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 40% 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, Tyler Stephenson, Keibert Ruiz, Jonah Heim, William Contreras, Yainer Diaz, Sean Murphy, Cal Raleigh, Mitch Garver, 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…..
Davis was placed on the 10-day Injured List on August 23rd due to a strained right hand. It’s an injury that had been lingering with him for a while. He is slated to begin a rehab assignment in the near future. Chances are that he returns to the Pirates for the final two or three weeks of the season, but will not qualify as a catcher next season.
Jansen had season-ending surgery on his fractured middle finger. There is an outside shot that he will return for the playoffs, but nothing is set in stone at all.
Sanchez has been placed on the Injured List with a fractured right wrist. He will not return this season and finishes the year with 19 home runs.
Bailey is on the 7-day Concussion Injured List. He collided with Jeimer Candelario on Tuesday and hasn’t played in a game since that time. There is no word on if this is a season-ending injury.
The Too Low-Rostered
O’Hoppe should continue to get close to everyday at-bats for the rebuilding Angels. In the month of September, he’s batting .296 with three home runs and only four strikeouts over 29 plate appearances. He is more of a 2024 option in terms of overall production, but he could help you out down the stretch here too. The schedule for the Angels isn’t favorable for this week with three games at the Mariners and three games versus the Tigers. However, the volume should be there, and getting six games from the catcher position could be big in its own right.
Moreno’s rostership continues to rise (23% on Yahoo), but it is nowhere where it should be. Since returning to the Diamondbacks in mid-August, he has missed just three games in that time. Over that span, he has a .310/.372/.578 slash line with four home runs. This upcoming week, Arizona plays seven games with decent matchups. They play four games at the Mets and then three games versus the Cubs. Look for Moreno to play in five or six of those games and help your playoff teams with batting average.
Whether you like him or not, Kirk is your everyday catcher for the playoff-hunting Blue Jays. After Jansen underwent season-ending surgery, Kirk cemented his role as the primary catcher for the rest of the season. In September, he has a .238 batting average with six strikeouts and six walks. Don’t let the early season struggles weigh you down or cloud your judgment here. The Jays play seven games this week with average matchups. Kirk should play in most of them and may sprinkle in some time as the team’s designated hitter. Also, keep this in your back pocket, but there is some speculation of Daulton Varsho getting some reps in at catcher for the remainder of the season.
The One-Week Options
Gomes has remained consistent throughout the season with regard to his batting average. He’s had some ups and downs, but he’s usually hovered around where he is as of today with a .271 batting average. This upcoming week, the Cubs get three games at Colorado, and Gomes could play in at least two of them. The team will finish the week in Arizona. The Coors Effect looks to be in place for Gomes, making him a good weekly option here.
This one comes with the assumption that Bailey will be back from the 7-day Concusion Injured List. As it stands, manager Gabe Kapler doesn’t believe that this injury will last longer than the seven-day minimum. Assuming he is right, Bailey could return in time for the team’s four-game series in Colorado. That could mean three games behind the plate, which is a tempting stream for the week. If anything doesn’t work out, Blake Sabol would be the benefactor of this series.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)