With Gary Sanchez on the shelf (biceps injury) for a month, fantasy owners will be scrambling for an option behind the dish. A natural option would be to look at his replacement. Austin Romine (pictured) is the logical replacement. He’ll also split duties with Kyle Higashioka. Romine figures to see the majority of the at bats. Is he worth an add?
Romine hit .242 last year in 165 at bats with 17 runs, four home runs and 26 RBI. He did show a little power, as 15 of his 40 hits were for extra bases.
Romine hit .274 with three of his HRs and 15 of his RBI against left-handed pitching. He’s worth a flier as a plug-in play or in daily fantasy leagues when he’s facing a southpaw.
Some preferred options:
Tucker Barnhart, Cincinnati Reds: .257-34-7-51-1 last year, .250 with a run this year
Welington Castillo, Baltimore Orioles: .264-41-14-68-2 last year, .286 with an RBI this year
Francisco Cervelli, Pittsburgh Pirates: .264-42-133-6 last year, .211 with four runs, one HR, three RBI this year
Sandy Leon, Boston Red Sox: .310-367-35 last year, .368 with three runs, one HR, five RBI this year (top choice if available)
James McCann, Detroit Tigers: .221-31-12-48-0 last year, .214 with two runs, two HRs, three RBI this year
Cameron Rupp, Philadelphia Phillies: .252-36-16-54-1 last year, .167 with three runs, one HR, two RBI this year
Stephen Vogt, Oakland A’s: .251-54-14-56-0 last year, .261, two runs, one HR, two RBI this year
Mark Harrison/The Seattle Times
In the past thirty days Miguel Olivo is hitting .320. He has scored 13 runs, hit five long balls, drove in another 16 runs, and even swiped a couple of bases.
If you look at the past 15 days, he’s even better hitting .378 with ten runs, 4 HRs, 13 RBI, and two SBs.
Among catchers he ranks second with 26 runs scored, tied for sixth with seven home runs, and tied for seventh with 26 RBI.
As hot as he’s been he’s only owned in 17 percent of Yahoo! and 8.5 percent of ESPN leagues. With Buster Posey lost for the year and Joe Mauer’s return still uncertain, there is certainly a need for production out of the catcher position.
He’s owned in fewer leagues than Geovany Soto, Kurt Suzuki, Jorge Posada, Carlos Ruiz, Chris Iannetta, and John Buck who not only have been less productive and have a worst batting average. Carlos Santana would also qualify, but he has more upside. The other six though are just like Olivo. Veteran catchers that aren’t going to suddenly develop into Buster Posey.
It’s also not like Olivo is playing over his head. He’s averaged 16.2 home runs and 56.4 RBI over the past five years.
He will likely start getting scooped up by more fantasy owners thanks to a three-game home run streak. Don’t drop Alex Avila, Jonathon Lucroy, J.P. Arencibia, or Yadier Molina for him, but if you’re holding onto Jorge Posada for sentimental reasons while Olivo is floating in the free agent pool, I say cut bait and give Miguel a shot.
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Here’s a look at a couple of Catchers who could have a hard time matching their 2008 production.
Bengie Molina - Bengie had 95 RBIs last year. Since 2004 Victor Martinez (108 in 2004 & 114 in 2007) is the only Catcher to drive in that many runs. Molina also played a career high 145 games last year. I don’t see him catching as often this year, which would reduce his career highs of 155 Hits and 33 Doubles. I still think he’ll be one of the best Catchers in the league, but I expect him to be closer to his 2007 numbers (137 Hits, 19 Doubles, 81 RBI).
Ryan Doumit – Doumit broke out last year hitting .318 with 71 R, 137 H, 34 Doubles, 15 HRs, and 69 RBI in 116 games for the Pirates. In 2007 he hit .274 with 33 R, 69 H, 19 Doubles, 9 HRs, and 32 RBI in 83 games. That’s quite a jump in production. According to the Yahoo rankings, he was the fourth most productive Catcher last year. I think he’ll have a hard time replicating that performance. I see him hitting .285 with 65 R, 130 H, 30 Doubles, 15 HRs, and 60 RBI.
Here’s a look at Catchers who should bounce back in 2009.
Víctor Martínez - Víctor’s were way down even if you factored in him playing in just 73 games. He had just 30 Runs, 2 HRs, and 35 RBI. Let’s say you doubled that production to get 60 R, 4 HRs, and 70 RBI. That’s a far cry from the 77.5 R, 21 HR, and 98.8 RBI he averaged in his four previous seasons. I expect at least 70 Runs, 15 HRs, and 80 RBI from him in 2009.
Jorge Posada - Jorge managed to play just 51 games after hitting a career high .338 in 2008. His shoulder is feeling better and you can pencil him in for his usual 65+ Runs, 25+ Doubles, 20+ HRs, and 80+ RBI.
- He’s not much of an offensive force, but he’s better than the .220, 37 R, 93 H, 43 RBI he produced last year. He should bat 30 points higher with 20 more Runs, 10 more Hits, and 12 more RBI.
Images courtesy of Icon SMI