Please see our player page for Austin Nola to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

“Hello, Proprietor of a Milliner, I understand your trade is hat-making. I was wondering if you could make this Dairy Queen sundae helmet into a normal-sized head helmet…Right, right, I get that. Yes, I guess I could just buy a helmet from the John Olerud collection, but I’d like this exact Kansas City Royals sundae helmet. It’s for Opening Day for the 2021 baseball season, Mr. Milliner–Wait a second, I’m seeing news come across my ticker…Adalberto Mondesi has an oblique strain? Forget it, Opening Day is called off. Goodbye.” How do you strain your oblique on the one day without baseball between now and July? Was he reaching up to get a suitcase out of overhead baggage? Well, I too have baggage, but I push my baggage down until I randomly start crying at red lights! Why, why whywhywhy…Well, I guess, Happy Opening Day! It feels less happy now with Mondesi news. The Royals recalled Nicky Lopez, which is objectively just funny. If you have late drafts, like after Opening Day, I updated top 500 for Mondesi, conservatively removing 100 at-bats, which is roughly three weeks to a month. It seemed like a big stretch to have Mondesi hitting 3rd in that lineup. Obviously too big of a stretch for his oblique. Hopefully, he can get back soon, because it’s Opening freakin’ Day! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Howdy, folks. As my lil’ bio snippet below says, I am in fact drinking a good dark beer as I touch this up for publication. This eve’s beverage of choice: New Belgium’s 1554.

Okay. Bear with me for a sec, but this is just truly the best time of the year. My men’s Hogs are a 3-seed (for the first time since I’ve been old enough to care) and have at least punched their ticket into the Round of 32. My lady Hogs are a 4-seed and look to do the same Monday afternoon. My Blues are not playing very well, but they’re still in the playoff hunt, by golly. My Liverpool Reds are kinda trash this year, but it’s a lost season with injuries anyway. And my Cards are getting closer to the games actually counting. Point being, all my teams are currently in action! Plus, March Madness has returned! (It’s super weird to think it’s been two full years since we’ve gotten March Madness action, isn’t it?)

Anyway, now that you’ve got the unwanted JKJ’s teams sports update, here are the updates you’re actually here for:

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Austin Nola was diagnosed with a fractured middle finger. The worst injury that’s ever befallen a truck driver. That’s how they speak! Honestly, it’s how I speak on the road too. Cut in front of me and I go from “One to road rage” in a half city block. Then again, I cut people off all the time too. Just a generally terrible driver, I am! My favorite is when I cut someone off, then can sense them giving me the evil eye or middle finger, and don’t give them the satisfaction of looking over. Stew on that! So, Austin Nola will undergo a couple of days of treatment before they announce a timetable. I’ve still adjusted him a bit in my top 20 catchers, and that could change further. In the mean’s time, you know who this is good for? *saddles up to the bar* “Give me a martini with two carrot sticks.” That’s right, Yu’s personal catcher, could be yours. Victor Caratini will move into the everyday catcher job and this could mean time for Luis Campusano, who is cut from the same white-linen tablecloth as the $54 Vending Machine Steak, Franmil Reyes. In addition to my updated catcher rankings, I’ve also updated the top 500 for 2021 fantasy baseball. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for 2021 fantasy baseball:

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MY INITIAL FIVE SELECTIONS HAVING BEEN MADE, I decided to stop a moment and look around. I had come into this effort so headstrong, and so assured, that I did not consider for a moment what my opposition might be up to. I had assumed that my zigging and their zagging would leave me feeling accomplished.

Quite the contrary.

I had been correct in my assumption that The Acefecta would be unique as far as strategies go, and yet, gnawing at my mind like the ceaseless banshee shriek of nails dragged across a blackboard was one fact: I was not the only manager who found himself with three pitchers after five rounds.

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Here, friend, are some catchers that I will be targeting at my 2021 fantasy drafts after the top options are gone. I’m not going to get into the strategy of punting catchers. Been there, half-drunkenly wrote that during the Ottoman Empire. Applies to oranges, it still applies. Click on the player’s name where applicable to read more and see their 2021 projections and blurbs I wrote for them. This is a (legal-in-most-countries) supplement to the top 20 catchers of 2021 fantasy baseball. Now, guys and five girl readers, I am not saying avoid catchers like Yasmani Grandal if they fall, but, to get on this list, a catcher needs to be drafted later than 200 overall, and, to preemptively answer at least seven comments, yes, I will go around the entire infield, outfield and pitchers to target very late. Anyway, here’s some catchers to target for 2021 fantasy baseball:

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The best 2021 fantasy baseball team is a misnomer. Thankfully, none of us know what misnomer means. Sounds to me like someone tentatively wants to date the Travelocity Gnome’s daughter, “Miss Gnome, er, you wanna grab some boba and chill?” Miss Gnome brushes back her hair and bats her eyelashes that are almost as long as her two-and-half foot body, “I’d love to,” but her voice is high-pitched, which is a turn-off, so you cancel plans with her repeatedly until she gets the hint. Sorry, Miss Gnome, I like my women’s voices low like their stature. Any hoo! So the title is a bit of a superlative. What was I gonna say, “The Mostly Kinda Good Fantasy Baseball Team?” You’ll get over your scoffing; I have faith in you. This is the best 2021 fantasy baseball team that I can put together when drafting from my top 100 for 2021 fantasy baseball and top 500 for 2021 fantasy baseball. Honestly, I could draft another 25 teams from those lists, and they’d all be different, but equally terrific… Well, one of the twenty-five would only be sorta terrific, but it would be really hard to tell which one that is. If I took Adalberto Mondesi in the 2nd round, everything after would change. If I took Trea Turner in the 1st round, everything after would change. I’ve previously gone over my 2021 fantasy baseball draft prep for the first few rounds and pitchers pairings.  For this exercise, I’m taking Cody Bellinger in the first, because, well, people complained previously I always did this post by taking the first pick, so I’m switching it up, like when you combover your hair right instead of left. Last year in my “Best Fantasy Baseball Team” post, I took Tatis with my 1st pick, when ESPN was telling you to draft him 43rd overall. Cust kayin’. Until pick 100, I’m taking one guy somewhere in every fifteen picks. It would be nice if I was in a league where someone drafted Gerrit Cole and deGrom in the first round and I was able to take Trevor Story in the 2nd round (which is likely in some leagues), but since Bellinger and him are in my first 12 picks, according to the rules I’ve set up for myself, I can’t take them both. Then, as we all know, once you get into the 100s, there’s wide gaps between ADP and where players are actually taken. People tend to look at team need over value. So for this exercise, once I get to pick #101, I’m going to pick two players every twenty picks. Finally, because there is so much latitude in the latter rounds, I gave myself free rein to fill up my team after pick 200. Throughout the draft, I also gave myself the ability to reach to a lower draft pick, but not reach forward. Or reach around, if you’re feeling frisky. It should still be my ideal team…or not. Let’s see, shall we? Bee tee dubya, this team is a 12-team, 5×5, one catcher, 5 OFs, MI, CI, 1 UT, 9 P, 3 bench, just like the Razzball Commenter Leagues (go sign up, you Big Chungus).  Anyway, here’s the best 2021 fantasy baseball team:

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Catcher is a unique position in the fantasy game.  We sometimes play with a single catcher making the pool reasonably deeper while other times strapping ourselves with limited options in two catcher leagues.  The one thing the position is not known for is augmenting the lineup with flexibility.  A few years ago, the versatility and intrigue of speed from the catcher position drew us to Austin Barnes as he rose through the Dodger’s system.  While that may not have panned out with a fantasy superstar, when any player comes along in that mold it forces us to look at what else the catcher position can provide.

The last two seasons have introduced us to two unique players behind (and around) the dish in Austin Nola and Isiah Kiner-Falefa.  Looking at Yahoo eligibility Nola will enter the season with C, 1B and 2B capabilities while Kiner-Falefa will carry C, 3B and SS.  Now not all leagues are as forgiving as Yahoo and Isiah did not log a game at catcher in 2020 instead splitting time on the left side of the infield where he is expected to be for the 2021 season.  Alternatively, Nola saw 44 of 46 games played behind the dish.  Regardless of how they fall in your league, there is bound to be intrigue in these two versatile players.

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Being a former junior-varsity back-up catcher with a pop time of about 5 and a caught stealing percentage of 0% — I have the perfect qualifications to write this column. 

Pop time for the un-initiated is another in a long line of new-age states that we nerds are using to quantify the game of baseball. The long and short of this stat is quite simple: it reflects how quickly a catcher can grab the ball from his glove and whip it to a certain base to catch the stealing runner. The lower the number, the better! However — that doesn’t tell the whole story of a catcher’s success rate at throwing out a runner. You can have a pop time of half a second and throw it over the second baseman’s head every single time and you quickly realize why you never made it to the varsity back-up catcher level.

For the purpose of this article I took a look at each team’s projected starting catcher (or catchers) and ranked them via their 2019 pop time (couldn’t find 2020’s data — sorry!) and paired this with their caught stealing percentage from 2019 and 2020 combined. There are some guys (like Ryan Jeffers) who didn’t record a pop time in 2019 so they’re only being judged on their caught-stealing rate. Unfair? Maybe. Happening anyway? Oh you betcha! 

Below I’ve grouped these guys together by the division they’ll be playing in so I can point out who benefits/suffers based on who they’re playing their most games against. I could’ve ranked and tiered them — but what fantasy info is there to glean from that if you’re not using defensive categories? At least this way, maybe you’ll see that a certain team/division has strong or weak catchers in it which helps certain runners or hurts certain pitchers.  

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*KICKS DOWN DOOR* (Loud non-descript 80s metal plays; a man steps to the mic). Are you ready? *Crowd Cheers* Are you ready for… *Crowds cheers more loudly* Are you ready for 2021 catcher ranks? Everyone stops cheering, looking at each other with bewilderment, turns away sadly and leaves. Except one man, the hero America needs. Position scarcity man, stands there unshaken by the thought of ranking catchers, for he remembers the hey day of position scarcity, he owned Mike Piazza and he’s never letting go. We’re ranking catchers this week. Enjoy!

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After we went over the top 10 for 2021 fantasy baseball and the top 20 for 2021 fantasy baseball in our (my) 2021 fantasy baseball rankings, it’s time for the meat and potatoes rankings. Something to stew about! Hop in the pressure cooker, crank it up to “Intense” and let’s rock with the top 20 catchers for 2021 fantasy baseball. Am I at all selling you on the top 20 catchers being good? No? Good, don’t want to give you the wrong impression. Here’s Steamer’s 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. The projections noted in this post are my own, and I mention where tiers start and stop. Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2021 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?