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, Alejandro Kirk, Tyler Stephenson, 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.
Bart has been off and on the Injured List all season. He just started a rehab assignment and could be back any day. His playing time could be hindered by the emergence of Patrick Bailey.
The Too Low-Rostered
Moreno remains more of a dynasty option in fantasy with the potential for his upside to kick in this year. He remains someone that I recommend every single time because he plays a lot and makes good contact. He could be an outside option in one-catcher leagues for streaming purposes, but in two-catcher leagues, he is a must-roster player. This upcoming week the Diamondbacks play three games at Washington and then three games at Detroit. Those are some nice matchups for Moreno and he should catch in four of those games.
Ruiz has always been a low-strikeout catcher who can make contact. The unfortunate part is that it’s not always hard contact, and thus, his numbers suffer. Last time he was a one-week option, but here he becomes someone whose rostership is too low, specifically for two-catcher leagues. This past week, he had one heck of a revenge series against his former team hitting three home runs over his 11 at-bats. While his .232 batting average isn’t impressive, his .297 XBA is, leading one to believe he’s in store for better things. This week the Nationals play three games versus Arizona and then three games at Atlanta. Here’s hoping that Ruiz can maintain this momentum.
The One-Week Options
Sabol should have catcher eligibility in most formats, as he’s started 18 games there since the start of the season. Over the last little while, he’s been slotted in as the team’s designated hitter, somewhat due to the plethora of injuries on the Giants. This past week, he hit .316 with one home run, three runs scored, and three RBI. While he does have a strikeout rate of 34.7%%, he does the one thing that should cure that temporarily: Coors Field. While Bart is still rehabbing, look for Sabol to get consistent at-bats and take advantage of playing at Colorado.
Much like Sabol, Bailey gets the benefit of playing at Coors Field this week, and the timing couldn’t be better. He also benefits from a missing Joey Bart but has possibly put himself into a position of a timeshare split when Bart returns. Since his debut on May 19th, Bailey is batting .304 with two home runs and has a strikeout rate of just over 31%. While those numbers might not be the greatest, they’re arguably better than Bart’s .231 average and 25% strikeout rate. Keep an eye on how this plays out because Bailey might push this into an even split of playing time.
This is a bit of a shot in the dark, but Jeffers has had himself quite the week. Since Monday, he has hit .462 with one home run and four runs batted in. On the season, his .266 batting average puts him much higher than his counterpart Christian Vázquez, who has just six hits since May 20th. While this could be nothing more than a hot streak, keep in mind that Jeffers played well in the shortened season and also hit 14 home runs in 2021 before battling through injuries last season. He hit well in the minors too. This could be something or it could be nothing. It’s a dart throw, but also a situation to monitor.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)