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, Elias Díaz, 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…..
Will Smith – C Los Angeles Dodgers
Smith has been off for quite some time with a concussion. He may return at some point this week but will be re-evaluated beforehand.
Logan O’Hoppe – C Los Angeles Dodgers
O’Hoppe hurt his shoulder this week while swinging a bat. He was placed on the 10-day Injured List and will not qualify for this list.
Travis d’Arnaud – C Atlanta Braves
d’Arnaud has been on the concussion injured list for over a week now but has begun hitting in the batting cages. He is without a timetable for a return.
Mitch Garver – C Texas Rangers
Garver has been out with a knee issue and will continue to be out for a while. He will require at least another month on the Injured List.
The Too Low-Rostered
Gabriel Moreno – C Arizona Diamondbacks
Moreno had himself quite the week where he had a .421/.450/.632 slash line with one home run. His best asset is his ability to hit, not necessarily for power, but rather to get on base. The Diamondbacks play three games at home to the Royals and then three games at Colorado next weekend. Moreno is a must-add if you need a catcher.
Jonah Heim – C Texas Rangers
While Mitch Garver remains out of action with a knee issue, Heim continues to thrive as the team’s everyday catcher. This past week, he’s hit two home runs and has been tough to keep off base. He can be a bit of a streaky hitter, but he took a big step forward in 2022. The Rangers play three games in Cincinnati before heading to New York to face the Yankees. He could have another big week here.
The One-Week Options
Christian Bethancourt – C Tampa Bay Rays
Thought to be a solid late-round stash in deeper leagues, Bethancourt struggled to start the season. However, over the past two weeks, he’s been one of baseball’s best at the position. Since April 12, the Rays’ catcher has had a .409/.480/.909 slash line with two home runs. It’s this run that has allowed him to emerge as the number-one catcher in Tampa Bay. This week, they face the Astros at home before traveling to Chicago to face the White Sox.
Shea Langeliers – C Oakland Athletics
Now with sixteen appearances at the catcher position, Langeliers should qualify at the position in most formats. He is someone whose talent should eventually play itself out onto the field, as he has a powerful bat just waiting to come through. He’s already lowered his strikeout rate by around eight percentage points from last season. This upcoming week, he faces the Angels at home and then gets to play against the Reds. Any matchup that’s not Ohtani seems like a decent one this week and a good way for him to break out.
Christian Vázquez – C Minnesota Twins
All Vázquez does is hit the ball and get on base. With a career-high walk rate already in place and a batting average hovering around .300, he can be a batting average pillar for our teams, as he will play every day. It’s not the sexiest of picks, but it’ll get the job done since batting average is a difficult category to fill. The Twins play all seven of their games at home this week against the Yankees and then a very weak Royals team.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)
Appreciate these articles. I’d like to request the addition of a two-catcher “deep league” steaming option. In the NFBC leagues I play in, every name you mentioned has significant ownership rates, and have been taken for quite a while. When someone like OHoppe gets injured, we’re looking at the Jake Rogers and Martin Maldanados of the world. Slim pickings.