Catchers to Stream for Week 2 (4/12 – 4/18)

Dave Cherman takes you through the streaming options at catcher in Week 1.

Catcher is a barren wasteland. Unless you’ve got one of the top catchers, you’re left guessing as to what to do with the position.

My strategy in many leagues is to wait until the last round if I don’t get one of the top guys. Some people go catcherless, which is a legitimate strategy in a head-to-head league if you can make proper use of that extra spot. But in a roto league, you’re missing valuable production by leaving it empty. If you missed out on the cream of the crop and need help addressing the problem, look no further. This article will look at the best streaming-caliber catchers for the week ahead.


Who Are the Catchers?


Prohibited List


First, we have to rule out any widely owned catcher. For purposes of this list, it means anyone >50% rostered (according to Yahoo). The ineligible catchers are: Gary Sánchez, JT Realmuto, Willson Contreras, Mitch Garver, Yasmani Grandal, Buster Posey, Austin Nola, Yadier Molina, Will Smith, Salvador Perez, James McCann, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Christian Vázquez, Travis d’Arnaud and Sean Murphy.

On top of that, I’m avoiding certain situations until playing time becomes clearer. Those situations include the Reds (Tucker Barnhart/Tyler Stephenson), the Rockies (Elias Díaz/Dom Nuñez), the Rays (Francisco Mejía/Mike Zunino), the Jays (Alejandro Kirk/Danny Jansen), the Nationals (Yan Gomes/Alex Avila/Jonathan Lucroy), and the Mariners (Luis Torrens/Tom Murphy).


Who is Eligible?


So who is left? Carson Kelly, Stephen Vogt, Pedro Severino, Zack Collins, Roberto Pérez, Wilson Ramos, Martín Maldonado, Max Stassi, Austin Barnes, Jorge Alfaro, Omar Narváez, Ryan Jeffers, James McCann, Jacob Stallings, Victor Caratini, and Jose Trevino. That’s an extensive list that will change throughout the year and should give us ample opportunity to find value. I base my list on Yahoo eligibility, as it is generally the most broad, so some players like Yermín Mercedes aren’t included. If you have questions about those players, feel free to shoot me a tweet and I’m happy to discuss.

Honestly, considering the amount of 50%+ owned catchers, chances are you already have one of these guys. That’s 13 guys who are well-owned, the perfect amount for a 12-teamer. Maybe you took a flier late in the draft and are still debating whether to hold someone like Omar Narváez. Maybe you drafted Salvador Pérez but don’t feel confident he’ll return to his old self.

I find myself saying this every year, but this year’s version of catcher streaming feels so much harder, with so many of my favorite guys on the prohibited list. As the season wears on, guys will get dropped, players will emerge, and streaming should become more and more necessary.


Quick Thoughts from Week 1

Note: All statistics below are as of Saturday morning, April 10th.

My apologies for missing Week 1. Personal life got in the way, but we’re back at it for Week 2. Here are my thoughts on the highs and lows of week 1:

I love seeing Christian Vázquez running more. Two steals in the first week suggests he can perhaps reach or surpass his season-high of seven in 2017. I’m also convinced the bat is more 2019 and 2020 than 2018, so you should be thrilled with your late-round addition of Vázquez.

Oh hey, Tucker Barnhart. Long-time readers of this column know I’ve long relied on Barnhart as a cheap, reliable option here, but I’m buying into his electric start against largely a rough Pirates’ staff. Additionally, he’ll continue to battle Tyler Stephenson for playing time. Over time, I expect Stephenson to become the 1A over Barnhart, but I’ll avoid both for right now outside deeper or dynasty formats.

After years of watching Tony Wolters toil away behind the dish in Coors Field, it’s a welcome sight to see Dom Nuñez hit barrels and poke out three HRs; Tony Wolters doesn’t have a barrel since 2018. The Rox spend Week 2 away at Dodgers Stadium before returning home to face a strong Mets’ pitching staff, so I wouldn’t buy in. He’ll likely get the lion’s share of starts over Diaz in the long-term, which makes him a streamer candidate in weeks he’ll play at Coors, but let him sit out there right now.

If you’re in a league where Yermín Mercedes has catcher eligibility, ride the wave. His bat has always played but playing time is still a long-term concern. The White Sox need to find ABs for Mercedes, Zack Collins, and Andrew Vaughn. Not to mention Leury García and Billy Hamilton. This will be an evolving situation over the course of the season.

The Padres could get Austin Nola back in short order, eliminating any fantasy value Victor Caratini gained over the first week.

It’s nice to see Mitch Garver’s power return. He’ll continue to battle Ryan Jeffers for playing time over the course of the season, capping his ceiling unless he returns to 2019 form.

New Detroit Tiger Wilson Ramos has had himself a week, hitting three HRs in four games. Ramos hasn’t hit more than 14 HRs since 2016 and I don’t think he’s suddenly found a new power source, but he leads all catchers in average EV at 103.9, including four batted balls at 108 or higher, giving him three of the top five and four of the top 15 hardest-hit balls by a catcher so far. Add him for the average – he can hit .300 unlike many other catchers – and accept whatever power you get. This could be a tough week for him against Houston and Oakland though.

We’ve seen this before: Max Stassi is off to an electric start, but I’m not buying it. If he continues hitting nearly half of his batted balls over 100 MPH, we may have to reconsider.

He’s only a backup, but the second hardest-hit ball by a catcher this week came at 111.6 off the bat of Andrew Knapp. Interesting. Very interesting.

If you reached to get Will Smith, I’m sorry but you’ll continue to deal with frustration due to Austin Barnes‘ continued presence. In fact, he actually got more playing time this past week than he’ll normally get, as the Dodgers needed a DH in Oakland. I recommend Smith’s managers grab Barnes if they have an open roster spot.



This Week’s Streamers


Well, that was a lot to go through. Now, let’s take a look at some of the players and who could provide some value to your team this week:

Omar Narváez, Milwaukee Brewers: I’ve long been a critic of the former Mariners’ backstop, but I’m back in this season. Narváez spoke about his work this off-season to better recognize pitches by changing his batting stance, specifically by learning from teammates like Christian Yelich. It’s benefitted Narváez significantly in the early going, as he’s slashing .444/.500/.778 with 2 HRs through his first 6 starts. This coming week, the Brewers get six games in seven days; included in that is two DANGs (day games after night games), but one of them comes right before an off-day so I predict he’ll get five starts. Let’s see how he can do with a trio against the Pirates and another set against the Cubs, though one of the latter is against Kyle Hendricks.

James McCann, New York Mets: It’s been tough sledding for the newly-minted Mets backstop to start the season. He’ll have a date with Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler on Wednesday and Thursday, but also a series in Colorado this weekend. If you want to take Wilson Ramos in this spot instead, I wholeheartedly understand.

Pedro Severino, Baltimore Orioles: In the early part of the season, we look for two things: a hot start and a strong schedule. In this case, we have both. Severino is hitting over .300 thus far with a HR and faces both Seattle and Texas, getting a full 7 games in the process. With James Paxton down and Marco Gonzales struggling, there’s not a ton of optimism in Seattle’s pitching staff; the same can be said for Texas outside of Kyle Gibson’s manhandling of the Jays.

Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcommr on Twitter)

Dave Cherman

Across the Seams Manager, also a former player and umpire and New York-based lawyer who spends his free time studying advanced statistics and obsessing over fantasy trades. Will debate with you about most anything.

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