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 Sánchez, JT Realmuto, Willson Contreras, Mitch Garver, Yasmani Grandal, Will Smith, Salvador Perez, Travis d’Arnaud, Christian Vázquez, Pedro Severino, Austin Nola, Wilson Ramos, and Yadier Molina.
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.
Austin Nola, Seattle Mariners: 5/14, 3 R, HR, 4 RBI, 5 BB
A .357 average, .526 OBP, and great counting stats? That’ll play, folks. His week was so good that he’s no longer streaming-eligible. It was nice while it lasted.
Jason Castro, Los Angeles Angels: 1/7, R, RBI
The Angels got 5 games thus far this week, and Castro couldn’t take advantage of his matchups.
Austin Hedges, San Diego Padres: 2/7, R
I’m going to take the win on a .286 AVG, but I understand the counting stats are non-existent.
Dave’s Streaming Record: 3-12
Ok, things are starting to look up!
Quick Thoughts from Week 5
While Salvador Perez was expected to return in short order, he hasn’t as of yet, and there’s still no timetable for his return. It’s a huge bummer and we wish him well.
Man, I want so much more to love James McCann, and truthfully, I should’ve been recommending him when Grandal was hurt. While he’s not, it doesn’t seem McCann is getting enough playing time. Keep an eye on the situation though because a McCann who is getting playing time is a worthwhile asset.
The Orioles sorely missed Pedro Severino, who returned to the lineup this weekend after a hip injury, but he’s 0/8 since returning. Meanwhile, Chance Sisco is 2 for his last 13. The playing time split is still worth monitoring moving forward because if either of these players commands at least 2/3 of playing time moving forward, you want them on your roster.
One of the bigger offensive surprises behind the dish this year is Pittsburgh’s Jacob Stallings. His .444 BABIP, .243 xBA, and .306 xwOBA all speak to major regression waiting in the wings. Could he stave off regression for a few weeks and maintain his production the rest of the way? Sure. But I wouldn’t bet on it.
This Week’s Streamers
Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Texas Rangers: IKF is surging back, with 7 hits over his last 20 ABs plus a HR and a SB. While he’s dropped to 5th to 8th in the batting order over the last week, he’s still playing every day. He hits better against lefties, of which he gets two this week (Justus Sheffield and Marco Gonzales), and while he’s slashing .197/.260/.268 vs righties, his career slash vs righties is far better than that and I expect improvement.
Jose Trevino, Texas Rangers: Trevino isn’t walking at all (2.1% walk rate thus far), but he’s also not striking out (10.4% K, 86.3% contact rate). With the high contact rate, we could see Trevino maintain a decently high batting average. On top of that, he’s hit as high as 3rd and as low as 6th over the last week. In case you need a reminder, IKF doesn’t catch anymore, so both will play.
Roberto Pérez, Cleveland Indians: There’s not much from Pérez’s recent production to hype up. In fact, in 45 PAs, Pérez still doesn’t have an extra-base hit. They have to come at some point though for the 31-year-old. If you’re in an OBP format, you can take some solace in his 13% walk rate. I think this is the week Pérez breaks out though, as he gets a weak Royals’ pitching staff, followed by matchups with upside against the Brew Crew (though I don’t expect much vs Brandon Woodruff). I don’t have the highest expectations, but you can do worse.
I want to recommend Danny Jansen and his 8 games this week, but I just can’t recommend the .159 hitter with 2 HRs thus far.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcommr on Twitter)