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Catchers to Stream - Week 4 Waiver Wire

It's your resident catcher advocate here, with my weekly defense for baseball's most maligned position. Instead of giving into easy narratives about the lack of talent at the catcher position and how they're the kickers of fantasy baseball, I'm here to create a place where catchers are celebrated for how they can help our teams.

Each week, I will take a look at the upcoming schedule ahead and give you my favorite streaming options at catcher. By looking at lineup trends, amount of games ahead, the location of the games, and potential pitching matchups, I'll try to guide you towards catchers that I think can be most useful for you in the upcoming week. For each catcher listed, I'll also add a chart that will provide you with data about the potential opposing pitchers that I think are meaningful in terms of allowing potential fantasy production. Plus, I'll also give a short explanation about why this catcher made the list. Every week I'll also look back at my previous recommendations so that we can have some transparency about what's working or not.

Since many fantasy managers will pay no attention to the catcher spot, your ability to constantly look for the best matchups will be a good way to get an advantage over your competition.

 

Last Week Check-In

Not including Sunday's games (4/12):

  • Pedro Severino: (4 starts) 2-14, (LOSS - but damn, he had the ABs)
  • Omar Narvaez (4 starts) 3-17, 3 Runs, 1 RBI (LOSS - went 1-11 to end the week)
  • Yadier Molina (4 starts) 5-17, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 3 Runs (WIN - and now he's no longer a streamer)
  • Victor Caratini (4 starts) 1-14, 1 RBI (LOSS - well, that was fun while it lasted)
  • Jose Trevino (4 starts) 5-17, 2 Runs (WIN - he's the clear starter)

STREAMING RECORD: 6-6

All matchup projections are made in conjunction with Roster Resource and @Rotoquotes on Twitter, which is a great fantasy resource for upcoming schedules. 

 

Week Four Catchers Waiver Wire (4/19 - 4/25)

For the purposes of this article, we are considering a "streaming catcher" one who is rostered in under 50% of Yahoo! leagues. Whether or not these catchers will be useful for you will depend entirely on your league size and the number of catchers you need to play. In order to help, I will keep a weekly list of "Untouchables," meaning catchers who, in my opinion, should NEVER (if healthy) be dropped for a streaming option.

Untouchables: Catchers who shouldn't be dropped for these streamers in any format: J.T. Realmuto, Salvador Perez, Yasmani Grandal, Willson Contreras, Will Smith, Travis d'Arnaud, Christian Vazquez, Gary Sanchez, James McCann, Wilson Ramos.

NoteSince pitchers haven't thrown enough innings yet this season, the stats below are from 2020.

 

Omar Narvaez, Milwaukee Brewers (34% Rostered)

Narvaez hurt us with a rough patch at the end of the week, against the Pirates of all teams too; however, we're going back to the well here. He is 10th among all catchers in plate appearances and has been batting 5th in a solid lineup. The RBI opportunities are there, and he has always been a pretty solid hitter before his down year in the shortened season last year. Already, his strikeout rate has dropped to 14.3% and his ISO climbed back up to .171, both of which are in line with his previous career numbers. I think it's safe to say that last year was a one-year blip.

The schedule for him isn't the best with games against Joe Musgrove and Kyle Hendricks, but I'm not particularly worried about the other four arms he's set to face. Given his spot in the batting order and the likelihood that he sees four starts this week, I'm okay with firing him up as a streamer for another week.

 

Carson Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks (24% Rostered)

After a slow start to the season, Carson Kelly has begun to heat up for a spunky Diamondbacks squad. Over the last two weeks, he's hitting .348 with two home runs, five RBI, and four runs. Perhaps more importantly, he's started four of the team's last five games as he has begun to wrestle playing time away from veteran Stephen Vogt. For the upcoming week, Kelly will get six games, three of which will come against the Reds in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark.

Additionally, while Kelly will have to start the week off against Luis Castillo, he gets a relatively easy run for the rest of the week and will avoid any of either team's major starters. To top it off, Castillo is also looking vulnerable this year, with his velocity dropping and his pitches not as effective as they were last year. I wouldn't plan on that continuing, but he's one of the more vulnerable aces in the game right now.

 

Yan Gomes, Washington Nationals (6% Rostered)

Yan Gomes was a catcher I was excited about heading into the season because I thought he was a solid bet for 110-120 games started. Then the Nationals had a minor COVID-outbreak and Gomes got a late start to the season. However, the veteran is hitting .368 in his six starts with one home run, three RBI, and two runs. I think he's set to get about 75% of the Nationals' starts at catcher, so he's one of the better streaming bets when it comes to simple plate appearances, which, as we've discussed before, is one of the most important stats for a good streaming option.

In the upcoming week, Gomes will have six games, with three each against the Cardinals and Mets. However, with the Mets' rainouts, it appears as though Gomes will avoid Jacob deGrom, which is a luxury that cannot be overstated. Jack Flaherty is the only dangerous arm on the slate, while both Carlos Martinez and Joey Lucchesi are arms we should be excited to play Gomes against. The Nationals lineup still has punch, so there could be some big games here.

 

Jacob Stallings, Pittsburgh Pirates (4% Rostered)

This is the option I'm least excited about, but Jacob Stallings is currently fifth overall in plate appearances by a catcher, and I told you that he would be a regular fixture in this column. Stallings got off to a hot start last week, but struggled against Corbin Burnes and the Brewers pitching staff. Even with that poor run, Stallings' .273 batting average last week would actually have been a boon at the catcher position. Although he might not give you massive power numbers, he should keep your average afloat and contribute something in other categories simply due to being in the lineup so often.

He also has a relatively attractive six-game week against the Tigers and Twins. Seeing Jose Berrios and Kenta Maeda is certainly not something we would normally like in a streaming option, but I think that is balanced by the starts against Michael Fulmer, Tarik Skubal, and Jose Urena. Stallings should be able to do some damage in those games and then remain a net positive for the week.

 

Kurt Suzuki, Los Angeles Angels (2% Rostered)

With Max Stassi (thumb) on the IL, Kurt Suzuki immediately becomes an interesting option as he's set to see the vast majority of the playing time with the Angels, a fact that some people may miss considering the Angels' last two games this week were canceled due to COVID exposure on the Twins. On top of the increased playing time, the Angels are one of only three teams to play seven games next week, so this is lining up as a perfect storm for the veteran.

Suzuki hasn't been scorching the ball so far this season, but he is 3-for-11 with an RBI in his last three games, so he hasn't exactly been an anvil either. With the potential to play the most games of any streaming catcher on the slate and three games against a trio of attackable Rangers starters, Suzuki is an enticing option for deeper leagues this week.



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