The catcher position isn’t always one that’s fun to figure out. Depending on your league size and format, it can be incredibly tough to utilize that position in a way that helps you win. What makes things even worse is in two catcher leagues, there are two roster spots just sitting there with the possibility of players that either won’t play or won’t produce. It can be frustrating, to say the least.
That’s why this column is here, to help you overcome your desolate need in a position of volatility. This is such a hard position to project sometimes because of a few reasons. For one, it can be physically difficult for the body to crouch and stand for hours, so catchers do get a day off more frequently. Secondly, some pitchers like to hand-pick their catchers, as they are in sync when calling games. Third, their defensive abilities to frame and defend come into play more so than any other position in baseball. Add those factors together and you have a position that can be difficult to predict.
Things to Watch
When trying to predict the potential status of a catcher, there are a few things that need to be considered.
- Playing time is key. If they are on the strong side of a platoon, chances are that they will play the majority of the week, but even four out of the seven days in a week is promising. If they qualify and play elsewhere in the field, that’s a huge bonus.
- Statistical contributors are ideal. Look for players that can offer help with at least two of the five traditional categories. Anything more than that is great, while anything less is a detriment.
- Injury history is a consideration. It’s always important to consider a player’s past before considering their future.
Who Doesn’t Qualify?
Looking at the catcher position, there are some quality options that have already likely been drafted. These are players that are highly owned in all leagues with the expectation of them performing well all season long. These are players that have at least 50% ownership, and therefore will not be options here. Those names are: J.T. Realmuto, Will Smith, Adley Rutschman, Salvador Perez, Daulton Varsho, Willson Contreras, MJ Melendez, Alejandro Kirk, Tyler Stephenson, William Contreras, Sean Murphy, Cal Raleigh, Travis d’Arnaud, and Keibert Ruiz.
Everyone else that qualifies for that position is eligible to be selected as a streaming option. That list will likely be the standard unless season-ending injuries occur or if others rise up and become players worthy of being owned everywhere.
The recommended players will be categorized into three different tiers. The first will be players that have extremely low ownership but are too good to not be owned. These players will eventually grow to the list of players who don’t qualify and are recommended to be picked up in all two-catcher leagues. The next grouping is for players who don’t officially qualify at the catcher spot but will eventually due to appearances behind the plate. These players are in a good spot and should be picked up in most two-catcher leagues. Finally, the last grouping is for one-week options. These recommendations are based on past performance and upcoming schedules. Here we go…..
The Too Low-Rostered
Logan O’Hoppe – C Los Angeles Angels
This will be a constant recommendation until he gets more universally rostered. His talent is undeniable and his future is quite bright. Whether or not he gets significantly closer to his ceiling this year remains to be seen, but his bat is a weapon. As of this writing, he is owned in less than 25% of all Yahoo leagues. As for his upcoming week, the Angels play three games at home against the Nationals and three games on the road against the Red Sox.
Gabriel Moreno – C Arizona Diamondbacks
Moreno will eventually be a fixture in the Diamondbacks’ lineup, now that Carson Kelly is out of action for an extended time. While he hasn’t yet done much with the bat, he could and should start to produce at any time. He has the bat-to-ball skills to be a solid batting average contributor, and once things start to click, his ownership will take off. Remember that the team traded away a major piece in Daulton Varsho for him, so they are expecting big things from him.
Mitch Garver – C Texas Rangers
First, check to see if Garver qualifies as a catcher in your league. In many places, he may only be a utility player, but he does have three appearances here already this season as of yesterday. The Rangers have a three-game road trip to Kansas City this week, and Garver figures to play in all three of those games, since he gets time as Texas’ designated hitter as well. All that said, the team does travel to Houston over the weekend, so matchups might not be as favorable there.
Shea Langeliers – C Oakland Athletics
The rebuilding Athletics are letting their youth run the roost this season, and Langeliers is a major part of their future. He does qualify at catcher in some formats, but elsewhere he is still UT-only. Thus far, he has started at catcher for most of the team’s games and will likely do so barring injury. The A’s play four games at Baltimore this week before heading home to play the Mets. He is someone with a solid upside who should eventually develop into a catcher who may not qualify here due to higher ownership.
The One-Week Options
Elias Díaz – C Colorado Rockies
It’s difficult to project much of anything for Díaz since he’s struggled to start the season. That being said, the Rockies have played the majority of their games on the road, and have a three-game homestand this upcoming week. Díaz has traditionally done well at Coors Field, utilizing the thin air to the tune of a .275/.324/.470 career slash line. He’s a streaky hitter who loves his home ballpark, so using him for this week seems like a safe enough bet for most of the week. Be aware that the team travels to Seattle next weekend, so he may come back down to earth by then.
Blake Sabol – C San Francisco Giants
Much like the rest of the team, Sabol’s bat heated up in the Windy City, as he hit his first career home run there. Currently, Joey Bart is sidelined with a back strain and Mitch Haniger is out for an extended period too. As a result, Sabol has a chance to earn himself everyday at-bats in the near future with additional playing time. There’s a history of some power in the minors, as he hit 19 over two levels in 2022. The Giants play three games at home versus the Dodgers before heading out to Detroit. He’s worth a shot, especially given how tricky back injuries can be.
Christian Vázquez – C Minnesota Twins
Vázquez was one of the big free agent signings for the Twins in the offseason. He comes with a track record of success in that he has good bat-to-ball skills and provides a good batting average stabilizer for your fantasy team. There isn’t much of a power pedigree there, but he should play every day. The Twins play three games at home against the White Sox before traveling to New York to face the Yankees.