Catchers to Stream for Week 5 (4/29 – 5/5)

Dave Cherman takes you through the streaming options at catcher in Week 5.

If you missed out on the cream of the crop at catcher and need help to address the problem, look no further. This article will address your concerns by looking at who might be the best streaming-caliber catchers for the week ahead.

First, we have to rule out any widely owned catcher. For the purposes of this list, that means anyone who has 50% ownership rate or higher (according to Yahoo). The ineligible catchers are:

Gary Sanchez – (New York Yankees)

J.T. Realmuto – (Philadelphia Phillies)

Buster Posey – (San Francisco Giants)

Willson Contreras – (Chicago Cubs)

Yadier Molina – (St. Louis Cardinals)

Yasmani Grandal – (Milwaukee Brewers)

Wilson Ramos – (New York Mets)

Omar Narvaez – (Seattle Mariners)

As you can see, Austin Barnes is now eligible for streaming consideration, as he dropped under 50% owned. I’d like to stop for a second and take note of the catcher landscape: Entering Week 1, we had 12 catchers over 50% owned. Just four weeks later, we’re down to eight. It should serve as a reminder for your draft next year: If you don’t get one of the top guys, just punt catcher and find someone later. It’s not worth spending a mid-round pick on guys like Welington Castillo or Danny Jansen just to fill out the position when you can get other needs instead.


Reviewing Last Week


Last week, I outlined guidelines for determining a streaming “win” and I’ll leave these up here each week as a reminder.

  1. Batting average is king. When we stream a catcher, we’re not expecting multiple home runs, so a guy hitting .275 is helpful and I’ll consider that a plus. Anything over .300 is a super plus and a near-automatic win. That said, we have to keep in mind the number of plate appearances — under 10 PA diminishes that boost.
  2. Home runs have a major impact. If you get two homers from the catcher position, it’s almost a guaranteed win, unless the catcher batted under the Mendoza line. However, a catcher can still be a streaming win without home runs if other factors are there.
  3. Counting stats (R+RBI) are the lowest stat consideration because you’re not expecting them from your catcher anyway. They’re a nice bonus.


Welington Castillo – (Chicago White Sox): 2/7

Yeah…. this didn’t work out this week. I understand if you’re frustrated, but he’s far better than this and he deserves some patience. In the meantime, you’ve gotta deal with the loss.

Tony Wolters – (Colorado Rockies): 1/8, RBI

Oof. If you’re in an OBP league, this is actually not bad because he had three walks, bringing him to a .364 OBP. But I will assume that everyone here is in an AVG league. I’m sorry I led you to two losses this week — it’s bound to happen, but brighter days should still be ahead.

Dave’s Streaming Record: 7-4


I suggested Mike Zunino as a possible third option and I wish I’d actually recommended him; he had a huge week, going 5/12, 3 R, 2 HRs, 5 RBI. Here’s hoping you ended up with him on his one huge week, before he goes back to toeing the Mendoza Line.


Quick Thoughts from Week 4


Last week, we discussed Jorge Alfaro and Mitch Garver. In response to my negativity, Alfaro went 5/16 with a HR and you may be expecting me to come around, but I’m still out on him. The production is in the here and now, but I don’t think it’ll be there down the road. If you want to try to ride out the hot streak, go for it, but don’t expect the savior you want him to be.

Meanwhile, I mentioned that the biggest knock against Garver was playing time — and he still doesn’t have it. He made just two starts in five games this week and that’s not something you can rely upon in your fantasy leagues. Move on unless he’s going to play with a lot more consistency.

I’d also like to take a second to talk about a guy that had a lot of people very excited entering 2019: Francisco Mejia. He’s hitting a measly .152 and while I think he’s a lot better than that, the guy is just a bad defensive catcher. On April 16th, five Rockies attempted to steal on him and all five were successful. In fact, Mejia has only caught one of the 11 attempted base-stealers — easily the worst rate for someone with that many attempts. He also ranks 57th in framing runs this season at -0.4. Dave, you know that fielding stats aren’t a part of fantasy, right? Yes, I do know that. This all means that Mejia is a poor defensive catcher and in today’s climate, poor defensive catchers don’t play, which is why Mejia has played two of five and three of his last eight. I hope he can improve and warrant the Padres putting him in the lineup with regularity. To be honest, I think they expected Mejia to be primarily a 3B this season, but the Machado signing changed that quite a bit.

In other news, Robinson Chirinos has earned the lion’s share of starts in Houston, meaning he’s now a streaming candidate and Max Stassi is an afterthought.

The Pirates activated Elias Diaz, but it hasn’t cut into Francisco Cervelli’s playing time at all…. yet. Cervelli is hitting just .184 and if you’re an owner, you’ve gotta be frustrated. If you do own him, I’m ok dropping outside of very deep leagues because everything looks poor so far.


This Week’s Streamers


Mike Zunino – (Tampa Bay Rays): I know, I just critiqued Zunino pretty harshly above. It’s very possible that he has a big week this week. First off, he has seven games, which separates him from a lot of other streamers, as many teams have just five games this week. Second, those seven games are composed of pretty easy matchups. Zunino’s Rays get Brad Keller, Jakob Junis, Danny Duffy, and Jorge Lopez in Kansas City followed by Dan Straily, Dylan Bundy, and John Means in Baltimore. It’s hard to find anyone with a better overall set of matchups this week.

Danny Jansen – (Toronto Blue Jays): While we’re talking about those with great matchups, I have to mention everyone’s favorite disappointment from this year: Danny Jansen. Yes, he’s off to a horrible start and the Statcast metrics back up his struggles. But all hope is not lost: Jansen has an easy slate this week, getting the Angels and the Rangers on the road over six days.

Those are the only two I feel comfortable recommending for purposes of my streaming record, but if you need another option, you can go with Welington Castillo, who has another set of soft matchups, but I can understand if you feel burned by last week.

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire)

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.

5 responses to “Catchers to Stream for Week 5 (4/29 – 5/5)”

  1. Mike says:

    You might want to take a deeper look at Zunino. I finally gave up on Danny Jansen this weekend and my research lead me to pick up Zunino. I know it’s a small sample size but if the Rays have fixed him, he could easily finish as a top 8 catcher (at least one of those on the list above will have injury issues… cough, Posey, cough). He had a terrible opening week and has been great since. Statcast data backs up everything he’s done so far as being legit. Grab him now before the fantasy community catches on.

    I found this article detailing the changes he’s made:

    • Dave Cherman says:

      My question is: what’s his ceiling? Statcast looks like he’s been hitting the ball similarly to how he’s hit it in the past with a slight improvement (xstats show he’s been getting a tad unlucky, I’ll give you that). I just don’t see him hitting above .240 (generous for a .208 career hitter and only something I’m willing to consider because of the contact changes, if they stick) with 25ish HRs which caps his upside in a big way. I’ll continue to keep an eye on him though.

  2. Mike says:

    I understand your point but the bar at catcher is pretty low. If he hits .240 with 25 HRs he’s bascially Yasmani Grandal without the walk rate at a cost of nearly free. If he can maintain the 8% decrease in his K% and continue to make hard contact the way he always has, 30 HRs is possible (he’s topped 20 three times in his career despite a 34% K rate). Also, he might be getting better. He struck out 10 times in his first 26 PAs (38.5%) and just 8 in the 44 since (18.2%).

    • Dave Cherman says:

      He could be getting better (I’ll continue to harp SSS) and I suppose it’s worth the lottery ticket but we also have to regress our expectations from his ceiling. I’ll continue to monitor him.

      • Mike says:

        I don’t disagree and I’ll obviously keep monitoring for a decline. I’ve been killed by Jansen & Austin Barnes so far. I posted this so others in the same boat could make a speculative pick up in case the changes stick. There has been a lot of talk devoted to Rays’ reclamation project Yandy Diaz but little to no attention paid so far to Zunino, who plays a position of even greater need. Thanks for the column and taking time on this debate.

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