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 rostered in all leagues with the expectation of them performing well all season long. These are players that have at least 40% rostership, 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, Tyler Stephenson, Keibert Ruiz, Jonah Heim, William Contreras, Yainer Diaz, Sean Murphy, Cal Raleigh, Francisco Álvarez, and Elias Díaz.
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 rostered everywhere.
The recommended players will be categorized into three different tiers. The first will be players that have extremely low rostership but are too good to not be rostered. 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…..
Davis was placed on the 10-day Injured List on August 23rd due to a strained right hand. It’s an injury that had been lingering with him for a while. It’s fair to assume that it was this very injury that caused his batting average to plummet by 82 points over his previous 32 days. Just a reminder that he has not started one game at catcher yet and will likely lose this eligibility there for next season.
The Too Low-Rostered
Since returning from the Injured List on August 18th, O’Hoppe has scuffled to the tune of a .125/192/.250/.442 slash line. This was to be expected as he would likely need some time getting himself back into full game shape. However, that is only a handful of games and he is too talented of a hitter to be under-rostered. He hit his first home run since April in only his third game back and has a mini three-game hit streak going. Additionally, the Angels play three games at Philadelphia this week and follow that with three at Oakland. If this mini-hit streak is the start of him heating up, watch out. He’s worth an add now to see if this is the start of something better.
The return of Jonah Heim on August 13th has not stopped the playing time of Mitch Garver. Since that time, Garver has been in the lineup 11 times (two more than Heim) and has more multi-hit games (three) than Heim has total hits (two). This past week, he had three home runs and has now raised his batting average to .278 on the season. It looks like he’s going to play almost every day and is cheap exposure to a good Rangers lineup. This week, the Rangers play three games at the Mets before coming home to face the Twins. If you believe in the revenge game narrative, then Garver should be extra motivated to play against his former team in Minnesota.
Since returning from injury on August 13th, Moreno has been nothing short of great. Over the 10 games played since then, he has a .378/.395/.649/1.043 slash line with two home runs. While power hasn’t always been Moreno’s strength, a solid approach at the plate is, as he has five multi-hit games and only three strikeouts in that time frame. While this upcoming week isn’t easy (three at the Dodgers, three versus the Orioles), he looks to be ascending into someone to be counted on for batting average at a position of weakness. That in and of itself is a strength.
The One-Week Options
This one comes with a caveat in that I really don’t know who will get the most starts this upcoming week. Both Kirk and Jansen are in a platoon that seems to be unpredictable. They’re both right-handed batters so it has nothing to do with the handedness of their opposing pitcher. The reasoning behind including both catchers here is that the Jays have an incredibly favorable matchup of games next week. First, they play three games at home to the Nationals. After that, they travel to Colorado to take on the Rockies. Both catchers should be widely available, so if you’re in a daily league, a simple drop and add might work out. Otherwise, Jansen would likely get the most playing time next week, but it feels like a coin flip. At the end of the day, both catchers should have productive weeks.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)