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.
My strategy in many leagues is to wait until the last round if I don’t get one of the top guys. Some people go catcherless, which is a legitimate strategy in a head-to-head league if you can make proper use of that extra spot. But in a roto league, you’re missing valuable production by leaving it empty. 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 >50% rostered (according to Yahoo). The ineligible catchers are: Gary Sánchez, JT Realmuto, Willson Contreras, Yasmani Grandal, Buster Posey, Austin Nola, Yadier Molina, Will Smith, Salvador Pérez, James McCann, Omar Narváez, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Christian Vázquez, Travis d’Arnaud, Carson Kelly, and Sean Murphy. That’s SIXTEEN catchers.
On top of that, I’m avoiding certain situations until playing time becomes clearer. Those situations include the Rays (Francisco Mejía/Mike Zunino), the Jays (Alejandro Kirk/Danny Jansen), the Nationals (Yan Gomes/Alex Avila), and the Mariners (Luis Torrens/Tom Murphy).
I’m gonna say this now – if you’re in a 12 team or fewer, don’t stream right now. Try to trade for someone’s backup above as opposed to diving in the bargain bin for the players that meet my threshold. But we’re gonna go ahead anyway.
Who is Eligible?
So who is left? Stephen Vogt, Pedro Severino, Zack Collins, Roberto Pérez, Wilson Ramos, Martín Maldonado, Max Stassi, Austin Barnes, Jorge Alfaro, Kyle Higashioka, James McCann, Jacob Stallings, Victor Caratini, and Jose Trevino. That’s an extensive list that will change throughout the year and should give us ample opportunity to find value. I base my list on Yahoo eligibility, as it is generally the broadest, so some players like Yermín Mercedes aren’t included. If you have questions about those players, feel free to shoot me a tweet and I’m happy to discuss.
Honestly, considering the amount of 50%+ owned 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. Maybe you took a flier late in the draft and are still debating whether to hold someone like Omar Narváez. Maybe you drafted Salvador Pérez but don’t feel confident he’ll 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. As the season wears on, guys will get dropped, players will emerge, and streaming should become more and more necessary.
Reviewing Last Week
In years past, 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.
Dom Nuñez, Colorado Rockies: 2/15, R, 3 RBI
Yeah, this is still a loss. I know the counting stats are okay but a .133 average is too much to take.
Roberto Pérez, Cleveland: 0/5
Soooo it turns out Pérez had been playing with a broken right ring finger for some time. That explains the absolutely awful performance up to this point. Now, he’ll miss the next two-ish months.
Dave’s Streaming Record: 2-7
Quick Thoughts from Week 4
The big hype this week surrounds William Contreras, Atlanta’s rookie catcher. In his first week, he hit .263 with 1 HR and 6 RBI. I’ll be rolling with him as a streamer because he also started all but one game this past week. Fire him up.
I see your 3 HRs in your last 3 games, Danny Jansen. I also see your .227 AVG over the last week and your .104 AVG on the season. Jansen will continue to start almost every day while Alejandro Kirk is on the shelf, which will be a while.
Arizona recalled Daulton Varsho last week and he’s making just his third start today since being recalled. He should continue to ride the pine for your team as well.
I wish we could better understand the Reds’ playing time situation. For the most part, it’s 50/50 between Tucker Barnhart and Tyler Stephenson. It leans about 60/40 at times, but we can’t really tell when it’ll be 4 starts in a week.
We thought we might be seeing Kyle Higashioka take over the full-time starting role from Gary Sánchez, but the 31-year-old’s average is plummeting. The power was still there with a solo shot yesterday, but he still is playing only at a 50/50 rate with Sánchez. Neither is rosterable in 12-teamers.
With Wilson Ramos on the IL, you don’t want to roster Grayson Greiner or Jake Rogers.
Have more questions? Send me a tweet @davecherman!
This Week’s Streamers
Well, that was a lot to go through. Now, let’s take a look at some of the players and who could provide some value to your team this week:
Dom Nuñez, Colorado Rockies: The Rox play host to … and that’s all you really need. But, to give you the rest of the info, the Rockies play seven at home this week vs the Padres and Reds. We’re still playing with small samples, but Nuñez is slugging .591 at Coors in his career; here’s hoping that continues into Week 6.
William Contreras, Atlanta: The matchups don’t really speak to this play, but I’m a sucker for playing time and rookies; Atlanta gets six games this week vs Toronto and Milwaukee and will likely avoid Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff in the process. There’s two DANGs (Day game after night game) in this week so he may top out at four starts, but I like his chances of above-average production.
Tucker Barnhart, Cincinnati Reds: Yes, I just finished saying that the playing time was unpredictable. Barnhart was set to sit today by all accounts before the game was postponed. If he gets the nod tomorrow, he’ll have a shot at four games in seven days, which gives him enough PAs to be an asset for your fantasy team. Savant supports absolutely none of what he’s doing AT ALL, but we’ll Vargas Rule him, in Nick’s sense. As you may have picked up above, four of those seven games are in Colorado, while the other three are against a subpar Pirates rotation.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)