You may not know this, but I do a podcast called “Grand Slam Fantasy Sports Podcast” with three of my friends and fellow fantasy baseball nuts. Check us out, our episodes come out on all the major podcast platforms. Hey, I am not above a shameless plug. Anyway, this past week I had to go on the road for my day job. Being the dedicated fantasy baseball analyst that I am, I still recorded our latest episode (out now). I didn’t have my microphone, but I improvised to make it happen.
Streaming catchers in fantasy is all about improvising. Making decisions in real-time to try and get them dubs. Here are the catchers worth streaming for the next couple of weeks.
Streaming recap (6/3-6/15)
|Alejandro Kirk||.353 BA||2 HR||16 runs+RBI||192 wRC+||48 fantasy points|
|William Contreras||.258 BA||2 HR||8 runs+RBI||137 wRC+||23 fantasy points|
|MJ Melendez||.227 BA||2 HR||12 runs+RBI||125 wRC+||36 fantasy points|
|Mitch Garver*||.143 BA||1 HR||4 runs+RBI||46 wRC+||6 fantasy points|
|Christian Vazquez||.194 BA||0 HR||6 runs+RBI||35 wRC+||21 fantasy points (1 SB)|
*Has been ‘OUT’ since 6/10
Shallow League Options
MJ Melendez, Kansas City Royals (~38% rostered)
The rookie catcher has been solid since he was called up to the show. In 38 professional at-bats, Melendez has bashed six home runs, drove in 16 runs, scored 14 more himself, has gotten on base more than 30 percent of the time, and has a 123 wRC+. He is currently barreling the ball about 10 percent of the time and his exit velos are higher than about three-quarters of the league. On top of having good surface stats, his regression metrics actually call for a slight positive correction. Could the positive regression come over his next couple of weeks? I certainly think so.
Over the next 12 games, the Kansas City Royals will play the Oakland A’s six times. As mentioned, a few paragraphs ago, Oakland’s pitching stinks. They check a number of boxes if looking for a matchup to attack. Do they give up a lot of runs? Yes, Oakland has given up the 10th most earned runs. Can their pitchers miss bats? Not so much, they have the eighth-lowest SwStr%. Are they unlucky as a staff? Nope, Oakland has the eighth highest SIERA in baseball. MJ Melendez has been getting everyday at-bats and he can take advantage of the softer matchups.
Jonah Heim, Texas Rangers (~43% rostered)
Jonah Heim has been cold since the calendar switched over to June. He does however have a stolen bag, a 40-percent HardHit Rate, and he is still getting a lot of playing time. Despite the cold streak, he is still a top 10 catcher according to FantasyPros’ Player Rater. Heim has good PlateIQ and solid batted ball data. With some easy matchups on the schedule, this upcoming stretch of games could be the slump buster the Rangers’ catcher could take advantage of.
The Texas Rangers has an 11-game stretch where they will not face a pitching staff that ranks in the top 15 for ERA. Only one of those team, the Philadelphia Phillies, have a team SIERA in the top half of the MLB. Even sweeter, Heim and company will take on the two teams with the highest SIERA in the league. Heim is getting everyday at-bats and with this soft schedule coming up, he could absolutely catch fire.
Deeper League Options
Cal Raleigh, Seattle Mariners (~2% rostered)
The Seattle Mariners backstop has produced since he started getting the majority of playing time at the beginning of June. He has posted a .273 batting average, swatted four home runs, drove in eight, and has a wRC+ over 175 since June the third. I like to look at a player’s BABIP and batted ball data to see what kind of factor luck is playing. As of June 15th, his batting average on balls in play is .250 which suggest his performance is relying on a bunch of good fortune. And the catcher’s 14.8-percent Barrel Rate, 22.2-percent Line Drive Rate and 51.9-percent hard-hit rate just further proves that his ability and not luck is the reason for his uptick in production. His strikeout percentage and BB/K ratio highlights how comfortable Cal Raleigh is at the dish.
Looks like the Seattle Mariners are going to keep Raleigh in their starting lineup and for the team builders looking to stream catcher, they should look to start him too.
The Mariners will see a couple of really juicy matchups over the next two weeks. Raleigh will play the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles seven times in that span. Those pitching staffs have the seventh and eighth highest team ERA’s respectively. Sometimes teams have to battle bad luck. Well, that is certainly not the case in regard to the Orioles and A’s staffs. Both squads find themselves in the bottom ten for team SIERA, xFIP, and CSW-percentage. Is he producing, yes? Does he have favorable matchups coming up? Yes. Should fantasy managers use Cal Raleigh if they need a catcher? Absolutely.
Christian Bethancourt, Oakland Athletics (~18% rostered)
Firstly, please do not ignore Christian Bethancourt due to the fact that he shares a first name with streaming buster, Christian Vazquez. Bethancourt predominantly plays first base for Oakland but is catcher eligible in fantasy baseball. That is all team builders care about. Since the beginning of the month, he has posted a .343 batting average with four homers, 14 runs, and RBI, and has even stolen a bag. (Four stolen bags on the year) Bethancourt is punishing the baseball. He has barreled the ball a third of his at-bats and has made hard contact two-thirds of his June at-bats. There are some red flags in his profile. His 2022 BABIP is about 20 to 25 points higher than projected and his swinging strike percentage is approaching 20-percent. Proceed with caution but anyone who is streaming is willing to gamble.
Oakland will play the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Mariners ten times out of their next 13 games. The Royals have had one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball this year. Despite having talented arms, the Mariners have a team ERA of 4.00 in 2022 and they have also surrendered the third-most home runs this season. Bethancourt will have issues with the better pitchers on the Mariners roster but given his hot streak and his place atop the A’s lineup, I think he is a solid streaming option in deep leagues. Regardless of the scoring format.
- MJ Melendez
- Gabriel Moreno
- Cal Raleigh
- Christian Bethancourt
- Jonah Heim
But I would be happy using all five.
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