Fantasy owners lost two good catchers this week in Travis d’Arnaud and Jonathan Lucroy. Even in 12-team formats, you probably threw up in your mouth a little when you went to the wire and saw your replacement options. God help you if you play in a two-catcher format. But not to fear, for the rookies are here! I’m looking in your general direction Kevin Plawecki…don’t disappoint me! When I went over the Top 10 prospects for every team this offseason, I typically spat on catchers in my rankings due to their limited upside. But it’s times like these when we need to bite the bullet and take a closer look at some rookie backstops. Here are six rookie catchers currently in the majors that you may need to roster while your studs are hurt. Yes, this list is ranked in the order that I’d personally add them.

Kevin Plawecki | Mets

Prospect Rank: 6th Primary C?: Yes (Travis d’Arnaud DL)

Did orange and blue balloons fall from the ceiling of your living room when you heard the news? No, just me? Okay. Plawecki is a nice plug-in for fantasy owners who lost d’Arnaud, since he could hit double-digit homers over a full season but with a better batting average than TdA (think .270-.280 with some upside). The biggest question here is what they’ll do with him when d’Arnaud does come back, which could be in about a month or so.

Roberto Perez | Indians

Prospect Rank: NR Primary C?: Yes (Yan Gomes DL)

The B-Ref page for Perez has him exceeding his rookie limits last season, but with only 108 major league at bats to date he may still qualify as a prospect in some leagues. I think he’s a strong add in this group since he’ll play almost every day while Yan Gomes is on the shelf (6-8 weeks) and, outside of Bethancourt, he has the most MLB time already clocked among these rookies. The Tribe hasn’t hit much of anything to start the year, but Perez could chip in the occasional homer while batting in the .260-.270 range.

J.T. Realmuto | Marlins

Prospect Rank: NR Primary C?: Split with Jarrod Saltalamacchia

I guess I look a little silly not ranking Realmuto this offseason since he’s up and hitting (.286), but I’m still hesitant to go crazy for him in anything shallower than 15-team or two-catcher formats. It’s the timeshare with Salty and the Crayola Canyon home park situation that have me non-plussed. Since he hasn’t hit double-digit homers since A-ball, I think it’s best to make a small bid but save your FAAB here.

James McCann | Tigers

Prospect Rank: NR Primary C?: Split with Alex Avila

Avila seems to have some trouble staying on the field, and you could insert my great-grandmother Mikayla into the Tigers’ lineup for a chance at some counting stats. That’s a combo that gives McCann some value, although he’s hitting .143, so I use the term value very loosely. He gets the edge over Susac since he actually plays, and he gets the edge over Bethancourt since he’s in a better lineup when he does play, but that’s about all there is to see here.

Andrew Susac | Giants

Prospect Rank: 4th Primary C?: No (Buster Posey, Hector Sanchez)

Susac got a lot of love on prospect lists this offseason, but he’s just not playing enough yet to warrant an add in most formats. Should Posey (10 games played at C) find himself playing first base more, Susac would still have to navigate around Hector Sanchez (8 games played at C). If you’re in a super deep league or two-catcher format, he’s worth a look. But in shallower leagues his time may not really come until 2016.

Christian Bethancourt | Braves

Prospect Rank: 4th Primary C?: Split with A.J. Pierzynski

If catchers are gross, then I guess Braves’ catchers are grosser than gross. Bethancourt is hitting a lusty .154 to start the season and has split time with Pierzynski. Pierzynski may actually be the better add if you’re desperate since he’s hit three homers in five games played. The high ranking in the Braves’ preseason list had more to do with their weak system than any offensive firepower Bethancourt might be offering, although he did show some signs of life with the bat last year at Triple-A.

The one catching prospect with the most fantasy upside is actually still at Triple-A Pawtucket, but that may change early this summer given Boston’s current options behind the dish. Keep an eye on Blake Swihart, who ranked 14th in our first Prospect Power Ranking but should jump up a few spots this week.

 
  1. J-FOH says:
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    I put those blue and orange balloons into your ceiling (BTW get a better home security than that lazy one eyed cat) because I thought it would be fun to have them drop when the Mets swept the Phillies at some point this year.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I knew it was you…I was behind the curtains breathing heavily.

      Phillies will win the East…We Praise Harang…Herrera in the Highest

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Mike: damn, I thought your cat just smoked too many pall mall’s and had really bad gas

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          nope that’s Mikayla

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Mike: Is that what you call yourself when you go in drag?

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              that’s my grandma! Did you jump straight to the comments! I’m really insulted…

  2. Chris R says:
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    is plawecki good enough to roster over Zunino and Caleb Joseph? even if it’s only for a month, then I play catcher roulette again?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Nah, Joseph is so hot right now you have to ride that streak, and I’d take Zunino over Plawecki

      • Don says:
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        @Mike: Based on that comment, I’m guessing you’d hold onto Derek Norris over Plawecki?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          yeah, you might as well ride the hot hand there…

  3. Marty Janetty_Was Set Up says:
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    Hey brother Mike, appreciate all your hard work.

    In a 12 team h2h points league I’ve been offered Braun and Kipnis for Rendon/Lawrie. Ive got Valbuena and Lawrie playing franken-secondbase, and my outfield is flooded with Bryce Harper/Soler/Wil Myers/Carlos Gonzalez/Cuddyer/Marisnick/Gose (5OF spots)

    Do you think Braun and Kipnis are better options ROS, or do I hold Tony 2 bags?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Hey Marty! I’d stick with that solid outfield of yours and ride Rendon and Lawbuena.

  4. b-rock says:
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    Hey Mike – this couldn’t come at a better time.

    I lost d’Arnaud and am a bit concerned about what even happens when he comes back. Is this potentially an even time share?

    On a side note, with Russell being called up I had an opening in an NA spot and grabbed Blake Swihart. Any chance the Sox grow tired of Hanigan and call him up?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      It’s tough to say what will happen when TdA comes back, but if Plawecki hits it will be hard to send him back down. Plus there are always setbacks and things during rehabs that could extend his look.

      Originally I had thought Swihart would be a late 2015 play, but with the Vazquez injury he could come up midsummer. It’s a decent stash for your NA slot.

  5. A Wesley Snipes Life says:
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    in a dynastyleague with slugging and OBP taking the place of homers and AVG, with standard 5X5 pitching stuff. it’s the only league i’m in where waivers REALLY mean something, as players don’t enter system until they are called up (supposedly). i went into year with either 7th or 8th waiver but forgot about that and now am 11th (but really 11th isn’t far off of 7th out of 16 either, people in the back use theirs).
    1. how are syndergaard/sano/swihart/peraza owned in this league? (they must’ve been called up last year. franco i know played last year. how is moya also in database (i stashed meyer recently over him, having kemp/bruce/ozuna/stanton/cespedes and only 3 OF slots with 1 util) we have 1 NA slot.
    2. an owner currently with the #4 (he’ll be 3rd when addison comes off) is trying to trade his waiver for really good players. with who you say is coming up this year that means i could get one of buxton/correa/lindor/seager if at least 3 of those come up this year. Of course, my team is really good now, so if few of those do come up i would’ve traded for a worthless waiver (waivers start year from reverse previous season standings). i’m trying to guess at which, if any, of my players are tradable for this waiver pick?
    already mentioned along with wong/frazier/goldy/carrasco/mchugh/salazar/greene/carmart/nelson/hammel/odorizzi/smyly/sabathia/darvish. what’s best one of those you’d be willing to move.

    • A Wesley Snipes Life says:
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      @A Wesley Snipes Life: he’ll likely only demand 1 really good player, not many.

      • A Wesley Snipes Life says:
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        @A Wesley Snipes Life: actually this would be #2 waiver claim, i forgot about rodon. This owner is wanting a hitter and a carrasco/salazar type pitcher.

        separate question. worth attempting waiver claim (11th overall, so little value in holding it) to drop hundley for plawecki? i could NA him if/when he goes back down (dropping meyer)

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I don’t understand what you’re asking

      • A Wesley Snipes Life says:
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        @Mike: #1 were syndergaard/sano/swihart/peraza/moya called up last year at some point, as with our league settings these players shouldn’t be in database (rodon/bryant/addison just coming into it after their first MLB day), yet all of those are. Franco i know was up last year.
        2. Opp is trying to sell his #2 waiver claim (after rodon/addison come off he’ll have that high of claim). with claim that high i would be guaranteed to get at least my 2nd option out of lindor/buxton/correa/seager/urias if/when they come up this year (but if they don’t come up this year i’ll have traded for nothing useful). my roster is
        hundley/goldy/wong/frazier/castro/stanton/cespedes/kemp and with 1 util 3 of j.ram/bruce/ozuna/c.davis benched everyday.
        pitchers are carrasco/mchugh/greene/salazar/carmart/odorizzi/hammel/nelson/heston/sabathia/smyly (DL)/mcgee (DL) with 3 RP slots (saves only) and watson/storen/castro. NA is meyer, but could grab moya.
        Opp wants one of Carrasco/mchugh/salazar/odorizzi and a hitter (clearly not goldy/stanton) for his waiver claim. Too much?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          gotcha…not sure about how they add players to the database. I’m starting to think there is no rhyme or reason to it on some sites.

          As far as the trade, I wouldn’t trade MLB assets for waiver rights, no. Even if it means getting your hands on a prospect. I guess it’s bird in hand mentality.

          • A Wesley Snipes Life says:
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            @Mike: this is a top team right now (with young SP and fairly young total roster too) so i have no problem with that.

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              nice! yeah your roster looks solid

  6. Hi says:
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    uhh, Nick Hundley? Homestand in COL

    • A Wesley Snipes Life says:
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      @Hi: till sunday too, still got days to get him in.

    • Big Al says:
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      @Hi: Hundley has been filling in nicely for Yan for me, but I’m wondering if I should be dropping him for Plawecki when the Rockies leave Coors again. Also, does it matter? Catchers?

      • A Wesley Snipes Life says:
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        @Big Al: unless really quickly plawecki goes crazy i’d just hold hundley in best park till sunday. unless this is keeper/dynasty, which is whole other situation.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      uhh, he’s not a rookie?

      • Ra'zbahl Al Ghul says:
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        @Mike: What does “rookie” even mean, technically?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Well, we’re all rookies at heart, but for the purposes of these posts I go by less than 130 career at bats or 50 innings pitched

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Ha!

          • Wake Up says:
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            @Mike: Haha

  7. goodfold2 says:
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    this roster weakish for 16 team 3rd year dynasty? seems weak in hitting and not great for minors guys to me. 5 NA slots for guys not in minors system.
    Carlos Santana
    Ryan Zimmerman
    Chase Utley
    Marcus Semien
    Alexei Ramírez
    Matt Kemp
    Travis Snider
    Brett Gardner
    Kevin Kiermaier
    Mitch Moreland
    Chris Archer
    Lance Lynn
    Francisco Liriano
    Santiago Casilla
    Addison Reed
    Adam Warren
    Tommy Hunter
    Joba Chamberlain
    Will Harris
    Didi Gregorius
    Daniel Murphy
    Denard Span
    Josh Hamilton
    Yangervis Solarte
    Jonathan Schoop
    Michael A. Taylor
    Jon Singleton
    Miguel Sano
    Alen Hanson
    Daniel Vogelbach
    Daniel Norris
    Justin Masterson
    Drew Hutchison
    Kyle Hendricks
    Archie Bradley
    Madison Bumgarner
    Bobby Parnell
    Kenley Jansen
    Hyun-jin Ryu

    these minor guys:
    J.P. Crawford
    Eric Jagielo
    Andrew Thurman
    Dustin Peterson
    Michael Conforto
    Alex Blandino
    Alex Verdugo

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      looks good to me

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Mike: ok, the SP looked quite good, i didn’t think the hitters even had 1 top 2 rounder in it (kemp is doing well admittedly). sano/hanson/vogelbach/taylor not bad for NA guys in active squad. I went back and looked at those 7 guys, after crawford it seems weak if only max 7 are owned per 16 teams. They drafted 4 the first year, 3 each year after forever, no limits, but can only add 3 per year. Biggest worry (could be good thing too, as i could grab them) mazara/brinson/devers/mcmahon/a.rosario are open, as they aren’t in yahoo. this is a yahoo league. Those guys do all pop at around 55’s in BA’s book.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          I’d be eyeing Mazara as soon as he’s available

          • goodfold2 says:
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            @Mike: so if you were looking to add a team you’d take this one?

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              OF needs some work, but there are some nice pieces to work with

  8. Mike says:
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    I have Lucroy. I picked up Plaw And Cosart. Im happy today.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      nice

  9. Baezaworldseries says:
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    Uhh, Nick Hunley? Just kidding!!
    I hope we see plenty more of these in the future. Keeps the rookie nookie juices going!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      ha, thanks! I’ll do my best

  10. Thanks, I really needed a C for my RCL team and Plawecki was available… You are not kidding about the wire being a desert, this is the first year I havent been able to go find a decent C on waivers…

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Nice! Yup, I lost Lucroy in one league and it wasn’t pretty combing through that garbage

  11. Joey Gladstone says:
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    Hey mike I’m a mets fan & always like to roster a mets player who would you add for my mets reasons ;

    Curtis granderson, Juan lagares, Wilmer Flores

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Grandy or Flores, depending on which position you need more help at

      • Joey Gladstone says:
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        @Mike:

        My OF we start 4:
        – puig
        – Harper
        – trumbo
        – joc pederson

        (On bench I have wil Myers, Steve Souza )

        My SS is Hanley Ramirez (also eligible at OF)
        My IF is Kris Bryant ,
        My utility is Adam laroche (1b/DH)

        Bench: Addison Russell, Jose Iglesias , Napoli.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          man, to be honest I don’t think you need either of them…nice team!

          If Iglesias comes back to us, I could see slotting Flores in his spot, but tough to make that switch now with Iglesias playing so well

          • Joey Gladstone says:
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            @Mike:

            That’s what I figured, thank you man!

            For pitching ; I know iwakuma has been inconsistent depending what he does Sunday drop him for a potential two start week 4 pitcher?

            – joe Kelly (vs blue jays & Aaron Sanchez ,, start 2 vs Yankees & Adam warren.)

            – john lackey (vs Phillies & Cole hamels,, start 2 vs pirates & Francisco liriano.)

            – Vance Worley (@ Cubs & Jason hammel,, start 2 @ cardinals & Michael wacha.)

            – taijuan walker (@ Rangers & Nick Martinez,, start 2 @ Astros & colin mchugh.)

            – Colin mchugh (@ San Diego & James shields,, start 2 vs Astros & taijuan Walker.)

            – drew Hutchinson (@ boston & clay buchholz,, start 2 @ Cleveland & TJ house.)

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              anytime. Yeah, I’d give Iwakuma a little more leash, but I like McHugh the best of that group

  12. Matt says:
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    In my league we count QS W OBP SLG AVG 7×7

    I need an SP. Okay to do either of these trades?

    Polanco for cash
    Polanco for anibal
    Soler for G Richards

    Thanks Mike

    • Matt says:
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      @Matt: If I trade soler i could lose him since we keep 5 per year 11 team yahoo as first five picks

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Hmmm, I’d probably hold there. I think both those bats have too much upside to be trading for an SP…or at least I think you could aim even higher.

  13. Mike says:
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    Nice writeup as always about the pu-pu platter of mediocre catcher options – quick Q about Swihart: Do you feel the same way about his ceiling now? I remember you writing that you saw him as an above-average contributor in most categories, but not a standout in any. Would it be realistic/cautiously optimistic to see him as a .275 – 20 – 10 guy, or as another comp, maybe following a Russell Martin-esque career path?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Thanks! Yup, I think we’re still looking at that 15-20 homer, .275-.280 type of production if things break right. The steals are a crapshoot to predict so we’ll just say a handful.

      He could exceed expectations in the batting average department and of course should benefit from the park/lineups in Boston for counting stats.

  14. luvdarooks says:
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    5×5 260 4 keeper—I have Zunio ( took a shot that his spring was a sign), and just dropped A Guerro for swihart $1 thinking he would be a better upgrade….(odor is not doing anything for me.)
    Should I stick with this thinking or drop Swhrt to get back Guerra ( will he play full time? ) or even snag peraza cause peterson is stinking it up in Atlants and I could use his SB at 2B should the braves swap these two………PS how is he doing at AAA?
    WHATCATHINK?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Peraza is hitting .278/.328/.333 at AAA with 3 swipes

      I wouldn’t carry Swihart with Zunino in hand…so Peraza is probably the better play.

  15. Skeezix says:
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    Hey Mike, I’m the guy who keeps commenting about a league with limited waiver claims where we also have to start a rookie hitter and pitcher. I’ve only got two claims left until the end of august. The only other ways to augment rosters is via trade, or a 3-player mid-year draft that isn’t until the all-star break. My only rookie hitter was Michael Taylor so now I’m trying to decide what to do. My rookie pitchers are Colome an Syndergaard. I would like to save my waiver claims so I was trying to get Canha for Syndergaard, but I don’t think the guy is budging. There aren’t may more rookies to trade for, but it looks like I’d have to overpay for most (Guerrero is on the same team as Canha). Then there’s Odubel Herrera available on waivers. Do you have thoughts Canha, Guerrero and Herrera?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’d pick up Herrera instead of trading Thor

      • Skeezix says:
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        @Mike: Yeah, I think I’m resigned to that given what the guy is asking for. Do you see Herrera with some decent valu e for the rest of the year? He qualifies at 2B only in my league, so if Taylor comes back up he’s a potential 2B backup. I’m worried PHI will find a way to get Revere back to the top of the order. I will also need to drop one of Howard, Gausman, Syndergaard, Gyorko, or Jose Ramirez, leaving me potentially without a backup at 1B, 2B or SS. I’m leaning Ramirez because I’m stubbornly thinking Gyorko will turn it around.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          I think Herrera will be decent ROS, yes. I’m about done with both Howard and Gyorko, so one of those two. I wouldn’t lose Jose Ramirez just yet.

        • Skeezix says:
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          @Skeezix: Or I could drop Taylor I suppose. Though I hesitate to drop him or Syndergaard because of how thin the available rookie pool is, especially when everyone only gets a few waiver claims.

          • Mike

            Mike says:
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            yeah don’t drop Thor or Taylor

            • Skeezix says:
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              @Mike: Who do you think is more done between Howard and Gryoko?? Man, I had high hopes for Gyorko coming into the season!

              • Mike

                Mike says:
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                probably Howard

                • Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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                  @Mike: gyorko is quite young still

  16. SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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    Hey Mike – in a keep 10 forever, would you trade Baez for Rusney?

    Thanks

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      at this point, yes I’d do that

      • SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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        @Mike: yeah thanks. Been holding him for 2 years now getting a little tired. this is out of right field, but any chance the Yankees go after baez? I know they’ve been looking at peraza and others…

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          hmmm, I’ve heard the Peraza rumors, but nothing on Baez. At some point you’d think the Cubs would trade from their MI depth though.

  17. Shane says:
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    Hey Mike, with Lucroy being put on the DL, I’m stuck with only Brian McCann as a catcher in my Yahoo fantasy league. Should I pick up another catcher or stick with McCann in my starting lineup? Some catchers that are available right now are Alex Avila, Wilson Ramos, Caleb Joseph and Yadier Molina.

    Thanks

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’d stick with McCann…I like Ramos and Molina too but you could end up chasing your tail

  18. Nightpandas says:
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    Mike,

    Where is your head at with Guerrero right now? Is he worth a flier in a 15 teamer as a bench bat that could slip into one of my 11 keepers ? Only 30 moves left for the season.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      15-teamer? Sure. Olivera still doesn’t have his visa, I doubt Seager is THAT close to a callup, and at the very least he’s going to get some at bats either pinch hitting or in spot starts.

  19. Johan Barleycorn says:
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    Mike,

    May be late to the party here, but where would you value Joc Pederson if you did your top-100 keepers today? I’m really intrigued by what I see and might target him in a keeper league. What do you think he becomes?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I think I had him in the 60s when I did a first draft “hybrid” list. He’s got 20-20 potential, and has quietly gotten off to a good start this year. I think he’s a solid target depending on the price of course.

      • Johan Barleycorn says:
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        Thanks for the feedback Mike!

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          anytime…I love your username

  20. Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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    if i have 5 NA slots and in a league where we have a rule about not having more than 5 NA’s (we get 2 weeks from 1st day we have over 5 to get back down to 5), drop which of alcantara/t.anderson/r.mondesi to get back to 5. i also have tapia/bundy/stephenson but those are all ranked a bit higher.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Mondesi

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