Please see our player page for Austin Romine 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.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve taken an early look at first and second base and how those positions are stacking up for fantasy baseball this year, particularly in terms of how the state of the position might affect those of us in NL-only, AL-only, or other deep leagues.  This week, we’ll move on to catcher.  Why didn’t we just start with the catching position?  Mainly because talking about catchers felt like a phenomenally boring if not mildly depressing way for me to kick off my posts in 2020.  But the more I’ve thought about it, I’ve changed my mind significantly on that front.

Not only do I feel that there are more interesting catching options out there than there have been in a few years, but thinking about some of my teams last year is also reminding me that catcher is one of the positions that is most relevant to discuss when thinking about how to attack it based on differing league parameters.  Any given owner’s approach to drafting or buying a catcher might vary wildly even within the same drafting season depending on how that league’s rosters are structured, but the more we know about the position in general, the better.  All information in terms of catching options, how tiers are looking, and which of last year’s results might help us prepare better for this year, can help as we head into drafting for the current season — whether we’re choosing a team for a standard re-draft mixed-league with a head-to-head format that only uses one catcher, a 12-team NL-only roto keeper league that employs two catchers, or anything in between.

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Hello, darkness, my old friend.  But replace ‘darkness’ with ‘catchers’ and ‘my old friend’ with ‘we have to get through this to get further into our 2020 fantasy baseball rankings.’  Hmm…Then replace ‘our 2020 fantasy baseball rankings’ with ‘my 2020 fantasy baseball rankings,’ then replace ‘with’ with ‘wit’ to millennialify it, then replace every third ‘replace’ with ‘in place of’ to diversify word choice because my 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Pinatauro, said we shouldn’t repeat words–Actually, she can eat it!  After going over the top 10 for 2020 fantasy baseball and the top 20 for 2020 fantasy baseball (clickbait!), we are now in the positional rankings, and all 2020 fantasy baseball rankings can be found there.  Here’s Steamer’s 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers.  The projections noted in the post are my own, and I mention where tiers start and stop.  I also mention a bunch of hullabaloo, so let’s get to it.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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The Rangers traded Delino DeShields Jr. and Emmanuel Clase for Corey Kluber. Finally, someone that likes Delino DeShields Jr. as much as me! Indians tried to not compete last year, but at first you don’t succeed in not succeeding, don’t try, don’t try again. Cannot wait to see what the Indians get for Francisco Lindor. Maybe Clint Frazier and a bucket of balls gets it done. You’d think Indians would be against trying to tank, being more team that wants its horse in the race, but, wow, MLB is completely broken. Teams that should and can be good are going out of their way to tank. I saw someone (think it was a Cleveland-area radio sports show host) say something like, “Indians can’t afford these players so this is their only option.” Yo, the Indians owner, Dolan family, is worth $6.5 billion, according to Forbes. That’s not according to their bank, because you can’t count that much money in a lifetime. If the Dolans can’t afford a $25 million dollar per year contract, then who can? Bezos? Does Amazon need to buy all MLB teams? Can we get Jack Ryan day at the park? That might be fun. This isn’t even about whether Kluber is broken for good either, because his salary ($17.5 mill) should be affordable for any team, even if the player is broken. Blake Treinen got $10 million for Pete Bourjos’s sake! Any hoo! For Kluber fantasy value, I’m torn, because he feels like the type who can gut out a solid season, but that is soooooooooooo — yes, eleven O’s! — anecdotal and isn’t based on anything. But, also in his favor, he saved his arm last year from throwing another 200+ IP, which has to be good. Yes, I know his arm was injured, but it was a broken forearm. I’m not a doctor, but a forearm isn’t an elbow or shoulder injury, and a broken one is better than a strained one. Unfortunately, he had to be removed from a rehab assignment last year, due to diminished velocity, and, prior to  the injury, his velocity was down and his ERA, FIP, xFIP were all up. Just too much risk and I’m out on Kluber this year. For 2020, my Kluber projections are 10-5/3.81/1.17/164 in 158 IP. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the offseason for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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It feels like just the other day the baseball regular season started. You wrote “I heart baseball” in permanent marker on your arm, then you met a girl who wrote “I heart guys who heart baseball” on her arm, then, during sex in July, you screamed out, “Give it to me, Giancarlo!” and now you don’t have baseball or a girlfriend. C’mon, calendar, make like a soldier and turn to March. The only cure for the post-baseball season blues — recapping the preseason top twenty lists and being hand-fed Doritos. First up, Cool Ranch and our preseason Top 20 Catchers for 2018. It’s important to look back before we look ahead to 2018. To paraphrase the one and only B-Real, “How do you know where you’re at, if you don’t know where you’ve been? Understand where I’m coming from?”  It wouldn’t be fair for me to preseason rank the players, then rank them again in the postseason based on my opinion, so these postseason top 20 lists are ranked according to our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater. It’s cold hard math, y’all! Please, for the love that all is holy, don’t ask me if this is for next year.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2018 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

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Join the 2018-19 Razzball Fantasy Premier League for a chance at prizes! Don’t know about Fantasy Soccer? That’s okay, Smokey is here to walk with you throughout this journey of exploration and an absurd amount of accent marks on player names. So probably hide all your snacks. It’ll be a long journey…

Ah, words.  It is funny how the simplest play on words could lead to such stupid humor.  Because on one hand, Mallex Smith could be an exotic dancer… on the basepaths, and the other?  Well, we know the implication.  Either way, in his artistry it can only be called one thing:  SAGNOF sexy.  The base-stealing profession hasn’t been the most flourishing business, with the price of liquor licenses and the growing deficit of accumulation on the stat.  It is a dying business.  One that allows you to jump all nimbly-pimbly from steal branch to steal branch.  When looking at steals, especially in the SAGNOF world, I try to break them down into a two week stretch.  I look for who is getting the at-bats, who is getting on base, and of course who is actually stealing bases.  Over that 14 game stretch, Mallex is doing all three.  He is getting at-bats, and not all from the leadoff spot either.  ( He’s getting on base at a .528 clip, with a BB% of 13%.)  These numbers are all the dream scenario for a SAGNOF savior for a week or three.  Steals?  Well, he stole more bases (6) than everyone in baseball not named Jose Ramirez or Whit Merrifield. The joyous thing about this, is that the Rays are basically punting but not actually trying to lose.  So the at-bats and opportunities will and should continue.  As with most saviors of the theft, counting stats are going to be spotty and the one thing you can count on slightly are runs scored, but in smaller comparisons, because… well, the Rays don’t score a ton.  So if you are on the lookout for a few here and few there steals, then Mallex is your boy for the next few games, or even a week.  But don’t fall in love, because he will break your heart by Labor Day.  Cheers!

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Was thinking about this the other day.  Bear with me, it’s not fully formed (like the rest of this shizz).  Is there a higher upside move than becoming a magician?  David Blaine scored, Penn & Teller seemed to have done all right for themselves, Siegfried & Roy did fine until that white cat went ape…But how about all of the 18-year-old’s who are like, “Mom, Dad, I’m declining the full ride to Brown.  I want to do this…” *pulls sheet off table to reveal their daughter sawed in half*  “Oh, crap.  Marci?”  The world is littered with failed magicians!  You want upside?  There’s no greater upside call than deciding you want to be a magician for the rest of your life.  The Indians team?  They’re all freakin’ magicians!  Hey, Jose Ramirez (2-for-4, 5 RBIs and his 26th and 27th homer), you’re David Blaine!  Francisco Lindor (1-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs and his 25th homer)?  You’re David Blaine!   Michael Brantley (2-for-4, 3 runs, 2 RBIs)?  You’re David Blaine!  You’re all David Blaine!  We even have some David Blaine magic for Jason Kipnis (2-for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 9th homer, and 2nd homer in the last three games).  If you went Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez with your 1st two picks, you’re also a magician, according to the Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  (The other way to look at this theory is only a handful of knuckleheads are actually stupid enough to want to be a magician, and the world is not littered with failed magicians and no one is turning down a free ride to an Ivy League school to become a magician, but we don’t talk about this part of the Upside Magician Theory.)  Thank you, Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor and all the Indians, I believe your magic is real.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Is this the end for our hero? Jesus Aguilar has made Ryan Braun (1B/OF, back strain) obsolete at first. Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and Eric Thames/Domingo Santana/Keon Broxton have made Braun expendable in the outfield. He’s not helping his own case with a .235 average and a multitude of injuries. Stash or Trash: This is a tough trash because Braun has been one of the best fantasy contributors of the last decade, but I think we’re seeing the final step in his decline. He’s hurt, he’s under-performing and the Brewers have too many players at positions Braun can play. Replacement:

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Some days on DFS, it’s like standing sadly in the grocery store at 7 a.m. the morning after a long weekend (happy upcoming Canada Day, by the way, fellow Canadians!); i.e., the shelves are BARE. Other days, it’s as if you’ve been let loose in Whole Foods with a $500 gift card and everything’s on sale. [Sidebar: I may or may not be hungry at time of writing.] This is one of those latter days, people. One of those delirious days where the pitchers are good, many of the parks are pitcher-friendly, and there are bargains a-plenty to be had for your slate on FanDuel. I’m putting Jacob DeGrom at the top of my list today, but really I could just do the eenie-meanie-miny-mo thing over Streamonator’s top 10 and be reasonably happy about whomever I landed upon. Of course not all of them are cheap (that would be too much to ask), but let’s take a look at some options for hitters alongside all that sumptuous pitching.

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During the slow Monday, when there was five games on the docket, and half of them were Yankees, I started thinking about some either/or’s.  Though maybe because I was listening to Elliott Smith — that guy was uplifting!  Luis Severino was out doing his norm — 8 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 2.20 and 0.93 WHIP with peripherals that are just as gorge — 10.7 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 2.83 xFIP.  First either/or for you, wait for it, here it comes, follow the arrow –> Next year, Luis Severino or Kershaw?  Is it even close?  Don’t think it is.  Okay, next either/or, Luis Severino or every pitcher not named Max Scherzer?  Maybe, maybe not.  There’s pitchers with better peripherals than Severino right now — Scherzer, deGrom, Cole, Corbin, Kluber and Syndergaard.  Throwing the two Mets out because they’re injury risks; Corbin and Cole don’t have the track record; semicolons are fun.  That leaves us with Scherzer, Kluber and Severino.  So, three’s company, and Severino is Joyce DeWitt.  Come and knock on my door!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Warning, this post has no consistent theme. When I sat down and began thinking about what to write I really couldn’t focus on a single concept, so instead the result is a hodgepodge of points league material. If I was going to talk about Eric Hosmer who has a measly 114 points I could borrow the term hodgepadre from a much better writer. But if I’m being honest, I couldn’t give a shit about Hosmer as his 0.51 points per plate appearance. While we’re discussing Padres let’s spend a sentence or two on Christian Villanueva and his 14 home runs. Despite leading all rookies in dingers, Villanueva also has 51 strikeout in 156 at bats. That’s an impressive (unimpressive?) strikeout rate. Ignoring my recent post about not penalizing a batter for a strikeout, this is not good in points leagues. This is why he only has 97 points and is still on the wire is over twenty-five percent of points leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?