As spring training takes off, we, the wonderful people of Razzball, thought it would be a good idea to look into some intra-team rivalries.  What positions are a lock?  What positions are being fought over?  What positions will they hire me to fill-in for (second base Blue Jays, I’m looking at you)? Find out as the start of this series will focus on NL East…

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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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I remember reading the Cliff Notes for Gustave Flaubert’s masterpiece and thinking, “From the moment Cliff Notes was invented, no one has actually read a classic novel. Therefore, ergo, henceforth, vis-a-vis, if I wrote a Cliff Notes book about a book that doesn’t exist, I could invent a classic novel. I will call it ‘Uncle Fritter’ and have it take place during the 1908 World’s Fair.” These are the thoughts of someone who will one day run a fantasy baseball blog. Matt Dominguez is owned in 26% of ESPN leagues, which is absurd. Absurd, I tell ya! He has 19 homers and a .240 average. Look at Pablo Sandoval’s stats, okay, now look at Dominguez’s — now look at Sandoval — now Dominguez — Sandoval — Dominguez — dizzy yet? Look at Gyorko’s ownership (86%) and his stats vs. Dominguez. Since we’re all about the here and now at the end of the season, it doesn’t really matter what Dominguez has done previously. It’s about what he has done most recently — he has 4 homers in the last ten games and is hitting over .300 in the last week. If you’re struggling for power, I’d absolutely grab him. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Taijuan Walker will start vs. the Astros on Friday. The Mariners’ front office decided if they were going to sell him for ten cents on the dollar this offseason, then it was best to give him some major league experience. Here’s what Prospect Scott had to say in the preseason, “Walker is my #3 overall SP prospect, behind only Dylan Bundy and Jose Fernandez. He brings legit ace potential, and he should be ready for big league ball this year. Still, Taijuan’s greatest asset is his ability to hit Grey in the head with a fastball every time I dream about it.” Hey! That snippet was obviously prior to Bundy’s injury problems. Here’s what I said the other day, “It could be roofie burnout, but I’m not interested in shallower mixed leagues. In deeper leagues, I’d stash Walker to see if you catch a firefly in a bottle, or whatever that yokelism is. He definitely has shown great stuff in the minors (10+ K-rate) if a bit wild (4+ BB/9) in Triple-A. He will be a great pitcher, it probably won’t be this year. Think Wheeler when he was called up.” And that’s me quoting me! Well, I also lied. Kinda. I didn’t intend to lie, but he was just sitting there and I had a free roster spot… Ugh, I’m a glutton for punishment. I need serious help. Why can’t I turn down any high-upside rookie pitcher? Am I an adrenaline junkie like Keanu Reeves in Point Break? Hopefully, Walker doesn’t hang ten earned runs on my pitching line, but I’m expecting him to get Ks and have a relatively unremarkable start on Friday for earned runs and WHIP. For 2014, Taijuan is on the top of the list of guys that could be Matt Harvey 2.0, and I’ll have much more to say about him in the offseason. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Fancy meeting you here, and look at you: all dressed up with no place to go. As the season winds down, some are focused on last-minute playoff help (I try to appease you below), while others are reflecting on the past season. Let’s try to focus on the positives and learn a little something. I’m curious to hear which player you think is most deserving of the “OPS League MVP Award”. Let’s stay away from Miguel Cabrera, who was obviously great, but cost you a high draft pick. I’m looking for guys who provided value that far exceeded what they cost you on draft day and were truly a gift from the fantasy baseball gods. This will ideally help to provide us with a list of potential targets for next season (don’t worry; nobody else besides us will see this). Anyway, for those of you fortunate enough to still be in contention, here are some potential targets:

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First Heyward, and now Brandon Beachy is headed to see Dr. Freeze. This is the worst back-to-back days in Atlanta since Sherman burnt Atlanta and then Home Depot decided to push back their grand opening by 100 years. If the Braves keep going like this, TBS might have to show repeats of The George Lopez Show. NOOOOOOOO!!! The caps were for emphasis, you know, in case it was lost on anyone. The last pitcher to see Dr. James Andrews and pitch again within 6 months was Lee Majors during a Battle of the Network Stars tourney, but he was bionic. I’d put five internet dollars on Beachy missing the season, but I’d hold him for now. This would obviously clear up the confusion in the rotation between Alex Wood, Paul Maholm and Kris Medlen. Or Alis Moodlen, for short, though that sounds like a guitarist for Deep Purple. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Finally, the Red Sox promoted Nomah’s heir apparent — Zandah Bogats! Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams’s frozen head said, “Allaka Xander!” and poof a direct descendant of Cahl Yahstremski, Nomah and former top prospect, Harvey Jod, who died tragically in a parking lot incident, appeared. Drafting a hard A-voweled hitter makes as much sense for the Sox as drafting soft O’s for the Twins: Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau; they still must rue the day they lost out on Joe Charboneau. But, you know, you can’t spell Xander Bogaerts without Red Sox, and he’s got bat and range, to boot. So, here’s looking at you, Bogaerts! Went there, wrote that — Xander Bogaerts fantasy, that is. Now Xander’s here to Bogaert the Red Sox shortstop job. There’s a chance he simply platoons this year. If he’s only used against lefties, his value will be severely diminished in redraft leagues. My guess is he’ll play shortstop vs. lefties, and play some third base vs. righties with Middlebrooks grabbing pine occasionally. Obviously, it wasn’t a great sign last night that he was benched vs. a righty, but it was just one game. I’d grab him in all leagues because his bat is that good. Think of a Puig-type splash at shortstop. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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You don’t have to only listen to Brewers games on the radio to be excited about Khris Davis. You also don’t have to only be excited about owning him for the possibility of verbally swindling another owner. “No, you verbally agreed to trade me Kershaw for Khris Davis. I don’t care if you thought it was that other guy. Besides, this Khris Davis has more homers very, very recently.” Same name chicanery is as old as the Bible. In 25 AD, a guy by the name of Jesus Krist showed up drunk to his job, soaking wet, and got a bye when he said he was practicing walking on water. Many years later, the Roman empire invaded Britain because of a prank call by Klaudius Seesir. For three years, Tori Spelling thought she married the guy from The Practice, only recently finding out it wasn’t Dylan McDermott but Dean McDermott, so you see this is nothing new. Neither is Khris Davis’s power. In the minors, he averaged a homer just about every fifth game, a practice he’s maintaining in the majors (makes him around a 30-homer guy). He now has four homers in the last nine games, and, while he’s hitting, I’d absolutely grab him for power in all leagues. Don’t let his name stop you. Yes, Chris with a K looks like a girl’s name, but it’s not his fault his parents let Roger Clemens name him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend 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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