We’re back to help you crush your fantasy baseball competition with some free agent pickups. This article helps by highlighting some hot players to snag off the waiver wire. For a player to qualify for this article, they’ll need to be available in at least 50% of Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues. For deep league players, one of these catchers sits on the wire in 90% of fantasy baseball leagues. [Jeff]
Alex Avila, Detroit (30% owned)
Avila won’t amount to a top-ten catcher when the season ends, but where we sit right now, he’s third at the position. Avila earned more playing time in the wake of Miguel Cabrera’s injury; moving between catcher, first base, and DH this season. He’s hit .360 with four home runs, seizing the opportunity. That average will go down hard (.467 BABIP), but his power will play. Avila turned his medium contact into hard contact and pulls the ball significantly more this season. His power this season seems legit, as his launch angle, exit velocity, and average flyball distance are all well above average.
Cameron Rupp, Philadelphia (10% owned)
Rupp has quietly put together a decent season in Philly this year, mostly thanks to a good last couple of weeks. Rupp sits in the top-five in two advanced hitting measurements (wOBA and wRC+). He is hitting the ball harder and pulling the ball more, which supports his elevated ISO, as well. His exit velocity is slightly below average, but his launch angle and average flyball distance will hopefully put more doubles over the wall. I’m not optimistic for a lot of home runs, but he’s well worth getting for now. He elevated his K% without changing his contact rate (in fact, he dropped his swinging strike rate). The peripherals normalizing his strikeout rate should offset his too-high BABIP regressing.
Devin Mesoraco, Cincinnati (8% owned)
The Reds are easing Mesoraco back into action from injury, and he’s not playing too great yet. However, the last time Mesoraco put together a full season (2014), he had an all-star campaign that included a .893 OPS with 25 home runs. Mesoraco is a deep league or two-catcher stash play. There’s not much going yet, but he’s already strung together nearly 25% as many plate appearances this year (23) as he did in 2015 and 2016 combined. He’s worth a shot if you want to swing for the fences.