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.
Jorge Alfaro, Miami Marlins: 8/23, 2 R, HR, 8 RBI, SB
This is the best week we’ve had from a streamer thus far. H
José Briceño, Los Angeles Angels: 0/0
This is 100% my fault. I missed that Max Stassi was likely to return from the IL, which pushed Briceño to the alternate training site.
Dave’s Streaming Record: 7-13
Quick Thoughts from Week 7
If you’re hurting at catcher, you may want to take a closer look at Sean Murphy. Not only has he started 6 of the A’s last 8 games, but along the way, he’s got 3 multi-hit games, 3 HRs, and a ton of counting stats to boot. There are concerns in his statcast profile (17th percentile xBA and 21st percentile K%), but there are reasons for optimism as well, including an 86th percentile exit velocity, 74th percentile barrel rate, and 95th percentile hard-hit rate.
While Wilson Ramos‘ line from the last two weeks looks stellar, it’s propped up by a 3/5, 4 R, HR, 4 RBI day against the Jays. Don’t make too much of it.
The Twins are hurting behind the dish with Mitch Garver and Alex Avila both on the IL, which has given significant playing time to Ryan Jeffers, and he’s taken advantage, with 2 HRs over his last 3 games. The bat-first prospect, who has been given 50 and 55-grade hit and power tools, respectively, hit 14 HRs between A+ and AA last year with a .264/.341/.421 slash. I’m skeptical that he’ll be able to keep up elite production, but it’s worth throwing him out there until Avila or Garver comes back. Unfortunately, there’s not a ton of clarity on when that’ll be, though Garver is ramping up baseball activities.
Salvador Perez is 4/9 in his two games back from an eye-issue. Get him back in your lineup.
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.
Sean Murphy, Oakland Athletics: Ride the hot catching hand and this is a great week to do it. Murphy gets a twin bill on Monday against a duo of Mariners starters, and while one of them is Marco Gonzales, he follows it up with two games in Coors, then a trio in San Fran, but not Kevin Gausman. I feel very confident about throwing Murphy out there this week.
Martin Maldonado, Houston Astros: I’m definitely nervous whenever I recommend a career .219 hitter in his age 34 season, but this is a good week to bet on him. It would be nice if we could sneak a lefty in there, to play to Maldonado’s strengths, but he still gets a weak slate of righties in Kyle Cody, Kyle Gibson, Jordan Lyles, Luke Weaver, and Taylor Clarke…… plus a guy named Zac Gallen, but we won’t focus on him.I wouldn’t rush to getting him, but if you’re out of other options, give it a go.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcommr on Twitter)