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It is week seven and by now there just be plenty of clarity about the baseball season and your roster. Let me tell you one truth: the backstop is a weak position. Yep, it’s been said. We all agree but some just won’t say it aloud. Others will just shrug their shoulders. Well, I’ve said it for you. Now that it has been stated, there are choices to be made. Option A is to trade for one of the better catchers like Gary Sanchez and Willson Contreras. That could prove costly and might force you to go bankrupt. Option B is to avoid it all together. This is primarily for the head-to-head leagues where managers would rather risk the counting stats for the safety knowing the catcher spot won’t wreck their slash line. Option C is to stream the leftovers. This is the preferred method for a couple of reasons.

Option C is for the individual that is not tied down to an elite or in some case, an upper-mediocre catcher. When you own one of those catchers, you are forced to keep them in your lineup because they are at some degree slightly better than the average catcher, which might not be saying much. With the freedom of Option C, you are able to go gallivanting across the catcher universe, picking and choosing your catcher du jour.

So, this list below is of players who are owned in less than 50% of leagues. You could grab a combination of these guys or just stream at your leisure. Either way, a serviceable guy across the board is better than a drain in all or multiple categories.

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Week 7 Waiver Wire Targets For Your Backstop

Catcher Du Jour

John Hicks (1B/C, DET ) 21% owned

Hicks is a prime example that some players just need an opportunity. He has more at-bats in the last two weeks than the likes of Wilson Contreras and Gary Sanchez. His playing time is dictated by Miguel Cabrera’s presence on the disabled list for a hamstring injury. Coincidentally, it is currently a favorable situation for Hicks as Cabrera is “done playing hurt”. “Nobody appreciates you when you play hurt,” Cabrera also stated. Cabrera was eligible to return from the DL on Monday but has experienced soreness in his back and hips. This gives Hicks an opportunity to continue to provide steady results for you from the first base spot, with catcher eligibility. He has the most at-bats (49) for a catcher-eligible player in the last two weeks. Hicks has eight runs, two homer and eight RBI with a .327 batting average during that time. Hicks’ playing time upon Cabrera’s return is a bridge to cross once it gets here. Until then, enjoy the unexpected production of a grossly under-owned catcher. Hicks’ upcoming matchups are mostly favorable against Seattle, Minnesota, and the Chicago White Sox.

Mitch Garver (C, MIN) 0% owned

An unowned guy that has the starting job for a young, up-and-coming offense. That defines Garver, 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 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 backstop 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 with Milwaukee and Detroit at home and Seattle on the road.

James McCann (C, DET) 4% owned

McCann is a hitter with average skills across the board that is getting consistent playing time. He was slowed down last week by the quality pitching in Seattle and Cleveland. On the season, McCann has three homers and eight doubles with 15 RBI to go with a .272 batting average. He has enough plate discipline to be productive at that plate with a 17.3 K% and 8.6% swinging strike. He is able to spread the ball around to all fields and does not rely on being a fly ball or ground ball hitter. It isn’t exciting but he should get more plate appearances that some of the other streamers that are in split time shares.

 

Risky Business

Luke Maile (C, TOR) 3% owned

Maile shares the catcher role with the age-less Russell Martin. Should Martin sustain an injury, Maile would then take of the starting gig. If this year’s numbers were any indication of future success, then Maile would be a hot commodity. In 14 days he has four runs, two homers and five RBI to go with a .296 AVG and .387 OBP. However, keep in mind that the 27-year-old has no history of this type of performance.  He has an 11.7% walk rate and a .476 BABIP that forecasts a regression in the .324 batting average.

Maile also has a couple of other hitting trends that will give cause for concern. In 2018, his hard hit rate (50.0%) is grossly higher than his previous best in 2016 (33.7%). With that hard hit rate, he is hitting the lowest amount of fly balls (29.5%) in his career. Therefore, when that BABIP drops, his other performance will likely drop with it. Do not be left holding this bag. With that being said, the matchups this week aren’t too terrible as the Blue Jays take on the Athletics and the Angels. If you are desperate and have no other option, Maile might be serviceable this week.

The last thing to keep in mind is that Maile is not the catcher of the future for Toronto. That honor belongs to Danny Jansen at Triple-A. Jansen is an offensive force now that he has corrected his vision. In dynasty leagues, Jansen is the catcher you want to own from the Blue Jays roster.

 

Performances of Other Catchers

Most of these guys are in equal time-shares that limits their playing time.

Manny Pina (C, MIL) 4% owned

Last 7 days: 16 AB, five runs, one HR, three RBI, .438 AVG

Tyler Flowers (C, ATL) 3% owned

Last 7 days: eight AB, two runs, one HR, four RBI, .625 AVG

Yan Gomes (C, CLE) 10% owned

Last 7 days: 16 AB, three runs, one HR, three RBI, .313 AVG

Tucker Barnhart (C, CIN) 14% owned

Last 7 days: 16 AB, two runs, one HR, four RBI, .313 AVG

 

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Adds