Welcome to my first stolen base and catcher streaming article of the season and my first-ever in-season article for SPStreamer.com. The pool of players from which I am choosing my streamers is those rostered in less than fifty percent of NFBC Roto leagues.
I hope you are seeing the promise of your draft beginning to manifest daily results for your teams. For all of you draft addicts, I hope the withdrawal is not hitting too hard, but we are in it now! This is why we draft. I am finding that my most recently drafted teams are the ones I consider my best, as should be expected. I am also finding that December drafting is the Wild West, with one pitching staff of mine looking like it had a run-in at the OK Corral.
How many stolen bases do your squads have? Marcus Semien and Javy Baez both had two stolen bases Saturday. Baez was especially opportunistic against Tyler Anderson’s slow, hitched delivery for Pittsburgh, stealing second and third in the same inning. The Cubs may get Anderson again on Thursday or Friday of this week. Mike Tauchman and Chris Owings both swiped two on Opening Day. If you played Tauchman, kudos to you because I don’t know how you saw that coming.
The top stolen base target rostered in under fifty percent of leagues this week is Tim Locastro, currently owned in forty-six percent of leagues. Most important for Locastro is that the Diamondbacks are finally giving him regular plate appearances (he has received multiple in each of their first three games). Up next for the Diamondbacks is Colorado. Neither of Colorado’s catchers, Elias Diaz nor Dom Nunez, have very good arms. This bodes well for the man with a sprint speed in the 100th percentile. Arizona finishes the week with Cincinnati coming to town. While Locastro’s speed plays against anyone, Tucker Barnhart has always done well at containing the run game. Perhaps look to sub Locastro out for power or batting average if you can make a Friday lineup change.
A much less owned, but also good option is the previously mentioned Chris Owings. Owings started and batted seventh against both Los Angeles’ Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer in the season’s first two games, and then got two plate appearances substituting for Reimel Tapia in game three. Owings has consistently ranked in the top twenty percent in sprint speed, cashing in an 87th percentile ranking in 2020. Coming into town Tuesday through Thursday are the Arizona Diamondbacks. Neither of Arizona’s catchers was particularly effective in throwing out base stealers in 2020. Carson Kelly and Stephen Vogt combined to throw out seven of forty-one stolen base attempts, only 17 percent. Currently slated to start for Arizona are Luke Weaver, Madison Bumgarner, and Merrill Kelly: a relief after opening against Kershaw, Bauer, Buehler, and Urias. And while he finishes the week in San Francisco against a better throwing catcher, Buster Posey’s arm is solid without being intimidating. Owings currently has a 0% ownership percentage and could provide a good strategy shift early week if you have a bad match-up with your second baseman or middle infield spot.
For catchers, one of my favorite back-end volume plays, Yan Gomes, hasn’t played because the Nationals and Mets became the first series felled by Covid and contact tracing. James McCann was similarly a victim of that series postponement. As of right now, there’s no clarity on the Nationals series against Atlanta, so any Gomes holders might want to look for a sub early in the week.
Take a look to see if Victor Caratini is available in your league. Currently rostered in thirty-two percent of NFBC Roto Leagues, Caratini has started two of the Padres first three games in Austin Nola’s absence. A middling 2020 overshadowed what had been a promising 2019 for Caratini, and with the excellent lineup context, even if Nola returns within the next few weeks, it should be a good time to take advantage of this playing time for Caratini. Not to mention, the end of this week sees Caratini getting to face the Texas staff which has been so generous to the Royals of late.
Jose Trevino of the Texas Rangers is another catcher with an under fifty percent rostered rate that has been getting regular playing time. Trevino batted ninth on opening day but was moved up to seventh for the second game of the season. Trevino has never shown any plus power potential, but he has shown an ability to maintain a strong batting average for a catcher. If you’re sitting on someone who isn’t getting time, or if you’re waiting on a prospect, Trevino is a solid option to plug in until you find more clarity.
I also wanted to point out the moon shot Dom Nunez hit against the Dodgers for his only hit in four at-bats on Friday. This is a situation to monitor. Nunez has some pop and has shown very good speed for a catcher throughout his minor league development. Right now, he is firmly a backup. If Elias Diaz struggles and being a left-handed bat, Nunez could be in line to pick up some strong side-platoon plate appearances.