With the exception of a few dependable options like Jonathan Lucroy, Wilson Ramos, and Buster Posey, the catcher position has (somewhat predictably) been one of the least offensively productive positions in fantasy baseball this season. Yasmani Grandal and Yan Gomes currently have sub-.200 batting averages. Yadier Molina and the recently injured Francisco Cervelli have combined to hit one home run. Arizona backup Chris Herrmann has been a top 10 player at the position thus far this season. I suppose that the term dumpster fire would be a more apt description to characterize the catching landscape. It should come as no surprise, then, that recent Chicago Cubs call-up Willson Contreras (30.5% owned; +27.4% over the past week) is this week’s most added player in ESPN leagues. Considered by many to be the top offensive catching prospect in the game, the 24-year-old rookie slashed .353/.442/.593 in 55 Triple-A games this season and launched a homer in his first MLB at-bat against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday night. His ability to make contact (13.3% K%) while hitting for power (.240 ISO) in the Pacific Coast League this year displayed a rare combination indeed, especially for a catcher. Miguel Montero and David Ross are the incumbents in Chicago, but they shouldn’t provide much resistance for playing time if the rookie hits the ground running. Contreras is certainly worth adding if available. There’s massive upside here at a thin position.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

Danny Espinosa: 20.4% owned; +11.0%

Entering this season, Espinosa was thought to be just a temporary stopgap for the Nationals at the shortstop position until Trea Turner was ready to assume the starting role. Those plans may have changed, at least in the short-term. Not only has Espinosa played above average defense according to nearly every metric at a premium defensive position, but his bat has been on fire in recent weeks as well. From May 26th through June 12th (15 games), Espinosa has managed a .278/.316/.759 slash line with 15 runs, 8 homers, 10 RBI, and 1 stolen base. Hello! Unfortunately, he’s still just slashing .217/.314/.403 on the season, and hitting in the bottom third of the order isn’t likely to help his counting stats in the long run. Other than trading some ground balls for fly balls (45.7% FB% in 2016 – 7.8% above his career average), there doesn’t appear to be anything drastically different in Espinosa’s approach, which means that he’s likely to cool off in the near future. Ride him while he’s hot, but don’t expect it to last too long. TRASH.

Cameron Maybin: 46.3% owned; -5.5%

The recent struggles (and subsequent demotion) of Anthony Gose as well as the injury to J.D. Martinez have provided Maybin with plenty of job security in the Tigers outfield. His strong production (.352/.407/.398) since joining the team off of the disabled list in mid-May has catapulted him into the #2 slot in the lineup, behind Ian Kinsler and in front of Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. Not a bad spot to be in. His current walk rate (8.4%) is higher than his career average, and his current strikeout rate (13.4%) is lower than that of great hitters such as Cabrera, Robinson Cano, and Mookie Betts. Maybin is also among the league leaders in stolen bases (8) despite those 6+ weeks that he missed at the start of the season. If he was dropped in your league, go get him and enjoy the three category production. TREASURE.

  1. Rondo says:
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    Is Stanton going to be trash or treasure for the ROS? In a 10-team points league, with the team I have below would you trade Salazar for Stanton?

    Positions started:
    C- Realmulto
    2B/SS- Segura
    2B/SS- Murphy
    1B/3B- Machado
    1B/3B- Rizzo
    OF– Saunders
    OF- Springer
    OF- Zobrist
    UTIL– Pujols
    UTIL- Beltre
    Bench – E. Nunez, Melky, Castellanos
    DL- Tulo, J.D. Martinez

    SP- Salaazar, Quintana, Matz, Colome
    RP- Familia, Britton
    Bench – Carrasco, Duffy,Samardzija, Ross, Hill(DL)

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Rondo: I think I’d hold Salazar there. High-end SPs are more valuable in points leagues, and your offense is already solid. If you’re looking to add another outfielder, you could deal Pujols, Beltre, or Castellanos for an upgrade there.

  2. Greg says:
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    Your article made me feel good since I picked up Maybin for LMartin.

    Rate my hitting lineup for 14 team h2h yahoo five category (avg, runs, rbi, hrs, steals). Any areas you’d advise I improve?

    C: Wieters
    1B: Morales
    2b: Baez, DTravis (mixing and matching with Baez, Kang, Profar, due to inconsistencies )
    Ss: Kang
    3b: Profar
    Of: Betts, Cargo, JUp, Maybin
    Ut: Maybin or one of my MI

    out there on waivers: Werth, Naquin, Moya, Genet, Brad Miller, Granderson, DNorris, MAdams, Bour….

    What percent chance Bregman gets called up before August? :)

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Greg: Your outfield is strong. Kang is a must start (though he sits occasionally by design), and I think that Travis is starting to turn the corner. Could use a CI upgrade though. Adams might be a good add, especially in a daily format. I like Naquin quite a bit too. He looks good.

      I think it’s unlikely that Bregman gets called up that early. He’d probably need an injury for that to be a possibility, and Correa’s recent issue was a minor one. He’s already back in there. The Astros are pretty set at MI unless Bregman is moved to 3B or the OF.

  3. J-FOH says:
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    and he hit that dong on the first pitch

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @J-FOH: Yup

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Big Magoo: I’m making a run in perts but damn me I can’t buy a steal. Every base stealer I drafted went bupkis. That ozuna trade is working on my end how is rondo working out for you?

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @J-FOH: Rondon’s been solid. Four saves and good ratios since the trade. A few of my hitters have gone cold lately though. Harper, Davis, Shaw, Hanley, Lawrie, etc. all slumping at the same time.

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Big Magoo: yikes, that’s a few plus a couple. In the preseason rudy said steal were going to be scarce…I think he was right

            • Big Magoo

              Big Magoo says:
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              @J-FOH: Yup. That’s one of the reasons that I was pushing Altuve so hard in the offseason.

  4. Clive says:
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    Who do you like more in a keeper league?

    Trea Turner or Taillon? Have Taillon currently but am considering trading him for Turner (currently have Dozier at 2B).

    Thanks!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Clive: Depends on needs. In a vacuum, they’re pretty close. Turner could be a .280/12/25 player in two years, and Taillon looks like an SP2 once he’s past any innings limits.

  5. John says:
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    You are the “cooler opposite man”. Hamels and Upton motivated by your bear assessment!

    Great reads. Love the math

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @John: Haha. There was nowhere to go but up! If anything, it creates a nice selling opportunity for those guys.

  6. swaggerjackers says:
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    Magoo!

    My pitchers are dropping like flies. Who do you like in quality start leagues out of:

    Paxton, Duffy, Colby Lewis, Happ, Lincecum.

    I’m not excited about any of those guys…

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @swaggerjackers: Swagger! Yeah, those guys are mostly streamers in shallow leagues. I like Duffy the most for QS purposes now that he’s built up enough arm strength and endurance to throw 100 pitches. Paxton has good stuff and has thrown three quality starts in a row, so he’d be a decent option at the moment too.

      • swaggerjackers says:
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        @Big Magoo: I like your style. I wish those guys pitched in the NL but at least they aren’t in the AL East.

        PS Espinosa sure is a big steaming pile of trash. I don’t think I’ve ever owned him for fantasy and certainly won’t start now.

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @swaggerjackers: Yeah, I think Happ is a solid pitcher, but his division and park are brutal. About half of his starts are scary on paper.

          Espinosa had a couple of good seasons about 4-5 years ago, but he’s always been a swing and miss guy. Will hit some homers but hurt your average along the way. Doesn’t run much anymore either.

  7. My Thread Count Is High says:
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    Whats going on Magoo. Couple of questions for you, if you’d be so kind. So I’m trying to retool my roster a bit and was wondering if you’d add Maybin over Leonys or Choo?Both have been ok since returning from the DL. Martin hasnt been active on the basepaths nor has he added much power and Choo has been solid but not spectacular, similar numbers with Choo holding a slight edge in OBP. I could use a little more speed but I’m looking for the best compliment to my roster below, also Melvin Upton and Pillar are out there, so which 2 OFers would you roll with out of all the aforementioned possibilities?

    My league info is as follows: ESPN 12 team HTH 5×5 with OBP and QS daily moves and 4 keepers per season

    C Posey
    1B Cabrera
    2B Daniel Murphy
    3B Seager
    SS A. Russell
    OF Stanton
    OF Springer
    OF Polanco
    UTIL OF Choo
    UTIL OF L.Martin
    Bench SS/3B Suarez
    DL Sano

    SP Salazar
    SP Shoemaker
    RP Kimbrel
    RP Melancon
    P T. Walker
    P Odorizzi
    P C.Rodon
    P Pomeranz
    Bench SP Nola
    Bench SP Paxton
    Bench SP J.Gray
    Bench RP Estevez
    DL RP McGee

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @My Thread Count Is High: Choo is a beast in an OBP format, so I’d definitely hang on to him. Martin and Maybin are about even. Martin has a bit more power, but Maybin is in a better situation, and hits higher in the lineup more consistently. I’d probably give him a slight edge.

      • My Thread Count Is High says:
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        @Big Magoo: Thanks man, I agree on Choo, but was struggling with Martin vs Maybin vs. Melvin, Melvins put up the better numbers lately but for me he’s just so hard to believe in after the last few years.

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @My Thread Count Is High: Upton definitely has job security and he’s been surprisingly consistent this season, but I don’t trust him based on his plate discipline and recent track record. None of those three (Upton, Maybin, Martin) are worth keeping in your format, so it might be a good idea to just ride the hot hand with that roster spot.

  8. Dan says:
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    Mazara and castellanos for hosmer ? Its a keeper league. Where we keep 6. ROS i like the two but am i better off holding hosmer for next yr ???

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Dan: how long can you keep them and who would be your other keepers

      • Dan says:
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        @J-FOH: we keep 6 as long as we want them. So far my keepers are hosmer , cano , donaldson, cespedes , j.d. martinez . i have a few pending for my 6th. Urias , kinsler , duvaul ( bad avg i know ) w. Contreras i just picked up . so …my 6 have some miles on them .

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @Dan: I’d probably hold Hosmer unless you need the depth for this season. It’s close though. Mazara is the real deal. Depends what you think of Castellanos. I’m not completely sold on him long term.

  9. bigbear says:
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    What’s your take on Todd Frazier? I posted this under Grey post yesterday and he hits a HR last night:

    Frazier has been a pile of poo for the past couple of weeks… I think Abreu stole his mojo.
    Negatives: HR/FB nearly double career average, IF/FB up to 26%, LD% rate down to 21%, low ISO
    Positives: Babip at .183, walks are up (12% vs 8% career), #5 hitter
    Buy? Sell?

    CC Sabathia. I’m at a loss. I picked him up as a streamer a few weeks back and never dropped him.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @bigbear: My opinion on Frazier hasn’t changed since he joined the White Sox. I think he’s still a .240/30 guy. He’s just been trying to hit everything out of the park. That’s why his HR/FB, IFFB%, and Pull% are all up. If he continues with this approach, he could have an Adam Dunn type of season, but I expect him to make adjustments as the season goes on.

      Sabathia added a cutter that he’s been using quite a bit. It’s been very effective when mixed in with his slider because they have very different movement. If he maintains his control and this pitch mix, he should continue to be effective.

  10. Alex Prado says:
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    Contreras or Realmuto ROS in a 12 team standard 5 category league?

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