Please see our player page for James McCann 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.

There have been a lot of strange things about this off-season.  I mean, in addition to the obvious, like constantly worrying about the health of ourselves, our loved ones, and the fate of mankind while not having baseball as a job/hobby/distraction.  For me, one of the odder consequences of the delayed season is the fact that I have yet to draft an NL or AL-only team this year, as all of my private leagues are waiting to draft until we have a better idea what the coming weeks and months will bring.  Another very weird thing that seems to have happened to me over the last several months is that I have evidently developed a propensity for paying more than ever before for catchers on my fantasy baseball teams.

I realize now that this trend actually started back in another lifetime late November, when my first draft of the season took place.  I’ve drafted quite a few teams since then — mostly 15-team mixed format, 2-catcher leagues, with a standard 5×5 roto scoring system.  Unlike every other season of my fantasy baseball career, almost every one of them features at least one catcher that I had to pay for with either a mid-round pick of a handful of valuable auction dollars.  Last year, I literally did not even include catchers on my master spread sheet… I just had a handful of names in mind that I knew I could grab at the very end of a draft or with my last dollar in an auction.  This year, paying for a catcher was not a strategy that I came into draft season with; it just kind of happened.  Draft after draft, it just continued to occur: time to make a pick, and I felt a catcher was the best value on the board.  This happened back in my first drafts this winter, and continued through my last drafts a couple of weeks ago — so in terms of the catching position, my take on how to construct the best team really didn’t change once the uncertainty of the season’s timeline and potential format changes came into play.  What I’m also realizing is that I’m pretty happy with how most of my teams turned out overall on paper — to the point where, if worse comes to worst and we have no baseball in 2020 and I don’t get to see if my don’t-wait-as-long-as-usual-to-draft-a-catcher method worked, I will most likely jump right back in and employ a similar strategy in 2021.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With the likelihood of a shortened MLB season growing by the day streaming and targeting matchups will be more important in our 2020 fantasy world than ever before. One of the best places to take a stab at that is using catcher defense to try and mine some stolen bases. Two things factor into this: how often a catcher is run on and how often they throw runners out. Ideally, you’re getting a good matchup on both sides, like finding toilet paper at the grocery store that’s also not sandpaper texture, but I’d prefer volume to efficiency. Here are the 2019 stats and some of the likely hot spots.

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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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*insert musical note* Hello, darkness, my old friend. It’s something-something, me again. So, I don’t know the words. Are you here for musical theory or for a recap of the craziest season in recent memory if one can only remember a year or two? I thought so! Today’s jazz handsy recap is of the catchers. Please don’t ask if this is ranking for next year. It’s not a ranking for next year. It’s me recapping last season. Please, for the love that all is holy, understand this. It’s all I ask of you. Well, that and shower me with praise. The latter isn’t hard, the former is. Also, remembering which is the ‘latter’ and which is the ‘former’ is hard too. Quibbles and semantics, my good man and five lady-mans. 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! Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2019 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

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Yesterday, Abraham Toro-Hernandez (0-for-4) was called up by the Astros. Funny, I thought Abraham Toro-Hernandez was one of those special sushi rolls. “It’s got lox for the Jews, toro because it’s sushi and it’s served in a giant tostada. You want?” That’s the sushi restaurant waitress who is always annoyed. For Toro-Hernandez, I did a google (which is similar to when a baby says ‘I did a doo-doo,’ because you don’t do nothing but sh*t for 20 minutes), and I’ve come to realize the most overused expression of the last five years is “The Most Interesting Man.” Saw one article talk about how Toro was “The Most Interesting Man” because he spoke multiple languages and grew up in Montreal. That doesn’t make him interesting, that makes him from Montreal. Why does this infuriate me? He looks like a batting average-forward guy (.306 in Double-A) with some power (16 HRs in 98 games), and more speed than he’s shown in the minors (4 SBs). Appears to be a bit raw and maybe just a bench guy, but major league pitching and Double-A might not be that different, so Shruggy the Emoji shrugs. With Correa needing a giant bubble to stay healthy, Toro could see everyday starts at 3rd, and I could see grabbing him for the flier and upside. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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As is the on-trend thing to do this season, Mike Yastrzemski joined the 3-homer club Friday night smashing three long balls in one night including his 16th of the season, a go-ahead solo shot in the 11th inning. The three-dinger-day!?! Yaz queeen! That kind of feat is something his hall-of-fame grandfather Carl, who will ALWAYS be mentioned whenever Mike does anything of note, only accomplished once in 3,308 career games. But this is 2019. We have Monster energy drinks and super baseballs and over 15 players who have had a 3-homer games this season alone. Friday’s Giants/DBacks match up was a perfect illustration of this with both team’s combining to hit 12 home runs. Just the second time two teams have combined to hit this many homers. Kevin Pillar had his own double-dinger day, hitting his 16th and 17th of the year, the second a go-ahead in the 10th. But the Snakes countered with homers from Wilmer Flores (his second of the game) and Nick Ahmed to tie it up before Yaz’s game-winner. Brandon Belt, Ketel Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Adam Jones also chipped in their own bombs.  Yeah so, basically, everyone was dinging dongs Friday night at Chase. Still, Mike Yasztremski deserves his credit, and his credit is due. The hat-trick is a special thing and he’s now rocking 5 homers and a .333 average in the past week.  His .272/.324/.548 slash is nothing to sneeze at and he’s also slugging .755 in August with a 1.088 OPS. He’s a 30+ homer hitter across a whole season, folks. Yeah, you’d own that! And Yaz is criminally still available in about half of leagues at this point. Sure, Vlady and Bo and Cavan are cool, but grand kids are where it’s really at and Mike Yastrzemski needs to be owned everywhere. Yaz more please!

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Yacht Rock has polluted my brain. I’m singing Bertie Higgins, dressed like Thurston Howell, III, and wearing deodorant that smells like Pina Colada. And the most frightening aspect of the previous sentence is only one of those statements is make-believe!  Cougs figured since I like blended, virgin pineapple drinks it would be a good idea to buy me Pina Colada-scented Suave deodorant. I walk around all day wanting to lick my armpits! I’m damaged! Even more upsetting, I don’t own Xander Bogaerts (3-for-4, 4 RBIs and his 26th and 27th homer, hitting .308) or Rafael Devers (2-for-4, 2 runs, 25th homer, hitting .327) in any meaningful way. (I own Bogaerts in one league, but it’s my worst league, so it doesn’t matter.)  I briefly mentioned this yesterday, but last year Betts and Martinez put fantasy owners on their backs (no easy feat for some of you), and this year it’s been all Bogaerts and Devers. On our Player Rater, both guys are top ten for the season (Acuña reached the mountaintop, by the by). Incredibly, neither guy has been lucky. Bogaerts upped his walks; has a BABIP in line with career norms; held all batted ball profile marks from previous years, except raised his launch angle and fly ball rate just a tad. Bingo-bango-Bogaerts! Devers’s numbers are new from him at the major league level, but nothing jumps out as a career year and he’s only 22 years old.  Both guys will and should be highly ranked next year. Now, excuse me, while I go lick my armpits. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Andrew Benintendi has been…Actually, we should stop there and dissect those first four words.  He is Andrew Benintendi, as far as I know. ‘Has been’ is interesting, but more of the hyphenated word ‘has-been,’ as in ‘once was’ as in, “I saw Tom Arnold at the Whole Foods near me, what a has-been.”  Funny side note that is actually related, as most of you know, Rudy does the titles, I write the posts. So to get a title, I text him what I want the lede to be. Yesterday, I texted him, “Benintendi is a sh*tbird, but might be coming out of it with a homer, title ideas?”  That really is it, isn’t it?  What more is there to say?  His strikeout rate is egregious (for him), up from 16% to 23.6%.  His home run per fly ball would make Juan Pierre be like, “Nuh-uh, cuz, you don’t play with that turd.”  On top of the vomitorium that is housing his stats, he’s hitting so many fly balls (46%) that are going nowhere (87.5 MPH average exit velocity). This is actually a recipe for disaster I just made-up:  Benintendi has 17th most extreme launch angle and the 7th (!) worst HR/FB.  In layman’s terms, he’s hitting everything up and nothing out.  That’s awful.  So, yesterday was a solid game (3-for-5 with his 8th homer, hitting .266), but I’d be careful thinking he has been good, without the hyphen.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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From the journal of Jim Morrison, he wrote about an encounter he had with lizard wearing a crown of thorns that he alternated calling, Jesus Luzardo and The Luzard King. Here, I wish to transcribe Jim’s musings, “Today, I rode with a large Native American man to a Wawa to get some beej ferky (sic). The Native American man told me about the many lives he had lived and how he never trusted rookie pitchers. He recounted a story about how he traded all his pitchers for Chris Paddack, due to a great April in 2019.  This was confusing to me, since this was 1970, but this wise Native American knew more in his head, which he covered in an Indians baseball club hat, than I’d ever know. Was this Lou Boudreau? Before we got to the Wawa, which was only three minutes away by automobile, so not sure why it was taking so long — were we lost? — the Native American man pulled over and picked up a pitchman for an insurance company which was an animated lizard.  This was The Luzard King. An obvious lizard, which made it weird when it kept saying it was a gecko.  The Luzard King said it had a shoulder issue early in the preseason of the 2019 season, which I had a premonition would be 38 years after my death. Also, oddly enough, I’m being fed a quote from the future from Prospect Mike about Jesus Luzardo.  He will say, ‘Luzardo’s stock just continues to rise. He’s in the rarified air of ‘best pitching prospects’ now. The lefty threw 109 innings across three leagues in 2018 and posted a 129/30 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Everything is plus or better – the heater, the curve, the change, the control. He’s the total package, like the package I filled with anthrax and sent to Grey.’ Who is this Grey he speaks of? Who is Prospect Mike? Was it the peyote talking or was it something more mysterious?”  And that’s me quoting Jim Morrison quoting Prospect Mike!  Don’t think Luzardo is going to be up before the All-Star Break, but now is the time to stash him. He could be a top arm in the 2nd half, or at least a solid Middler like early Yonny.  Call him Once Uponny.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?