This week’s fantasy baseball catcher review will help you identify catchers available in 50% or more of Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues. For deep league players, the third is available in 85% of leagues. [Jeff]
Welington Castillo, Baltimore (50% owned)
I was in on Castillo for some good power output before the season started, because his ISO & hard hit rate did not match his home run output. So far this year, his ISO is down but his batting average is up. That’s pretty fluky, but his dingers are set to go through the roof. His HR/FB rate has completely cratered this year to a meager 5% (from a career 12.6%). That isn’t a drop in power, as his exit velocity and launch angle are above league average. He’s not quite getting into the “barrel zone” on average, but that would be unprecedented.
His home runs are about to go through the roof, and thanks to a DL stint, he’s available in 50% of fantasy baseball leagues. He’s on the way back, as the Orioles reactivated him off the DL Tuesday. Pounce now and miss the rush.
Austin Hedges, San Diego (29% owned)
Hedges leads all catchers with eight home runs on the year, and is the #4 at the position on the season. The unfortunate part is that Hedges’ batting average drags everything else down, so his #330 overall rank makes him look unappealing. Fortunately for those looking to scoop up Hedges, his .205 BABIP means his average should tick upward. Hedges has a career .200 BABIP (well below league average ~.300), but he’s hitting the ball much harder than ever before. He has a 35.6% hard hit rate compared to his career 27.1% (which was ticked upward by this season’s average, as well).
He’s definitely selling out for home runs, but that should continue to yield production, and as he gets used to major league hitting, he should drag that average upward. Catcher is such a mess though that even with that dismal average, he’s still a top-five catcher. He’s free in over 70% of leagues, which is astonishing.
Yan Gomes, Cleveland (4% owned)
Gomes is solely a two-catcher or deep league play, as there are probably too many productive catchers in shallow leagues. Since bottoming out on April 16, Gomes has swung a good bat. That’s nearly a month’s worth of productivity. He has plenty of doubles, but only one dinger in that timeframe, so he likely flew under the radar. Gomes is rocking a .356/.463/.533 triple slash since hitting rock bottom. He’s been hitting well for almost a month. Go snag him before your fantasy baseball league realizes it.