I really do love this time of year. Fourth of July, weather is great, pools are open, and baseball is the only sports show in town. Obviously as a kid summers were the coolest, but as an adult…well, I still think summers are pretty cool. The MLB All-Star Game is also cool. There are not a ton of fans, I may be the only person left that truly enjoys the game and that is okay. I like watching the best players in the game on one field even if it is an exhibition.
The Mid-Summer Classic has basically zero value for fantasy baseball leagues. Unless you have all-star bonuses (I once played in a league that gave cash prizes for meeting all-star incentives), the game is just a fun event with little fantasy ramifications.
This time of the summer, team builders can gain an edge because their league mates may be coasting into the break. With your adversaries are eating hot dogs and indulging in the other joys of summer, hit the waiver wire for some catching streamers. I have four guys in mind.
Streaming recap (6/19-7/3)
|MJ Melendez||.136 BA||0 HR||3 runs+RBI||18 wRC+||11 fantasy points|
|Gabriel Moreno||.214 BA||0 HR||2 runs+RBI||35 wRC+||11 fantasy points|
|Cal Raleigh||.222 BA||2 HR||13 runs+RBI||138 wRC+||41 fantasy points|
|Christian Bethancourt||.231 BA||0 HR||3 runs+RBI||76 wRC+||14 fantasy points|
|Jonah Heim||.289 BA||4 HR||12 runs+RBI||163 wRC+||40 fantasy points|
Shallow League Options
Adley Rutschman, Baltimore Orioles (~62% rostered)
The former number one overall draft selection started off his big-league career off slow. After posting a 51 wRC+ in his first 74 plate appearances, he has a 122 wRC+ in his last 73. Since 6/19, Adley Rutschman has eight extra base hits (including two homers), has 13 runs and RBI, and has even stolen a bag. He is flashing to two key areas. Rutschman does not seem to be overwhelmed. His sub-20-percent K rate, 7.6-percent Swinging Strike rate, and 90-percent Zone Contact rate suggest as much. The catcher’s production profile also calls for some positive regression. His BABIP is about 40 points below the projection systems and the expected metrics say that he should be better.
Rutschman’s schedule leading up to the All-Star break isn’t great, but he will face off against the Cubs. Chicago had the highest team ERA in June and is dealing with a number of pitching staff issues. Any teams in need of a catching upgrade, Rutschman can be that guy. He is starting getting better and better and can provide a boost heading into the break.
Jorge Alfaro, San Diego Padres (~22% rostered)
Jorge Alfaro was once among the premier catching prospects in the game. It took some time and a new uniform, but he is finally having a solid season. In 169 2022 plate appearances, he is batting .272 with six home runs, 24 runs batted in, and a 114 wRC+. There are some money metrics in his batted ball data. Alfaro has a 13.9-percent Barrel%, which is a career high. He also has a maxEV of 115.2 mph, good for the 97th-percentile. Alfaro hitting the ball hard is only half of the reason he may be worth a look.
The other side of that coin is his upcoming schedule. All 11 of his games until the break are against teams that rank in the bottom 12 in ERA. Even more exciting, seven of those match-ups have bottom four SIERAs. Even more exciting than that and perhaps the most exciting is that four of those games are in Colorado against the Rockies. The Padres have been using Alfaro as a catcher and as a platoon outfielder, so he gets pretty regular at-bats. Jorge Alfaro hits that ball hard and he has a soft schedule in the next couple of weeks. This is the exact type of player worth streaming.
Deep League Options
Elias Diaz, Colorado Rockies (~8% rostered)
Elias Diaz has not had a good season thus far. Currently, he has the lowest batting average, wRC+, and strikeout-percentage of his career. There is not a whole lot to be encouraged by when looking at the underlying metrics. Diaz is well below league average in HardHit%, Barrel%, and average exit velocity. All of his expected stats are in the 12th-percentile or worst. Highlighted by his third percentile xwOBA. Why would anyone want to stream the Rockies’ catcher? Well, he’s the Rockies’ catcher, that’s why.
The Colorado Rockies are set to start a seven game home stand on July 11th , hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates three times. Pittsburgh has the fifth highest team ERA and the sixth highest HR per nine in all of baseball. Colorado will square off against the D’Backs before that magnificent stretch of games. Arizona has the seventh highest ERA as a staff on the season. Diaz is still getting the lion share of starts at catcher. As long as that continues, which it should, then he is worth streaming in the most desperate of situations.
Eric Haase, Detroit Tigers (~4% rostered)
Mr. Haase isn’t getting every day looks but he is making the most of them when he is in the lineup. Over his last 53 plate appearances, Haase has a .327 batting average with 10 extra base hits, including 5 home runs, 15 RBI, and a 207 wRC+. The Tigers are getting him in their starting lineups more and more frequently. The backstop is simply crushing the baseball. His six barrels (17.6%) and 16 hard hit balls (47.1%) is fantastic. When streaming the hope is that the player comes with consistent playing time but in Eric Haase’s case limiting his at-bats may work to his favor because he still has way too much swing and miss in his game. Given the nature of the catcher position in fantasy any kind of production is welcomed even if it comes sporadically.
Heading into the All-Star break, the Tigers have all divisional opponents. That is good for Eric Haase because he plays in the AL Central. All 12 of their divisional match-ups will come against teams whose ERAs rank in the bottom 12 in the league. Not only have their staffs surrendered a bunch of runs they all also get hit hard. All three teams (White Sox, Royals, Guardians) get hit hard 40+% of the time. That puts them in the bottom seven in baseball. Even if Eric Haase isn’t getting everyday chances, he can make the most of his opportunities.
- Adley Rutschman
- Jorge Alfaro
- Eric Haase
- Elias Diaz
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