Catcher remains as dire as effort for fantasy baseball purposes, but with almost two months of the 2023 season in the books, we’re beginning to get a sense of whose slow starts are more than a fluke and whose breakouts look like they’re for real. So with that in mind, here are three backstops likely available on the waiver wire who could return surprisingly solid production for the rest of the year.
Fantasy baseball waiver wire: Catcher targets for Week 9
Yasmani Grandal, C, Chicago White Sox
Roster percentage: 8.3%
Grandal is currently battling a bit of hamstring tightness, and health will always be a question mark for the 34-year-old. But it hasn’t been enough to keep him out of the lineup on a regular basis, and Grandal is important enough to the White Sox offense to also draw starts at DH — big at a position where playing time can be an issue.
It’s been a bounce-back season at the dish for the veteran, who has his average up around .290 to go with his typically strong OBP. His K rate is down, his line-drive rate is up and he seems to be taking a less pull-happy approach, which should allow him to wind up with a 15-20-homer, .260 season if he can stay on the field.
Francisco Alvarez, C, New York Mets
Roster percentage: 5.3%
We recommended Alvarez in this space when he was first called up, and while it was a bumpy start for one of the top prospects in baseball, the arrow is pointing decidedly up now.
Playing time had been an issue at first, but with health questions swirling around Omar Narvaez and Tomas Nido, Alvarez should be New York’s 1A at the very least. (I refuse to buy into Gary Sanchez as a legitimate threat until he proves he can still hit big league pitching consistently.) The 21-year-old has started to show signs of the prodigious power that made him so highly thought of, with three homers and five walks to just 10 strikeouts in the month of May. His max exit velocity of 113.6 mph places him in the top eight percent of the league, a stat that’s surprisingly predictive of future performance, and it looks like he could make a run at 25 homers this year with an average that won’t kill you and solid counting stats in a good offense.
Blake Sabol, C/OF, San Francisco Giants
Roster percentage: 0.6%
Joey Bart is once again on the IL with a groin injury, paving the way for Sabol to get even more playing time as the Giants’ starting catcher in addition to moonlighting in the outfield. He won’t do your batting average any favors — he’s currently sporting the worst K rate in the league — but his barrel rate, 17-degree launch angle and solid average exit velocity suggests that the power he’s displayed this year is for real. He’s also got two steals already this season, and he could find his way to something like 20 homers and eight steals if he gets the plate appearances.