Don't be shellfish...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Catcher-rye-full

Get it?

Time to finally hang up the fantasy football helmet, slip into my official Steve Balboni athletic supporter and get ready for some of the base and the balls talk. This nipple hardening February morning finds your humble-but-nonetheless-handsome Guru loading the van up with scouting reports, clean turbans, eye black and my Jenny Dell inflatable doll for that long, lonely road trip to Fort Myers to prepare for spring training. As we cross the days off the calendar until we dive into some actual fake baseball drafting, it’s time to dig out the ol’ jammer crammer machine (available on Adam&Eve.com) and dig through this year’s jams and crams by position for the 2014 fantasy baseball season.

We’re not talking Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera here or the other players in Captain Mustache’s top-10. We all know approximately who those guys are and who they will be again unless Emperor Bud comes knocking with a positive pee test and a search warrant. Let’s not waste precious time, it’s those players ranked outside the top-100 that win you leagues, bragging rights, maybe a little green or a night with your friend’s MILFalicious wife – you play in some hardcore leagues, man. Guys ranked outside the top-100 (according to ESPN 12-team leagues) last season that probably helped you win it all included Torii Hunter (pre-draft rank #137, finished #49), Marlon Byrd (pre-draft #774, finished #77) and freakin’ Alfonso Soriano (pre-draft #191, finished #16). If any so-called expert had told you those three would finish ahead of Bryce Harper, Josh Hamilton and Giancarlo Stanton I’ll deep fry my turban and eat it with a side of ranch dressing. Deeelicous! With all that mindless word drool out of the way, we are talking catchers this week. Personally, I wait on catchers and usually just let the stream flow. Let someone else draft Buster Posey, Yadir Molina and Wilin Rosario too early. Catchers are like the ladies left at last call, I don’t bring one home unless I’ve had 14 beers. Now that I’m on my 13th IPA, let’s bring this backstop blog home, it’s time to jam it or cram it.

 

Jam or Cram: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins

2013 Rankings: Opening Rank, #84. Final Ranking, #188.

2013 Stats: 62 R, 11 HR, 47 RBI, 0 SB, .324 AV

2014 $$$ Value: $7. I’ve seen him listed as high as $18. Some gopher still living in 2009 is going to overpay for Mauer then sing “Party In the USA” at a karaoke bar in Duluth.

The Gist: Mauer’s numbers have been D-O-W-N for four straight years and the power is G-O-N-E while the strikeouts are going U-P. After hitting 28 homers in 2009, he’s hit 33 total since and whiffed in 17.5% of his plate appearances last season.

Dirty Turban 2014 Projection: 66 R, 9 HR, 58 RBI, 2 SB, .301 AV.

Jam it or Cram it: Mauer is the 2014 Mr. Overrated poster boy. While he’s shifting to first base this season in hopes of more ABs, he’s yet to swing a bat this offseason because of concussion symptoms. Mauer says he’ll be ready for opening day, but he’s currently sitting in a dark room with a drool cup humming “It’s A Small World” thinking he’s at Disneyland.  CRAM

 



Jam or Cram: Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers

2013 Rankings: Opening Rank, #282. Final Rank, #88

2013 Stats: 59 R, 18 HR, 82 RBI, 9 SB, .280 AV

2014 $$$ Value: $11. Don’t be the guy to go all big spender on catchers. That guy blew $40 on Buster Posey last year and hasn’t left his Mom’s house since September.

The Gist: Ok, maybe Lucroy isn’t as sexy as Brian McCann, but he could be a top three catcher this season who also has first base eligibility. That’s right, four lady readers, Jon Jon is multi-positional. While the power disappeared in the second half last year (just five homers after the All-Star break), he does make contact with a LD% of 22.8, a BABIP of .290, a strikeout rate of 12.7% and the career power numbers sure look sexy enough to me with a HR/FB rate over 10% each of the past three seasons. I’ll stop before this man-crush approaches Grey/Giancarlo territory.

Dirty Turban 2014 Projection: 57 R, 19 HR, 80 RBI, 7 SB, .295 AV.

Jam it or Cram it: When it comes to catchers I spend most of the year leaning on the Hitter-Tron, telling it how great it is and pimping out my Roomba for solid streaming action. Last season, at one point or another, I owned Alex Avila, John Buck, Jason Castro, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Don Wakamatsu. This year, on the “suggestion” from the local vice squad, I’m grabbing Lucroy. I’m a one catcher man now, Razzballers. Honest. JAM

 

Jam or Cram: Evan Gattis, Atlanta Braves

2013 Rankings: Opening Rank, #891 Final Rank, #222

2013 Stats: 44 R, 21 HR, 65 RBI, 0 SB, .243 AV

2014 $$$ Value: $10. If you want Gattis you’ll probably have to spend a little more than that. Don’t do it, you know he’ll just spend the money on cheap beer and Mad Dog 20/20.

The Gist: The Braves found  El Oso Blanco wandering the streets of Atlanta washing windshields last season and convinced him to trade his squeegee for bat. Gattis promptly showed he could handle the stick and had some pop. Although Gattis only made 382 plate appearances, he was second among catchers in homers and HR/FB percentage and first in isolated power. However, he swings at everything, denies the existence of walks and is one bad month from being back under the bridge. *Cue the Chili Peppers here*

Dirty Turban 2014 Projection: 55 R, 22 HR, 64 RBI, 1 SB, .240 AV

Jam it or Cram it: With McCann off to the NYC, Gattis will be the main man behind the plate. I’ll miss him in the outfield, though – that was good fun. Gattis could prove me wrong, he’s getting a lot of love with some ‘perts predicting 30 homers, but his poor plate discipline gives pitchers no reason to give him anything to hit and he’ll kill you at average, runs and RBI. Besides, I don’t believe in love. My heart was ripped out and eaten by a New Orleans vampire stripper years ago. CRAM

 

**BONUS TRACKS**

Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals: Good ol’ Sal could be a top five backstop this season, then again I said that last year when my bath salt addiction was completely out of control and I boldly predicted 25 homers. Bold prediction 2 Electric Boogaloo: Perez hits 25 homers. JAM

Wilson Ramos, Washington Nationals: Ramos hit 16 homers and 59 RBI last year in only 78 games. Why so few? Willy is more fragile than Glass Joe. Draft Bald Bull instead. CRAM

Jason Castro, Houston Astros: As a rookie on a bad team Castro had 18 homers, 35 doubles and a tasty LD rate just over 25%. If Lucroy and Perez go too early, Castro is my backup plan. And by backup plan I mean this is probably who I end up with. JAM

Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners: I want to believe the hype and the sleeper status. I’m a very gullible person. Sky sold me some magic beans he said would grow into a jackalope. I’m still waiting. I’m also going to keep waiting on Zunino. Let’s talk in 2015 and me and the jackalope will draft him. CRAM.
Follow The Guru and his dirty turban on Twitter @TheGuruGS for fantasy ballin’ updates and scotch-fueled selfies.

 

  1. Mike says:
    (link)

    I need auction values set at 100 dollar cap.

    • matt says:
      (link)

      @Mike: Catcher in rye? Did I guess right? That’s about what id pay for one $1.99 the price of a loaf of rye. Lol

      • The Guru

        The Guru says:
        (link)

        Nice work. I’m John Hinkley’s and Mark David Chapman’s favorite Razzballer.

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      That requires math and I left my abacus at the bar.

      • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
        (link)

        @The Guru: isn’t it (maybe not) just as simple as finding out what % of the normal league’s ($260 i think) budget is the size of yours. This would be 100/260 (or .3846153). take that number and multiply it by all the prices you see listed for $260 budget leagues. so that would make mauer 2.69 and gattis 3.85.

  2. The Thumb says:
    (link)

    Great post! Looks like Lurcoy is my guy.

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      I’m going all in on Lucroy this year. I’ll probably end up dropping him in May for AJ Pierzynski.

  3. matt says:
    (link)

    Sorry Guru, Catcher in the Rye? WHAT DID I WIN!!!!!WHAT DID I WIN!!!! :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      You win 43 back rubs from Jay and my 1981 Steve Balboni rookie card.

      • matt says:
        (link)

        @The Guru: lol

  4. Principle Blackman says:
    (link)

    Catcher in the field?
    Catcher on a farm?
    Catcher in the wheat?
    Mauer in the rye?
    I give up.

  5. Sky

    Sky says:
    (link)

    The picture is clearly Franny and Zooey…clearly…

    • Principle Blackman says:
      (link)

      @Sky: My next guess was going to be A Perfect Day for Banana Fish.

      • Sky

        Sky says:
        (link)

        Ha!

        • The Guru

          The Guru says:
          (link)

          I’m the JD Salinger of Razzball Nation. I write one good column then I retire to my farm in New Hampshire with Gareth.

          • Sky

            Sky says:
            (link)

            I was always wondering if Gareth was a barn cat. CONFIRMED

            • The Guru

              The Guru says:
              (link)

              He won’t get off my lap!

              • Sky

                Sky says:
                (link)

                @The Guru: can we blame him though?

                • The Guru

                  The Guru says:
                  (link)

                  *insert heavy petting joke here*

  6. Andrew A says:
    (link)

    is this razzball’s first Jenny Dell reference?

    • Wake Up says:
      (link)

      @Andrew A: bet she wouldn’t have left Middlebrooks off of the top 400…

      • Shawn of the livid says:
        (link)

        @The Guru: Thank you for that. That women is so damn fine. The sox always find a great piece of ass throw out on the field. Hazel Mae, Heidi Watney, Jenny Dell. Its like they have a farm league for the position of interview girl

        • The Guru

          The Guru says:
          (link)

          Agreed. Brains not important, good rack is. Too bad the restraining order states I have to stay 500 feet away from Jenny.

          • Andrew A says:
            (link)

            @The Guru:

            Hopefully Dell follows all of them to MLB Network so the rest of the country can benefit from her uh journalism

          • fitz says:
            (link)

            @MattTruss223: NESN/Sox are a joke when it comes to this shit – they will never learn.

          • The Guru

            The Guru says:
            (link)

            Jamie Erdahl actually has a brain. She may not get the job. NESN wants someone willing to report on the new Fenway urinal cakes.

            • MattTruss223 says:
              (link)

              Thing is, I don’t really understand the “conflict of interest” with an eye-candy sideline reporter dating a player. I mean, it’s not like she’s a hard-hitting journalist or anything. What’s she gonna be EXTRA enthusiastic about Middlebrooks bobblehead night?

              • The Guru

                The Guru says:
                (link)

                Wonder what her female Boston colleagues think?

  7. CL says:
    (link)

    Wow… you’d be diggin’ my Mauer-Ramos tag team then?! Year 7 Dynasty… should I just go jump out the window?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      Grab Evan Gattis, too. You’ll have a three-headed monster.

  8. Grant says:
    (link)

    I hope everyone is as down as Mauer this year like you all are, and I can scoop him up late, I love a catcher that can get full time AB’s with great average/OBP, and maybe the power will come back a bit by not squating behind the plate all year.

    • Wake Up says:
      (link)

      @Grant: seems like everyone is pretty high on him this year…some have him in the top 10…top 10 overall

      • Principle Blackman says:
        (link)

        @Wake Up: I haven’t seen that at all. The highest ranking at fantasypros is 25th. The lowest is 221st. Either way I won’t be drafting him unless he falls the the low end of that range, which he won’t.

        • Wake Up says:
          (link)

          @Principle Blackman: Yeah I’m not applauding that ranking!

          25th isn’t high on him?

          Why won’t he fall to you?

          • Principle Blackman says:
            (link)

            @Wake Up: 25 is definitely high. Too high for my tastes (I’m not only a dabbler not a head). I’m just saying I haven’t seen him in the top 10. He won’t fall to me because I’ll be busy drafting other guys. Every mock I’ve done so far I’ve wound up with Wilson Ramos and Jason Castro mainly b/c they have been the last two serviceable catchers off the board, and I am okay with that. I’d rather be shoring up other positions when Mauer has tended to go off the board.

          • Andrew A says:
            (link)

            @Wake Up:
            25 is high for any catcher not named Mike Piazza circa 2000

            • The Guru

              The Guru says:
              (link)

              Or Johnny Bench 1975. Was there Razzball in ’75?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      The shift to first base should help. Just looks like Mauer – from the mocks I’ve seen so far – will be the leader of the all over paid team.

      • CL says:
        (link)

        @The Guru: unless you’ve owned him on dynasty for a couple of years… OPS league. Unless I trade, I roll with him! Shomer shabbis!

  9. Jimbo says:
    (link)

    You really think people are going to let Lucroy go at $11? He is not exactly a secret and there will be enough people in every auction that know this which will drive his price up to where he might be over rated. You’re going to have to spend to get Lucroy this year

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      You’re probably right, Jimbo. I’m still not paying any more than that. Most likely I am streaming catchers again this year.

  10. Wake Up says:
    (link)

    Mauer should’ve moved to N.H. in Nov. of 2009…

    Get it?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      Well played, sir.

  11. Shibboleth says:
    (link)

    I get the concerns over Mauer but I still consider him a solid pick in 2 catcher leagues and/or OBP leagues.

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      He’s also valuable in catcher only leagues and in 2009 fantasy leagues. I’m just not feeling Mauer this year. He’ll end up what? The 12th best first baseman? Maybe a top 3 catcher that is overspent for? For me, catchers are the kickers of fantasy. Let Taco draft three of them.

    • RandomItalicizedVoice says:
      (link)

      @Shibboleth: I agree. I think he’s a solid first choice in 2 catchers leagues, and in contention for #1 catcher in OBP leagues.

  12. Jeff P says:
    (link)

    I’m targeting Mauer this year. You seem to be underestimating the physical grind it takes to play catcher for 120-130 major league games. It’s not just the squatting, it’s all those nicks and bruises that you get from bats, foul balls and plate collisions.

    I targeted Mike Napoli last year in every league (missed him in one) and he worked out very well for me. If Santana is confirmed as playing third base, I’ll switch to Santana as my primary target at catcher.

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      The change will help for sure. It’s obvious I’m not a Mauer fan. He refused to sign my mitt in 2008. And by mitt I mean my taint.

      Figure he ends up somewhere in the middle of this:

      2013: No. 8 catcher, No. 26 first baseman, overall No. 113
      2012: No. 3 catcher, No. 8 first baseman, overall No. 46
      2011: No. 24 catcher, No. 46 first baseman, overall 256

      • Jeff P says:
        (link)

        @The Guru: I hear you and your mitt.
        Napoli went from
        AVG 4 years as a full time catcher: ~380ABs, 60ish Runs, 60ish RBI
        to 500 AB, 79 Runs, 92 RBI. Interestingly, no increase in HR.
        Now, I am not projecting Mauer to do anything of the sort, (different ball park and lineup support) but I do think he adds 100 ABs, 3-5 HR, 10-15 R and 10-15 RBI to his total, while maintaining >.300 AVG.
        Basically, betting on his return to 2012 form. I’d take that at his ADP of 6-7 round.

        • The Guru

          The Guru says:
          (link)

          Thing about Napoli was he got Sciosciaed with the Angels. Don’t think projections were far off last year.

          If Mauer is a top 10 first baseman this year I’ll deep fry my turban and eat it with a side on ranch dressing. Maybe he will be. My Magic 8-ball says no. I’m just seeing him go way too early in a lot of mocks.

  13. L-Boogie says:
    (link)

    So should I change my avatar to Wilson Ramos?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      Good one. Or maybe King Hippo.

  14. Spammer Jay says:
    (link)

    how bout a bonus track on McCann? I’m torn, keep him for $6 or go with Grey’s advise and keep Yelich at $5 instead.

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      Is this a keeper league?

      • Spammer Jay says:
        (link)

        @The Guru: yes, with $5 raises per year.

        • The Guru

          The Guru says:
          (link)

          Go Yelich.

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      Pudge took a wrong turn.

  15. Momuirnin says:
    (link)

    “Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules.”
    The Catcher in the Rye

    Okay my little rule breaker, what do you think about A. J. Pierzynski?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      Nice work on the Salinger quote. Now don’t be a phony.

      AJ is in that range with Salty and Yan Gomes range, say 42/12/52/.260

  16. J-FOH says:
    (link)

    I got one for your dirty turban, at what point would you take one those over priced “elite” catchers when they fall in drafts when you play with like minded/like informed people? For example, if Mauer is there in the 10th do you take him? or stick to your I won’t take a catcher before the 20th strategy like I do

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      Don’t think he falls that far. Only takes one Twins fan in his Mauer jammies to grab him. Most mocks I’m seeing he’s going top 100, around 80 with guys like Beltran, Alex Gordon, Rizzo.

      • J-FOH says:
        (link)

        @The Guru: I’m saying RCL’s

        • The Guru

          The Guru says:
          (link)

          If he’s there in the 20th I’ll take him. He won’t be. You watch, someone will grab him top 100. Just by the negative response to my “cram” on Mauer confirms it.

          • J-FOH says:
            (link)

            @The Guru: haters be hating when there is nothing left to really hate

            • The Guru

              The Guru says:
              (link)

              Well said, oh hateful one. They’re going to love my “cram” on Chris Davis next week. HA!

  17. centerfield_ballhawk says:
    (link)

    Jam or Cram Devin Messoraco?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      Cram, but intriguing name. He may end up hitting higher in the order and get a chance to sink or swim. Don’t see much more than 10 homers, 40 RBI, .240 AV at best.

  18. Kyle H says:
    (link)

    Montero have any chance of a decent bounceback? Lucroy 2013 was essentially Montero 2012. Montero had a little bit of BABIP bad luck IIRC.

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      Worth a play in 2 catcher leagues. If the back is healthy, he could have a bounce back, but the K rate was just way too high last year – over 23%. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him lose ABs to Tuffy Gosewich. I just like saying Tuffy Gosewich.

  19. HWY68 says:
    (link)

    Guru — What does your crystal ball say about Travis d’Arnaud? Worth an endgame gamble in shallow redraft leagues?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      42/12/44/3/.250. I’d put him between Alex Avila and Russel Martin. I’d rather have Yan Gomes or Salty.

  20. Alex says:
    (link)

    Not worried about Castro’s knees? And his name is castro so starlin prob put his stink on him

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      Not worried about the knees as much as a possible regression. Still, Castro is a nice late pick at catcher this year.

  21. stonepie says:
    (link)

    lucroy and perez will go too early for my liking. castro or ramos will be around later and i hate using a draft pick on a catcher anyway.. if ramos gets hurt, big whoop there will be someone else on the wire.

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      Most likely, yes. In the early mocks, Castro seems to be the guy I end up with around the 17th round or later.

  22. The Unchosen says:
    (link)

    That was a very severe concussion Mauer experienced. I’ll be passing on him at the spot he will likely go (80- 100) because that injury could easily accelerate the downward contact & power trends that he was already on.

    First time he’s ever been a risky pick that I can recall.

    • KB says:
      (link)

      @The Unchosen: The doctor cleared him months ago. Razzball seems to be the only site anywhere concerned over the concussion that’s been reported as a non-issue since October. The reservations w/ Mauer concern his surrounding lineup/stadium. From a performance standpoint, he’s one of the best pure hitters in baseball, although there does seem to be a bias on Razzball against hitters whose likely main roto contribution is BA, even if the BA is elite such as Mauer (career .324 hitter). Even if you don’t care about BA, it’s hard to imagine him being outside the Top 5 in both R/RBI.

      • The Unchosen says:
        (link)

        @KB: Being cleared to play doesn’t necessarily mean there is zero residual effect. His foot might kick out when they tap his knee and he might be able to touch his nose with his finger proving he’s good to go, but that doesn’t mean the exceptionally high level of hand-eye coordination and reflexes he possessed are unchanged by the whack he took. We might not know that until late spring training.

        I hope he comes back to 100%. I’m just saying I’m not going to blindly ignore the possibility of problems and pay a premium price for him.

          • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
            (link)

            @KB: morneau’s concussion as far as head hit strength (objectively, not how it affected his brain) was weak as shit. Still think he’s a top bat too.

    • Is he going the olerud helmet route?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      Mauer is being drafted too early in my opinion in the early mocks. People just want 2009 back so badly. Here’s the last 3 years:

      2013: No. 8 catcher, No. 26 first baseman, overall No. 113
      2012: No. 3 catcher, No. 8 first baseman, overall No. 46
      2011: No. 24 catcher, No. 46 first baseman, overall 256

      Seems risky to take him so early.

      • KB says:
        (link)

        @The Guru: I don’t think anyone expects ’09 to return. He’s 5 years older and plays in a horrible stadium compared to then. I think most are hoping for ’12 w/ maybe an additional 50 PA that could put him in the Top 30-50 players. Also he has better SLG stats when starting at 1B or DH so there’s the chance he could hit another 5 HR and finish w/ 15+ if that trend continued. I think he has a lot of “upside” for a C , it’s just in a somewhat untraditional sense of the word, in terms of fantasy baseball. For leagues that count OBP or OPS or TB, he has a very good chance to finish #1 at the position.

        • The Guru

          The Guru says:
          (link)

          Yes, in OPS leagues Mauer is clearly valuable. I’m just seeing a lot of love for Mauer that seems influenced by the name and hardware. I like the players drafted around him in mocks better.

  23. Knowuh says:
    (link)

    Hey, off topic here. Where can I find the 2013 player rankings for average batted ball distance?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      If you dig around in http://www.fangraphs.com/ you should find what you’re looking for. Thanks for reading and good luck this year.

      • Knowuh says:
        (link)

        @The Guru:

        Yeah, I went on fangraphs and found the 2013 stats for batted balls…there are a lot of stats but average distance isn’t one of them. I hear this referenced a lot but I can’t seem to find it. I googled it and everything. Just curious where you industry guys get this info. Thanks

  24. bossmanjunior says:
    (link)

    Whats up Guru!

    Would you prefer Rosario at 111 overall or Ramos at 177 overall?

    Their profile seems very similar, with Ramos possessing the better plate discipline but also carrying more risk with health. The facet scaring me away from Rosario is the well below average swk% (14.4) and the babip regression. Meanwhile, Ramos looks to take a small step back in terms of hr/fb% however he did post the 7th best flyball + hr distance in baseball at 310 feet! A little odd considering his 25% fb rate. Although Rosario was below average as well around 34%. Both posted solid ld% around 20% though. What say you? Thanks.

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      You did your homework. It looks like you know the answer to this. Give me Ramos later.

      • bossmanjunior says:
        (link)

        @The Guru:

        Thank you kind sir.

        • The Guru

          The Guru says:
          (link)

          No prob, thanks for Razzballin’ and have a good year, Bossman.

  25. Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
    (link)

    write “rape van” on the side of it. def no problems can come of that.

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
      (link)

      Kyle, is that you?

  26. Come at Me Bro says:
    (link)

    Guru,

    I know it’s like days late but I finally got around to this article (job, wife, kids, ya know). I have Lucroy right now and it’s contract time. 2-years for $18 or 3-years for $23? I’m leaning towards the 2-year deal but I do love the guy. It’s a very very VERY deep league. 11 teams and you start 2 catchers. He’s the only catcher I’m carrying over this year.

  27. Jay says:
    (link)

    One of my leagues is a unique 12 team, one starting catcher, head to head points league in which he awards 2 points for double plays! So with the possibility of an additional 200 points from 100 double plays would it be worth going 2nd or 3rd round to get Mauer? I have the #11 pick in the first round, #14 in the second round, and #35 in the third round…

    Thanks

Comments are closed.