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, Travis d’Arnaud, 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 last week but hopes to return before the end of the season. He had surgery for his injured shoulder.
Travis d’Arnaud – C Atlanta Braves
d’Arnaud has been on the concussion-injured list for a while now, but did start a rehab assignment this past Friday. He could return before the end of the week but is likely to need additional time to ensure that all is right.
Mitch Garver – C Texas Rangers
Garver has been out with a knee issue and will continue to be out for a while. He was recently seen taking batting practice before a game but has a long way to go before returning. Jonah Heim is running away with the catcher job, but there should be room for Garver as the team’s DH.
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. Power has never been much of his strength, but he is a capable hitter who knows how to get on base. All that being said, until he starts to take a few more pitches and walk more, his potential might not be reached. That should come with time. The Diamondbacks play at home all week to the Marlins and the Giants, and Moreno’s batting average is almost one hundred points better at Chase Field.
Jonah Heim – C Texas Rangers
As mentioned above, Heim has taken the job of the Rangers’ primary catcher and run with it. This past week was a prime example of his potential, hitting two home runs while accumulating seven runs batted in. He does rest a little more than the top options, but the fact is that he produces when he’s playing in games. He seems like a safe option, especially in two-catcher leagues. Even with the tough ballpark matchups in Seattle and Oakland, Heim is worth a flier.
The One-Week Options
Connor Wong – C Boston Red Sox
Wong, much like the rest of the Boston lineup, has awakened in the last little while. Wong has bolted himself into a small lead in his platoon with Reese McGuire, due to his hot week at the plate. Since last Saturday, Wong has hit .476 with three home runs. This upcoming week will be a good test to see if he can maintain this momentum as he faces the Braves in Atlanta followed by a scuffling Cardinals’ rotation at home.
Eric Haase – C Detroit Tigers
Haase worked hard in the offseason to prepare himself to be whatever the team wanted him to be. So far this season, he’s appeared as the team’s catcher, designated hitter, and left fielder more than once. Depending on your league format, he may qualify in multiple spots, but what’s important is that he’s playing almost every day. This past week, he feasted on the Mets’ pitching and has a chance to continue this streak this week. While the matchups are tough, he might just be hot enough to garner a chance in two-catcher leagues.
Francisco Álvarez – C New York Mets
This one comes with some trepidation but is still someone worth monitoring. Álvarez is a highly touted prospect who needs a chance to develop his game at the Major League level. Unfortunately for him, he has struggled to start despite receiving a ton of chances to prove himself. This upcoming week seems like a perfect time for a mini-breakout, as the matchups look great. First, the Mets play at Cincinnati, which is a ballpark famous for its home run potential. Then, the team flies to Washington to face a team not known for its starting pitching. It’s almost at the “now or never” portion for him, but that might be too aggressive a way to think.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)