MLB Player News
Manager John Farrell said Leon remains the starting catcher heading into the regular season, Rob Bradford of WEEI reports.
Leon has turned things around a bit after a recent slump and is 6-for-23 this spring, though that comes with an underwhelming .553 OPS, without an extra-base hit. Still, Farrell likes what Leon brings with his overall game, and, for as questionable as its sustainability for 2017 may be, the 28-year-old hit .310/.369/.476 with seven home runs in 283 plate appearances last year. Fantasy players in two-catcher mixed leagues could do worse when scouring for a late-round, No. 2 receiver.
Diaz was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday.
Diaz finds himself behind Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart on the depth chart heading into the 2017 season, so the Pirates will send him to the minors to see more consistent playing time. The 26-year-old slashed .266/.289/.298 in an injury-plagued 2016, where he was limited to just 25 games at the minor league level.
Vazquez caught for Eduardo Rodriguez in a minor league game Wednesday and helped the left-hander by throwing out two runners trying to steal second base, Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe reports.
These caught base-stealers don't register on Vazquez's official spring stat log, but the backstop has thrown out four of five would-be base-stealers in Grapefruit League play. His ability to control the running game and framing skills are enough to overcome whatever hitting holes he has. If Sandy Leon's hitting anywhere near last year's level (.845 OPS), Boston can maintain Vazquez on the roster. However, if Leon (career OPS .681) turns back into a pumpkin, the Red Sox would be in a position to call up Blake Swihart from Triple-A Pawtucket. In that case, there would be a roster squeeze, with neither Vazquez or Leon having any minor league options remaining.
Centeno is expected to begin the season at Triple-A Fresno and potentially become the Astros' third catcher in the event of an injury to either Brian McCann or Evan Gattis, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports.
When Houston designated catcher Max Stassi for assignment earlier this week, it barely registered on the transaction radar, but it meant something to Centeno. He and Stassi will be in the same boat at Fresno -- the Astros will have to select the contract of either player to be added to the 40-man roster. Neither have hit much -- Stassi from the right side, Centeno from the left -- with Centeno holding an edge in terms of major league experience.
Bandy went 1-for-17 over his last six spring games and now owns just a .519 OPS during the exhibition season.
Bandy got off to a good start this spring, but his recent stretch has done quite a bit of damage to his statistics. His slump is not doing him any favors in the competition for playing time behind the plate with the big league club -- particularly because it coincides with a hot stretch for fellow backstop Manny Pina -- but he is still seemingly the favorite to open the season as the Brewers' top catcher ahead of Pina and Andrew Susac.
Hundley went 2-for-4 with a pair of home runs and four RBI in Tuesday's win over the Padres.
The veteran catcher was signed by the Giants this past offseason to serve as Buster Posey's primary backup. The Giants are known to move their All-Star catcher to first base against southpaws, so Hundley should get a start or two per week, slightly above the usual allotment for backup catchers. Still, it would take an injury to Posey for him to have any sort of fantasy value in standard one-catcher leagues.
Lucroy has gone 3-for-11 with one RBI and two strikeouts in three WBC games.
His playing time has been somewhat limited for Team USA, with Buster Posey taking on the larger share of the workload behind the plate, but the Rangers have not publicly expressed any concern about Lucroy not being up to speed for the start of the regular season. Lucroy went 5-for-12 in Cactus League play before leaving Rangers camp. The 30-year-old should be viewed as a top-three fantasy catcher for 2017.
Perez (elbow), who is serving as the team's DH for Wednesday's Cactus League game against the Padres, is expected to catch in games Friday and Saturday, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.
Perez hurt his knee during a collision at home plate during the World Baseball Classic, but that injury is no longer a concern, and it's instead a hyperextended left elbow that's presenting more trouble at this time. However, it seems he's just about healed up now, and once he gets behind the plate for about six innings in the two games over the weekend, he should be considered ready to go for the start of the season. The Royals are once again preparing to hand Perez one of the heftier workloads at catcher this season, which should help him in racking up counting stats.
Manager John Gibbons said Martin's workload this season will largely depend on how much the catcher wants to take on, Corey Long of MLB.com reports.
Gibbons' statement is encouraging for owners who drafted Martin. According to FanGraphs, the veteran has handled more innings than any other American League catcher over the past three seasons, and the addition of Jarrod Saltalamacchia was seen as a move made to lessen the load on Martin. Volume is a big factor in valuing today's fantasy catchers, and the 34-year-old will apparently have a chance to surpass 440 at-bats for a third straight campaign.
Saltalamacchia's workload this season will heavily depend on how much work starter Russell Martin wants to take on, Corey Long of MLB.com reports.
Manager John Gibbons said he isn't far from disclosing the Jays' planned pitching rotation this season. In the process of making that announcement, he will also figure out how he wants to utilize the backup catcher. The skipper added that he'll look to identify which pitcher Saltalamacchia meshes with best early in the campaign before making a set schedule for the catchers. Ultimately, though, the divvying of playing time will be up to Martin. "Really, it's going to revolve around Russ and when he needs a day," Gibbons said. In 2016, Martin logged his heaviest workload in seven seasons, but the gritty veteran is unlikely to cede any time behind the dish if he can avoid it. For now, Saltalamacchia is nothing more than a handcuff for Martin owners and a punt in daily leagues when he's called upon.