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Catching on
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Even before the 2013 baseball season began, many experts were calling the catching position as deep as it's ever been.

There was enough depth to cover every owner in a typical 10-team league. But after two months of action, it's deeper than anyone could have imagined.

While 2012 NL MVP Buster Posey has been doing what he does, Yadier Molina continues to rake, Joe Mauer is batting over .300 for the seventh time is 10 seasons and Carlos Santana finally hits like we all knew he could, we've seen a number of new names join the list of viable fantasy catchers.

Evan Gattis, Atlanta

Someone, please find this man a permanent position. He started spring training as the backup to backup Gerald Laird while starter Brian McCann was on the disabled list. After hitting .368 with six home runs in the spring, the Braves gave Gattis the first opportunity to play and he pounded out three homers in the first six games of the season. He hasn't stopped since, with 12 home runs in just 133 at-bats (1 every 11.1 at-bats).

The problem is that McCann, a six-time All-Star, has returned and he's on fire too, batting .281 with six home runs in just 57 at-bats. Atlanta manager Freddy Gonzalez is going to need to be inventive to keep both hot bats in the lineup. Gattis could quickly become multi-position eligible as he's already started seven games in left field and another three at first base.

A catcher-eligible hitter with a .946 OPS is a godsend to fantasy owners. Pick him up today even if you have a strong starter on your roster.

Jason Castro, Houston

Castro was the AL Player of the Week for games played between May 20-26 after batting .579 with three home runs, five RBI and five runs scored in six games. However, he's been playing at a high level for more than just one week. In May, he's batting .295 with five homers, 11 RBI and a .908 OPS.

Castro is more likely mirage than long-term solution, however, as he hasn't hit this well since 2009 at Single-A Lancaster of the California League. Ride the wave for as long as it lasts and then find another option.

Yasmani Grandal, San Diego

The Padres' young catcher had been suspended from baseball for the first 50 games of the season (testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone), but that ended on Monday and he was in the San Diego starting lineup Tuesday. He was a first-round selection in the 2010 amateur draft and in 60 games last season batted .297 with eight homers, 36 RBI and an impressive .863 OPS. He's owned in just 11 percent of all Yahoo leagues and has a chance to develop into a top-10 fantasy catcher.

Russell Martin, Pittsburgh

Martin isn't really a new name, he just wasn't a player considered to be an option on draft day (Yahoo ADP 295). Over the past five seasons, his OPS was under .735 and he stopped stealing bases like he did as a younger player. This season, however, he's been one of the keys to the Pirates' success, batting .255 with six homers, an .802 OPS and expertly handling the pitching staff. He's struggled since returning from a neck injury, but he's going to play every day and has a chance to stay a low-end fantasy option.

So now, on top of Posey, Molina, Mauer, Santana, McCann, Matt Wieters, Wilin Rosario, Mike Napoli, J.P. Arencibia, John Buck and Miguel Montero, add these four guys to list of viable fantasy catching options.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.