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Robinson Chirinos is the catcher you want down the stretch

Few batters, let alone catchers, have been as hot as the Rangers backstop

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

I’m of the mentality that with catchers, you just set and forget. Sometimes I take it too far and don’t realize how bad a catcher has been until he’s two weeks past his expiration date. I rostered Austin Hedges for 37 games in a league this year and he hit with me a .276 OBP. On the flip side, I don’t notice if a catcher has been on fire. In a deep league, I’ve had Robinson Chirinos for his last 35 games and he’s rewarded me with a .450 OBP to go with 13 runs, 4 HR and 11 RBI.

Let’s do a quick exercise. Go to your free agent pool and look at who’s the top catcher in the last 30 days. I’m willing to bet that unless Gary Sanchez is in your pool, it’s Robinson Chirinos by a landslide. Now take a look at whom you’re rostering. What’s stopping you from making the switch?

Since Lucroy’s departure, Chirinos has been the de facto backstop for the Rangers and he’s been unconscious. In the last 30 days (91 PA), he’s slashing .397/.544/706 with a whopping 21 BB% and a 15.4 K%. That’s elite. He isn’t mashing home runs day after day or driving in 10 runs in a week, but that’s the beauty of it.

Unlike other catchers, he’s not actively hurting you or forcing you to field a team without one. He’s almost like Ender Inciarte; he keeps you afloat when your other bats are struggling despite not shining bright himself.

Yes, Chirinos is running a silly .460 BABIP. We know he’s not this good. But if you pull back and look at his season line, it’s at .266/.376/.545 with a .299 BABIP. He’s always been someone who can take a walk (.349 OBP in more than 1,000 MiLB games) and it looks like at the ripe age of 33 he’s finally translating that to the majors.

I won’t get ahead of myself though. I’m not here to preach his virtues in a dynasty or keeper league. I want to talk you into picking him up for these last three weeks. Here are some catchers I’d drop for Chirinos if he were available (and at under 30% ownership in ESPN and Yahoo, he should be).

DROP

  • JT Realmuto - 8 for his last 51 with one run and two steals. You guys can make up next year.
  • Yadier Molina - He had a good run for a while but he’s cooled off. Has a decent 7 RBI in the last couple of weeks but no homers and a .304 OBP.
  • Yasmani Grandal - Does anyone’s cold streaks get as bad as Grandal’s? In the last two weeks he’s at 2/1/3 with a .154 AVG and a .190 OBP.
  • Matt Wieters - .250 OBP in the last two weeks, barely any counting stats.
  • Wilson Ramos - Man, he was supposed to be a savior when he came back. Instead he’s dragged everyone down. Only two hits in the last week, no counting stats and hasn’t started the Rays’ last two games.

CONSIDER DROPPING

  • Salvador Perez - The only reason he’s not in the ‘Drop’ tier is because he has 3 HR in the last two weeks. You know what else he has in that span? A .125/.160/.313 line. Hmm. Maybe he should be in the drop tier.
  • Kyle Schwarber - Similar to Perez, Schwarber has launched three homers in the last two weeks to go with 6 RBI, but he’s slashing .194/.275/.444.

Chirinos is here for the taking. He’s in a lineup that has the third-best wOBA (.375) in baseball the last 30 days. In OBP/SLG/OPS leagues, I’d go as far to call him a must-add. Say goodbye to the catchers you’ve rostered for the last few weeks and let Chirinos guide you to glory.