With your Fantasy Baseball trade deadline rapidly approaching, that means it is time to fine tune your lineup and prepare your roster for the rest of the season. One position where you can find room for improvement is most likely catcher. Unless you have Buster Posey, you can definitely stand to improve. If you are in a two-catcher league, having more than one that can put up Top 10 numbers for the next month and a half could help you gain ground on your opponents. The position is not what it has been in past years, and that means pickings are slim when it comes to upgrading. While your best option might be to simply settle, you should at least attempt to get better, even if it is just marginally. Here are five ways to improve at the catcher position right now.
- Trade for an established catcher – The top of the line would be Posey, but there are a few other veteran options that can give you a major boost. Russell Martin will give you above average RBI and Run production in the Blue Jays powerful lineup with a few stolen bases as an added bonus. He will not cost as much as Posey, but his consistent production over the past few years makes him one of the premier players at the position. Brian McCann is having a strong bounce back season in the Bronx, leading all catchers in homers and is second in RBIs. He is not going to hit for much average at this point in his career, but his power in the middle of the Yankees ageless lineup makes McCann very valuable. While the track record is not quite as long, Yasmani Grandal makes for an excellent addition as well. He has fulfilled much of the promise that we have been waiting to see for the past few years. The change of scenery to LA has certainly helped his production. Since he is not as reputable as the three players above him are, Grandal should be a more reasonably priced option.
- Trade for a young up and comer – Kyle Schwarber got a sip of sunshine back in June, but was quickly sent down once the designated hitter went away. He has been torching minor league pitching since last season and that has continued in his most recent call-up. Schwarber has quickly established himself as a Top 5 catcher with his ability to hit for both average and power in a blossoming Cubs lineup. Whether he stays at the position long-term is something those in dynasty leagues have to worry about. As long as he keeps getting regular at-bats, he is going to be one of the best backstops Fantasy money can buy. Is Schwarber’s price too high because of his recent hot streak? Time to scoop up Travis d’Arnaud. If not for injuries, he would already be an established asset. His price tag should be very affordable given the lack of actual production this season. He is not going to be a game-changer, but d’Arnaud has the potential to give you a nice boost down the stretch.
- Buy low – The first candidate to buy low on is the Brewers Jonathan Lucroy. He has been a Fantasy disappointment this year, but that does not mean the season is a complete wash just yet. Lucroy has a proven track record of four category contributions. This year, though, the power and average have not been there. Adding to that are the injuries that have slowed him down. While he has showed many signs of reverting to form, Lucroy has the talent to rebound. Just be weary of paying for his previous statistics when you engage in trade talks. If you can’t pry Lucroy away from his owner, you can turn your attention to the Orioles’ Matt Wieters, who is hitting .343 this month and starting to round into form. Wieters is flying under the radar right now because of a slow start after an injury that cost him the better part of two months. Wieters might even be on your waiver wire in a shallow or one catcher format.
- Hit the waiver wire – Welington Castillo has taken nicely to the desert, launching 13 HRs with a .297 average in 45 games with the Diamondbacks. While his hot bat is almost certain to cool off, Castillo can still give you a fair amount of power from here on out. He is at the very least a valuable add while he is on his current streak. At 28 years old and on his third team this season, he has found new life as an everyday player. In deep leagues, J.T. Realmuto has been a decently productive option in his rookie season for the Marlins. He does not yet offer much in the way of power, but he gets regular at-bats and has held his own. As he matures, he could become an everyday starter, but for right now, he is more like bench material.
- Settle – If you have exhausted all of your other options, it is time to settle. Yadier Molina still has a name brand, but his production has waned in recent seasons. With all of the struggles at the position this year though, he can still be a solid contributor. While he has just nine home runs over the past two seasons, he will give you a respectable average and decent RBI/Run totals. If you are dealing with a realistic owner, Molina’s price tag should be a fraction of what it was a couple years ago. When healthy, Wilson Ramos has been an underrated Fantasy option thanks to solid pop. He is not the flashiest name, but offers untapped upside for the Nationals. His average will not hurt you, but he needs to show more power in order to be considered starter material. Francisco Cervelli is not known for his offensive production with only 16 HRs in almost 1,000 career at-bats. Getting a chance to be a full-time player for the first time in his career, he has put up a respectable line this season. Cervelli is the epitome of settling.