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 owned in all leagues with the expectation of them performing well all season long. These are players that have at least 50% ownership, 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, 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 owned everywhere.
The recommended players will be categorized into three different tiers. The first will be players that have extremely low ownership but are too good to not be owned. 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…..
Logan O’Hoppe – C Los Angeles Dodgers
O’Hoppe was placed on the 60-day Injured List on April 29 but hopes to return before the end of the season. He had surgery for his injured shoulder.
Mitch Garver – C Texas Rangers
Garver will begin a rehab assignment this week, which will likely be a lengthy one. Jonah Heim is running away with the catcher job, but there should be room for Garver as the team’s DH.
Joey Bart – C San Francisco Giants
Bart has been off and on the Injured List all season. His latest ailment is that of a grade one groin strain. His time away shouldn’t be lengthy, as it’s a mild strain.
The Too Low-Rostered
Gabriel Moreno – C Arizona Diamondbacks
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, due to the fact that 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.
Yan Gomes – C Chicago Cubs
Gomes has turned back the clock this year and become a reliable option for the Cubs. He just returned from a concussion and has six hits over seven games played. In the deepest of leagues, he’s worth a look to see if he can at least maintain his high batting average and help owners there. He’s listed here because he’s owned in under 10% of leagues, and that needs to change.
The One-Week Options
Keibert Ruiz – Washington Nationals
Ruiz is someone that used to be omitted from a possibility in this column, but now is someone considered as a one-week option. My, how times have changed. All that being said, he, like the aforementioned Moreno, usually knows how to put the bat on the ball. With a career-low strikeout rate hovering around 8%, Ruiz’s outs have been contact related. This week he gets the Padres three times and should avoid Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish. Additionally, he goes to Kansas City for three games there, and that’s a great ballpark to make contact. Here’s to him getting back to some form of prominence.
Francisco Álvarez – C New York Mets
The bat of Álvarez has come alive recently, as he hit two home runs, giving him five on the season. Next week he gets the benefit of playing in Colorado, where hitters love to hit. Look for Álvarez to continue his hot streak and possibly carve his spot closer to the everyday catcher for the Mets.
Gary Sánchez – C New York Mets
Two Mets in the same column? Absolutely. This week the team put their second catcher on the Injured List, as Tomas Nido joined Omar Narvaez. That left the team wanting a backup, so they called up Sánchez to the team. He hadn’t necessarily been tearing it up in the minors, but he has a long track record for power. The Mets play three games at Coors Field and don’t seem to want to give Álvarez full-time playing opportunities. Should that trend continue, we’re looking at Sánchez playing one or two games in Colorado this week after having played in Chicago. Those desperate for a catcher should invest in a one-week opportunity on the cheap.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)