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.
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. 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)
Robinson Chirinos – (Houston Astros)
Reviewing Last Week
In weeks 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.
Jason Castro – (Minnesota Twins): 2/12, 2 R
You play with fire, you get burned. That’s what I did by betting on a Twins catcher for the first time all season. The recipe was all there for success, but it didn’t pan out, and I’m sorry. Gotta take a major L on this one.
Tony Wolters – (Colorado Rockies): 3/12, 3 R, HR, 4 RBI
Yup. That’s a W. Interestingly enough, I predicted Wolters hitting his first homer of the year this week, but I thought it’d come in the three-game set vs Baltimore; instead, he did it in Pittsburgh. That’s baseball, Suzyn. He’s not a power threat at all, but the average is up to .292 on the year and that’s very helpful from the catcher spot—in fact, it ranks fifth among all catchers with at least 100 PAs (J. McCann, Contreras, Vazquez, Narvaez). The Rox get seven games in Coors this week, so you’d best hold onto him.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa – (Texas Rangers): 4/11
Call me crazy, but I still think this is a win. If you disagree, let me know in the comments, but a .364 average seriously helps at catcher, and I did establish that BA is king. You wish it came with ANYTHING else. Like, at least ONE run. It didn’t, and you’re bummed. I am too.
Dave’s Streaming Record: 9-7
Scott’s Streaming Record: 3-1-2
Quick Thoughts from Week 8
Wherever Jonathan Metzelaar is, tell him I owe him an apology. I ragged HARD on Jonathan Lucroy in our catcher-specific On the Barrel podcast in March. So far, he’s been a legit 12-team asset with a .273 average and 7 HRs. Some may be quick to say that it’s just like his awesome 2016, but the underlying numbers say differently. The GB% is up, not sky high, but it’s up and he’s got a career-high 17.9% HR/FB, so I don’t think the HRs are here to last, but the average very well could be (he’s got a .257 xBA). A .270 average with 15-20 HRs is a legit asset at catcher.
If you missed the buy-low window on Wilson Ramos, it may be too late. The Mets backstop posted a .474 AVG with 3 HRs over the last week, as his bat is finally coming alive.
For those riding the Castro train, Mitch Garver just resumed baseball activities and could be activated in short order. This may be the last week of regular PAs for Castro—back to the days of three starts in a week. BLEGH!
Austin Barnes may be struggling hard to start the year, but so is Keibert Ruiz in AA, so I don’t think we’ll see a promotion from the second-ranked catching prospect in baseball, but we could see one from the Dodgers number-five prospect, Hollywood actor and Giants closer Will Smith, who is hitting .290/.404/.551 in the PCL (AAA). Despite being billed as a C/3B, Smith has only started one game at third base this year, versus his 30 starts behind the dish. He’s showing a very advanced approach this time around in AAA after struggling in 98 PAs last year and could be up in the next month or so.
Francisco Cervelli went to the 7-day DL today making Elias Diaz suddenly valuable. This is particularly tough because Cervelli has a history of concussions, so we could be looking at an extended absence from the veteran.
This Week’s Streamers
Tony Wolters – (Colorado Rockies): Whenever you see a Rockie on here, it’s pretty easy to guess why—he’s got games at Coors. This week is the super-week, Wolters gets ALL. SEVEN. GAMES. at Coors. Just wonderful. Ride that .282/.367/.402 career home slash into the sunset. While there is some reason for caution because the Rox get Zack Grienke tomorrow and Robbie Ray Wednesday, there’s still plenty of reason for optimism in this week. Ray is the only southpaw they face and Wolters typically handles right-handers better.
Danny Jansen – (Toronto Blue Jays): I know. Everything you’re about to say, I know. A .178 average and just 2 HRs this year and we should stream him?? Yes. The Jays get Blake Snell on Wednesday, but after that, they travel to Coors Field for a trio of games. If that can’t get Jansen’s bat awake, I’m not sure what can. And he’s still playing every day.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa – (Texas Rangers): The number one rule in poker is if you manage to get out ahead, keep playing until you lose… Wait, that’s not it? No, that’s very much not it. It feels like that’s what I’m doing with IKF, as he gets a very light slate this week. First, it’s a trip to Seattle to take on Tommy Milone, Marco Gonzales, and Wade LeBlanc—two names I hadn’t heard in quite some time—and then four against Jake Junis, Jorge Lopez (who just gave up 5 ER in 1+ IP vs the Yankees), Danny Duffy, and Homer Bailey. See, I told you it was a super-light week! He should miss two of Gonzales/LeBlanc and Lopez/Duffy as the latter in each game is a DANG (day-after-night game), but that still leaves him with five starts.
I love Arizona this week, but none of Carson Kelly, Blake Swihart, or Alex Avila is playing with enough consistency for me to get behind. I also like Christian Vazquez, but he’s got tough matchups throughout the week against the Indians and Yankees. I wrote this article before the Cervelli news came out, so I couldn’t pick Diaz as a streamer but I definitely recommend grabbing him.
(Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire)
“ I like Christian Vazquez this week, but he’s got tough matchups this week vs the Indians”…..since when did the Indians become a tough matchup?
Bieber, Bauer, Carrasco… They’re all VERY tough matchups.
Do you like Diaz over the others?
All except Wolters.
I took a shot on Swihart this week. Seems to be playing some OF with Peralta on the IL.
Hi Dave – I find these very useful but they come after my Friday waivers. Any chance that you could to these on Fridays? Maybe others have the same issue. I know that sometimes it isn’t possible to rearrange schedules but thanks for considering it.
Hmm I can look into it. I have to double check when each week my resources that I consult become available. What I can do in the interim is have you tweet at me Friday and I can give you insight into who I’m thinking for the article Sunday.