Catcher has been a barren wasteland this year. Unless you’ve got one of the top guys, you’re left guessing as to what to do with the position. Personally, I’m in 3 points leagues: I’ve got Grandal in one league, but my other two, I left the position blank and I’m streaming pitchers instead. But in a roto league, you’re missing valuable production by leaving it empty. If you missed out of the cream of the crop and need help for how to address the problem, look no further. This article is meant to 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. Those ineligible catchers are:
Buster Posey – (San Francisco Giants)
Gary Sanchez – (New York Yankees)
JT Realmuto – (Miami Marlins)
Salvador Perez – (Kansas City Royals)
Wilson Contreras – (Chicago Cubs)
Kyle Schwarber – (Chicago Cubs)
Yadier Molina – (St. Louis Cardinals)
Yasmani Grandal – (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Brian McCann – (Houston Astros)
Evan Gattis – (Houston Astros)
Jonathan Lucroy – (Colorado Rockies)
This leaves the following as the eligible catchers:
Tyler Flowers – (Atlanta Braves)
Alex Avila – (Detroit Tigers)
Matt Wieters – (Washington Nationals)
Mike Zunino – (Seattle Mariners)
Manny Pina – (Milwaukee Brewers)
Francisco Cervelli – (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Austin Hedges – (San Diego Padres)
Martin Maldonado – (Los Angeles Angels)
Jason Castro – (Minnesota Twins)
Travis d’Arnaud – (New York Mets)
Wellington Castillo – (Baltimore Orioles)
Tucker Barnhart – (Cincinnati Reds)
Russell Martin – (Toronto Blue jays)
Robinson Chirinos – (Texas Rangers)
Omar Narvaez – (Chicago White Sox)
Bruce Maxwell – (Oakland Athletics)
Chris Iannetta – (Arizona Diamondbacks)
From there, I will highlight a few catchers each week whose particular situation suggests they could be a good streaming target for the week. So here comes the first iteration of the weekly catcherlist!
If you feel inclined to stream catchers, here is who I would recommend for the week:
Matt Wieters (Washington Nationals) – Wieters is barely eligible for this list at 49% owned in Yahoo. He also has the benefit of hitting in one of baseball’s best lineups. Unfortunately, he usually hits in the 8-hole, which won’t lead to many runs scored. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Wieters has dream matchups throughout the week. He’s got Miami’s wonder trio of Urena, O’Grady, and Vance Worley in Miami. Not a single one of those pitchers worries me in the slightest. After an off day, the Nats travel to Chicago to take on Hendricks, Lackey, and Lester. I know what you’re all thinking. Lester has been pitching really well!! He has. Wieters also has hit .327 in 49 ABs against Lester from their days together in the AL East and I’ll buy in on that. He comes into the week having sat Game 1 on Sunday, so he’ll likely sit one of the Miami games (my money is on O’Grady) and then one of the Cubs games but he’ll still give you 4 solid starts minimum. Wieters is the one catcher under 50% owned that I’d seriously consider holding and as long as he’s under that threshold, I see him being a regular mention here.
Travis d’Arnaud (New York Mets) – Wait, he’s healthy? Yup! But it’s been 12 seconds since you last checked. Good point, let me check again. He is healthy as me writing this, and when he’s healthy, he hits. But nobody knows how long it’ll last. He hits in…. just such a bad Mets offense. I’m sorry Mets fans. And he hits 7th or 8th usually so he’s not gonna get driven in very often, but there are reasons for optimism this week and most of it comes in the first series. They’re on the road in Colorado to face Hoffman, Marquez, and Freeland. Hoffman has struggled as of late and Marquez and Freeland are outperforming their numbers. After that, the Mets come home and play host to Hill, Ryu, Maeda and the Dodgers. d’Arnaud is likely to sit either Thursday or Friday: Thursday because it’s a day game after a Wednesday night game, and Friday because it’s their first game home from a road trip on the opposite coast. My money is on Thursday, which unfortunately would line him up for Hill. It’s by far the worst matchup on his schedule. He will probably give you 4 starts but this week, but could give you 5 depending on the timing of his rest day.
Francisco Cervelli (Pittsburgh Pirates) – Cervelli is a risky play this week. He’s coming off a truly terrible week, going 4-26 with 11 Ks since July 22nd, which included series against San Fran and the Padres and one in Coors. He even went 3-5 with a triple in one of those games. So yeah. The biggest surprise is that he’s played those last 8 games all in a row before sitting on the 30th. Even then, he might still sit one or two games this week. Luckily, he’ll continue to not get challenged this week. Hopefully, he can capitalize. They start the week with an off day, then host Cincy for 3 (Bailey, Stephenson, Adelman) and then the Padres (Travis Wood, Lamet, Richard), probably missing one game each series. He’ll play a minimum of 4 games this week, but could play as many as all 6. He just comes with more risk of negative value than anyone else here.
Jonathan Lucroy (Colorado Rockies) – This is technically cheating. Wolters was on this list until late last night, but the Rockies getting Lucroy necessitated his removal. If Lucroy is somehow available in your league, go out and get him. Despite his massive struggles this season, his bat is worth a shot in Colorado.
My mistake, forgot him from the list, but he was part of my analysis. I ruled him out due to matchups this week. He faces Morton, Keuchel, Fiers, Davies, and Nelson. I’ll pass