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, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, 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) and Cleveland (Austin Hedges/ Roberto Perez).
I love watching the fluctuation in the size of the list above each week. Fourteen 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.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Texas Rangers: 8/22, 3 R, HR, RBI
A .364 average will get the job done, especially with a HR to boot, though we wish there were a stolen base with it. It’s a shame that IKF is back off the streamer radar. Hopefully, you just held onto him.
Jose Trevino, Texas Rangers: 3/15, R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB
While I love the HR and RBI, the .200 AVG actively hurts, so I’ll take a loss. If you disagree, let me know in the comments.
Roberto Perez, Cleveland Indians: 2/5, R, HR, 3 RBI
I polled a few fellow staffers, as well as Twitter, and confirmed that this is a win despite the low PAs.
Dave’s Streaming Record: 6-12
It was a slow start, but 4-2 over the last two weeks makes me feel better.
Quick Thoughts from Week 6
If you’re in one of the 28% of leagues where Travis d’Arnaud is not rostered, change that. Another strong week pushes his average to .333 with 6 HRs and 35 R+RBI, plus his savant chart is as red as the square in Moscow.
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.
We got a couple of dingers from Tucker Barnhart but no average to come with it, just like the typical elite Barnhart week. The average may never gonna be above .260 again.
Of course, Martin Maldonado had a big week again… of course. His average is up to .267 for the year. That would be the highest average of the 34-year-old’s career by a whopping 33 points. His .400 OBP would be the highest of his career by 68 points. That would be due to his 17% walk rate versus his career mark of 7.4%. His strikeout rate is also at a career-high of 30% mostly due to his reduced contact rate. Feel free to buy in for this season, but I wouldn’t.
This Week’s Streamers
It’s a rough point in the year for catcher streaming. All the good players are already on teams, but we’re gonna trudge forward.
Jorge Alfaro, Miami Marlins: This pick is centered around the Marlins getting 9 games this week. After exciting us greatly in their return to play, the Marlins are back to being a bottom-10 offense over the last week, but 9 games give him enough opportunity to pad the counting stats. Hopefully your average can take the hit because he’s starting every day.
José Briceño, Los Angeles Angels: This is not an endorsement of Briceño and his career .238/.301/.377 line. Besides a Sunday game against Lance Lynn, he gests a pretty weak slate of Rangers pitchers, plus 3 games in Coors. Ideally, I’d want more lefties to feed into his career .283/.345/.566 line over his 58 lefty PAs, but he only gets one, Kyle Freeland. Start at your own risk.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcommr on Twitter)