Catchers to Stream for Week 19 (8/8-8/14)

Who's worth streaming behind the dish?

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?

 

Prohibited List

 

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 VarshoKeibert Ruiz, Travis d’Arnaud, Adley Rutschman, Yasmani GrandalChristian Vázquez, Sean Murphy, Jonah Heim, and Alejandro Kirk. That’s THIRTEEN 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? Gary Sánchez, Christian Bethancourt, Joey Bart, Danny Jansen, William Contreras, MJ MelendezElias DíazOmar 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Counting stats (R+RBI) is the lowest stat consideration because you’re not expecting them from your catcher, and they’re a nice bonus.

 

12-Team Streamer

MJ Melendez, Kansas City Royals: 4-for-23 (.179), 4 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI

Melendez started the week in an 0-for-13 slump, then quickly turned things around on Thursday night with a two-hit game that included an HR. He followed Thursday’s performance with an OK game on Friday and crushed it on Saturday (1-for-4 with one HR). In the end, the pair of HRs did enough to earn us the win. A little more help in the batting average would have been nice, but let’s not get too picky now.

 

15-Team Streamer

Eric Haase, Detroit Tigers: 4-for-18 (.222), 1 R

Haase fell short of expectation, not in terms of playing time but more from the lack of plate discipline. He finished the week with nearly a 50% O-Swing%(45.7%) and 20% SwStr%. YIKES! And yet, he still managed to pick up four hits. We knew his profile had an extreme amount of swing-and-miss but fell victim to a lack of quality contact. Loss!

Dave Swan’s Streaming Record: 17-15

 

Notes & Transactions From Week 18

 

  • The Cincinnati Reds placed Tyler Stephenson was moved to the 60-day IL and won’t be able to return until late September. The team will mostly lean on Michael Papierski, with newly acquired Austin Romine as his backup.
  • The New York Mets activated James McCann from the 10-day IL as Patrick Mazieka was optioned. While many Mets faithful expected an upgrade at the deadline, no additional moves were made to bolster the position. The team will lean on McCann and Tomás Nido as they push for the playoffs.

 

 

  • The Milwaukee Brewers placed Omar Narváez on the 10-day IL with an oblique injury. Marco Feliciano was promoted to the big leagues but will serve as the team’s backup to Victor Caratini. The duo should serve as the catching options through August, as an oblique injury can take a few weeks of recovery. Additionally, Pedro Severino cleared waivers and was optioned to the minors.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays activated Francisco Meija from the IL and optioned René Pinto. Meija has never really been an everyday catcher, and he and Christian Bethancourt should split backstop duties with an even split.

 

 

  • The Toronto Blue Jays optioned Zack Collins back to Triple-A. This signals the team’s confidence in Danny Jansen’s health concerns, although he hasn’t been spectacular at the plate. In the last two weeks, Jansen is 3-for-31 with a .121 OBP.
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates have had a revolving door of catchers this season. They acquired José Godoy after the Minnesota Twins designated him for assignment. He could see regular time behind the plate as the current catching option(Jason Delay) showcases an 18% hard-hit rate over 54 plate appearances.

 

 

  • Injury Updates!
  1. Tyler Stephenson (CIN) underwent surgery to repair his fractured clavicle. The team moved him to the 60-day IL, and he isn’t eligible to return from the IL until the end of September.
  2. 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.
  3. Omar Narváez (MIL) was placed on the 10-day IL with a left quad strain. The recovery time is a couple of weeks.
  4. Mike Zunino (TBR) underwent season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.
  5. Curt Casali (SEA) is rehabbing from an oblique injury. He should be back in the MLB by next week.
  6. 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.

 

Week 19 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:

 

12-Team Streamer

MJ Melendez, Kansas City Royals

What feels like cheating is making Melendez the 12-team streaming call for a third consecutive week. Although, he’s still available in 56% of Yahoo leagues and, therefore, an option to stream. Perhaps your league mates have given up? Or maybe people assume with Salvador Perez back he won’t get as many starts? Either way, the Royals continue to value his bat in the lineup and push him into the outfield on most days.

The team draws seven games this week, more than most teams. Both series (four games vs. CHW and three games vs. LAD) will be played at Kauffman Stadium. While it’s known for its deep outfield, that plays two ways: it limits the potential for HRs but provides lots of grass for balls to drop in for hits. Melendez isn’t a power maven (even though he smashed two dingers last week), so chipping in several hits will play a role in his streaming success.

With two DANGs (Day After Night Games), we should see Melendez on a lineup card for five games, equating to typically 19-21 at-bats. So, we need him to find five or six hits and hope he gets ahold of a mistake.

 

15-Team Streamer

Carson Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks

Carson Kelly hasn’t just been good… he’s been GREAT! Since June, he’s touting a 188 wRC+ and 1.047 OPS with five dingers. Since the All-Star Break, he’s slashing .371/.450/.657 with two bombs. You may ask, what changed for Kelly to become successful at the dish? As the graph below shows, Kelly has started elevating the ball more, and following suit has been the production.

 

 

Much like Melendez, playing time plays a significant role in streaming. If you can out-volumize your current rostered catcher, you make the swap. The Diamondbacks play seven games this week, including a three-game series at Coors Field for Kelly. He’ll also draw two DANGs, so we’re looking for at least five outings of production.

Furthermore, if you glance at his season-long stat line, you’ll notice his wRC+ vs. LHP is 30 points higher. This may not bode well for him because he faces mainly right-handed pitchers. However, as the graph indicated, his approach of lifting the ball is boosting his production and then some! From July until today, Kelly has been hitting RHP very well (.747 OPS and 105 wRC+).

In summation, a lot is adding up for Kelly: he’s been hot, goes to a solid ballpark, elevating the ball more, and should have plenty of opportunities to win us a week. Pick him up now, and he might help carry you to the end.

 

Catcher List

 

I’ll add a list of potential streamers by weekly rank each week. For example, if MJ Melendez is already rostered in your 12-team league, next in line should be Eric Haase, 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.

 

Catcher List Roster%
Sean Murphy (OAK) 61%
Jonah Heim (TEX) 60%
Keibert Ruiz (WSH) 59%
Yasmani Grandal (CHW) 50%
MJ Melendez (KCR) 44%
Eric Haase (DET) 12%
William Contreras (ATL) 41%
Cal Raleigh (SEA) 8%
Gary Sánchez (MIN) 45%
Carson Kelly (ARI) 19%
Joey Bart (SFG) 7%
Elias Díaz (COL) 10%
Jose Trevino (NYY) 19%
Danny Jansen (TOR) 14%
Yadier Molina (STL) 7%
Jorge Alfaro (SDP) 15%
Austin Nola (SDP) 11%
James McCann (NYM) 3%
Jacob Stallings (MIA) 2%
Max Stassi (LAA) 2%
10-team Streamers
12-team Streamers
15-team Streamers
Two-C Streamers

 

Featured image by Jacob Roy (@Jake3Roy on Twitter)

Dave Swan

Dave Swan is an avid Chicago Cubs fan that enjoys all aspects of fantasy baseball-especially DFS. He would trade his right arm for a GIF library of Greg Maddux pitches. Swan's baseball thoughts are available at @davithius.

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