solid during his short time with the Rays, and could be in line for more starts with Wilson Ramos dealt to Philadelphia.

Over his first four games in the majors, Perez has hit .471 with an RBI and two runs scored. Perez also looked good during his time in the minors, hitting .246 with 48 home runs, 285 RBI and 260 runs scored over eight seasons.

Despite looking strong this season, the Rays are not destined for the playoffs. Due to this, there's a chance they give starts to Perez rather than veteran Jesus Sucre. While Sucre is probably better suited to help the team's young pitching staff, he has hit just .226 on the season. With the Rays looking to contend in 2019, perhaps they give Perez a chance to prove his worth.

Perez's path to playing time became a whole lot clearer after the Ramos trade. However, he's still going to battle for starts with Sucre. If he gets enough time behind the plate, Perez could be an underrated catching option who is viable in deeper 12-man leagues.

Russell Martin (C/3B, TOR) 12% owned 

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's no longer the All-Star he was in 2015. While he hasn't 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 isn't 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's no guaranteeing that Martin will be able to keep his hot streak up. However, he's 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) 9% owned 

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. He isn't setting the world on fire, but he's 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 isn't 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're in a deep 12-man or 14-man league, Garver should be a boost to your catcher position in the batting average category.

 

Waiver Order

This is the order in which the players listed in this article should be added off the waiver wire. If the top guy is already rostered, you should claim the next available and so on.

1) Robinson Chirinos
2) Mike Zunino
3) Francisco Arcia
4) Russell Martin
5) Mitch Garver
6) Michael Perez

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