Each week during the next 2 months leading up to the start of the MLB season we will be doing our consensus rankings by position. Towards the end of the week, we will look for some players that may have extra value in daily fantasy baseball leagues over seasonal leagues. This week is catcher.
One of the biggest differences between daily leagues and season long leagues is how to construct a roster. In a daily league, a player with not so great seasonal value could be a good play for that particular day. Daily fantasy baseball heavily takes into account that day's individual matchup; a cheap, non elite seasonal fantasy hitter with a strong platoon split facing a tomato can on the mound in a great hitting park can be as good or better than an expensive, elite seasonal hitter that day, especially if that elite seasonal hitter is facing high quality pitching in a lower run scoring environment.
For catchers, a few non elite seasonal guys routinely stuck out last year as solid daily plays under certain conditions. For example, last year, LHB/DH John Jaso was routinely listed at the catcher spot on FanDuel, and usually at a very low price. I remember playing Jaso multiple times at the FD minimum salary. Jaso had hit RHP to a significantly above average level (129 wRC+, .178 ISO in 514 PA between 2014-15), and often found himself batting in the leadoff slot, getting him more chances at extra PAs in the game. Selectively playing a dirt cheap Jaso against a weak right handed opposing starting pitcher provided good value from the catcher position that might go overlooked.
Stephen Vogt was rather useless against lefties, but hit RHP to a 128 wRC+ and .211 ISO last year. Playing Vogt against a weak RHP, especially in a road ballpark that is more hitter friendly than Oakland, was usually a good use of resources. Likewise, Wilin Rosario made for an elite play at home against left handed pitching before he was moved over to 1B by daily outlets. In 260 career Coors Field PA vs lefties, Rosario hit them to a 1.054 OPS with 21 HR.
Avoiding catchers like Jaso, Vogt and Rosario in their weak splits and utilizing them in their strong ones allows a fantasy owner to squeeze out extra value from the position, helping to put together a stronger overall lineup.
Wilin Rosario is in Korea now, but here are some catchers to look out for this year in certain situations based on the numbers:
Brian McCann, at home in Yankee Stadium, and rarely away from it (124 wRC+, .253 ISO in 538 PA at home as a Yankee, vs a 75 wRC+, .124 ISO in 535 PA away from Yankee Stadium)
Yasmani Grandal vs RHP (119 wRC+, .198 ISO in 712 PA vs RHP last 2 seasons, which is probably skewed low because he played the second half of 2015 through a bad shoulder injury)
John Jaso vs RHP (129 wRC+, .178 ISO in 514 PA vs RHP last 2 seasons)
Stephen Vogt vs RHP (124 wRC+, .186 ISO in 633 PA vs RHP last 2 seasons)
Chris Iannetta vs LHP (139 wRC+, .202 ISO in 231 PA vs LHP over last 2 seasons)
Derek Norris vs LHP (138 wRC+, .161 ISO in 307 PA vs LHP last 2 seasons)
Welington Castillo vs LHP (123 wRC+, .216 ISO in 203 PA vs LHP last 2 seasons)
Robinson Chirinos vs LHP (117 wRC+, .222 ISO in 200 PA vs LHP last 2 seasons)
AJ Ellis vs LHP (138 wRC+, .190 ISO in 179 PA vs LHP last 2 seasons)
Josh Phegley vs LHP (123 wRC+, .222 ISO in 134 PA vs LHP last 2 seasons)
James McCann vs LHP (140 wRC+, .223 ISO in 111 PA vs LHP last 2 seasons)
Carlos Ruiz vs LHP (139 wRC+, .182 ISO in 172 PA vs LHP last 2 seasons)
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