The catcher position isn’t always one that’s fun to figure out. Depending on your league size and format, it can be incredibly tough to utilize that position in a way that helps you win. What makes things even worse is in two catcher leagues, there are two roster spots just sitting there with the possibility of players that either won’t play or won’t produce. It can be frustrating, to say the least.
That’s why this column is here, to help you overcome your desolate need in a position of volatility. This is such a hard position to project sometimes because of a few reasons. For one, it can be physically difficult for the body to crouch and stand for hours, so catchers do get a day off more frequently. Secondly, some pitchers like to hand-pick their catchers, as they are in sync when calling games. Third, their defensive abilities to frame and defend come into play more so than any other position in baseball. Add those factors together and you have a position that can be difficult to predict.
Things to Watch
When trying to predict the potential status of a catcher, there are a few things that need to be considered.
- Playing time is key. If they are on the strong side of a platoon, chances are that they will play the majority of the week, but even four out of the seven days in a week is promising. If they qualify and play elsewhere in the field, that’s a huge bonus.
- Statistical contributors are ideal. Look for players that can offer help with at least two of the five traditional categories. Anything more than that is great, while anything less is a detriment.
- Injury history is a consideration. It’s always important to consider a player’s past before considering their future.
Who Doesn’t Qualify?
Looking at the catcher position, there are some quality options that have already likely been drafted. These are players that are highly rostered in all leagues with the expectation of them performing well all season long. These are players that have at least 50% rostership, and therefore will not be options here. Those names are J.T. Realmuto, Will Smith, Adley Rutschman, Salvador Perez, Daulton Varsho, Willson Contreras, MJ Melendez, Henry Davis, Tyler Stephenson, Jonah Heim, William Contreras, Sean Murphy, Cal Raleigh, Francisco Álvarez, and Elias Díaz.
Everyone else that qualifies for that position is eligible to be selected as a streaming option. That list will likely be the standard unless season-ending injuries occur or if others rise up and become players worthy of being rostered everywhere.
The recommended players will be categorized into three different tiers. The first will be players that have extremely low rostership but are too good to not be rostered. These players will eventually grow to the list of players who don’t qualify and are recommended to be picked up in all two-catcher leagues. The next grouping is for players who don’t officially qualify at the catcher spot but will eventually due to appearances behind the plate. These players are in a good spot and should be picked up in most two-catcher leagues. Finally, the last grouping is for one-week options. These recommendations are based on past performance and upcoming schedules. Here we go…..
O’Hoppe was placed on the 60-day Injured List on April 29th but hopes to return before the end of the season. He had surgery for his injured shoulder. He recently hit off of a tee after weeks of taking dry swings. This is another step forward for him, but he is not expected to be back until late-August or early-September.
The Too Low-Rostered
Don’t look now, but Bo Naylor has been hot as of late. Since July 6th, the rookie backstop has gone 6-for-12 with two doubles and one home run hit. Sure, it’s a very small sample and could be considered a hot streak. However, given the prospect pedigree here, it’s something to definitely keep an eye on.
Keep in mind, he will play most nights and has demonstrated patience at the plate in the minor leagues. The Guardians play three games in Pittsburgh before heading home for three games against the Phillies. Start with confidence.
This recommendation comes with the idea that Soderstrom will play every day. After getting the call to the Athletics, the highly-touted prospect should get a chance to develop his craft and learn how to play in the major leagues. He comes to the team after having hit 20 home runs this season in the minors while posting a .254/.303/.536 slash line. He comes with a ton of raw and game-power potential. This upcoming week, the Athletics play seven games at home, and all against banged-up rotations in the Red Sox and the Astros.
The One-Week Options
This recommendation is based solely on the fact that we don’t know when Yordan Alvarez will return from injury. It seems likely that Diaz’s playing time will be cut down once Alvarez returns, which could limit his upside. For now, though, Diaz comes into the week and will play two games at Colorado before heading out to play against a porous rotation in Oakland. Look for Diaz to have a good week, but be wary of playing time concerns once the Astros get healthy.
Sabol should continue to see time in the outfield with at-bats as the Giants’ backup catcher. Since July 1st, he has a .353/.353/.941 slash line and gets to play at Cincinnati and at Washington this week. Given the fact that he should play more than half of those games, look for Sabol to continue his hot month with some tasty matchups and venues.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)