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Catchers: The Great Unowned

Now that drafts are complete and the season has begun, it’s time to just take a quick scan of some of the catchers who are likely sitting out on your waiver wire right now. It’s not like you’re going to make a move and pick someone up, but given the health risks that come with the position, it’s just a good idea to stay prepared and keep a few names in mind as a “just in case.” It’s probably slim pickings out there right now anyway, but there are still a few names who may have some modest value attached, capable of growing further under the right circumstances.

Wilson Ramos, WAS — Ownership: ESPN — 0.6%  Yahoo — 3.0%

As of right now, Ramos is sitting in a platoon with Kurt Suzuki and manager Davey Johnson has said that the plan is to split the time up pretty evenly. However, the general consensus is that Ramos will eventually take the job over full-time once he is completely recovered from his torn ACL and ready to work behind the dish four and five times a week. Suzuki did an admirable job behind the plate during the second half last year, but his overall weak contact rates and lesser power potential will eventually force him into the back seat. Ramos was tabbed as the Nationals’ catcher-of-the-future and as far as anyone knows, that plan is actually still in place.

John Buck, NYM — Ownership: ESPN — 2.0%  Yahoo — 2.0%

Yes, yes, we all know that Travis d’Arnaud is coming. But for right now he is down in Triple-A and the Mets are going with the veteran Buck as their primary guy behind the plate. We can easily see, by looking at his recent numbers, that Buck is on the decline, but there’s still some life left in that bat of his and he is more than capable of shouldering the load behind the plate. Otherwise, the Mets would have parted ways with him much earlier rather than have him build a rapport with a youngster like Matt Harvey who seems to be the pride and joy of their rotation right now. Buck’s average won’t be the greatest in the world, but he still has the potential of producing double-digit home runs with a modest RBI total.

Nick Hundley, SD — Ownership:  ESPN — 0.1%  Yahoo — 0.0%

Similarly to Buck, Hundley seems to be more of a placeholder than anything else, but with a more firmly established departure date. Though once entrenched as the Padres starting catcher, Hundley is now just biding his time while Yasmani Grandal serves his 50-game drug suspension. It is assumed, from there, that Grandal will take over the primary role. However, there are still some options for Hundley should he play to his potential right now and not succumb to injuries as he has done in the past. There’s some power to be had in that bat of his and he is more than capable of producing like a primary backstop should. If he can show that now, he may keep himself in the discussion in San Diego for a more even playing-time split or, given the friendliness of his current contract, could be a candidate for trade to another team in need of help behind the plate. Grandal, for the record, is due back at the end of May and has some seriously low ownership percentages as well. If your catcher situation is a disaster and you have the bench room to stash him, that too is a recommended option.

Other catchers for your watch-list: Mike Zunino, Rob Brantly, Jason Castro