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 50% 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, Alejandro Kirk, Tyler Stephenson, Jonah Heim, William Contreras, Sean Murphy, Cal Raleigh, Francisco Álvarez, 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 rosters 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…..
O’Hoppe was placed on the 60-day Injured List on April 29th but hopes to return before the end of the season. He had surgery for his injured shoulder.
Murphy left Saturday’s game with a hamstring injury. There is no word as of this writing as to whether or not he will require a trip to the Injured List.
The Too Low-Rostered
That rostership of 10% will undoubtedly go up now that he’s been promoted to the major leagues. Looking at the Guardians’ roster, he has only Cam Gallagher to fight off, as Mike Zunino was recently DFA’d to make room for Naylor.
In the minors this season, Naylor posted a walk rate of 18.1% while hitting 13 home runs in just 60 games played. He’s ready to showcase his offensive talents. The only thing holding him back from being an everyday catcher is his defensive work. That being said, he’s good enough at the plate to possibly learn on the fly while potentially being a Top 10 catcher in this league.
Jansen is a good catcher. The pitchers love throwing to him and he makes them better. If he could ever get consistently healthy, he would be an everyday player and possibly a Top 10 at his position. Instead, he’s been off and on the Injured List his entire career, making owners wonder what could have been. While he’s healthy, hop aboard and enjoy the ride. He’s already hit three home runs in the four games since his return and looks to be getting better.
The One-Week Options
Since the injury to O’Hoppe, Thaiss has been the primary beneficiary of his absence. Overall this season, he has a .269 batting average with next-to-nothing power. So why am I recommending him? The Angels play three games at Coors Field this week, and as it’s been all year, I recommend pretty much anyone who plays there. All that being said, here are some positives about Thaiss thus far: He has a .432 batting average against breaking pitches and will be seeing them in a stadium where breaking balls don’t break. I’m calling it now, Thaiss will have himself a series there. The Angels also play two games at home to the Dodgers too, and he hits much better at home.
d’Arnaud is someone who could be in the previous tier as being too low-rostered, but playing time is no sure thing in Atlanta. All of that could change if the aforementioned Sean Murphy goes to the Injured List. This week offers up some nice matchups. First, they are in Philadelphia for three games before heading out to Cincinnati. The Braves could have some potentially difficult pitcher matchups this week, but playing time is key. All that being said, d’Arnaud is a good hitter who doesn’t strike out a ton and can walk to get on base. His underlying metrics suggest that his current state is where he should be.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)