Catchers to Stream for Week 7 (5/17 – 5/23)

Who should you stream behind the dish?

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. 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?


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: JT Realmuto, Salvador Pérez, Willson Contreras, Will Smith, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Christian Vázquez, Buster Posey, Yasmani Grandal, Carson Kelly, Yadier Molina, Gary Sánchez, Sean Murphy, and Austin Nola. That’s THIRTEEN catchers.

On top of that, I’m avoiding certain situations until playing time becomes clearer. Those situations include the Rays (Francisco Mejía/Mike Zunino) and the Mariners (Luis Torrens/Tom Murphy).


I’m gonna say this now – if you’re in a 12 team or fewer, don’t stream right now. Instead, try to trade for someone’s backup above instead of diving in the bargain bin for the players that meet my threshold. But we’re gonna go ahead anyway.


Who is Eligible?


So who is left? Mitch Garver, Yan Gomes, Tucker Barnhart, Jacob Stallings, Stephen Vogt, Pedro Severino, Zack Collins, Roberto Pérez, Wilson Ramos, Martín Maldonado, Max Stassi, Austin Barnes, Jorge Alfaro, Kyle Higashioka, 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 broadest, so some players like Yermín Mercedes aren’t included. If you have questions about those players, please shoot me a tweet, and I’m happy to discuss.

Honestly, considering the amount of 50%+ rostered 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. On the other hand, 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 didn’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. But, as the season wears on, guys will get dropped, players will emerge, and streaming should become more and more necessary.


Reviewing Last Week


In years past, 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.


Dom Nuñez, Colorado Rockies: 1/9, R

A good spot for streaming Nuñez was faded by mother nature. A PPD on Monday lead to a doubleheader, which was followed by two off days on the weekend. Taking the loss on this one.

William Contreras, Atlanta Braves: 4/15, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI

Contreras was a monster this week. Adding a pair of dingers and giving us plenty of counting stats makes the streaming call an easy win.

Tucker Barnhart, Cincinnati Reds: 6/22, 3 R, 3 RBI

This one gets labeled a win. Barnhart BA finished just shy of the target at .273, but the six Runs+RBI cover the difference.


Dave’s Streaming Record: 4-8


Quick Thoughts from Week 6


The first important news on the catcher frontline is early season standout Carson Kelly is headed to a 10-day trip on the IL. This injury is going to cast another manager into the streaming pool. Could we see added playing time for Stephen Vogt? Or will the Diamondbacks toss Daulton Varsho behind the plate?

Speaking of Daulton Varsho, it’s been a couple of weeks since he was called up to the bigs. Unfortunately, the struggles continue, and the full-time plate appearances are not there yet. Nevertheless, the rare speed contribution keeps him on the watch list, even while he struggles. So, for now, wait and see.

Welcome back Omar Narváez, as he makes his return from a 10-day stint on the IL. He struggled to get his feet under him. However, he does tout a .388/.432/.486 slash line through his first 74 ABs in 2021. Any solid addition to the shallow pool is helpful.

With one crack of the bat, Victor Caratini put four runs on the board while trotting around the bases. On top of his grand slam, he chipped in four hits with a couple of counting stats. However, unfortunately, Austin Nola splits backstop time with Caratini.

The Pirates might have one of the weakest offenses in the MLB, but they do have a noteworthy catcher. Jacob Stallings sent two pitchers into the stands and amassed four extra-base hits over the week. While he isn’t locked into everyday playing time, it’s hard to overlook a catcher batting fourth in a lineup.

Mike Zunino has an all-or-nothing approach, and luckily for him, the all has been coming quite a bit. After two more HRs this week, the total raised to eight on the season. However, the approach leaves a lot to be desired in regards to the batting average. After going 2-for-15, his season-long batting average hovers just north of .200-ouch!

The last catcher that really jumps off the page for me is Yan Gomes. A big concern about 2021 was the playing time concern because Gomes never really handled a full-time catcher role and is no spring chicken. However, after a glance through the box scores, Yan has been getting about 80% of the playing time and putting up numbers. Last week was a great 7-for-20 showing and six total Runs+RBI.

The Detroit Tigers were bitten by the injury bug once again. First, Wilson Ramos, and now Grayson Greiner. This opens playing time for Jake Rogers, checks notes, who? In 2020, he showcased a great batters eye by walking over 10% of the time and had four HRs in 128 plate appearances. But, another reason I bring him up is to highlight his sweet mustache work.

Have more questions? Please send me a tweet @davithius!


This Week’s Streamers


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

Yan Gomes, Washington Nationals: There are two DANGs (Day game After Night Games) this week. However, the Nationals have a full complement of games ahead. So, in all likelihood, Gomes will start five games this week. Furthermore, the matchups are not much concern. The first four games are against the Chicago Cubs, whose SPs on the season have a putrid 10.7 K-BB% and 5.24 FIP. After that, the next stop is in Baltimore, where Gomes would face his toughest SP, John Means. I’m not too worried about him there; Gomes does showcase a 118 wRC+ and .818 OPS vs. LHP. And then finally, Matt Harvey pitches against him on Sunday.

William Contreras, Atlanta Braves: After having a heck of a week, another streaming catcher pick is Contreras. And why not? Look at the upcoming opposing pitchers: Taijuan Walker, David Peterson, Wil Crowe, Tyler Anderson, Mitch Keller, and JT Brubaker. The term, hittable, is coming to mind. On top of the matchups, Contreras and the Braves play all seven games at home. Additionally, the schedule sets up nicely with only one DANG over the weekend. I would expect Contreras to get five games started in a very hitter-friendly home ballpark. Solid play for the week!

Omar Narváez, Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers main backstop is back from the IL and looking to continue where he left off. Omar has some terrific Statcast metrics that move the needle in his direction. The 9.5% barrel rate is well above league-average, and his .399 xwOBA is in the top 7% of all hitters, let alone catchers. Oh wait, there’s more; the K% is under 15%, which helps explain why the .338 batting average looks so healthy. The slight drawback will be the number of games played. There is one DANG over the weekend, and the Brewers are only slated for five games in the week. Let’s hope he takes advantage of playing a few games in Great American Ballpark and regains his early-season form for a big week!

Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Dave Swan

Dave Swan is an avid Chicago Cubs fan that enjoys all aspects of fantasy baseball-especially DFS. He would trade his right arm for a GIF library of Greg Maddux pitches. Swan's baseball thoughts are available at @davithius.

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