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Catchers to Stream for Week 7 (5/16-5/22)

Who's worth streaming behind the dish?

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?

 

Prohibited List

 

First, we have to rule out any widely owned catcher. For this list, it means anyone over 50% rostered (according to Yahoo). The ineligible catchers are J.T. Realmuto, Will Smith, Salvador Perez, Willson Contreras, Daulton Varsho, Tyler Stephenson, Yasmani Grandal, Travis d’Arnaud, Keibert Ruiz, Sean Murphy, Mitch Garver, and Adley Rutschman. That’s TWELVE catchers.

I’m going to say this now — if you’re in a 12-team league or fewer, don’t stream right now. Try trading for someone’s backup instead of diving in the bargain bin for the players who meet my threshold. But we’re going to go ahead anyway.

 

Who is Eligible?

 

So who is left? Christian Vázquez, Gary Sánchez,  Alejandro Kirk, Elias Díaz, Joey Bart, Mike Zunino, Yadier Molina, Omar Narváez, Jacob Stallings, Tucker Barnhart, Austin Nola, Francisco Mejía, Jonah Heim, Zack Collins, Eric Haase, Luis Torrens, Max Stassi, Jorge Alfaro, Yan Gomes, Ryan Jeffers, Kyle Higashioka, Jose Trevino, and more. 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. On the other hand, maybe you took a flier late in the draft and are still debating whether to hold someone like Alejandro Kirk. Maybe you drafted Yadier Molina 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.

  1. 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. We have to keep in mind the number of plate appearances — under 10 PA diminishes that boost.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

 

Austin Nola, San Diego Padres: 3-for-11 (.273), 1 R, 1 RBI

Nola’s week was slightly bittersweet. On the one hand, he hit for a decent average and chipped in a few counting stats. On the other hand, it wasn’t an astonishing amount of counting stats. Additionally, getting the extra day of rest on Thursday(May 14) was a little unexpected.

However, of his ten batted ball events, one registered as a barrel and five more as hard hits(batted balls over 95 mph). Furthermore, Nola made contact on 94% of pitches swung at. I mean, a 2.9% SwStr% means he was practically never fooled at the dish.

We wanted batting average help and a few counting stats for the W. It’s not a smash, but I’ll take it, given the streaming landscape these days.

 

MJ Melendez, Kansas City Royals: 2-for-11 (.182), 1 RBI

The most challenging part of grabbing a 15-team streamer is the lack of options or void of playing time. For Melendez, we knew there could be some turbulence this week because the Royals already have a catcher, and even DH  is crowded. The Royals elected to sit Melendez vs. LHP on Thursday and Friday, and that stifled his production.

When Melendez started, the outcomes weren’t favorable anyway. Furthermore, he struggled in a few areas. First was making contact. He only connected with 74% of all swings. This could be somewhat expected given this was his first taste of MLB breaking balls. But I was hoping Melendez would showcase the power we’ve seen from him in the minors.

We knew it was an upside play to try and catch lightning in a bottle. It didn’t strike, and we get another loss.

Dave Swan’s Streaming Record: 3-7 

 

Notes & Transactions From Week 6

 

  • Mitch Garver suffered an elbow injury and isn’t expected to miss too much time. In Garver’s absence, the team promoted Sam Huff. Although, the beneficiary of extra playing time is Jonah Heim, who has batted cleanup and second since Garver’s absence. If you’re struggling to find PAs from the catcher position, Heim will get you plenty.
  • The New York Mets placed James McCann on the 10-day IL with a fractured hamate bone on his left wrist. Unfortunately, this injury will require surgery and take time for recovery. Patrick Mazeika was promoted to the MLB roster but will split time with Tomás NidoPlaying time will lean in favor of Nido.

 

  • On Sunday (May 9th), the Kansas City Royals recalled Sebastian Rivero from the minors after Edward Olivares suffered an injury. Rivero, a right-handed bat, was brought in to face the upcoming lefties on Thursday and Friday and promptly sent back down on Friday (May 13th).
  • The Los Angeles Angels placed Max Stassi on the COVID IL. Kurt Suzuki becomes the lead backstop, with Austin Romine getting a promotion to the MLB roster. As of Sunday morning, Stassi remains on the COVID IL list, but I wouldn’t recommend making Suzuki a priority pickup.

 

  • If you were stashing Pittsburgh Pirates‘ catcher Roberto Pérez, stop! He was transferred to the 60-day IL and won’t be seeing the field anytime soon. The team is splitting time between Michael Perez and Andrew Knapp. However, both are only viable options in NL-only formats.
  • The Chicago White Sox activated Yermín Mercedes from the 10-day IL. However, he was optioned back down to Triple-A Charlotte. Yes, this is the same Mercedes that took the MLB by storm last season. No, he is not worth stashing in any format as his K-rate is still north of 30%.

 

  • Danny Jansen was activated to the Toronto Blue Jays roster. Prior to his injury, Jansen was 4-for-7 with a pair of HRs and looking to overtake Alejandro Kirk as the lead catcher. Additionally, in his first game back on Saturday, Jansen went yard AGAIN! In deeper formats, you’ll need to make Jansen a priority pickup.
  • The Atlanta Braves have used William Contreras at DH the past two games due to a Ronald Acuña Jr. setback. While the results were promising, should the team elect to move him to the IL, Contreras could be a nice speculative add in deeper leagues since he’s already homered four times in 26 PAs.

 

  • Colorado Watch! Next week, the Rockies play a home series on Friday-Sunday. They’ll square off against three right-handed SPs: Carlos Carrasco, Tylor Megill, and Taijuan Walker. If you’re in a daily transaction league, consider stashing Dom Nuñez for this three-game set as he bats from the left side.

 

Week 7 Streamers

 

If the main is not on your waiver wire, there will be a streamer for 12 or 15-team leagues and additional options. Let’s examine players who might provide added value for the upcoming week:

 

Alejandro Kirk, Toronto Blue Jays (36% Rostered) 12-team leagues

With Danny Jansen back, some may say playing time will be limited to Kirk. However, he’s getting quite a bit of time as the team’s DH. Additionally, George Springer left Friday night’s game with an ankle injury. Should Springer need an IL stint, Kirk would benefit as he’s already getting nearly three games a week at DH.

From an upcoming schedule standpoint, the Blue Jays play two series (three games vs. SEA, three games vs. CIN). That’ll give us six home games with only one DANG (Day After Night Game). Additionally, when you consider Kirk getting everyday plate appearances, he should see at least five games.

So, what would make Kirk a successful streamer? Given the potential of the Toronto lineup and Kirk’s ability to make contact, he’s got to pick up multiple hits and pile up counting stats. At the moment, he’s hitting too many ground balls, and we can’t count on him for HRs. Lastly, given the hitting environment these days, HR hunting isn’t as easy as it once was.

 

  • Christian Vázquez, Boston Red Sox – This last week, Vázquez might have turned a corner. He made a considerable amount more contact (specifically in the zone). However, the power is still considerably lacking. Lastly, in the upcoming week, Boston plays seven games. 
  • Gary Sánchez, Minnesota Twins – Sánchez should be universally rostered in all 12-team leagues, but given his struggles, it’s not difficult to see him on the wire. The power hasn’t been there, and this week he plays away games at two of the deepest parks in the MLB.
  • Jonah Heim, Texas Rangers – Heim is a volume play this week. Additionally, if you lost Garver to the IL, I hope you’ve already scooped Heim up. If not, and he’s on the wire, Texas has been batting him in the heart of the lineup. 
  • Austin Nola, San Diego Padres – If you’re looking for power, you’ll need to move along. Rather, he’s making more contact, and the batting average is moving in the right direction. To be honest, I’d almost consider grabbing Danny Jansen instead if I knew he wasn’t limited in duties.

 

Danny Jansen, Toronto Blue Jays (15% Rostered) 15-team leagues

Another Toronto catcher? You betcha! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; you’ve got to take risks in a 15-team league and hope your streaming option turns into an everyday player. Well, Jansen could be the answer for what is dragging your team down.

Much like Kirk, the team won’t be traveling all week. But the team might handle him with kiddie gloves after his injury. However, what makes him so appealing is his power. Small samples aside, he keeps putting batted balls over the fence, and that’s worth taking the chance. Sure, the 22% barrel rate will regress, but since the start of 2020, Jansen does showcase a .780 OPS and .240 ISO.

My advice is to take the shot this week, and hope you don’t need another streamer in Week 8.

 

Catcher List

 

Each week will add a ten-player list of potential streamers by weekly rank. For example, if Alejandro Kirk is already rostered in your 12-team league, the next in line should be Christian Vázquez and so on down the list. Also, 15-team leagues are much deeper, so attention to roster% is added to the process. If a 12-team player is available, they are considered the player before the 15-team streamer. Lastly, the Roster% is based on Yahoo leagues.

 

CATCHERS ROSTER%
Alejandro Kirk (TOR) 36%
Christian Vázquez (BOS) 46%
Gary Sánchez (MIN) 44%
Jonah Heim (TEX) 45%
Austin Nola (SDP) 26%
Danny Jansen (KCR) 15%
Omar Narváez (MIL) 12%
Joey Bart (SFG) 19%
William Contreras (ATL) 19%
MJ Melendez (KCR) 4%
12-team Streamers (less than 50%)
15-team Streamers (less than 20%)

 

 

Have more questions? “Catch” up with me on Twitter @davithius!

Featured image by Jacob Roy (@Jake3Roy on Twitter)

Dave Swan

Dave Swan is an avid Chicago Cubs fan that enjoys all aspects of fantasy baseball-especially DFS. He would trade his right arm for a GIF library of Greg Maddux pitches. Swan's baseball thoughts are available at @davithius.

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