The catcher position 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?
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, Gary Sánchez, Christian Vázquez, and Adley Rutschman. That’s FOURTEEN 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? Alejandro Kirk, Elias Díaz, Joey Bart, Mike Zunino, Yadier Molina, Omar Narváez, Jacob Stallings, Tucker Barnhart, Austin Nola, Francisco Mejía, Jonah Heim, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Sometimes things align perfectly, and in this situation, it happened. Vázquez ended the week with a trio of three-hit games and even put a shot into the bleachers. Not much to say here, but I’ll take the W and hope you rostered him for this past week of action.
Jeffers started four games, including one at DH; the playing time was there. However, the production didn’t follow suit. We knew the batting average could be problematic and hoped he’d make up the difference in power and counting stats. Chipping in three RBI was nice, but the HR would have made the week. So, I hang my head and take the loss.
Dave Swan’s Streaming Record: 5-9
Notes & Transactions From Week 8
- The Toronto Blue Jays optioned Zack Collins to the minors, and the team will lean into Alejandro Kirk and Danny Jansen.
- Yadier Molina was placed on the bereavement list, and the Cardinals recalled Iván Herrera in his place. Thankfully, Molina is back on the field.
- Finally, Max Stassi was activated from the COVID IL. The Los Angeles Angels optioned Chad Wallach to make room.
- The New York Yankees activated Kyle Higashioka from the COVID IL. He and Jose Trevino will likely continue a 50/50 time split.
- The Arizona Diamondbacks activated Jose Herrera from the COVID IL and optioned Grayson Greiner. Herrera should spell Daulton Varsho from playing so many games behind the dish.
- The Chicago Cubs placed Yan Gomes on the 10-day IL. PJ Higgins will take on the backup-catching responsibilities.
- In San Francisco, Curt Casali was activated from the 7-day IL and will split an even time-share with Joey Bart.
- The Kansas City Royals can breathe a sigh of relief as Salvador Perez was activated from the 10-day IL. Additionally, MJ Melendez placed catcher and right field in the brief time back. That’s a good sign, as he will likely stick on the MLB roster.
- Mitch Garver has sat out the previous two games. While he’s still getting ABs as the DH, this could mean more playing time for Jonah Heim.
- Colorado Watch! The Rockies have seven home games this week.
- Who’s Hot (and under 20% rostered)!
- Most dropped! Last week, Gary Sánchez (61%) was the most-dropped catcher. He strikes out A LOT, so there will be streaks of poor weeks. Additionally, he’s listed as day-to-day because of an illness, and he should be fine for the week ahead.
- Most Added! William Contreras (49%) was the most-added catcher. He’s smashed a HR and even batted second for a couple of games. No surprise here.
Week 9 Streamers
If the main streamer 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:
Contreras already has seven HRs in 53 ABS. Crazy! Surely his 58.3% HR/FB rate won’t hold up all season, but it does give insights into his raw power. Furthermore, he is touting a 19% barrel rate, and that’s no fluke. Over 152 career-batted ball events, Contreras showcases a 13.2% barrel rate. Contreras is filling that void if you’re looking for power in a hurry.
That’s not all! Atlanta gets a boost with a four-game series in Coors Field from Friday through Sunday. The pitching matchups will include Austin Gomber, Chad Kuhl, Kyle Freeland, and likely Antonio Senzatela. Umm…those are terrific SPs to stream against (especially in Coors Field).
What are we looking for from his upcoming week? Well, the obvious is more HRs. Most likely, you’re lacking power, and finding any from the catcher position is a premium. It wouldn’t be out of line to use a high-end waiver priority for Contreras.
This week, Colorado gets seven home games (three games vs. MIA, four games vs. ATL). What’s that mean? Grab Díaz as quickly as you can! Furthermore, he’s drawing three matchups vs. southpaws. In 46 PAs vs. LHP, he’s slashing .294/.326/.409 with five extra-base hits. While he’s still looking for the HR ball, there isn’t much more you can ask for (match-wise) from a streaming catcher.
Each week, I’ll add a ten-player list of potential streamers by weekly rank. For example, if William Contreras is already rostered in your 12-team league, the next in line should be Alejandro Kirk, and so on down the list. 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.
|William Contreras (ATL)||49%|
|Alejandro Kirk (TOR)||30%|
|MJ Melendez (KCR)||35%|
|Jonah Heim (TEX)||43%|
|Danny Jansen (TOR)||21%|
|Elias Díaz (COL)||14%|
|Austin Nola (SDP)||18%|
|Max Stassi (LAA)||3%|
|Jacob Stallings (MIA)||4%|
|Ryan Jeffers (MIN)||3%|
|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)