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2017 Fantasy Baseball: Three to Add, Three to Keep, Three to Drop– Catchers

Everything old is new again and just in time as there have been some major changes to the catching landscape in fantasy baseball. Of course, major is probably an overstatement as two players were DFA’ed and one was sent back to the minors. Those players were long since dropped in most leagues, but we will cover that territory just the same in case you’ve been asleep at the wheel.

Three to Add

Wilson Ramos— Tampa Bay Rays

Key Stats: .269/23/62/89/0 (per 162)

What is going on?

Ramos was recently activitated and he should get in ten games or so before the all-star break. The numbers above are obviously less than relevant because he will be lucky to get in half that much, but if you consider him from this point forward those numbers could have some relevance. .270/10/30/40 could be a nice addition to a number of rosters.

Barriers to Launch

They might bring him along too slowly for him to be of much fantasy value.

Bruce Maxwell— Oakland Athletics

Key Stats: .301/1/6/1/0 (136 career PA)

What is going on?

The future is now in Oakland as the A’s have waived Stephen Vogt. Maxwell will sink or swim. Adding a second catcher is usually advisable so you can hedge your bets against slumps and injury. Maxwell has never been much of a hitter in the minors, but he will get the opportunity to play every day. You never know what might happen in that time.

Barriers to Launch

His minor league track record is not impressive.

Mike Zunino– Seattle Mariners

Key Stats: .253/10/23/34/0

What is going on?

This marks four consecutive seasons for Zunino to hit ten or more home runs. That may not seem like much, but it puts him in fairly rare territory for catchers. He was a top draft pick, so you would think that things would click at some point and they may have in the last month. He may quietly hit 20+ home runs and still fly under the radar screen.

Barriers to Launch

Contact has long been an issue and it may be an issue again.

Three to Keep

Jason Castro— Minnesota Twins

Key Stats: .216/6/19/23/0

What is going on?

Batting average has been the red herring of baseball in general and fantasy baseball specifically. Castro gets on base at a healthy clip and he has decent pop. He plays nearly every day because of his defense, so he has a use in two catcher leagues.

Drop if…

Oh, that filthy batting average.

Austin Hedges— San Diego Padres

Key Stats: .221/11/22/36/1

What is going on?

Hedges is actually a decent option in single catchers leagues. Again, consider the batting average as a single statistic and then consider everything else. He’s better than most at hitting home runs and driving in runs and he has a steal to his credit. If you are in a 14 or 16 team league you should strongly consider him.

Drop if…

The league adjusts to him again he could go in a downward spiral.

Yadier Molina— St. Louis Cardinals

Key Stats: .260/9/25/28/5

What is going on?

I know some will roll their eyes at this. This is more of a mea culpa than inside dope. Last time I said he should be dropped because he would never hit for power again. Whoops! The Cards signed him to an extension and that move didn’t make sense at the time, but Molina just keeps on trucking. Notice the five steals too.

Drop if…

Injury would probably be the only thing now.

Three to Drop

Derek Norris— Free Agent

Key Stats: .201/9/21/24/1

What is going on?

I’m a big Norris fan, but it is hard to defend him these days with numbers like that. Still, he may be the best pitch framer in the business and being a pitch framer may be like being the best accordian player in the world. Sure, you may not get the groupies, but you will always have work. When you have work you have the opportunity to put up numbers.

Keep if…

He finds a starting job somewhere.

Kyle Schwarber— Chicago Cubs

Key Stats: .171/12/31/28/0

What is goin on?

Chicago is in win now mode and they can’t afford to keep plugging him into the lineup. Mind you, he has been hovering around a .700 OPS for most of the season because of the awesome power and walks. ¬†They sent him down this week, but he will be back up. He simply has to be better than this considering all we have seen.

Keep if…

He gets his starting job back.

Stephen Vogt— Milwaukee Brewers

Key Stats: .217/4/12/20/0

What is going on?

I don’t blame the Brewers for taking a flier. You get a guy that has been productive in the past and put him in a new league and productive lineup. Stranger things have happened and if he rediscovers something you are still in contention for a wild card.

Keep if…

He gets off to a hot start in Milwaukee.

 

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