The catcher position can be a barren wasteland. Unless you’ve got one of the top catchers, you’re left guessing 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. If you can properly use that extra spot, some people go catcher-less, a legitimate strategy in a head-to-head league. But in a roto league, you’re missing valuable production by leaving it empty. So 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?
First, we have to rule out any widely-rostered catcher. For this list, it means anyone over 50% rostered (according to Yahoo). The ineligible catchers are J.T. Realmuto, Will Smith, Willson Contreras(IL), Salvador Perez, Daulton Varsho, Keibert Ruiz(IL), Travis d’Arnaud, Adley Rutschman, Christian Vázquez, Sean Murphy, Alejandro Kirk, MJ Melendez, and William Contreras. That’s THIRTEEN catchers.
I’m going to say this now — if you’re in a 12-team league or fewer, don’t stream right now. Try trading for someone’s backup instead of diving in the bargain bin for the players who meet my threshold. But we’re going to go ahead anyway.
Who is Eligible?
So who is left? Jonah Heim, Gary Sánchez, Christian Bethancourt, Joey Bart, Danny Jansen, Omar Narváez, Jacob Stallings, Tucker Barnhart, Austin Nola, Francisco Mejía, Austin Barnes, Eric Haase, Luis Torrens, Max Stassi, Jorge Alfaro, Yan Gomes, Gabriel Moreno, Ryan Jeffers, Kyle Higashioka, Jose Trevino, and more. That extensive list will change throughout the year and should give us ample opportunity to find value. If you have questions about those players, please shoot me a tweet; I’m happy to discuss.
Honestly, considering the 50%+ rostered catchers, chances are you already have one of these guys. On the other hand, maybe you took a flier late in the draft and are still debating whether to hold someone like Austin Nola. Maybe you drafted Yadier Molina but didn’t feel confident he’d return to his old self.
I say 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. But, as the season wears on, guys will get dropped, players will emerge, and streaming should become more and more necessary.
Reviewing Last Week
I outlined guidelines for determining streaming a “win” in years past, and I’ll leave these up here each week as a reminder.
- When we stream a catcher, we’re not expecting multiple home runs, so a guy hitting .250 is helpful, and I’ll consider that a plus. Anything over .300 is a super plus and a near-automatic win. We must keep in mind the number of plate appearances — under 10 PA diminishes that boost.
- Home runs have a significant impact. If you get two homers from the catcher position, it’s a guaranteed win unless the catcher bats under the Mendoza line. However, if other factors exist, a catcher can still be a streaming win without home runs.
- Counting stats (R+RBI) is the lowest stat consideration because you’re not expecting them from your catcher, and they’re a nice bonus.
AHHHHH yes! The playing time was there because Sánchez sits more often than not against southpaws. Additionally, he started at catcher for the only matchup versus a lefty. The good news is that Sánchez could chip in enough hits to keep the batting average respectable and use his power to send one over the fence. Win!
Have a week, Elias! Actually, he had two REALLY good games. But both were home games, where he crushed (6-for-9, 2 HR, 3 R, 7 RB). Furthermore, the lack of strikeouts also aided last week’s success. More balls in play at Coors Field will lead to solid outcomes. Win!
Dave Swan’s Streaming Record: 23-19
Notes & Transactions From Week 23
- The Chicago Cubs finally placed Willson Contreras on the 10-day IL with a sprained ankle. Before the designation, the team was slow to move him there and his playing time was spotty. It’s unclear precisely how much time Contreras will miss, but he shouldn’t be expected back within a few weeks. Right, that’s most of the remainder of the season. Yan Gomes and P.J. Higgins will split time while Contreras remains sidelined.
- The Washington Nationals placed Keibert Ruiz on the 10-day with a groin injury. It’ll take several weeks to recover, and he’s basically been shut down for the season. The injury concludes a tough season for Ruiz, showing him regressing in several areas. While he could supply with batting average and chip in some stolen bases, the power never took a step forward. In his place, Riley Adams will earn more playing time.
- The San Francisco Giants activated Joey Bart from the seven-day concussion IL and optioned Andrew Knapp. After a slow start back, Bart looked more comfortable at the dish on Saturday by falling just a triple shy of hitting the cycle. Furthermore, he should grab most of the Giants’ starts behind the plate, with Austin Wynns taking backup duties.
- The San Diego Padres activated Jorge Alfaro from the 10-day IL. In Alfaro’s absence, Luis Campusano found added playing time with Austin Nola. Additionally, Nola was placed on the paternity list but returned. The trio will split time behind the dish, and with Nola leading the way, the time split will hinder all of their fantasy value.
- The New York Yankees placed Jose Trevino on the paternity list and recalled Ben Rortvedt, who was a throw-in piece from the Gary Sánchez trade. Barring any setbacks, Trevino will be good to go by the start of Week 24.
- The Toronto Blue Jays designated Zack Collins for assignment and promoted Gabriel Moreno. The team already has Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk, who frequently start at catcher. Additionally, we’ve seen Moreno before; he struggled at swinging out of the zone and making poor quality of contact. Still, with the minor league season done, he could get a sporadic look in an upper-echelon offense.
- The Texas Rangers optioned Meibrys Viloria to Triple-A and recalled Sam Huff. With Jonah Heim’s recent struggles, Huff has found his way into the lineup more than usual (three starts in five games). In 246 Triple-A AB, Huff showed off his power by swatting 21 HRs and .272 ISO. Unfortunately, it comes with a K-rate north of 30%, which will suffocate his batting average.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates claimed Zack Collins off waivers and moved him into the minors. He likely won’t see any playing time with the MLB squad in 2022, but the team doesn’t have locked-in options (Jason Delay and Tyler Heineman) for next year.
- Injury Updates!
- Willson Contreras (CHC) was moved to the IL after battling an ankle injury. With very little regular season remaining and not much to play for, the Cubs won’t be in a hurry to rush him back. During pre-games, he’s been seen doing light drills and playing catch. A return isn’t out of the question, but when?
- Keibert Ruiz (WSH) has a groin injury that will likely take the remainder of the season to recover. Technically, he will only miss three weeks, but reports have signaled that he is being shut down.
- Tyler Stephenson (CIN) underwent surgery to repair his fractured clavicle. The team moved him to the 60-day IL, and he isn’t eligible to return from the IL until the end of September.
- Mitch Garver (TEX) underwent season-ending surgery to repair a flexor tendon. The recovery time is six-to-eight months, and he should be dropped in all redraft formats.
- Mike Zunino (TBR) underwent season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.
- Ryan Jeffers (MIN) has a fractured right thumb and will miss six-to-eight weeks. Additionally, the injury will require surgery. He was transferred to the 60-day IL, which means a return date is pushed back until late September.
Week 24 Streamers
If the leading streamer is not on your waiver wire, there will be a streamer for 12 or 15-team leagues and additional options. Let’s examine players who might provide added value for the upcoming week:
Week 24 Top Streaming Option
Jansen isn’t rostered in many leagues, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t consider him. In fact, quite the opposite. He’s got a ton of ideal aspects for next week. First, playing time should be bountiful as Toronto plays eight home games in Week 24 (five vs. TBR, three vs. BAL). Because there are so many games in a window, there are a few DANGs (Day After Night Games) and a doubleheader. However, this also means ample plate appearances.
From an underlying skills perspective, there’s much to like going on under the hood. His K-rate dipped five points and sat well-below league at 16.3%. Conversely, he’s putting more batted balls in play; and putting plenty of thump into them as well. His barrel rate is doubled from 2021 and sits at a staggering 16%. No doubt, this is why he’s been a quick-impact type of player.
- 2021(141 batted ball events) – 12 barrels (8.5%) with a 43.3% hard-hit rate
- 2022(131 batted ball events) – 21 barrels (16%) with a 45% hard-hit rate
So, what are the expectations for Week 24? Jansen has shown his ability to turn on pitches and park them into the seats, which will be paramount for streaming him. While he has put them out in bunches, anything more than one is getting greedy. Also, he’s not an all-or-nothing type of power bat. He’ll take a walk (8.4% BB rate) and chip in a few hits to help bolster the batting average, which is .244 and better than the league average. Push your chips in and stream Jansen; good luck!
With many leagues having playoff implications at this point in the season, I’ve pushed roster% to the side. Instead, the focus must be solely on the upcoming week and the week alone. For instance, if you have a chance to drop Cal Raleigh or Yasmani Grandal for Danny Jansen, do it. We can’t use the potential rest of the season’s production as part of the criteria.
Note: The 10-team league options don’t factor into the streaming decisions.
|MJ Melendez (KCR)||58%|
|Christian Vázquez (HOU)||60%|
|William Contreras (ATL)||59%|
|Danny Jansen (TOR)||10%|
|Gary Sánchez (MIN)||41%|
|Carson Kelly (ARI)||15%|
|Jonah Heim (TEX)||42%|
|Shea Langeliers (OAK)||14%|
|Cal Raleigh (SEA)||39%|
|Joey Bart (SFG)||11%|
|Eric Haase (DET)||15%|
|Yasmani Grandal (CHW)||41%|
|Jose Trevino (NYY)||7%|
|Yadier Molina (STL)||9%|
|10-team Streamers (70%-50%)|
|Week 24 Streamers|
Featured image by Jacob Roy (@Jake3Roy on Twitter)