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 2017.  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?”  (If you missed it, I interviewed B-Real last year on our podcast, though that might not have been as good as our Jose Canseco interview.)  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 2017 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

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“Big Maple” James Paxton takes the mound on Thursday in his second start off the disabled list, facing the Rangers at home. Paxton’s first start off of the DL was a disaster, but that’s often the case – it normally takes at least one start for a pitcher to regain form after missing more than a month. And plus, it was against the Astros, so it’s completely forgivable. Paxton’s full-season stats are drool-worthy, so to get him at just $8,400 on FanDuel is an opportunity to pounce on. As for the Rangers, they strike out 24.7% of the time against lefties. If he’s back to form, it will be a big night for Big Maple.

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Maybe because I am not Prospector Ralph aka Endorphin Ralph aka The Prospector aka Prospect Jesus aka Peter, Paul and ‘I Know Prospects’ Mary Well aka The Pro-Spectulator aka I Am Still Not Beating Grey In Our League And Grey Beat Me To Waivers For Rhysus aka No, You’re Minor, I’m Major, But I Know Minors Just Not Like That aka Ralph Lifshitz, but this year’s September call-ups are kinda sad.  Do I like Jack Flaherty?  Sure, Flaherty is must SCTV!  But he’s kinda more to do with matchups.  Tyler Glasnow?  Well, more on him in this afternoon’s Buy column.  Willie Calhoun?  Great, but where does he play?  Harrison Bader and Franklin Barreto?  Haven’t we gone down that road already?  I would absolutely grab any September call-up if he was helping me in a redraft league, but the choice between Willie Calhoun platooning and, say, Howie Kendrick playing?  Kendrick all day, and twice on Muesday, that magical day between Monday and Tuesday.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Valar morghulis. Who could predict that throwing over 150 innings every year since Felix Hernandez turned 18 would be dangerous? Oh, everyone? In pitcher years I’m pretty sure King Felix is 63 years old. Stash or Trash: Trash. He’s predicted to miss 3 or 4 weeks and I’d hate for you to stash Felix and miss your playoffs. This is the 3rd year in a row that Felix’s ERA has risen and it is now at the point where he should yield his “Mariners Ace” crown to the Kingslayer James Paxton. Fill In: German Marquez (44.7%.) It’s time for everyone’s favorite game show: “What Are This Colorado Pitcher’s Splits?!” Home: 4.31; Away: 3.86. Actually not that bad! Marquez has allowed more than 3 runs in only 4 of his 18 starts this season including his last 5 starts being quality starts.

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Yesterday, J.D. Martinez was traded to the Diamondbacks for Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara and Jose King, a package that has been described by me as a .280, 40-homer hitter for Okay, Who Cares and So What.  My visions of Yasmany Tomas returning and helping my NL-Only team went from “Hello, what’s your name, Pamela Sue?” to “No, my name is Pamela and I’m suing you for sexual harassment.”  The ol’ 180 in the pants.  Well, I’ll save the rest of my moans and/or groans for my shrink, since this is great news for Just Dong.  That should be a 90 degree turn in the pants for Just Dong owners.  Has he ever hit in Chase Field?  Doesn’t matter, he’s about to love it.  Outside of Coors and Miller, there’s no place I’d rather my player move for hitting and between-inning dips in a hot tub.  (The Coors and Miller hot tubs are gnarly, by the way.  “Did you say swell?”  “No, I said swill.”) For FAAB, I’d go aggressively after Just Dong like he was the last guy to move to the NL, even if he might not be.  He’s a 35-homer guy in Comerica.  In Chase, he could be the equivalent to a 45-homer guy over the final ten weeks.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Hello readers, hope you’re ready for another wonderful write up from The Collector!  Today should be an interesting slate as long as we get the pitcher right.  As my title suggests, I think Michael Pineda at $8,700 is that pitcher.  I’ve talked in the past how he has high strike out upside; besides that, he’s also been very consistent this year if you take the Toronto game out.  He’s looking more and more like the Pineda we all fell in love with during his rookie year.  It also helps he gets to face off against a Trout-less Angels team.  Angels in the Outfield can’t even save this team without Trout.  I expect Pineda to have the best game of the slate, though he might be a little higher owned than I normally like.  Today just focus on picking the guy you like and worry about ownership elsewhere.

Now on to the picks…

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Vince Velasquez will try his best Vaudeville Villain impression on Thursday against the Rockies, flashing more heat than Viktor Vaughn rapping about an armed robbery. At just $7,400 on FanDuel, buying Velasquez is a modern day mugging. I get that he has a 5.98 ERA, but as Viktor Vaughn says, “the roach is never dead.” VV is still rocking a 9.27 K/9 on the season, which he gets from his dominant fastball and his curveball (respect the drop). He’s getting killed by a 21.4% HR/FB rate, and while it hasn’t been purely bad luck, Velasquez is a better pitcher than his results have shown. The Rockies on the road are about league-average, with a .313 wOBA, good for 16th in baseball. They strike out a lot, at 23.8% away from Coors, so VV has major strikeout potential against them. The best part about Velasquez is that everybody else is too afraid to play him, especially since the Rockies have thumped the Phillies three nights in a row. Even if Velasquez has another blow-up start, the strikeouts should buoy him. But if Velasquez can hold it together, he will provide huge numbers at a bargain price.

New to FanDuel? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond?  Well be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.  Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!

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True story, I told Cougs that I had the hots for Maria Conchita Alonso, and she was like, “You know the woman who walks her Yorkie off leash in the neighborhood that Ted always tries to hump?”  I answered in the affirmative.  I hate people who have their dogs off leash.  It’s like people who bring their dog into the supermarket.  I love dogs, but I don’t need Arfer Woofruff licking my bottle of Kombucha.  Any hoo!  As you likely figured, the woman with her Yorkie off leash is Maria Conchita Alonso, and she’s no longer hot because she can’t follow the rules!  So, guys and five girl readers, Yonder Alonso has nine homers.  Quite the change from a guy who used to be Hither Alonso.  Okay, Imma let Fangraphs Database finish about launch angle and exit velocity, but Yonder Alonso is the greatest 1st baseman waiver wire pick up right now.  Yonder Alonso had two homers on Saturday and added his ninth on Sunday, and I’d grab him everywhere.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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The first Frankencatcher Report came at a pretty ironic time for me. Right before sitting down to work on this report, I checked my lineups and saw that Welington Castillo was placed on the disabled list with tendinitis in his shoulder. Castillo missed Monday’s game with neck spasms, and the assumption was that he would be day-to-day and likely be fine by Wednesday or Thursday, but screw me I guess. So, I had to pick up a catcher before getting started on this. I’ll go over who I picked in some detail below.

Continuing with a trend of the past few years, catcher is not exactly a prominently contributing position in fantasy baseball this season (hence the need for such a handsome Frankencatcher Report). If you don’t get lucky with one of the elite catchers, of which there are very few these days, you are likely going to have to stream the position at some point in the season.

In ESPN leagues, there are only 11 catchers with an ownership percentage of more than 70. The next highest is Russell Martin, at just over 47%. And of those 11, one of them is Gary Sanchez, who has been on the disabled list for a couple weeks and only has 20 at-bats to his name on the season. Here are those 11:

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As the old expression goes, you can count on three things in life, death, taxes, and Mets pitchers ruining your week/month/season with an injury of some sort. This is a slight update on the late 80’s iteration of this expression, death, taxes, and Mets pitchers at a snowstorm. If you’re a Noah Syndergaard owner you might want to hit up Doc’s medicine man, because the mighty righty was skipped in the rotation due to a sore bicep. Apparently curls are for the girls, and the DL too. Seriously how does Bartolo stay healthy eating like Kristie Alley on a bender, while Thor spends his free time living like Schwarzenegger in the beginning of Twins? Nothing makes sense, I’m writing the Notes! Riddle me this, Does that mean Colon was birthed from his poop? Or is it the other way around. Yes, I was an odd child. As for Thor, and his right arm, he’s headed for an MRI today. After first experiencing pain between bullpen sessions, and playing catch. He said he “felt great” playing catch, two things, “who doesn’t feel great playing catch?” and as far as I know “felt great” doesn’t mean I couldn’t lift my arm above my shoulder. But Syndergaard is from Texas and a Viking, so he may speak a different language. Oh, yeah, that’s not a joke. He actually said I “felt great playing catch”, but his bicep “stiffens up when it gets cold”. Funny, mine does the opposite when it gets cold. The worst part is that gem of a comment was followed with “I couldn’t really lift my arm above my shoulder at that point”. However, the Mets and Terry Collins assure us that Thor isn’t hurt. In fact, he showed up to the park ready to pitch! But old cautious Terry pulled the plug, because as he so eloquently put it, “when you are talking about anything that runs into the shoulder to where he changes his delivery and other things happen.” Damn, the man has the vocabulary of Sling Blade! Not going to lie, I’m intrigued about these “other things” happening in Syndergaard’s bicep. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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