Catchers to Stream for Week 19 (8/7- 8/13)
We have a new addition to the list this week in the form of Drew Butera, who will replace Salvador Perez for the next four weeks while the latter heals from an intercostal strain. This has some wondering if Butera is worth a pickup. The closest the 33 year-old has ever come to a full time starting job was in 2011 with the Twins. He is the definition of a career backup with a career triple slash of .203/.257/.302. In fact, the only reason his career average even sits above the Mendoza line is because he’s had a career resurgence with KC, hitting .249/.302/.385 over his 145 games with the Royals since 2015. Even with these elevated numbers, he’s not someone you want to hold. His xstats suggest no improvement with a line not far removed from his Royals career line. On top of that, the Royals get 4 games against the Cards this week and take on Carlos Martinez, Mike Leake, Michael Wacha, and Lance Lynn. Each of those starters is capable of putting together a gem, though Lynn is playing with fire in a big way. I would not endorse Butera as a streamer this week.
Now, let’s take a look back at last week’s suggestions and how they panned out:
Many people asked about Wilson Ramos last week. Partly because I foolishly forgot his name while copying over my list last week, and also because he was an elite catcher for the Nats last year and many are hoping for him to put together another strong campaign down the stretch this year for Tampa Bay. While I remain hopeful that Ramos will turn his season around, this isn’t the week for it. He’s got a nightmarish week ahead facing Boston’s Chris Sale and Rick Porcello and then Trevor Bauer, Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco, and Corey Kluber. That’s four pitchers pitching very well and I want no part of it. Steer clear of Ramos this week, but don’t worry, he’s on my radar.
Travis d’Arnaud- 4-15, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 Ks. d’Arnaud had a pretty quiet week. As expected he did damage against the Rox in Coors, but Yu Darvish got added to his slate which never helps things. I would still recommend him on good weeks moving forward.
Matt Wieters- 3-14, HR, 6 RBIs, 3 Ks. He got 2 walks for those in OBP leagues, but he was looking bad until he bailed owners out with a GS and 5 RBIs on Sunday. I definitely call this a win and if you streamed him, you have gotta be happy with the results. If you’re considering holding, remember that he’s got an xOBP of just .285 and an xSLG of just .374. He’s not likely to give you the sustained production of one of the big names.
Francisco Cervelli- 3-13, 0 XBHs and 3 Ks. I was afraid of this. Cervelli came in slumping, but I had high hopes because of the sheer number of games he plays for Pittsburgh. It didn’t help him at all. Cervelli doesn’t have the pop in his bat anymore. I will be very hesitant before recommending him again.
And finally, on to this week’s recommendations:
Mike Zunino – Zunino is primed for a huge week this week with cake matchups throughout. After a Monday off day, the Mariners play 2 in Oakland (Kendall Graveman and Jharel Cotton) followed by 4 in Anaheim (Tyler Skaggs, Ricky Nolasco, JC Ramirez, and Parker Bridwell). All of those are pretty easy matchups and Zunino will hopefully feast. The M’s lineup added Yonder Alonso, which is nice. I want to add a huge caveat: Zunino is mired in a massive slump. Not just with actual results, but his xStats suggest terrible results as well. He had a .195/.285/.457 xstats triple slash for July and his August line is even worse thus far (.091/.141/.151). If you want a dart throw at a huge week, Zunino is your guy. But don’t be surprised if he ends up as a liability to your team.
Wellington Castillo – Castillo has put together a strong season after a breakout last year in Arizona. Castillo is the reverse Zunino this week, getting the Angels (JC Ramirez, Parker Bridwell, and Jesse Chavez) followed by Oakland (Paul Blackburn, Sean Manaea, Daniel Gossett, and Kendall Graveman). Only Manaea worries me at all on that list, and Manaea has been struggling lately. His xStats support his strong performance with an xOBA+ over 100 in 4 of 5 months this season. Castillo has the green light this week .
Matt Wieters – I said last week that as long as Wieters stays under 50% owned (I use Yahoo ownership numbers), he would likely be a fixture on this list merely due to hitting in a strong Nats lineup and he sits at 48% now. He’s got more than that going for him this week as the Nats play host to Miami (Chris O’Grady, Vance Worley, Adam Conley, and Dan Straily) and then San Fran (Chris Stratton, Jeff Samardzjia, and Matt Moore). Only Conley and Shark present a challenge (and Straily on a good day) to the veteran backstop. Feel free to fire him up this week as your catcher.
Manny Pina – I can’t ignore that Stephen Vogt is on the DL and Pina’s starts have gone up in the interim and he has responded with a solid July. He’s not great, but he’s got consistent playing time and a light week this week, starting off in Minneapolis to face the logic-defying Ervin Santana as well as professional BP thrower Adalberto Mejia. Both teams then travel to Milwaukee after the game and the Twins will run two former Mets out in there in the form of Bartolo Colon and Dillon Gee. My heart doesn’t want to roll with Pina this week, but that’s mostly because he faces Bartolo “Big Sexy” Colon and I never want to bet against the ageless wonder. However, as much as I love Colon, but he’s just not a good pitcher anymore and Gee never was. After that, the Reds come to town featuring Homer Bailey, Robert Stephenson, and Sal Romano. This is Pina’s opportunity to hold down the job after Vogt is back. He’s a good bet to take advantage.