Fantasy Baseball Today

Replacing Yadier Molina

By Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com

How will Fantasy owners replace Yadier Molina? (USATSI)
How will Fantasy owners replace Yadier Molina? (USATSI)

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is going to miss some time. After playing in at least 135 games the past five seasons, Molina will undergo thumb surgery Friday. He's expected to miss 8-12 weeks. Given the timing of the injury, it's possible the issue keeps him out the rest of the regular season. Molina has already said he hopes to return prior to the end of the year, however.

In the meantime, Fantasy owners are left scrambling. While catcher isn't the deepest position in Fantasy, it's rare for teams to carry more than one in single catcher leagues. That leaves some interesting players out there on the waiver wire.

Over 50 percent owned catchers - A fair share of this bunch may be owned in your league already, but there's a chance one or two will still be available.

Derek Norris - 72 percent owned - Norris is already owned in most leagues, and there's good reason for that. He has a .305/.409/.495 slash line over 226 at-bats. There are a few things working against Norris at this point. One is that he's never played this much in his career. He's set to surpass his career-high 308 plate appearances this season. The other issue is that he's dealt with minor injuries throughout the year. Norris hasn't hit the disabled list, but he did miss time with a back injury. He's also taken some hits behind the plate, though he's only missed one game due to foul tips. Overall, he's a strong option if he's still available. Missing games a few weeks ago may have led to an impatient owner cutting bait.

Kurt Suzuki - 64 percent owned - We've seen enough from Suzuki at this point to know his 2014 is likely a fluke. Outside of a solid average, he doesn't contribute all that much. He's not a power hitter, and he doesn't swipe bases. He's more of a hot-hand type than a serious long-term replacement.

Mike Zunino - 65 percent owned - Zunino's ownership percentage is likely tied to his power. His 13 home runs ranks third among all catchers. The problem is, he's a work in progress in other offensive areas. Zunino doesn't walk, and he's struck out in over a third of his at-bats. If you crave power, but don't need anything else, he's the guy for you.

Wilson Ramos - 55 percent owned - Ramos has always produced when healthy. The problem is, he's always hurt. Injuries struck again early, and Ramos only has 142 plate appearances this season. He's put up some solid numbers again, but owners have to worry how long he'll stay on the field before another injury hits. He's a solid option, but for how long?

Under 50 percent owned catchers - These players have some promise, and might actually be available in your leagues.

Travis d'Arnaud - 47 percent owned - d'Arnaud has come back from his brief stint in Triple-A a new man. He's done a much better job making contact against pitches on the outer half of the plate, and is starting to look like a stud prospect again. He's a high-risk, high-reward type add. If he lives up to the hype, he could be great down the stretch. If not, he's back to the minors.

Russell Martin - 42 percent owned - The book is out on Martin. He can provide solid power at the catcher position, but it will come at the expense of his batting average. He's a decent power add, but only if Zunino is already owned. They are similar players, but Zunino should hit for more pop.

Robinson Chirinos - 23 percent owned - A hot couple of weeks has pushed Chirinos into an interesting territory. He's currently the most-added catcher in CBSSports.com leagues. The power has been nice, but the overall skill set isn't all that impressive. He doesn't walk, and strikes out more than most players. He could be a decent power add, and might hit for a better average than Zunino and Martin, but it's too early to know whether his recent surge is for real. Keep an eye on him, though.


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