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 will be taking live BP at some point this weekend and has said that he feels incredible. He is getting closer to being game-ready and should be on your radars, as he could return before the end of August.
Heim recently went on the 10-day Injured List for wrist soreness. It’s been reported that he will miss two to three weeks for rest and rehab before deciding if he can return. Surgery is an option for him, but it may come in the off-season if he can play through the pain.
Moreno had been bothered by shoulder soreness for a while and was placed on the 10-day Injured List last weekend. There was no word on whether or not this absence would be longer than the 10-day minimum, and one week later there’s been no update on his status.
The Too Low-Rostered
With the aforementioned injury to Heim, that leaves the door wide open for Garver to not only get everyday at-bats but also be the team’s primary option. He is a good hitter and usually produces when given the chance. This season, he has posted a .250/.336/.431 slash line and has hit five home runs in 34 games played. Keep in mind, he does have a history of injuries, but he produces well enough when given the chance. He should be rostered in all two-catcher leagues and in the deepest of one-catcher leagues.
The overall numbers don’t impress many, but after the All-Star break, Ruiz has been a much different hitter. Since July 14th, Ruiz has posted a .372/.417/.581 slash line with some impressive plate discipline. Over his 48 plate appearances, he’s struck out only five times while walking four times. He gets everyday at-bats and plays at Cincinnati this week.
The One-Week Options
Don’t look now, but Yan Gomes has a hit in all but three games since the All-Star break. He’s been getting everyday at-bats for the Cubs as his bat has found his way into the lineup as either the team’s catcher or designated hitter. In fact, he’s hitting just under .300 in the month of July and is looking every bit the part of a hitter that can be trusted.
This week, the Cubs will play four games versus the Reds before playing three at home against the Braves. Overall, his splits are pretty even as he hits well at home and on the road, as well as against both left-handed and right-handed pitchers. It’s been an overall surprisingly good season for the veteran, and he looks poised to continue this week.
Jeffers has come out guns a blazing since the All-Star break and could be poised to take over the reins in Minnesota. In nine games played, he has a .407/.515/.519 slash line with eight strikeouts to five walks in that time. Even more, he’s chipped in with three steals in that time, which seems unprecedented.
This week, the Twins play three games at St. Louis before travelling home to play Arizona. If you’re in need of a catcher, you could do worse than the red-hot Jeffers.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)