The air is starting to get a bit crisper (well, in the north at least). The real-life and fantasy trade deadlines have come and gone. September is almost upon us. The marathon of the 2023 MLB season has become a sprint to the finish, and right now is winning time for those of you lucky enough to still be in contention in your fantasy baseball leagues. With precious few weeks to shore up holes and make up ground in the standings, smart adds become even more important: Hit on an under-the-radar free agent, and fantasy hardware awaits; miss, and you’ll spend the winter wondering what if.
Luckily, our weekly waiver wire recommendations are here to help, with position-by-position looks are players you should consider snagging off the waiver wire. First up: catcher.
Fantasy baseball waiver wire: Week 22 catcher targets
Ryan Jeffers, C, Minnesota Twins
Roster percentage: 1.5%
Jeffers has outplayed prize offseason acquisition Christian Vazquez behind the plate for a while now, and his playing time is finally starting to reflect it — the 26-year-old has started 11 of the Twins’ 15 games in the month of August, rare volume for a catcher-eligible player in this day and age. He’s also taking full advantage of that opportunity, with a 1.020 OPS, four homers, nine RBI and six runs scored over that same timespan. Jeffers still strikes out a bunch — his .280 average is almost certainly a fluke — but his walk rate is up to a healthy 10.5%, and more importantly, the contact he does make is awfully loud. Jeffers’ hard-hit rate, average exit velocity and max exit velocity are near the top of the scale, and he has a swing geared for loft. That’s a good formula for healthy power numbers, which gives Jeffers tantalizing upside over the final few weeks.
Andrew Knizner, C, St. Louis Cardinals
Roster percentage: 0.4%
Willson Contreras has rebounded from his cold start to 2023, but he’s also battling a series of ailments — including a sore hip that sidelined him for a couple of games this past week — and with the Cardinals focused on 2024, the team is likely to ease up on his playing time a bit ahead of a meaningless month of September. Contreras’ loss will be Knizner’s gain: The 28-year-old has made eight starts already in August, slashing .400/.500/.600 with more walks (five) than strikeouts (three). That playing time equation figures to tilt even more in Knizner’s favor in the season’s final month, and with five homers in the past three-plus weeks, he too is a sneaky source of power for those in search of a home-run boost.
Logan O’Hoppe, C, Los Angeles Angels
Roster percentage: 6.8%
It feels like a lifetime ago, but back in the spring O’Hoppe looked like one of the game’s brightest young talents, enjoying a breakout season at the plate and helping propel the Angels to a hot start. Of course, we know what’s happened since: O’Hoppe tore his labrum — one of a seemingly endless string of injuries to key position players — and Los Angeles’ season has circled the drain. But while the Halos’ postseason push seems likely to come up short, O’Hoppe is coming close to a return: The backstop’s rehab assignment was moved to Triple-A this past week, and he could be back in the bigs in the coming days. The former top prospect was hitting .283/.339/.547 with four homers over his first 16 games before going down, and he brings both average and power upside that could be a league-swinger if he hits the ground running.