This late in the 2022 fantasy baseball season, you cannot afford to carry dead weight on your roster. As we’ve touched on several times throughout the campaign, it’s perfectly fine to be flexible and proactive on your league’s Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire with catchers that may be swinging a hot stick, or are just getting more run. Interestingly enough, the player I want to touch on this week is widely regarded as a playable option. Even in the August Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings, he’s currently holding a top 15 spot, but I expect that to change once the calendar rolls over to September. I want to re-visit Christian Vázquez of the Houston Astros. Formerly of the Red Sox, I previewed Vazquez a few weeks ago following the surprise trade to the World Series contenders down in Texas. As the fantasy baseball playoffs approach, I think it’s important to roster players that can, and will, contribute to your team. Christian Vázquez doesn’t appear to be doing so and you can ultimately cut him from your roster.


Since joining the Astros earlier this month, he’s slashed .333/.366/.333 with a .314 wOBA. The batting average isn’t awful and extrapolated across a whole season you may find that useful. However, the playing time hasn’t been there for Vazquez. He’s largely been relegated to a backup role in Houston with almost no upside in points leagues or roto formats. He’s made just ten starts behind home plate since August 2nd and all 13 of his hits have been singles. That’s right, he doesn’t have one extra base hit over the last month. And to make matters worse, when he is being plugged into the lineup he’s in the bottom third of the order. He’s had really just one good game back on August 18th where he went 4-for-6 with three runs scored and a pair of RBI. But that was over ten days ago and he’s only made four appearances since. The playing time simply hasn’t been there for him.

It also doesn’t help Vazquez’s prospects for the upcoming scoring period that the Astros have one of the weakest schedules for Week 21. With only five games on the schedule (all on the road) it’s hard to imagine the volume being there for Vazquez even if he was the full-time starter. He may only get three starts at best this week and without much power, it’s hard to get excited about what he can do. So it’s not really about the Statcast number or the deeper data with Vazquez. At the core of what’s killing his fantasy value is just a lack of playing time, which I truthfully didn’t expect when Houston went out and acquired him.


Vazquez has seen his ownership slowly start to drop and rightfully so. He’s still rostered in over 50% of ESPN leagues and over 60% of CBS Sports leagues. That will likely change over the next week as managers look to set their playoff rosters. Who could be viewed as a viable replacement at the catcher position? If Adley Rutschman is still floating around on the waiver wire, I’d take a shot on him. He’s slashing .291/.436/.466 since July 17th and he has a 19.5% walk rate compared to a 12.8% strikeout rate in that span. 


William Contreras is another viable backstop who might be more available than Rutschman. Contreras is slashing .322/.372/.575 since July 30th and even since last Wednesday he has seven total hits (three for extra bases) with five runs scored and five RBI entering Sunday night’s matchup against the Cardinals. 


And lastly, if you’re in a deeper league, I might suggest you take a shot on Shea Langeliers of the Oakland Athletics, who was previewed a week ago in the Player Spotlight Series. The Athletics prized backstop prospect is available in over 80% of leagues and had a .535 slugging percentage entering Sunday. That number is likely to regress and he did have his struggles against the Yankees this past weekend. However, he possesses more upside at the position currently than Vazquez. Langeliers has seen seven of his 11 hits so far go for extra bases and over the past week he’s been featured in the top half of the order more often. And remember how we previewed Vazquez’s upcoming schedule this week? Langeliers and the A’s, while on the road, have a much better schedule against the Nationals and Orioles for six games total.

It’s unfortunate that the Astros went out and made a splash by acquiring Vazquez prior to Major League Baseball’s Trade Deadline. But they just haven’t been using him enough to make him a viable commodity in fantasy anymore. With the playoffs starting up shortly, it’s time to unload the dead weight and get yourself someone who can help you win your league.


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