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 second part of this series will focus on AL Central… (You can check out the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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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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It’s doubtful that Chicago will start singing, ‘Baby, what a big surprise,’ when Garza’s traded. I don’t imagine there will be that many that are left holding their Putz when the Diamondbacks trade for a closer. Every fifteenth rumor you hear between now and July 31st has at least a two percent chance of happening. So, that rumor about how your old lady is sleeping with your mechanic? Still unlikely no matter how many times you tell her, “Quiet, the game is on.” This Buy is about a rumored trade of yours for Yoenis Cespedes that you can make happen. Cespedes was touched on briefly by JayWrong yesterday, which caused Boras to call Razzball HQ and ask that Yoenis stop being touched on now and fo’ever more. I’m here to say I concur — JayWrong shouldn’t touch on people, and I also concur Cespedes is a solid buy low with enough reasons to count on all 100 of Cespedes’s feet. With regards to his BABIP, he’s been getting unlucky. He’s been hacking a bit less, but saying a hitter hacking less is a bad thing is a stretch for even Rubber Boy Daniel Browning Smith. Yoenis has been swinging at less pitches outside of the strike zone, but more aggressive at pitches inside the strike zone. Cespedes is the kind of hitter who could have a huge 2nd half and suddenly be in the MVP conversation as Who. As in, Trout, Miggy and who? The only drawback is Cespedes won that stupid long ball hitting contest, so he might not be as low on the radar as he should be. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy and sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

By now you’ve probably seen Giancarlo Stanton in ESPN’s magazine completely naked. Coincidentally, I looked at the pictures completely naked. Did I say looked? I meant took with a telephoto lens. In all seriousness, I know ESPN loves to copy other people’s successes, but if they’re going to blatantly try to do an equivalent of SI’s swimsuit issue, can they at least do a bikini issue or a thong issue or a Brazilian wax issue? Does the majority of their audience have any interest in seeing guys naked, showing their muscles? If I did, I’d subscribe to Men’s Fitness or Playgirl. I mean, for serious, who do they think is buying their magazine? Wait, a bigger question, who even buys magazines? Any the hoo! So far Giancarlo hasn’t been the hot butter slicing through a fat man’s veins that we’ve come to expect. He had a near-pulling a Kotchman hamstring injury where he went from fundamental crawling to fundamental running to fundamental running away from me as he exited the shower. It was all very tedious, but he’s healthy now and simply slumping. If he can get over the hump with my help, there’s very few players that could have the type of 2nd half Giancarlo is capable of. You can count on one hand the guys capable of a 25+ homer 2nd half. Giancarlo would be the player sitting on my thumb. At this point, a down season seems impossible to avoid, but 30 homers overall wouldn’t surprise me. That means 22 more. 35 homers would surprise me, but it wouldn’t be out of the question. I’d absolutely buy him, and I hear you can get him cheap. What? I’ve been inquiring. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Derek Jeter returned and went 1-for-4 with an RBI, run scored and left with a strained quad. I’m not even joking about the injury. The Yankees should just travel with an MRI machine. Didja know 100% of the babies born in the tri-state area between 1992-2013 have a 98.7% chance of having Jeter as their dad? I know, it’s not easy to look at your dad like this, but he’s old. He’s not the same Pops who used to get drunk and tell you to sit in the closet while he hand feed your mother In N Out. This is a different father. This father of yours has the appeal of an old Prado and I’d rather be a suitcase than an old bag like you. In a full season, you might, maybe, possibly get ten homers and ten steals. In less than half a season, your dad could be replaced by, say, Nick Franklin. Mom might think it’s weird, but it’s true. I’d own Jeter if I needed an MI, but if you can use him as a sweetener in a trade then Splenda! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Let me see if I got this right about Brett Wallace (I’m admittedly drunk from an all-day 4th of July BBQ). He’s a post-hype-little-less-hype-some-hype-no-hype-hype-what?-hype sleeper. Did that add up? Sometimes I forget to carry the last hype and I was doing it in my head. Wallace arrives with so little hoopla he’s poopla. Hang up the decorations, prepare for your friends to come over for a potluck, then everyone shows up late with gluten-free snacks. That’s when you say, “What’s with all of the poopla?” If I wanted my glutens free, I would’ve freed them myself! Brett Wallace hit really well down in Triple-A (this last time; and every time really). 11 homers, .326 average and won Triple-A Player of the Month honors, which is like being the world’s tallest midget. There’s still not a whole lot of proof that Wallace can hit in the majors, but yesterday’s 3-for-5 with two homers was a nice step in the right direction. I could see grabbing him in deeper leagues for the chance that he finally figures out a way to transform his minor league success to the majors. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?