The catcher position can be a barren wasteland. Unless you’ve got one of the top catchers, you’re left guessing what to do with the position.
My strategy in many leagues is to wait until the last round if I don’t get one of the top guys. If you can properly use that extra spot, some people go catcher-less, a legitimate strategy in a head-to-head league. But in a roto league, you’re missing valuable production by leaving it empty. So if you missed out on the cream of the crop and need help addressing the problem, look no further. This article will look at the best streaming-caliber catchers for the week ahead.
Who Are the Catchers?
First, we have to rule out any widely owned catcher. For this list, it means anyone over 50% rostered (according to Yahoo). The ineligible catchers are J.T. Realmuto, Will Smith, Willson Contreras, Salvador Perez, Daulton Varsho, Tyler Stephenson, Keibert Ruiz, Travis d’Arnaud, Adley Rutschman, Yasmani Grandal, Gary Sánchez, Christian Vázquez, William Contreras, Sean Murphy, Alejandro Kirk, and Mitch Garver. That’s SIXTEEN catchers; and the most rostered over 50% this season.
I’m going to say this now — if you’re in a 12-team league or fewer, don’t stream right now. Try trading for someone’s backup instead of diving in the bargain bin for the players who meet my threshold. But we’re going to go ahead anyway.
Who is Eligible?
So who is left? Jonah Heim, MJ Melendez, Danny Jansen, Elias Díaz, Joey Bart, Mike Zunino, Yadier Molina, Omar Narváez, Jacob Stallings, Tucker Barnhart, Austin Nola, Francisco Mejía, Austin Barnes, Eric Haase, Luis Torrens, Max Stassi, Jorge Alfaro, Yan Gomes, Ryan Jeffers, Kyle Higashioka, Jose Trevino, and more. That’s an extensive list that will change throughout the year and should give us ample opportunity to find value. If you have questions about those players, please shoot me a tweet; I’m happy to discuss.
Honestly, considering the 50%+ rostered catchers, chances are you already have one of these guys. On the other hand, maybe you took a flier late in the draft and are still debating whether to hold someone like Alejandro Kirk. Maybe you drafted Yadier Molina but didn’t feel confident he’d return to his old self.
I find myself saying this every year, but this year’s version of catcher streaming feels so much harder, with so many of my favorite guys on the prohibited list. But, as the season wears on, guys will get dropped, players will emerge, and streaming should become more and more necessary.
Reviewing Last Week
I outlined guidelines for determining streaming a “win” in years past, 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 have to 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, a catcher can still be a streaming win without home runs if other factors are there.
- Counting stats (R+RBI) is the lowest stat consideration because you’re not expecting them from your catcher anyway, and they’re a nice bonus.
William Contreras, Atlanta Braves: 4-for-10 (.400), 1 R, 2 RBI
When Contreras played, he was solid. However, that was when he played. Atlanta elected to keep Travis d’Arnaud behind the dish and Contreras only saw his way onto the field for a couple of games against southpaws. At least we got a little production out of him but it wouldn’t be enough for a win.
Elias Díaz, Colorado Rockies: 1-for-11 (.091), 1 RBI
Ugh! What a letdown on so many levels. However, probably the biggest disappointment was the lack of playing time. The team elected to start Brian Serven on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday(???). Double-ugh! This one kind of stings because everything aligned nicely for a big week. Loss!
Dave Swan’s Streaming Record: 5-11
Notes & Transactions From Week 9
- The Milwaukee Brewers transferred Manny Piña to the 60-day IL. Furthermore, to make matter worse, the team placed Omar Narváez on the COVID IL. The rash of injuries will move Victor Caratini into a starting role with newly-promoted Alex Jackson taking the backup duties.
- Jose Trevino is only playing about half of the Yankee’s games, but absolutely raking. Since the start of May, Trevino is slashing .322/.365/.576 with four HRs. Could we see him take on more playing time? Its possible, in the previous few weeks, he’s starting at least four games a week. Currently, he’s available in 97% of Yahoo leagues.
- The Seattle Mariners are utilizing Cal Raleigh as the lead catcher, instead of Luis Torrens. While Raleigh’s batting average is below the Mendoza Line, he’s parked five balls into the bleachers. For fantasy purposes, he’s only valuable in two-catcher or AL-only leagues.
- With Mitch Garver still only taking ABs as DH, the Texas Rangers continue to make Jonah Heim a priority vs. RHP. In 130 plate appearances, Heim flashing skills with a barrel rate just under 10%, and an 18.5% K-rate. Sam Huff is getting the catching duties vs. southpaws.
- Most Dropped! Last week, Adley Rutschman (-8%) was the most-dropped catcher. Boy, after the hype train showed up his roster% soared. However, if he continues to slash .149/.245/.213; he’ll be back in this spot again.
- Most Added! William Contreras (+18%) was the most-added catcher. After a massive week, we all jumped on board; and then the playing time didn’t come to fruition. Although, if you still don’t have one of those top-16 rostered catchers, he’s a decent option.
- Who’s Hot (and under 20% rostered)!
- Jose Trevino (3%) went 7-for-14 with two HR and five RBI.
- Victor Caratini (1%) went 5-for-14 with three HRs and six RBI.
- P.J. Higgins (0%) went 5-for-17 with two HR and six RBI.
Week 10 Streamers
If the main streamer is not on your waiver wire, there will be a streamer for 12 or 15-team leagues and additional options. Let’s examine players who might provide added value for the upcoming week:
Jonah Heim, Texas Rangers (42% Rostered) 12-team leagues
Heim has been suprisingly good this year(.805 OPS and 135 wRC+). Surely, no one saw that level of production coming this early-on. What’s helped boost his newfound offense is the decrease in strikeout rate(18.5%), which is down a few ticks from last year. Additionally, he’s barreling the ball at nearly a 10% rate and his 41.5% hard-hit rate speaks volumes.
For streaming catchers, one of the main factors we look at is playing time. In the upcoming week, Texas draws six roads game(three @CLE, three @CHW). Furthermore, only the weekend series will have a DANG(Day After Night Games). So, we should expect five(or reluctantly four) games of production.
What are we expecting for the streaming win? Heim has the power to take one deep, and that(plus counting stats) should be enough to scrape by a W in this depleted player pool.
Max Stassi, Los Angeles Angels (3% Rostered) 15-team leagues
Monday is a big travel day for most of the MLB teams. Although, the Angels are one of the few teams that’s playing. Furthermore, that’ll give Stassi an extra game of activity. Even better, all seven games are at home, and most importantly NO DANGS! There is a chance that Stassi simply out-volumizes the field.
Wait so just playing time? No, not exactly. Since returning from an IL stint, Stassi is touting a .375/.444/.531 slash line with a 188 wRC+. Obviously, that’s partly due to a small sample size but in 26 batted ball events he’s showcasing a 42% hard-hit rate. In conclusion, he’s going to play more than others, and looking poised to turn on fastballs. Psst! I might even try to stream him above Zunino and Molina.
Each week, I’ll add a ten-player list of potential streamers by weekly rank. For example, if Jonah Heim is already rostered in your 12-team league, the next in line should be MJ Melendez, and so on down the list. 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.
|Jonah Heim (TEX)||42%|
|MJ Melendez (KCR)||35%|
|Danny Jansen (TOR)||21%|
|Mike Zunino (TBR)||14%|
|Yadier Molina (STL)||11%|
|Max Stassi (LAA)||3%|
|Victor Caratini (MIL)||1%|
|Jose Trevino (NYY)||4%|
|Cal Raleigh (SEA)||0%|
|Jacob Stallings (MIA)||3%|
|12-team Streamers (less than 50%)|
|15-team Streamers (less than 20%)|
Featured image by Jacob Roy (@Jake3Roy on Twitter)
I’d love to see your ranks/tiers of the 16 most-owned catchers if you have a chance!
I’ll put some thought into it and respond a little later. Truthfully, I just cross them off the list.
But for instance, I don’t really like Willson Contrers for this week. So, I know he would be lower.
I’d appreciate this as well. I’ve been disappointed with Tyler Stephenson and am looking to drop him and stream instead.
I’ll try and whip something up this upcoming week with the top-16 rostered catchers.
Also, Stephenson has been a very solid catcher. I wouldn’t suggest streaming him. Sure, the power is a little lighter than expected but he’s been an RBI machine.
Ill try and get something with the top-16 catchers for this week.
It’s a bit challenging because they aren’t widely available, but I have an idea to make the list bigger and focus on 8, 10, and 12-team leagues for you.