2017 Fantasy BaseballFantasy Baseball

2017 Fantasy Baseball, 3 to Add, 3 to Keep, 3 to Drop: Catcher Edition

We used to run a similar feature in seasons past and I thought we would give it another try. The concept is generally the same except I’m giving the feature a position specific bent. This time we will focus on fantasy catchers and hope that we will find enough to be relevant for you and your fantasy needs. We may do it in a different order than in the past, but I’ve always been a big believer in beginning with the positive.

3 to Add

Alex Avila— Detroit Tigers

What’s going on?

Simply put, Avila has been below average overall since his brilliant 2011 campaign. So, insert your favorite cliche: sometimes you can go home again, lightening can strike twice, or the Tigers have captured lightening in a bottle. True, he’s sharing time with James McCann, but if he keeps hitting over .300 with power they will keep him in the lineup.

Barriers to Launch

James McCann has gotten off to a good start on his own, so it is likely they will continue to share time. That will probably put Avila into the 10-15 home run category when all is said and done. That’s better than most catchers, but it may not be quite starter quality.

Evan Gattis— Houston Astros

What’s going on?

Gattis is admittedly in another category. He was a 50/50 propostion on draft day, so you may have to add him via trade. He has always hit, but with Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran on board, bis playing time was destined to be limited. He has taken another step forward as a hitter and forced A.J. Hinch to find a spot for him.

Barriers to Launch

If either McCann or Beltran get hot he will struggle to find a spot in the lineup. The same could be true if Marwin Gonzalez continues to hit home runs.

Matt Wieters— Washington Nationals

What’s going on?

Depending on the depth of your league, Wieters may not have been taken in your league. Part-time performance has knocked down his production the past couple of seasons, but he’s a regular catcher again with the production to go along with it. If he is still available in your league I’d add him even if you have an elite catcher.

Barriers to Launch

Wieters is not a .300 hitter, so he is bound to hit a rough patch. That can be hard to take if you are only adding him now.

3 to Keep

Gary Sanchez— New York Yankees

Reasons not to panic

Sure, he got off to a slow start and got injured in the process, but far too many fantasy owners panic way too soon on guys that get hurt and/or get off to slow starts. He has 30+ home run pedigree which might turn into 20+ with his time missed. That’s still better than most.

Pull the plug if…

He has an injury setback and you don’t have enough injured reserve slots to keep everyone around. If he doesn’t return until after the all-star break it might not be worth it depending on what else you have going on.

Kyle Schwarber— Chicago Cubs

Reasons not to panic

He is too good of a hitter to do this for most of the season. He has an OPS that is nearing .700 because of all of those walks. Sure, five category guys don’t care about that, but they should. If he continues to show power and patience they will continue to play him until he snaps out of the Mendoza blues.

Pull the plug if…

Joe Maddon starts putting someone else in left field other than him. One of the luxuries the Cubs have is plenty of bench guys to give opportunities to.

Russell Martin— Toronto Blue Jays

Reasons not to panic

Martin is essentially Schawarber on steroids. In spite of an average that is flirting with Mendoza, he has an OPS in the mid 700s. That may only benefit six category players, but he isn’t going anywhere overall. He will keep seeing his name on the lineup card as long as he is productive overall.

Pull the plug if…

I’d never drop him if he is healthy, but I might trade him if his average doesn’t increase and you are desperate for the higher average.

3 to Drop

Derek Norris— Tampa Bay Rays

Reasons to Panic

This is two years in a row where Norris has failed to hit above the Mendoza line. Sure, two seasons in a row with a BABIP under .250 could be really bad luck, but it is likely something else going on entirely. I don’t want to sit around and find out.

Hold off?

His defense will keep him on the field until Wilson Ramos is ready, so if you have bench slots available you could stash him there.

Francisco Cervelli— Pittsburgh Pirates

Reasons to Panic

Unlike the other catchers on the board, Cervelli relies on his batting average for his fantasy value. Sitting at .203 doesn’t help anyone at this point. Sure, he may hit .260 from here on out, but even then you are looking at a .250 catcher with no power or speed.

Hold Off?

The funny thing about fantasy baseball is that the clock always starts over when picking up a player on waivers. I might be inclined to drop Cervelli if I owned and just as likely to pick him up if I didn’t.

Yan Gomes— Cleveland Indians

Reasons to Panic

Like Norris, Gomes has been a Mendoza performer two seasons in a row. He is also one of the only American League catchers to hit ten or more home runs three or more seasons in a row. Unfortunately, those ten home runs won’t help you much with a catcher that can’t hit .200. He is already losing playing time because of his paltry hitting. It is likely to get worse before it gets better.

Hold Off?

The power potential and the powerful lineup creates the possibility of rebound no matter how remote.



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