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(IL), Daulton Varsho, Tyler Stephenson(IL), Keibert Ruiz, Travis d’Arnaud, Adley Rutschman, Yasmani Grandal, Gary Sánchez, Christian Vázquez, Sean Murphy, Jonah Heim, and Alejandro Kirk. That’s FIFTEEN catchers.
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? Christian Bethancourt, Joey Bart, Danny Jansen, William Contreras, MJ Melendez, Elias Díaz, Omar Narváez, Jacob Stallings, Tucker Barnhart, Austin Nola, Francisco Mejía, Austin Barnes, Eric Haase, Luis Torrens, Max Stassi, Jorge Alfaro, Yan Gomes, Gabriel Moreno, Ryan Jeffers, Kyle Higashioka, Jose Trevino, and more. That extensive list 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 Austin Nola. Maybe you drafted Yadier Molina but didn’t feel confident he’d return to his old self.
I say 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 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.
Trevino started two of the three games and performed well in one of them. Unfortunately, the one hit was a barrel that didn’t clear the yard. If we play with small samples, like we had to this week, it’s challenging to determine a streaming win. We’ll call this one a push.
Bart played in all three games, starting twice and pinch-hitting in the other. Like Trevino, we had the opportunity but not the expected outcomes. Still, can we call a shortened week a win or loss? I’m calling it a push.
Dave Swan’s Streaming Record: 12-16
Notes & Transactions From Week 16
- No teams played on Monday through Wednesday due to the All-Star Break, and many catchers received much-needed days off.
- After a lengthy stint on the IL, Yasmani Grandal returns to the Chicago White Sox. Grandal has been sidelined since June 11 with back issues. While the start of his season wasn’t as productive as many hoped, there’s plenty of time for him to recapture lost performances.
- Tyler Stephenson suffered another injury. This time was a broken clavicle and an extensive amount of missed time. With no exact timetable, the team recalled Mark Kolozsvary. Expect a split between Michael Papierski and Kolozsvary for quite some time.
- As soon as the Pittsburgh Pirates could DFS Michael Perez, the New York Mets came a-calling. However, the Mets are still rolling with a pairing of Tomás Nido and Patrick Mazeika. While neither backstop is a mainstay, Perez was only added as a depth piece. Furthermore, Perez was sent to their Triple-A affiliate.
- Injury Updates!
- Salvador Perez (KCR) was spotted doing on-field work with the team. However, a return date is likely sometime in September.
- Tyler Stephenson (CIN) has no official timetable for his return, but a broken clavicle takes typically six-to-eight weeks to recover from.
- Mitch Garver (TEX) underwent season-ending surgery to repair a flexor tendon. The recovery time is six-to-eight months, and he should be dropped in all redraft formats.
- Mike Zunino (TBR) has been moved to the 60-day IL, and a return this season doesn’t seem apparent.
- Yadier Molina (STL) has been rehabbing in Puerto Rico and will start a minor league assignment next week.
- James McCann (NYM) is sidelined with an oblique injury. There is still no exact timetable for a return, but it’s likely several more weeks away and will require a rehab assignment.
- Ryan Jeffers (MIN) has a fractured right thumb and will miss six-to-eight weeks. Additionally, the injury will require surgery, and he isn’t slated for a return until early September.
- Curt Casali (SFG) began throwing after a right oblique injury. Still, Casali is likely a few weeks away from returning to MLB action.
Week 17 Streamers
If the leading 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:
After missing a series in Toronto and the All-Star Break, Melendez should be plenty rested. Furthermore, the Royals see Melendez as a terrific hitter, and he’s even batting leadoff as of late. After a rough stretch in June, MJ is adjusting how pitchers are attacking him. The 46% ground ball rate in June is down to 31.6% in July, and he’s elevating batted balls more than ever.
Kansas City plays seven games with a three-game series at home for the upcoming week before a four-game set at the New York Yankees. A pair of DANGs (Day After Night Games) is included in the schedule. So, we could see Melendez in a lineup card for at least five games.
With not every rotation set, it’ll be tough to predict who Melendez will face. However, he’s been productive as of late, and the team surrounding him has improved. Additionally, coming out of the break, there is a multitude of ways Melendez can put up enough stats to be our top streamer.
The Rockies have a bit of a wonky upcoming schedule. On Monday, they finish up in Milwaukee, then have a quick turnaround for two series at home. Yes, six straight games inside Coors Field bumps him to the front of the line as a 15-team streamer. The final four-game series is against the Dodgers’ stingy pitching staff, but IT’S COORS.
Park factors aside, Díaz’s shine from 2021 has worn off a bit. He’s seen a steep decline in power as the ISO is down about 70 points. Although, he’s still maintaining a K rate under 20%. Indeed, the HRs don’t like they’re returning any time soon, but recently, he’s hitting the ball harder, and it’s showing in his .985 OPS for July.
For Díaz to provide us a Week 17 streaming win, he needs to chip in plenty of hits and maximize counting stats (runs+RBI).
Each week, I’ll add a list of potential streamers by weekly rank. For example, if MJ Melendez is already rostered in your 12-team league, the next in line should be Danny Jansen, 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. Note: Players currently on the IL are not on the list.
|Yasmani Grandal (CHW)||53%|
|Sean Murphy (OAK)||61%|
|Jonah Heim (TEX)||61%|
|Keibert Ruiz (WSH)||63%|
|Gary Sánchez (MIN)||52%|
|MJ Melendez (KCR)||40%|
|Danny Jansen (TOR)||17%|
|Cal Raleigh (SEA)||16%|
|Joey Bart (SFG)||8%|
|Elias Díaz (COL)||10%|
|Jose Trevino (NYY)||15%|
|Austin Nola (SDP)||12%|
|Eric Haase (DET)||17%|
|Carson Kelly (ARI)||11%|
|William Contreras (ATL)||44%|
|Francisco Mejía (TBR)||4%|
|Jorge Alfaro (SDP)||18%|
|Jacob Stallings (MIA)||2%|
|Max Stassi (LAA)||2%|
Featured image by Jacob Roy (@Jake3Roy on Twitter)