Catchers on Fire

At this point in the season, roto players are scratching and clawing through their categories looking primarily at the ones that have some shred of movement possibilities.  Head to head owners are gearing up for their fantasy playoffs as their regular season is almost at a close.  Whichever style league you find yourself in, it’s time to start focusing on the hitters that are swinging a hot bat right now, despite their overall value.  The catching position is perfect for this.  If you’re not sitting on one of the top five backstops out there, then chances are, the players you are using are relatively interchangeable with those that are sitting out on your waiver wire.  So why not use the one with the hottest stick right now?  If he starts to cool, you can probably find an easy replacement who is on the upswing for the final month then.  Here’s a look at some of August’s hot bats behind the plate that may be useful at the moment.

Chris Iannetta, COL — After a virtual disappearing act for the month of July, Iannetta has picked up his game here in August, hitting .353 with a pair of home runs through 10 games.  Sure, the .455 BABIP is probably unsustainable, but it doesn’t look like the drop-off is coming too soon;  not with the Rockies about start a nine game homestand.  Iannetta’s home/road splits tell it all: .326-9-33 at home/.150-3-8 on the road.  He’s owned in just 13.1% of leagues on ESPN and in 23% in Yahoo, so if you’re not getting anything special from your current backstop, now is the perfect time to make the change.

A.J. Pierzynski, CHW — You may have to check his status for the week as he missed the weekend after getting hit on the wrist last Friday, but the feisty backstop from the South Side is riding a five-game hitting streak and is hitting .410 with one home run and six RBI in 11 games this month.  The home/road splits aren’t as dramatic as those of Iannetta, but with the bulk of his production coming at home and the Sox about to host the next six at the Cell, this may be a great time to pick him up for the week.  His power has greatly diminished this season, but he’ll still get plenty of RBI chances.  If he can maintain a high batting average for you and provide a little bit of a boost, then is there much difference between him and Joe Mauer in the short run?

Kurt Suzuki, OAK –  After a relatively quiet season, Suzuki’s bat has come to life here in August.  He’s hitting .281 for the month and already has his usual two monthly dingers.  Given his steady improvements since June, it’s hard to believe that he’ll stick on that production now — his SLG and OPS have dramatically increased, as well as a BABIP climbing back to normalcy.  He’s also got some suspect pitching coming into town as well as a road trip involving some very favorable hitting parks ahead, which certainly helps.  He could be a nice change of pace if you’re sitting on an ice cold Miguel Olivo right about now.

Honorable mention to returning backstops Nick Hundley and Ryan Doumit.  Both could make for solid late season additions.


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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site,, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at

11 Responses to “Catchers on Fire”

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  1. KJ says:

    Will 2012 finally be the Conger era in LA? And will Perez stay in KC or head back down to minors?

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  2. Howard Bender says:

    Who knows with Mike Scioscia running the show. He’s always been about defense and his veterans. Conger will have to prove himself in a major way, whether it’s during a September call-up or next spring.

    Perez is supposedly staying with the team even after Brayan Pena comes back. How much playing time he gets is still up in the air.

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  3. professor eephus says:

    would u drop arencibia for kurt suzuki?

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  4. Deadwoods says:

    Pierzynski or Torrealba?

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  5. JohnnyComeLately says:

    Doumit went 4 for 4 with a three run bomb last night. And he’s always been streaky. I’d keep an eye on him if I were you.

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  6. Max says:

    Howard – As much as I would love to believe it (and do, somewhat), I have heard that hot streaks are not necessarily good predictors. That is to say, just because a player is having a good August, is there any reason to believe that he will continue to play above his true talent level?

    Although in this case, I see that you are aiming this toward people who have catchers that aren’t doing anything at all, so why not take a chance that one of these streaks continues? (and Ianetta’s home park, etc.) In each of my three leagues I have some combination of Santana, Napoli, and Olivo. So you’re saying I might consider replacing Olivo with one of these guys, to put in my lineup when Napoli isn’t playing.

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