Joe Mauer just hit the 7-day concussion DL, joining the likes of Alex Avila, John Jaso, Miguel Montero, and even Carlos Corporan as the list of injured catchers grows in seemingly exponential fashion. With a little more than a month to go in roto league and the playoffs coming in head to head play, you’re going to need to start filling in the blanks on your roster in order to press ahead and try to win your league. There’s probably not a whole heck of a lot left sitting on your waiver wire and what’s there probably doesn’t conjure up images of champagne corks popping and ticker-tape parades. But you need to make a move. You can’t go without a catcher even though the improvement you get might not be all that much. But at this point in time, something is better than nothing, so here are a few names to consider…
Yan Gomes, CLE — He’s not the full-time guy, but with the Tribe’s desire to spare Carlos Santana the early wear and tear, Gomes seems to get in there a few times a week, and when he does, he’s been highly productive. He’s a great contact hitter who puts up a decent average — only a 14.7-percent strikeout rate and a .390 average over the last 30 days, in fact, and he also has a bit of pop in his bat, posting a .187 ISO over that span. If he plays in another 15 to 20 games the rest of the way, he’s more than capable of posting a .300-plus average with a handful of home runs which is probably more than some full-time backstops will give you at this point.
Welington Castillo, CHC — Though he does strike out nearly 25-percent of the time, Castillo always sems to make good contact when he does put bat to ball. That has helped him support a .345 BABIP all year long and keep his average up at a very respectable level. You won’t see a whole lot of power from him but he’ll still kick in a little something for your counting stats. But the help in average is nice…or should I say, the fact hat his average won’t kill you is nice.
Brayan Pena, DET — This one is only relevant if Avila has a setback in his rehab assignment, but given the fact that he went down on August 10 and still hasn’t started rehab work, the outlook isn’t exactly that bright. Pena may not be able to draw a walk, but over the last 30 days, he’s posted a strikeout rate below 10-percent and the high contact numbers have helped produce a .429 BABIP in that span. Sustainable? No. But given the fact that you only need him for a short time, it just might be worth the pick-up for the short-term. He’s got decent power potential and hits with a strong surrounding lineup.
Austin Romine, NYY — Based on recent playing time it seems the Yankees are finally coming to grips with the fact that Chris Stewart just isn’t that good. Now, Romine may not be the answer either, but if you play in an OBP league, his 12.2-percent walk rate over the last month is helping to keep his OBP at a nice, respectable level in spite of a strikeout rate of nearly 30-percent. He can contribute to the counting stats about the same as Castillo might, so there’s no reason to expect a big boost, but if you need some on-base help, he certainly won’t kill you.