Catcher remains as dire as ever for fantasy baseball purposes, but with 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 — and who we might’ve buried a bit prematurely. So if you’re like most of us, looking for any kind of production from the catcher position, 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 10
Francisco Alvarez, C, New York Mets
Roster percentage: 8.8%
Alvarez got off to a bit of a bumpy start upon getting called up for the injured Omar Narvaez back in April, but he’s shown exactly why he was such a highly-touted prospect once the calendar flipped. The slugger is slashing .304/.381/.661 in the month of May, including three multi-hit games (and three homers) in his last six starts. He’s cut his K rate while chasing less, walking more and hitting the ball as hard as ever, with a 113.6 mph max exit velocity that ranks in the top 10 percent of the league. The average will certainly come down a bit — he’s much more a .240 hitter than a .300 hitter — but the power is very real, and the recently returned Tomas Nido is a defensive specialist who shouldn’t eat too much into Alvarez’s playing time.
Gabriel Moreno, C, Arizona Diamondbacks
Roster percentage: 8.6%
It’s funny how hype cycles work. The centerpiece of Arizona’s side of the trade that sent Daulton Varsho to the Toronto Blue Jays, Moreno was a consensus top-100 prospect and trendy late pick in fantasy drafts ... then was all but forgotten after a rough first month of the season. Of course, the MLB season is a marathon, not a sprint, and Moreno’s bat has woken up in May to the tune of a .308/.379/.404 slash line.
The 23-year-old doesn’t make a ton of loud contact, and will likely never reach more than 10-15 homers in a season; but he does make a lot of contact, with solid K and whiff rates and a track record of hitting around .300 at every level. He can even chip in a few steals at a position bereft of speed, with a 59th-percentile sprint speed that suggests his two swipes so far aren’t a fluke. He’s not a fit for every roster, but if you need average (and decent counting stats in a sneaky-solid Arizona lineup) look no further.
Mitch Garver, C, Texas Rangers
Roster percentage: 0.9%
Largely forgotten about amid the Rangers’ torrid start at the plate, Garver is almost set to return from the knee injury that’s sidelined him since the middle of April. The former Minnesota Twins star was crushing the ball when he got hurt, with a .943 OPS and two homers over his first six games, and while health is always a question mark, we know what Garver can do when he’s healthy. (Recall that he once slugged .630 and hit 31 homers in just 93 games with Minnesota back in 2019.)
The red-hot Jonah Heim won’t be ceding a ton of playing time behind the dish, but that’s for the best anyway, as keeping Garver away from catching duties will help keep him healthy — and Texas has a hole at DH, especially if Ezequiel Duran is forced to missed time with his balky back. He’s a sneaky stash if you’re in need of upside and don’t mind waiting a few days.