Catcher is a barren wasteland. Unless you’ve got one of the top catchers, you’re left guessing as to what to do with the position. In our Pitcher List staff league, I waited to draft Welington Castillo in the last round and Max Posner went catcherless, which is a legitimate strategy in a head-to-head league. But in a roto league, you’re missing valuable production by leaving it empty. If you missed out on the cream of the crop and need help for how to address the problem, look no further. This article will address your concerns by looking at who might be the best streaming-caliber catchers for the week ahead.
First, we have to rule out any widely owned catcher. For purposes of this list, it means anyone >50% owned (according to Yahoo). The ineligible catchers are:
JT Realmuto – (Philadelphia Phillies)
On top of that, I’m avoiding certain situations until playing time becomes clearer- those situations include:
Honestly, considering the amount of 50%+ owned catchers, chances are you already have one of these guys. That’s twelve guys right there who are well-owned, the perfect amount for a 12-teamer. Maybe you took a flier late in the draft and are still debating whether to hold someone like Francisco Cervelli and his rough start. Maybe you’re wondering if Mike Zunino was a symptom of a Mariners’ curse and he’ll break out now that he’s in Tampa.
I feel like this year’s version of Catcher Streaming is harder, with so many of my favorite guys in the prohibited list. But, as the season wears on, guys will get dropped, and streaming should become more and more necessary. Regardless, let’s take a look at some of the other guys and who could provide some value to your team this week:
Isiah Kiner-Falefa – (Texas Rangers): Let’s get started with a fun one. Kiner-Falefa is someone you want to start in the friendly confines of Arlington—the Rangers batted 32 points and slugged 67 points higher at home last season and that’s something we can take advantage of, as the Rangers play 6 of their 10 games in Week 1 at home. Yes, ten games. That’s a lot of potential playing time. Kiner-Falefa also has the added benefit of potentially being able to chip in on the basepaths—he posted 7 steals last year.
Omar Narvaez– (Seattle Mariners): Despite playing two games in Japan this past week, the Mariners still get nine games in the extended Week 1, and Narvaez gives you a shot to capitalize. Avoid “opening day” against Sale, and any other games that pop up against lefties, of which there are none right now. Deploy him against righties and you should end the week without having hurt yourself too badly. It doesn’t sound like the most ringing of endorsements, but it’s definitely positive.
Austin Barnes– (Los Angeles Dodgers): Barnes is sneakily my favorite pick-up this week. Jon Metzelaar, Austin Bristow and I discussed Barnes among our favorite bounceback candidates at catcher this season, as the guy possesses elite plate discipline. He also posts a career .261/.383/.410 mark at home that can certainly help you. Oh, and when he leaves Chavez Ravine for the final three games of the week, he heads to Coors field. With 10 games over the 11 days, there’s plenty of opportunity for Barnes to provide ample value in Week 1.
Photo by Keith Birmingham/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire.