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 40% 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, Tyler Stephenson, Keibert Ruiz, Jonah Heim, William Contreras, Yainer Diaz, Sean Murphy, Cal Raleigh, Mitch Garver, 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 rostership 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…..
Naylor suffered a contusion on his thumb on Friday night and had to be removed from the game. The Guardians have little to play for, but would ideally like to give Naylor as much MLB experience as possible. Keep an eye on this situation, as a DTD designation likely means he plays by the end of the week.
Perez suffered a concussion just over a week ago and went on the 7-day IL as a result. He is scheduled to be activated today, but in case that gets delayed, expect him back this week. He will likely play out the week as the team’s primary catcher.
Jansen had season-ending surgery on his fractured middle finger. There is an outside shot that he will return for the playoffs, but nothing is set in stone at all. He recently started mobility exercises with this hand.
Sanchez has been placed on the Injured List with a fractured right wrist. He will not return this season and finishes the year with 19 home runs.
Contreras has been off and on the Injured List all season long. His first year with the Cardinals ended prematurely with tendinitis in his wrist.
The One-Week Options
The Cubs remain in the hunt for the final wild card spot, and thus, they will put their best foot forward. Gomes has been incredible for them in a position that was thought to be in need. This upcoming week, they play three games at the Braves, who are struggling to maintain a healthy rotation, followed by three games at Milwaukee, who might be resting their players.
The Tigers continue to showcase their talents for next season, giving some hope to what might be. Jake Rogers has been a light for them recently and could be someone they count on in 2024. The team will want to give him every opportunity that they can to show that he belongs. Since September 9th, he’s batted a .355/.394/.742 slash line, and swatted four home runs. What’s even better is that he only struck out seven times in those 31 at-bats. This week feels like a good time to ride the wave, as the Tigers play three games versus the Royals and three against the Guardians.
Since Gary Sánchez’s broken wrist ended his season, Campusano has played almost every day. In that time, the once heralded prospect has hit .313 with two home runs, thriving with more time to better himself. Could this mean he’s in for a starting role next season? The almost-eliminated Padres would likely want to see what he has heading into the offseason. While three games at San Francisco could be tough, the Padres finish with three games at Chicago against the White Sox, giving plenty of opportunities to shine.
This is primarily for daily leagues, as Minnesota has been alternating between their two catchers. The reason for recommending both is because the Twins’ schedule is arguably the best in all of baseball next week. Three games at home to the A’s followed by three games at Colorado gives plenty of opportunities to pad some stats for an already clinched team. If you can afford to roster both players and start who is playing on a given day, I’d recommend doing it, as they should both flourish this week.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)