After a dizzying few days, we’re finally starting to recover from the chaos of the 2023 trade deadline. The landscape of the league has shifted dramatically over the last few days: Justin Verlander is an Astro; Max Scherzer (and Jordan Montgomery) is a Ranger; the Dodgers, Rays and Orioles all found themselves a starting pitcher, while the Reds didn’t. The Angels (and Cubs) are all the way in, the Mets are all the way out, and the Twins and Yankees ... apparently did not have cell reception on Tuesday afternoon.
Of course, the real-life game isn’t the only thing that’s been flipped upside down. As it does every year, the trade deadline will have fantasy baseball ramifications that will be felt for the rest of the season, leaving managers with plenty to keep track of as they get their rosters ready for the stretch run. 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 as the deadline dust settles. First up: catcher.
Fantasy baseball waiver wire: Week 20 catcher targets
Gary Sanchez, C, San Diego Padres
Roster percentage: 8.3%
Sanchez has long been among the streakiest players in all of baseball, capable of disappearing for weeks on end and then powering a lineup all by himself for an entire month. He seems to be entering the latter period right now: The Padres backstop has five homers (and two doubles) in his last eight games, good for a ridiculous 1.335 OPS. Luis Campusano hasn’t done enough to unseat Sanchez as the starter behind the plate in San Diego, and you simply won’t find many (if any) better sources of power at the catcher position than Sanchez when he’s on a heater.
Mitch Garver, C, Texas Rangers
Roster percentage: 2.8%
The AL West-leading Rangers were among the most aggressive teams at the deadline this year, but Garver could be a real difference-maker for catcher-needy teams (read: just about every team) for reasons that have nothing to do with any trade. Texas put All-Star backstop Jonah Heim on the IL last week with a wrist tendon injury that seems likely to keep him out for the foreseeable future. The starting role now falls to Garver, who’s started six of his team’s last seven games — and has hit .348/.444/.652 with two homers over that span, running his season total to seven in just 151 plate appearances. Garver’s got very strong batted-ball metrics, hitting the ball hard and in the air consistently, and Texas’ lineup is obviously an ideal environment to rack up counting stats.
Freddy Fermin, C, Kansas City Royals
Roster percentage: 0.4%
With MJ Melendez making a full-time move to the outfield and the Royals wanting to take it easy on a banged-up Salvador Perez down the stretch of a lost season, Fermin has started to see a lot of time at catcher for K.C. — and he’s making the most of it. The 28-year-old has started six of his team’s last eight games, usually batting fifth or sixth in the order, and he’s hitting .367/.385/.571 with two homers and four doubles over his last 13 games. With Nick Pratto and Matt Beaty both banged up, Perez should continue to see lots of time at first base and DH, making Fermin a sneaky value if he keeps hitting like this.