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.
Sean Murphy, Oakland Athletics: 1/9, HR, 2 BB
Murphy has been quietly having a stellar season but this week wasn’t it. Unless he puts up a multi-hit performance today, this is a loss. Just three starts this week hurt too.
Martin Maldonado, Houston Astros: 2/17
On day one, I was feeling great. Maldonado went 2/4 with a solo shot…and then it all fell apart. This was Maldonado’s floor and why we don’t roster him year-round. It’s frustrating though.
Dave’s Streaming Record: 7-15
This has been a bad year all around. I still believe in my system, but the results haven’t been there this year. I’ll review my methodology this off-season and see if I can’t improve for y’all next year.
Quick Thoughts from Week 8
It’s our final week for catcher streaming which makes me sad, but honestly, I begin to resent this part of the year a little bit- catcher streaming works best the first two-ish months of the season and maybe a little longer if there’s a late breakout guy. After that point, we’re unlikely to find diamonds in the rough, as most good catchers are rostered. We trudge forward though, as I’m committed to helping you through the end of the year.
Don’t be swayed by the black magic of Jacob Nottingham. He’s 3/9 over his last 3 with 2 HRs and 7 RBI, but he’s also got a career .213 AVG through his first 61 career PAs which is reminiscent of the low AVG, middling power prospect he’s been throughout his minor league career. A.281/.347/.528 mark over 196 AAA PAs in 2018 is making me curious, but I ain’t ready to buy-in.
If you managed to ride Andrew Knapp this past week while Realmuto has been hurt, congratulations! Give him up though because Realmuto is expected back tomorrow.
I love seeing backup catchers have a day- and Kyle Higashioka did, popping 3 HRs with 5 RBI against Toronto on Wednesday. Don’t think too much about it. Speaking of the Yankees, Gary Sanchez is slashing .276/.364/.690 over his last 8 starts. It’s about time, Gary! I wonder what a late dominant run does to his draft stock for next year.
Salvador Perez is 16/30 with 3 HRs since returning from his eye injury. Hot dang. I think he’s a borderline top-100 pick next year and that’s stupid.
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.
Carson Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks: It’s been a very weird season for Kelly. Last year, he mashed lefties to the tune of .356/.462/.667 and 6 HRs in 104 PAs. Sure, it came with a .424 BABIP, but clearly he just sees lefties well, right? This year, in 45 PAs, he’s hitting just .119/.178/.286 with a .100 BABIP against lefties. I don’t think Kelly is really either hitter, but somewhere in the middle. This week, the D-Backs get two lefties in Kyle Freeland and Texas’ Wes Benjamin among a set of weak starters overall.
Chance Sisco, Baltimore Orioles: I’m not entirely sure if it’s recency bias or real, but Sisco has started three straight games against righties and faces a mediocre slate of them this week- Nathan Eovaldi, Taijuan Walker, Tanner Roark, and Chase Anderson. If the playing time isn’t there, the floor is as low as Lil Jon wants you to get.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcommr on Twitter)