If you missed out on the cream of the crop at catcher and need help 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 the purposes of this list, that means anyone who has 50% ownership rate or higher according to FantasyPros consensus ranks. The ineligible catchers are:
Gary Sanchez – (New York Yankees)
J.T. Realmuto – (Philadelphia Phillies)
Buster Posey – (San Francisco Giants)
Willson Contreras – (Chicago Cubs)
Yadier Molina – (St. Louis Cardinals)
Yasmani Grandal – (Milwaukee Brewers)
Wilson Ramos – (New York Mets)
Omar Narvaez – (Seattle Mariners)
Reviewing Last Week
In weeks past, I outlined guidelines for determining a streaming “win” and I’ll leave these up here each week as a reminder.
- Batting average is king. When we stream a catcher, we’re not expecting multiple home runs, so a guy hitting .275 is helpful and I’ll consider that a plus. Anything over .300 is a super plus and a near-automatic win. That said, we have to keep in mind the number of plate appearances—under 10 PA diminishes that boost.
- Home runs have a major impact. If you get two homers from the catcher position, it’s almost a guaranteed win, unless the catcher batted 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) are the lowest stat consideration because you’re not expecting them from your catcher anyway. They’re a nice bonus.
Mitch Garver – (Minnesota Twins): 1/10, R
Oof. Garver caught all 17 innings (which is just insane, by the way) of the Twins’ marathon game against the Red Sox on the 18th and may have had some lingering soreness that led to his heel injury on the 20th. He’s still day-to-day.
Roberto Perez – (Cleveland Indians): 4/15, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI
2 HRs and a .267 AVG? Yup, that’s a big, fat W. Perez is smoking the ball and his Statcast numbers support his hot start to this season. His 13 HRs blow past anything he’s done in prior seasons and he is well within reach of 20-25 if he continues at this pace.
Christian Vazquez – (Boston Red Sox): 6/18, 3 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI
Yup, this is the new Vazquez. He is no longer the Mendoza Line treader he was last year and he has the ability to be a decent threat for your fantasy team, if he can play with regularity; he’s been doing it, for the most part, this season, but not lately, as he has only started three of the last seven games. He was bound to sit two of those, as Sandy Leon is Chris Sale’s personal catcher.
Dave’s Streaming Record: 13-10
Scott’s Streaming Record: 4-3-2
Quick Thoughts from Week 12
Welcome back to the majors Wilkin Castillo! The 35-year-old last played in a major league game in 2009 and he delivered the deciding two-run single in yesterday’s 5-3 win over the Phillies. He comes at a rough time for the Marlins, who lost both Jorge Alfaro and backup Chad Wallach to the 7-day concussion IL. He doesn’t project as a fantasy asset, last slugging over .375 in the 2013 Mexican League… so yeah.
I told you all to avoid Carson Kelly against the slew of righties the D-Backs were facing, and he went 3/14 with only one run. Watch for the times he faces lefties and start him. Avoid outside of that.
I wanted to ignore Pedro Severino, but he refuses to let me, going 7/18 with 5 R, 4 RBI, and a stolen base over the last week. As long as he keeps hitting the ball well, he can’t be ignored in fantasy leagues.
I was very hesitant of Travis d’Arnaud’s power streak last week and he responded by going 2/12 with a double. He didn’t suddenly become a star.
Last week, I talked about Brian McCann, so this week it’s only natural that the guy to talk about is Tyler Flowers. He’s still the 1B to McCann’s 1A, but in his last five starts, he’s 8/17 with 2 HRs and 6 runs scored. He still won’t get enough starts to make him streamer worthy, but it’s a fun thing to look at regardless.
Last week, I talked about Brian McCann, so this week it’s only natural that the guy to talk about is James McCann. See what I did there? J-Mac, as I insist on calling him, is slashing .319/.380/.505 in his new digs on the South Side. I don’t expect the average to last because it comes with a .398 BABIP—he’s a career .248 hitter, and I don’t see any massive changes in his overall profile. There is another potential threat to J-Mac in the form of top prospect Zack Collins, who got the call this past week and promptly smacked his first MLB homer. Collins ranked as the Sox No. 11 prospect and has profiled as a big home run threat, with a 70-grade power tool, but his bat will likely be lacking in his career, as he’s never hit above .258 at any level of the minors. Collins has started each of the last two games, one at DH, but McCann has been the White Sox clean-up hitter so I don’t expect him to get unseated right away. With most top prospects, you don’t call them up unless you expect them to play, but things are different with catchers, who need to learn the pitching staff as well as opposing major league pitchers, so this could be a learning assignment primarily for Collins. We’ll have to wait and see.
As far as other top prospect catchers to keep an eye on: Sean Murphy for the A’s was slashing .324/.402/.459 at AAA before going down with a knee injury that required surgery. He could be back in September theoretically and those numbers do raise an eyebrow. Granted it’s the PCL, and I don’t expect that, even if he does come back this year, that he’ll in any way threaten Josh Phegley. We already saw a taste of Will Smith for the Dodgers, who is tearing up the PCL, slashing .291/.397/.609 and homering twice in 21 big-league PAs this year so far and with today’s call-up, I’m all for grabbing him right away and seeing where this goes.
This Week’s Streamers
Carson Kelly – (Arizona Diamondbacks): This could either go really well or really poorly. Kelly does, in fact, face three lefties this week. That’s the good news. The bad news is two of those lefties are Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner. On top of that, the D-Backs unfortunately get Walker Buehler too. Does it help that the other lefty is Drew Pomeranz? It is possible that Kelly misses the Buehler start, as it’s a DANG. Proceed with caution.
Roberto Perez – (Cleveland Indians): LET IT RIDE. It must seem like I’m getting lazy, but the Tribe gets three at home vs Kansas City and three at Baltimore. C’mon. You don’t expect me to just ignore that, do you? I think it’s time to just flat out own Perez.
I’d love to recommend a Dodgers catcher, as they play three in Colorado and three in Arizona, but neither Russell Martin nor Austin Barnes is playing enough or hitting well enough for me to recommend them; plus Smith complicates things. I also wish I could recommend Mike Zunino in a light week for the Rays, but Zunino doesn’t have a multi-hit game since May 7th, as his slash line has fallen to .183/.227/.331. Yikes. He’s just not a major league hitter in my opinion. If Mitch Garver is healthy after the Monday off-day, I’ll include him as a recommended guy.
(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)
Chirinos or Ramos ROS points league?
Points is always tough (need to know the scoring) but Ramos in all likelihood
Head to head points with -1 for strikeouts, lineups lock at beginning of week.
I had Vazquez until the first time you mentioned Perez (thanks for that,) then I swapped for him and haven’t looked back, so I agree, just keep him and stop streaming barring anything unforeseen. I might move on Murphy should he get the call, but other than that, I’ll be sticking with him.
With Murphy, remember that his numbers are in the PCL, the team isn’t going to move entirely away from Phegley (as catching prospects are usually eased in), and that he’ll be hitting in Oakland. All of those tell me that unless you’re in a 14 or deeper, I can’t imagine Murphy being a significant fantasy asset this season. Even after a Murphy call-up, I like Perez more.
Understood, I wouldn’t move until I saw him performing and getting the lion’s share of the playing time, especially considering he’s a catcher that just came back from knee surgery (which makes me think he’s not going to get the call this season without something going very wrong w/ Phegley anyway,) but it’s a 12 team keeper league and I could use a decent catcher that I didn’t have to draft next season, so if I can grab him late season, I wouldn’t hesitate.
I really do appreciate this column, thanks for your (and Scott’s) work.
Sean Murphy has been out since late April/early May recovering from a torn meniscus in his left knee. He certainly won’t be up in Oakland any time soon.
You’re completely right. I was looking at stat lines only and somehow completely skipped over that note I had on him. That blurb won’t be relevant until September at the earliest and even then, he won’t play enough to be fantasy relevant.
Realmuto hasn’t gotten a base hit since he got hit in the marbles a week ago last Saturday. I thought they’d end of IL’ing him since he missed Sunday’s game. I went out and grabbed Vazquez and yes you can say it, I look like the rocket scientist genius I really am. Do I roll with Vazquez again this week or go back to the 0 for 16 Realmuto with the sore culyones?
I wouldn’t blame you for riding Vazquez as long as you’re not dropping JTR
Thoughts on Mejia and his recent surge in playing time and production? Would you drop narvaez for him in a 12 team h2h league?