Streaming catchers can be a Sisyphean task. Unless you have one of the top catchers, you are left guessing what to do with the position.
Catchers are similar to kickers in fantasy football – you don’t think about your catcher slot as much as the other high-scoring positions – but if you’re looking for an advantage over your competition it makes sense to monitor what is happening. Why wouldn’t you research every position on your team?
We have all been on the losing end of a matchup when we needed just one more hit or one more steal so that deep-cut catcher you just picked up and who homered on Sunday – that guy could deliver you to victory.
So join me gluttons of fantasy baseball punishment and without further ado – let’s kick off this week in streaming catcher land!
Reviewing Last Column’s Picks
Here are the established guidelines from last season for determining whether or not streaming was a “win”, and I’ll leave these up here each week as a reminder.
- When we stream a catcher, we’re not expecting multiple home runs, so a guy hitting .250 is helpful, and I’ll consider that a plus. Anything over .300 is a super plus and a near-automatic win. We must keep in mind the number of plate appearances — under 10 PA diminishes that boost.
- Home runs have a significant impact. If you get two homers from the catcher position, it’s a guaranteed win unless the catcher bats under the Mendoza line. However, if other factors exist, a catcher can still be a streaming win without home runs.
- Counting stats (R+RBI) is the lowest stat consideration because you’re not expecting them from your catcher, and they’re a nice bonus.
I write this column every other week, so these were my streaming picks from the week of May 15:
During the week of May 15th, Moreno played in four games and went .250 with four hits in 16 ABs. He added one RBI and two walks. Based on the first criterion above, we’ll count this as a win (but just barely).
Moreno is now hitting .304 on the year with two home runs, 19 RBI, and two stolen bases. Not earth-shattering numbers, but it’s clear that Moreno’s top fantasy asset will be his high batting average. The Diamondbacks also value Moreno for the other important part of a catcher’s game: defense.
Moreno is first in the NL in both caught stealing percentage (52.2%) and assists as a catcher (28), and is fourth in the NL in catcher fielding percentage (.997).
This was easily the better of the two streaming selections from the week of May 15. Álvarez raked to the tune of two home runs and five RBI in the five games he played that week. He had 15 ABs total and hit .333 with an on-base percentage of .474 and a slugging percentage of .800. It appears Alvarez is breaking out in front of our eyes and should be owned in all leagues (more on this later).
Nate Kosher’s Streaming Record for 2023 Season: 5-3
Notes & Transactions From Last Week
- On May 23, the Rangers sent Mitch Garver on a rehab assignment to Triple-A Round Rock as he nears his return from a knee injury that has sidelined him since mid-April. Garver homered in his second rehab start. Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said they are still deciding what Garver’s workload will look like upon his return. I would expect that Jonah Heim will still get the majority of starts at catcher, but Garver will get an occasional start at catcher as well as DH.
- The Mets officially cut ties with Gary Sánchez after a grand total of six ABs as Tomás Nido was activated from the 10-day IL and Omar Narváez was sent to High-A Brooklyn for a rehab assignment. After failing to make it out of the Giants’ minor league system earlier this season, Sánchez leaves New York with one hit and one RBI. He is a two-time All-Star with 154 home runs for his career – and he is still only 30 years old – but time will tell if this is the end of the line for “The Kraken.”
Have more questions? “Catch” up with me on Twitter @NathanielKosher!
This Week’s Streamers
Each week, we highlight a streaming option for a 12-team league and a 15-team league each week. Before we do that let’s take a closer look at someone who appears to be budding into a superstar: Adley Rutschman. As of May 26, Rutschman is hitting .262/.391/.415 with seven home runs and 25 RBIs, a pace that would put him at 23 home runs and 81 RBI for the full season. He’s a major reason why the Orioles have one of the best records in the league (33-17) and sit in second place in the competitive AL East.
Most impressively, Rutschman has shown patience beyond his years while at the plate and currently leads the American League with 40 walks. Last season, he had a total of 65 BB in 113 games. For a lofty comparison, in Mike Piazza’s second season, he walked a total of 46 times in 149 games, good for a .370 OBP. Piazza also hit 35 home runs with 112 RBI – counting numbers that Rutschman won’t touch – but the OBP is definitely in range for the second-year Orioles backstop. It will be exciting to watch him the rest of the season and if you were lucky enough to draft him, you probably don’t need to read this column.
Without further ado, here are the potential streaming targets for this week:
This is my first back-to-back recommendation on the year, but I really think Álvarez is budding into an offensive weapon for the Mets. Perhaps this was lost a bit in the recent Gary Sánchez saga, but the former top prospect in all of baseball is on fire this month. For May, he’s played in 18 games slashing .304/.381/.661 with five home runs and 11 RBI.
Over the last week (May 17 – 25), he’s hit a scorching .444/.500/.1000 with three home runs and seven RBIs. This includes an impressive two-run bomb at Wrigley Field directly into a 20 MPH headwind.
The Mets are off Monday before the Phillies come to town for a three-game set. The Phillies’ starting pitchers have struggled this year, including staff aces Zach Wheeler and Aaron Nola. Wheeler is 3-4 with a 4.11 ERA and Nola’s ERA is even higher at 4.59. Álvarez should be able to find success no matter who is starting for the Phils. New York finishes the week at home for the weekend against the Blue Jays.
Travis d’Arnaud, Atlanta
d’Arnaud is someone else I’ve recommended earlier this season, but he continues to be under-rostered since returning from a concussion two weeks ago.
For the season, d’Arnaud is hitting .304 with one home run and eight RBI in just 15 games played thus far. Three of the RBI have come during the past week so things are clicking for him at the plate. He’s a lifetime .253 hitter, which is actually quite good for a catcher, and if he stays healthy he should be able to approach 15 home runs the rest of the way.
Atlanta is heading to Oakland for a three-game series against the lowly A’s so there will be ample opportunity for some offense. After leaving Oakland, they travel to Arizona for a three-game set against the Diamondbacks. Beyond the buzz saw known as Zac Gallen, and number two starter Merrill Kelly, the Dbacks pitchers have been hit or miss.
A ten-player list of potential streamers by weekly rank is added to each week. To qualify, the catchers must be 50% owned or less. For example, if Travis d’Arnaud is already rostered in your 12-team league, the next in line should be Shea Langeliers, and so on down the list. Also, 15-team leagues are much deeper, so attention to roster% is added to the process. If a 12-team player is available, they are considered the player before the 15-team streamer. Lastly, the Roster% is based on Yahoo leagues.
The last two spots on this week’s list include deep sleepers Matt Thaiss and Patrick Bailey. Since the middle of May, Thaiss is hitting .292 and has a home run and three RBI. Bailey is getting the current starts at catcher for the Giants and is someone to stash at least until the injured Joey Bart returns.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)