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Catchers: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Whether you’re exploring trade opportunities or fishing off your free agent waiver wire, it’s always good to keep an eye on the backstops.  Some people have a tendency to dismiss the position for its lack of consistent production, but you can always get a leg up if you can find yourself a hot hitting catcher.  Here’s a look at who’s performing up to task and who should be riding the pine in your fantasy league.

Who’s Hot?

Brian McCann, ATL — He wasn’t listed as the number one catcher in our June rankings for nothing.  Over his last 10 games, McCann is clubbing the ball to the tune of a .410/.489/.769 slash line with 3 HR and 6 RBI and while he may be slightly off pace from his usual power numbers, the fact that he’s hitting .302 on the year still is big for his owners.  On the trade front, if you’re selling, it’s a great time for you.  Use that .464 BABIP over the last two weeks to your advantage and get as much as you can for him.  If you’re looking to buy, you may want to wait until things cool down.

Miguel Olivo, SEA — When it comes to trading, now is the absolute perfect time to deal Olivo and get some value back.  Through his last 12 games, Olivo is hitting .350 with 4 HR and 13 RBI and his .400 BABIP is making him look like an all star right now.  Given his performance over the first two months of the season you can surmise that he’s A.  on a huge hot streak or B.  he’s finally come around and will perform at a high level the rest of the way.  I’m going with Option A and will shop him around to anyone looking to buy a backstop and upgrade me elsewhere.

Chris Snyder, PIT — While the average may be a bit cumbersome, there’s still plenty to love about Snyder as your fantasy backstop.  Over his last 10 games, he’s hit .333 with a pair of home runs and 5 RBI, but even more impressive is the 23.5 BB% to just a 16.7 K%.  He’s fantastic in OBP leagues, and the likelihood of him moving on to a more competitive team in need of a catcher (hello, San Francisco) is growing.  He obviously won’t maintain this current trend of plate discipline, but I also don’t see him dropping off to levels that would frustrate you to no end.  I like him as a hold if you’ve got him and someone to look into if you don’t.

Who’s Not?

Eli Whiteside, SF — Keith Law said it best when he referred to the Giants now leading man as Eli Downside.  Just keep moving….nothing to see here.  He’s hitting .143 since taking over for Buster Posey and just can’t seem to make any kind of regular contact.  The rumors of the team bringing in a veteran backstop aren’t helping his confidence much either, so if you had any delusions that he was going to turn things around…lose them.

J.R. Towles, HOU — Here’s another guy steps into a starting job and just can’t do anything with it.  He’s 2-for-25 since Humberto Quintero went down with an injury and has a 24 K% and a woeful .083 BABIP.  Nowhere to go but up?  Sure, for some guys.  But in looking at Towles career numbers, I’m betting that he stays right about where he is right now.  The Astros will be more than happy to see Quintero’s ankle on the mend.

John Buck, FLA — If you’re just looking at his stats for the last 2 weeks, Buck is struggling something fierce.  He’s hitting just .184 with one home run and one RBI and he’s pretty far down the leaderboard.  Those that were high on him after his 2010 season in Toronto are chewing on a nice fat stick of disappointment right now.  But if you’re looking to buy low, Buck just might be your guy.  While the sample size for June is crazy small, he is hitting .364 (.429 BABIP/.517 wOBA) for the 4 games and could actually be turning a corner.  This is his first gig in the NL and there’s definitely an adjustment period needed.  I’m not saying he’s going to reprise last year’s performance all of a sudden, but he’s definitely going to make some improvements on his current level of production.