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 11
Patrick Bailey, C, San Francisco Giants
Roster percentage: 1.5%
Bailey got increased run during the month of May due to Joey Bart’s injury, and the 2020 first-round pick has made the most of it, with a .914 OPS and five extra-base hits (including two homers) across his first 11 MLB games. His Statcast numbers largely back that up, too: While he’s striking out a lot, he’s making tons of hard contact (92.1 average exit velocity, 51.7% hard-hit rate, 37.9% line drive rate). Bart’s showing no signs of returning any time soon, and while the league will certainly adjust after Bailey’s opening hot streak, he should remain in prime position to drive in runs.
Matt Thaiss, C, Los Angeles Angels
Roster percentage: 0.5%
Thaiss won’t make Angels fans forget about Logan O’Hoppe any time soon, but he’s been very solid since the star rookie went down, hitting .283 with three homers (and one steal!) across his first 115 plate appearances this season. He’s running a very strong 11.3% walk rate, making him even more valuable in OBP leagues, and he’ll be in a good spot to rack up counting stats as long as Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani are around.
Mitch Garver, C, Texas Rangers
Roster percentage: 0.9%
Out since late April with a knee injury, Garver continues to mash in his rehab assignment at Triple-A — slugging .737 with two homers and two doubles in six games — and he should get the call back up the Majors any day now. 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.