Catchers to Stream for Week 6 (5/6 – 5/12)
If you missed out on the cream of the crop at catcher and need help to address the problem, look no further. This article will address your concerns by looking at who might be the best streaming-caliber catchers for the week ahead. This is piece is usually tended to by the expert analysis of Dave Cherman, but with the crucible of Latin Legum Magister finals melting his brain and soul into a greyish, exhausted goo, I’ll be stepping in to cover parts of this article.
First, we have to rule out any widely owned catcher. For the purposes of this list, that means anyone who has 50% ownership rate or higher (according to Yahoo). The ineligible catchers are:
Gary Sanchez – (New York Yankees)
J.T. Realmuto – (Philadelphia Phillies)
Buster Posey – (San Francisco Giants)
Willson Contreras – (Chicago Cubs)
Yadier Molina – (St. Louis Cardinals)
Yasmani Grandal – (Milwaukee Brewers)
Wilson Ramos – (New York Mets)
Omar Narvaez – (Seattle Mariners)
**In ESPN leagues, Mike Zunino – (Tampa Bay Rays) is hovering right above the 50% mark, and at time of this writing is also 40% owned in Yahoo leagues. Catcher, as was expected, is a dark and dreary place.
Reviewing Last Week
Last week, 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.
Danny Jansen – (Toronto Blue Jays): 3/11, R
The average was nice because it didn’t actively hurt you, but you wanted a little more in terms of counting stats. I’ll take the L on this one.
Mike Zunino – (Tampa Bay Rays): 1/14, R, HR, 3 RBI.
This is classic Zunino and why I should’ve trusted my gut and avoided him. He’s got the pop to hit 5 HRs in a week but it’s like his bat has a magnet for the Mendoza Line. 0-2 this week and I’m sorry.
Dave’s Streaming Record: 7-6
Quick Thoughts from Week 5
Because Dave is (perhaps foolishly) letting me write the remainder of this piece, you know I’m going to talk a little about my main dude Willians Astudillo. He’s been recovering from a hamstring issue, but has been taking reps in the outfield (because he’s an outfielder now and life is awesome) and should return this week. As I’ve been stating in the Batter’s Box throughout the season, this guy is going to force the Twins to play him, and their willingness to put the big fella in the outfield is a big step. I actually think it was the smart thing to do, considering that Mitch Garver and Jason Castro have been giving them an easy-to-manage and fairly productive platoon. All three have relevance in two-catcher leagues, though if I have to pick one, you know I’m taking Astudillo. He’s fun to root for and has unique talent with the bat.
If you’re a DFS player, you may have noticed that some guy named Josh Phegley went 4-5 with a home run, 2 R, and 8 RBI. He now has 21 RBI on the season, which is tied for the most along with J.T. Realmuto, Gary Sanchez, and Yadier Molina. He’s unrosterable in all mixed formats except as a desperation second catcher in 15-teamers, but it’s kind of a neat stat. He’ll be highly ranked on the ESPN 15-day Player Rater until around May 19th.
Wellington Castillo started just two games this week, going 0-7 with four strikeouts and a walk. Meanwhile, James McCann has appeared in five games in that same time span, going 8-20 with four doubles and a home run. Not only is the McCannon the starter on the South Side, but he’s a worthy streamer when the Sox are slated to see a slew of southpaws (that’s not the case this week). Among active catchers who have more than 100 PA against LHP since the start of 2015, McCann is 6th in wRC+ (118).
This Week’s Streamers
Robinson Chirinos – (Houston Astros): If you HAD to choose, who would you say the best pitcher is out of Jake Junis, Danny Duffy, Jorge Lopez, Drew Smyly, Adrian Sampson, and Shelby Miller? Don’t answer that — just know that the Astros get to face all 6 of these guys in Houston this week, and that Chirinos is the primary catcher for said Astros. Even if he sits for two or three of those contests, wouldn’t you like to have a piece of the offensive explosion that’s likely to happen in each and every one of those contests? Heck, EVEN IF one of these starters fumbles their way into a decent outing, do you expect either of these struggling bullpens to finish strong? You can answer that: It’s a resounding no.
Jonathan Lucroy – (Los Angeles Angels): This is probably my favorite streamer for points leagues that penalize strikeouts, as he avoids the third strike pretty well for a catcher and should play nearly every day. Also helpful is the very soft slate of starters that the Angels will face this week, which features Daniel Norris, Tyson Ross, Dylan Bundy, John Means, and Andrew Cashner. Sure, Matt Boyd will be in there too, but even if you sit him for that contest, you can start him with extreme confidence against the other five. They’re all targets.
Chris Iannetta – (Colorado Rockies): The Rockies are at home for all six games this week, which automatically means we should mention at least one of the guys who will don the gear in baseball’s best hitting environment. Iannetta returned from the IL on Friday, and his timing could not be any more perfect. While his platoon partner Tony Wolters has been swinging a hot stick in his absence, the Rockies will face five lefties in this six-game stretch, likely forcing Wolters to the bench in at least four of those games. Iannetta is a high walk, high strikeout player with a .870 OPS in 1,081 trips to the plate in Coors Field, so go grab him; he’s available in 99% of leagues on Yahoo and ESPN. He’s going to swing for the fences every time, and there’s a pretty good chance he finds the seats more than once.
(Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire)