I just went over the top 10 for 2014 fantasy baseball and the top 20 for 2014 fantasy baseball. Most of you know how I feel about catchers. If you draft a catcher any time before the first 100 picks, you don’t know how I feel about catchers. Let me freshen up your cocktail with a splash of insight. I don’t draft top catchers in one catcher leagues. I Reggie Roby them. Last year, Napoli was the top ranked catcher at the end of year. He was the 11th best 1st baseman. The best catcher can’t spray aerosol deodorant on the top guy for another position. Everyone was crazy about Buster Posey last year (everyone except me). Buster Posey did about as much as Kendrys Morales. Lowercase yay. In the top five catchers last year were Lucroy, V-Mart, Rosario and Molina. One guy was drafted in the top 100, and that was barely. No one should draft a top catcher because there are no top catchers. They’re all hot garbage with a side order of stank. Catchers are unreliable to stay healthy; the job is grueling and takes its toll on offensive stats. There’s not much difference between, say, the tenth best catcher and nothingness. Jarrod Saltymochachino, Jason Castro and Salvador Perez were the 8th, 9th and 10th best catchers last year. All of them were on waivers in shallower leagues as late as July. Only the depth of 2nd basemen is worst, and I say punt them too. Yes, I am saying punt the positions that are most scarce. Finally, a reason that is new to this current crop of catchers — they’re actually deep in mediocrity. You can draft the fifth best catcher or the 12th best and they’re tomato-tomato said with a different emphasis. Because I ignore the top catchers doesn’t mean I’m starting the top 20 catcher list at number twenty-one; some of you might want to know the top catchers. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them draft Devin Mesoraco. In two catcher leagues, catchers are a little more valuable, but I’d still prefer to avoid them. You can see other top 20 lists for 2014 fantasy baseball under 2014 fantasy baseball rankings. Listed along with these catchers are my 2014 projections for each player and where the tiers begin and end. Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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Maybe it’s the rush of the holiday season with two kids or the fact that some major cash is flowing in free agency, but I feel like this year’s offseason is just whizzing by. This will be the last sort of “stat review” for SAGNOF before I head into the territory of value plays for steals in 2014. This post will lay out some of the best and worst catchers in terms of their caught stealing percentages (CS%). Keep in mind that pitchers have a lot to do with holding baserunners as well, and you can find my previous post on the best and worst pitchers against the stolen base here at Razzball. A quick note on the catcher tables – I sorted them by qualified and non-qualified catchers. “Qualified” catchers played more than 1/2 of their team’s games, while “non-qualified” catchers played less than that. Catchers who split times between two teams, like Kurt Suzuki, also end up on the “non-qualified” list. The league average caught stealing percentage in 2013 was 28%, and that hasn’t really changed much over the last 3 years (27% in 2012, 28% in 2011). Last but not least, consider that playing time situations can fluctuate with free agent signings and trades, creating new opportunities for previously non-qualified catchers as the offseason transactions continue. Green columns indicate guys that are easy to run against, and red columns designate the toughest to run against:

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Hunter Pence has the manic energy of a gangly man-bird. On average, Hunter Pence’s home run trots last about 20 seconds. So in the last week, he’s run for about minute and twenty seconds while the rest of the world has watched, thinking, “I wonder if he was raised by a pack of pink flamingos.” One time during a trip to the zoo, Hunter Pence got separated from his human family for two hours. He was eventually found in the aviary section of the zoo chewing popcorn and spitting it into a baby bird’s mouth. Those two hours were wiped from all zoo surveillance cameras so it was never accounted for, but anyone who has seen the gangly man-bird run probably can figure out that Hunter Pence was trying to reproduce with an ostrich or some other tall bird. This week he shedded more than feathers. He lost the OCD tissue boxes he’s worn on his feet most of the season and went power crazy: 6 homers in the last week with two coming on Sunday. Hunter Pence said thank you to his H2H owners for believing in this half-bird creature. For next year, I think he’s bound to disappoint as his speed evaporates and goes back to where it was prior to this season (the 10-12-steal range), but for now enjoy a bird/guy who was an afterthought in drafts and has turned into a top five outfielder, according to our Player Rater. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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In the summer of 1937, a woman went into labor. This woman’s name was Alfonsa Soriano. She was 78 years old at the time and the doctors worried she wouldn’t be able to deliver a healthy baby and she risked her own safety. The baby and the mother made it through. Unfortunately, due to her age, her skin wasn’t as elastic as a woman half her age and she walked the rest of her life like she was just jumping hurdles. Her son, Alfonso Soriano, adopted her long gait — a way to pay homage? — and it helped him later in life. He said because of his long strides, he made sneakers last twice as long because he used half the number of steps as most people. Heartwarming. Also, heartwarming is his insane season. Yesterday, he hit two more homers to bring his season total up to 32 and he now sits at 98 RBIs and 79 runs. Yeah, you were counting on that when you drafted him in the last round of your drafts, or as a late $1 flyer. Look away for the next moment if you don’t own him: on our Player Rater, he’s the 6th best outfielder! In front of him, Chris Davis, Mike Trout, Adam Jones, Andrew McCutchen and Jacoby Ellsbury. Right after Soriano? Carlos Gonzalez! Absolute-Lee-Eff-In-Cray-Zee. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The Pirates are in it to win it, y’all! Maybe too aggressive. Okay, the Pirates are in it to make it seem like they’re in it to win it, y’all! Yeah, that’s probably a closer approximation. If we’re sitting here in October and saying the Pirates couldn’t have won the World Series without the help of Marlon Byrd, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle and pay for my monkey nephew to go to college, which is a lot of money. Luckily, I think they can win it with or without Byrd, as a Nikki Dinki-hosted show would say. Thankfully, none of this matters for fantasy, so why are we even talking about it? I don’t know, clunky expository question! Byrd will likely prop up the bottom of the Pirates lineup when he plays and prop himself onto the mascot’s shoulder on off days. Byrd gains a tad bit of value with this move since the Mess offense was nothing to write home about unless you were locked up abroad and ran out of things to write on postcards, and ‘Hitters Are Better Outside Of Metco’ is a bumper sticker I don’t own, but endorse. Also, going to the Pittsburgh Bucs is John Buck. Buck will change his New York nickname of “Midnight Cowboy” to “Swash,” and steal some looks behind the plate from Martin. Going the other way is Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later. Unless that player is Andrew McCutchen, there’s not a whole lot to talk about on the Mets receiving end. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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All strikeouts aren’t created equal, apparently. Holy Samardballs, are you kidding me? It was a short schedule day. There’s no middle relief disinfectant for this feces you sprayed all over my team. Why do you hurt me, Jeff Samardzija? Did I not show you enough preseason love? Did my March cuddles not warm your cockles? Did the hype get to your head? Are you better suited for football? Are you a great Scrabble word in search of a pitching repertoire? What the effin’ eff are you doing to my ratios? I GOT QUESTIONS, Y’ALL! Yesterday, his line was 3 1/3 IP, 9 ER and today he’s dropped to waivers. You can’t hold a guy who’s as explosive as bad Mexican food. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, on Fifth Avenue, Bud Selig was seen going into a photo shoot. That photoshoot was for him to be dressed as Uncle Sam for posters that will go up around the country. Under Uncle Bud, it will read, “I Want You!” You see, MLB lost a lot of players yesterday to suspensions and now they need people to play baseball. Tryouts will begin early next week and no one will be turned away due to their sex or age. If back in the day your grandma used to don the rawhide in that baseball league of their own, pull up her knee-highs and get her out there! Everyone must do their part to keep baseball together and moving forward. We need some Rosie the Pivoters at middle infield in San Diego and Detroit with the loss of Everth Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta. We need some bombers with the loss of Nelson Cruz in Texas. We’re gonna have some fatherless children on our hands with the troops heading off to battle on the diamond, but ironically Antonio Bastardo‘s kids will have their dad because he’s being sent home. When we’re in the bunkers amongst enemy pitchers, we’ll need someone to believe in with the loss of Jesus Montero. We’ll be without any guys that sound like names from a Harry Potter Name Generator with the loss of Jordany Valdespin, and we won’t have anyone that looks like The Great Gazoo with the loss of Francisco Cervelli. It’ll be a trying time for all of us, but we need to come together as a nation of Razzballers and fight through. Plus, really, for fantasy, we only lost Everth and Cruz, so don’t get so bent out of shape. Logan Forsythe or Alexi Amarista will take over for Everth, probably a bit of both until one emerges. Neither have the value of Everth, but Amarista could have some speed and he knows how to make a great frappuccino. Forsythe has little speed and power, but is dealing with a knee problem, so he may not be at 100%. In Texas, Engel Beltre or Jurickson Profar could see more time, but so far in 49 games Profar has a .244 average and four homers and no steals, so I wouldn’t go dropping anyone great in redraft leagues for him. Rangers also have Berkman coming back at some point in the next few weeks, so they could get crowded again. In Detroit, Jose Iglesias is the Indians’ backup plan, but if I saw him on waivers, I’d back up. In all, a bad day to be a cheater, but a good day to be an American. Now everyone will have a shot to make it to the major leagues. Just don’t be shocked if your grammie tests positive for HGH. She does, after all, take a lot of meds. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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John Rocker said baseball was “better with steroids.” Sure it is, if you enjoy atrophic testicles and 980 foot home runs. Atrophic testicles are also available at Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen. Winner, winner, gonad dinner. John Rocker loves his ‘roids. He also said other incredibly “poignant” things that can be enjoyed in his new children’s book, It’s a Small World (Who Let the Asians in). Hey, I’m no literary critic and I’m certainly no doctor, I’m a guru dammit, but steroids are bad for your spunk tanks and bad for your fake baseball team. This whole Biogenesis thing is ugly, but the real tragedy is the impact on the fantasy universe! The steroid hammer of death is about to fall on the junk of Nelson Cruz, Everth Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta and of course John Rocker’s new housemate on Spike TV’s I’m a Celebrity Douche…Get Me Out of Here, Alex Rodriguez. Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon may have dodged the wrath of Bud, so light a candle, kick Melky to the curb and hold onto Colon for now. The rest will be gone for the year and sipping HGH fortified Manischewitz with the original fallen hammer, Ryan Braun. If you have not got a jump start on your league mates already, consider today’s blog a syringeful of anabolic fantasy help. Hope we don’t grow man boobs. Or maybe I do. It’s time to jam it or cram it. We’re on the juice!

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I’ve started that dance with Xander Bogaerts. You know what dance I mean. The dance when you pick up, drop, pick up, drop, think about picking up then decide against it, go partially through with picking him up only to sit on your team page and not have anyone to drop…Then decide against it. That dance. The dance that any middle-aged man would do if he were in Morocco and not willing to pick a side because he’d only be fighting for a woman he banged in Paris and his only friend is some guy with bugged-out eyes. Every time I start the dance, Sam starts playing his piano and I’m like, “Play it again, Sam?” I say it in the form of a question so I don’t get sued for copyright infringement. I’ve done that dance with Bogaerts for about a week. And I can’t commit. *lights cigarette* Of all the waiver wire joints in all the fantasy leagues in all the world, he walked into mine. I’m only doing this back-and-forth dance with him because he’s going to be so good and I know he’s about to be called up. The Red Sox moved him to 3rd base in the minors just to give him a bit more flexibility to get him into their major league lineup. On Prospect Scott’s top 50 minor league fantasy prospects, he was number one. Numero uno, the head cheese, the big mahoff. Between Double and Triple-A this year, he has 14 homers and 7 steals. That’s solid for a prospect. For a 20-year-old, that’s the sign of a future perennial All-Star. In all leagues, I’m going to be dancing with him until he gets the call. As I wrote this, I grabbed and dropped him two more times. If you have the room, stash him right now. He will be up within the next month and this will be the start of a beautiful friendship. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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In what can only be described as the biggest trade ever made for some Hoes, Bud Norris was traded to the O’s for L.J. Hoes. Hoes ain’t shizz against pitches and tricks! An almost title, “Hoes Go South, Norris Makes O’s Face.” But too gangster for you. You can’t handle such gangster frivolities! You play your tennis at the country club and call your girl and tell her, “Guess what, baby? Houston got some Hoes!” See where that get you. Get you a month straight in the man cave watching pay-per-view Hoes. That’s where it get you. So, Norris goes to Baltimore, and takes his 3.93 ERA with him, replacing the newly-DL’d Jason Hammel. He’s a trifling Bud that can’t get out lefties all that well. I wouldn’t put him at more than match-up capable against weaker righty heavy teams. So, does his fantasy value go up with this trade? Hoes please! Another barely fantasy-relevant starter to move at the trading deadline was Ian Kennedy. Reminds me of the idiom, there’s a place for everything and everything in its place. This also applies for any starter who is struggling. There’s only one place for them. Petco! It’s no surprise that his career numbers are superb in Petco — 2.27 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 48 Ks in 35 2/3 IP. His major problem everywhere is the home run ball and this is negated in a park that is 1025 feet to dead center and has tumbleweeds blowing past a statute of Nate Colbert in left. Also, it certainly — or sointly if you’re reading in a Stooge voice — does not hurt — or hoit — that he was facing the Padres. He could easily be a low-3 ERA pitcher at home. I still wouldn’t start him in road match-ups, but I’d own him in all fantasy leagues for home games. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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