Catcher is a barren wasteland. Unless you’ve got one of the top catchers, you’re left guessing as to what to do with the position. This article looks at 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 (according to Yahoo!). The ineligible catchers are: Gary Sanchez, JT Realmuto, Willson Contreras, Mitch Garver, Yasmani Grandal, Will Smith, Salvador Perez, Travis d’Arnaud, Christian Vazquez, Pedro Severino, Wilson Ramos, and Carson Kelly.
On top of that, I’m avoiding certain situations until playing time becomes clearer. Those situations include the Nationals (Kurt Suzuki/Yan Gomes).
I love watching the fluctuation in the size of the list above each week. Twelve catchers over 50% owned means you probably have one of these guys, but if you don’t, let’s take a look.
Reviewing Last Week
Last year, 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.
Keibert Ruiz, Los Angeles Dodgers: 1/4
I knew it was risky, but I went with it anyway. That’s on me, everyone. Ruiz didn’t get the 1C job right away, instead getting just one start from Austin Barnes. I might be more careful with prospect call-ups in the future. Ruiz can be dropped, as he was optioned back to the alternate training site for the return of Will Smith from the IL.
Martin Maldonado, Houston Astros: 3/15, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI
I think the .200 average hurts you too much. I knew he was set up for a power surge, playing in Colorado, but it wasn’t enough.
Roberto Perez, Cleveland Indians: 2/12, RBI
Oh come on…. Perez might not fully be back from the shoulder injury that he sustained in the first game of the season. Here’s hoping he gets his bat going as he settles more into regular playing time again.
Dave’s Streaming Record: 1-11
It’s been a rocky start for catcher streaming.
Quick Thoughts from Week 2
The Royals placed Salvador Perez on the 10-day IL with left eye serous chorioretinopathy. I don’t know what it is either. Apparently, he is expected to recover in short order without issue, but until then, Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria. You should be interested in neither.
The Twins placed Mitch Garver on the 10-day IL with an intercostal strain. He should be out for a few weeks, ceding playing time to Alex Avila and Ryan Jeffers. Historically throughout his career, the 33-year-old Avila has beaten up righties. Thus far, he’s slashing .160/.382/.320 vs righties, buoyed by an overall 22.7% walk rate. So if you’re in an OBP format, he could be a decent asset, but I’d steer clear in AVG leagues.
Jose Trevino has 4 multi-hit games in a row, going 8/16 over his last four. Trevino has never flashed a plus hit tool above A+, nor has he really flashed pop. I think this is a hot streak that will flame out, but I’ll be watching him closely.
Yan Gomes has gone 5/12 over his last 3 starts, knocking in 2 HRs against Elieser Hernandez and Sixto Sanchez. Gomes typically does his damage against lefties but has punished righties a bit over the last week. Interestingly, they started Kurt Suzuki at DH on Tuesday, suggesting an opening in playing time. I’m not ready to start either in fantasy regularly.
Pedro Severino and Chance Sisco; the two are both absolutely mashing right now, but playing time is inconsistent, for Sisco at least. The positive is it looks like the Orioles are trying to get both in the lineup, with Severino starting 5 of the last 6 and Sisco starting 4 of the last 6. If you didn’t miss the boat on Severino, go out and get him. I’m getting near the point of grabbing Sisco too.
It was a big week for Jacob Stallings, going 7/11 over the last week. The hit tool looks pretty legit, as he hit at least .275 at every level since 2017, but I don’t expect counting stats or power to follow suit based on his history. He’s got playing time, getting 5 of the last 6 starts, but hitting 9th in the Pirates lineup is not doing him any favors.
This Week’s Streamers
Austin Nola, Seattle Mariners: Nola has a tough week ahead; he gets not only Paddack from San Diego, but also Dinelson Lamet, and Garrett Richards, plus Dylan Bundy and Patrick Sandoval from the Angels. So why is he here? In his first 349 PAs, Nola is slashing .271/.339/.462 with 13 HRs. Additionally, he’s slashed his K% this year by nearly 8 points, while increasing his contact rate to 85.1%. If anyone under 50% can hold off these pitchers, it’s Nola
Jason Castro, Los Angeles Angels: Castro pounds righties, slashing .233/.361/.567 vs them and he faces four of them this week. While I’d like it to be more, there’s still plenty of opportunities there for him to succeed.
Austin Hedges, San Diego Padres: This is the risky play of the week. Over the last two weeks, Hedges is hitting just .200 but he’s got 3 HRs along the way. So does he have what it takes to provide for your club this week? For one, Francisco Mejia is on the IL. Second, he faces Seattle and Colorado, in Coors, this week. The floor is low but over the short term, he’s got a great ceiling.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcommr on Twitter)
Would you still go IKF over all those streamers?
Will Smith is also available, though I’m a little reticent given how brutal he’s been.
If probably go Nola, IKF, Smith in that order.
Nola has been outstanding batting 5th in fairly potent Mariners lineup. Outside of Realmuto, Sanchez, Contreras, and Perez he might occupy one of the best spots for a catcher in an MLB lineup. Also, getting some of his rest days at 1B has been an added bonus. I am surprised at how much pop he has in his bat.
I like Danny Jansen this week as a streamer. His expected stats indicate that he’s been the victim of a lot of bad luck this year and I feel like 7 games at home against a bad Boston staff and weak Baltimore staff may be just what he needs to turn his luck around.