Catchers 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 purposes of this list, it means anyone over 50% rostered (according to Yahoo). The ineligible catchers are Salvador Perez, J.T. Realmuto, Will Smith, Yasmani Grandal, Willson Contreras, Daulton Varsho, Tyler Stephenson, Keibert Ruiz, Mitch Garver, Christian Vázquez, Travis d’Arnaud, and Gary Sánchez. That’s TWELVE catchers.
On top of that, I often avoid certain situations until playing time becomes more apparent. Those situations include the Rays (Francisco Mejía/Mike Zunino) and the Brewers (Omar Narváez/Victor Caratini).
I’m going to say this now — if you’re in a 12-team league or fewer, don’t stream right now. Instead, try trading for someone’s backup instead of diving in the bargain bin for the players that meet my threshold. But we’re going to go ahead anyway.
Who is Eligible?
So who is left? Adley Rutschman, Alejandro Kirk, Sean Murphy, Joey Bart, Yadier Molina, James McCann, Carson Kelly, Jacob Stallings, Tucker Barnhart, Austin Nola, Eric Haase, Luis Torrens, Max Stassi, Jorge Alfaro, Yan Gomes, Ryan Jeffers, Kyle Higashioka, and Jose Trevino. 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. That’s 13 guys who are well-owned, the perfect amount for a 12-teamer. On the other hand, maybe you took a flier late in the draft and are still debating whether to hold someone like Omar Narváez. Maybe you drafted Salvador Perez 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.
- Batting average is king. 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. That said, 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.
Streaming picks are coming this week!
Swan’s Streaming Record: 0-0
Notes & Transactions From Week 1
- Joey Bart went deep in his first MLB game.
- Gary Sánchez did not get the start against an LHP and has only been a DH.
- Seattle used Cal Raleigh and Tom Murphy as catchers. Luis Torrens has been on the bench.
- Manny Piña is still hurt, pushing William Contreras on the field.
- The Yankees placed Ben Rortvedt on the 10-day IL with a right oblique muscle strain.
- Jose Trevino was traded to the Yankees from Texas.
- Pedro Severino of the Brewers has been suspended 80 games for the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
- Andrew Knapp signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates via free agency.
- The Padres traded Victor Caratini to the Brewers.
- The Marlins traded Alex Jackson to the Brewers and optioned him to the minors.
- The White Sox acquired Reese McGuire from Toronto.
- Luis Campusano was outrighted to the El Paso Chihuahuas.
Have more questions? “Catch” up with me on Twitter @davithius!
This Week’s Streamers
There will be a streamer for 12 or 15-team leagues and additional options if the main is not on your waiver wire. So now, let’s examine players who might provide added value for the upcoming week:
Entering the season, there were question marks surrounding the extent of Kirk’s playing time. While our two-game sample size isn’t much to go on, he’s started both games for Toronto. One as a catcher and one as the DH. Not only is he getting in the lineup, but batting right after the heart of the lineup-which should lead to a bounty of RBI opportunities. Additionally, unlike more catchers, Kirk has a profile, meaning he doesn’t strike out(11.6% K-rate in 160 AB) to go along with a .160 ISO. Contact and pop in a dynamic lineup!
Kirk and company draw a four-game series against the Yankees for the upcoming week. As shown in the spray chart below, Kirk has power to all angles of the field, and launching one into the stands is possible. Furthermore, all four games are slated for at night, and Kirk will have fresh legs(whether behind the dish or as DH).
Quickly after the Yankees set, the Blue Jays head home for a three-game set with Oakland. While it’s only been a couple of games so far, Oakland’s pitching staff has given up four HRs, 13 earned runs, and a 9:13 K/BB ratio. However, there is one DANG(Day After Night Game) in this series. This would be a spot should the Blue Jays feel Kirk needs a rest for the long season ahead. Start him with confidence!
- Elias Díaz, Colorado Rockies (16%) – The first half of the week is not favorable as Colorado is away for two games in Texas. However, the four-game set at Coors Field from Thursday through Sunday will fix that.
- James McCann, New York Mets (13%) – The Mets offense has been off to a hot start, and while McCann will likely bolster the bottom of it, he should find his way into at least five games next week. He’s got solid plate discipline, and he needs to elevate more fly balls.
Oakland’s fire sale has left the team depleted of so much talent. Although, that’s not a terrible thing for someone looking for a deep streamer like Murphy. Due to the lack of surrounding offense, Murphy looks like a lock as the #3 hitter for the Athletics. What’s that mean? More ABs, leading to more counting stats!
Furthermore, Murphy has showcased some impressive skills in limited time with the MLB. In only 393 ABs, he launched 17 HRs over the fences. Additionally, in his last 600-plus plate appearances, Murphy showcases a stout barrel rate well north of 11%. In summation, Murphy has power!
Lastly, his bat will be present in the lineup for seven games(4-games @TB, 3-games @TOR). Both series have one DANG, but Oaklands’ lack of offensive weapons should lead to plenty of time as DH too.
- Austin Nola, San Diego Padres (10%) – It feels like a crime to see Nola rostered so low. He was hurt for much of last season and didn’t get enough time to turn it around. However, he’s looked right as rain to begin the season. Oddly, he led off against a southpaw on Opening Day. Will this continue? We will find out when the Padres square off against Alex Wood on Monday. Either way, he’s a safe option with plenty of playing time in a good lineup.
Featured Image by Jacob Roy (@Jake3Roy on Twitter)