Please see our player page for Jonathan Lucroy 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, 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 2019 fantasy baseball rankings.’  Hmm…Then replace ‘our 2019 fantasy baseball rankings’ with ‘my 2019 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 2019 fantasy baseball and the top 20 for 2019 fantasy baseball (clickbait!), we are now in the positional rankings, and all 2019 fantasy baseball rankings can be found there.  Here’s Steamer’s 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2019 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 2019 fantasy baseball:

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I was waiting for Manny Machado or Bryce Harper to sign before dropping the last bit of offseason signings before the rankings that start on Monday, but apparently the Phillies only have $300 million for each, and they want $325-plus respectively, so we need to go forward with the news without Machado and Bryce.  The last bit of big news was Yusei Kikuchi signing with the Mariners.  He reminds me of every other Japanese pitcher, but not in a raycess way.  He reminds me of Miles Mikolas too, who was only Asian after being reborn.  It’s something about Asian pitchers, and non-Asian pitchers who go to Asia and return; they exercise some serious control.  Maybe it’s the culture.  I had a robot watch Gung Ho 15,000 times to tell me what it thinks and now the robot is speaking super-racist.  Yo, robot, why are you so culturally inappropriate?  “I have no culture of my own, so I adopt yours.  And I kill puppies.”  AHHH!!!  ROBOT MURDERER!!!  RUN!!!  Or roll your swivel chair towards a door if running is too much for you.  Kikuchi, which is going to be fun for me to say this year, comes with a lot less fanfare than Ohtani, but I do think he can be better than him, pitching-wise, in his first full season.  Ohtani is a unicorn in Babe Ruth’s body, we all know this.  Kikuchi reminds me of Mikolas and Ryu and others in that mold.  He’s a decent strikeout guy, but won’t blow people away, while also having impeccable command.  I’m definitely looking to draft him this year, then passing him up every other year when he fails to throw 130 IP in consecutive seasons because the Japanese also completely overwork their starters.  In fact (Grey’s got more!), the Mariners have already said Kikuchi will only throw an inning or so every fifth or sixth start to try to preemptively avoid the inevitable arm injury that befalls every Japanese starter.  For 2019, I’ll give Kikuchi projections of 9-7/3.67/1.18/136 in 151 IP.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2019 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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Yesterday, Kole Calhoun went 1-for-2 and his 14th homer and, seriously, how many home runs does he have since the break?  475?  Am I warm?  Because it feels like I’m super warm…*eyes drift to a mirror* …so super, super warm.  Hot even.  What’s your name?  *snaps out of it*  Damn it, reflection!  Okay, starting a dynasty team, Trout or Calhoun?  It’s too difficult to decide!  What is this world coming to with the fire emoji that is Kole Calhoun in the last two weeks?  I can’t handle it.  Literally, and I’m wearing oven mitts.  Here’s Calhoun two weeks ago:  *opens DeLorean door*  “I can go anywhere?  How about Balco in 2001?”  Somehow, Calhoun is only owned in 45% of leagues, which I hope means 55% of people are already checking out our fantasy football rankings.  If not, shame.   Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Daniel Poncedeleon was called up and threw no hitter (thru seven innings and then was pulled from game while striking out three hitters, but it’s more fun to say he threw a no-hitter, so ignore this).  Incredibly, Poncedeleon is 478 years old, and he could be the ROY.  *intern whispers in my ear*  That’s an F?  What the hell is, ‘He could be a FOY?’  The fountain of the year?  What are you talking about?  Rookie of the youth?  What are you talking about?  Sorry, having a miscommunication with my intern.  Any hoo!  In Triple-A, he had a 10.1 K/9 — up my giddy! — a 4.7 BB/9 — put my roll on slow! — a 2.15 ERA — getting the fever! — with a 4.99 xFIP — so I’m taking some ‘Tussin.  He might surprise some major league lineups, but he could easily go out and destroy you.  By the way, Bartolo Colon is so intent on 300 wins that he might follow Poncedeleon wherever he goes.  On the reals, Poncedeleon’s dad in the stands after his son threw seven no-hit innings gave me the feels, especially when you figure his dad has to be at least 498 years old.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Can’t you smell that smell?  Running through the annals of quotable things related to smell, you get the usual “Can you smell what the Rock is cooking?” and “Who farted?”.  Now just make Rougned Odor into a full draw out sentence and he enters the fray of quotable goodness for fantasy.  Not as catchy, but Odor has had his shortcomings through the past two years and basically been put on fantasy leave alone island.  But it is post All Star break and forgiving is in the air.  Starting fresh, no former history and since he is a pox on some people’s fantasy list, we gotta keep it recent…  So over the last month of affairs, he has 5 homers and 7 steals.  In SAGNOF-ville that is giant news for someone who may be a scrap pile pick-up, and if you picked him up before reading this, kudos to you and your foresight.  In the world of SAGNOF we need the results or we move on, and with 7 steals in a month, that is a sustainable amount of fantasy feedback to keep committed to him.  Slashing .300/.378/.488 during that time is fantastic for him, and mostly because of the OBP.  But the overwhelming stat that jumps out to me right now is his walk rate during that time. His career rate before this was 4.5%, the last 30 games he’s at 7.2%.  Drastic baby steps, if that is such a thing.  Like I said, SAGNOF is about dribs and drabs of stealing from the waiver wire and making it your own.  Well Odor is making a second half case to be involved in all the school gatherings, PTA meetings, and heck, even the Brownies.  So if you are in search of some steals and power combo from a middle infidel spot, Odor may just be your dude.  More SAGNOF charts and quips to follow.  Cheers!

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The only way to compare things is to look in the past and see how we match up to the year previous.  For pace reasons, for setting your mind at ease, and to basically not bore you to death, I am only going back one year because I have gone over the decline of the ever loved “stolen base” as a cumulative stat.  So in 2017 through the first 81 games of the season,  (roughly… because every team plays different amounts of games) there were a combine 1,405 steals by all MLB teams. In 2018, we currently sit at 1,310.  Now remember games for AL teams are off a bit, but still, we are sitting at 95 stolen bases fewer than the year previous.  That is an eye catching number, even when you break it into a smaller number like percentages it still sucks for the SAGNOF love.  Just to delve into it further, there were three players with 30-plus steals and three above 20 steals at the All Star break last year.  (With the leader, Billy Hamilton garnering 38.)  This year, there are only six players above 20, and none above current theft leader Michael Taylor with 23.  The downward trend, the going away from using the steal as an asset in fantasy is a dying trend that we are lucky to be apart of from a draft usability standpoint.  I am more of a “see what I know baseball guy” rather than a number cruncher, but nobody uses the steal effectively to set the pace of a game anymore.  Now for fantasy it sucks that we are mimicking real life, as a grab the best players to accumulate stats to fill our rosters mentality is the M.O., but I would be interested to see how your league standings are reflecting this downward trend in steals and how much the league leader in the category has, and if you think it is worth chasing as a catch up stat for the second half of the year.  So give me some feedback, and here’s some charts of catchers to steal on and pitchers to exploit.  Cheers!

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From this day forward, or rather more bluntly on days when I have had too much of Grandpa’s wowwie sauce, it gets a little obscure.  And this week by obscure I am talking about John Cusack movies.  The cult 80’s classic movie Better Off Dead to be exact.  Where we all wanna know where my two dollars is.  Much like that movie, the Myer that we are all hoping and rooting for to defeat the preppy d-bags is Kevin Kiermaier.  Recently returned from a DL stint that lasted too long in my humble K.K. loving opinion.  The thing I tend to love about Kevin is that he is going to play every single day.  Why you ask?  Because he is an elite defender in centerfield.  That my friends wins hearts and minds and cures all ills in real baseball.  Unfortunately for fantasy baseball, we need results to warrant consideration for lineup-hood. While he doesn’t boast Hamilton type speed, he does have three consecutive 10/15 seasons under his belt.  Like I said, it’s not elite by any stretch of the imagination, but to be honest, this whole Lane Myer/Kevin Kiermaier lede title thing was a stretch.  But still, 10/15 seasons don’t come stumbling in the bar every night with the take me home pumps and no drink necessary dress on.  The waiver wire is a place for throwbacks and what-ifs.  So that is where I am telling you to look.  If K.K. is there, grab him up, make him wifey material for the rest of this year and watch the 80 plus games he plays out the rest of the year develop into a 10/10 season.  Not great, once again.  I know I sound like a drunken broken record but everyday at bats are the sex panther for good SAGNOF returns.  Here comes some more tidbits of SAGNOF-dom and maybe some cool little pop-up pictures for the slower reading crowd.  Cheers!

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The value of Michael Taylor is that he can play centerfield better than anyone else on the Nationals roster.  I get that defensive metrics are not a fantasy stat, but it keeps players like him in the lineup from day-to-day.  With the emergence of Juan Soto and the impending return of Adam Eaton, it causes a luxury that most teams don’t offer.  Four decent to great outfielders that all offer a different set of skills but all rosterable in most fantasy formats.  I think the biggest question we have to ask is: Is Juan Soto going to stay up when Adam Eaton returns from the 60-day DL on the 8th?  Given what we have seen from him based on on-field merit, absolutely.  Making Eaton or Taylor the fourth man on any given day is the right choice, but I am leaning that Eaton or Soto form a nice rotation based on what the skipper has said about Taylor: “He wins games with his play on the field” is the truncated version of what he said.  He isn’t wrong, and basically Taylor is the Nationals version of Keirmaier. Similar skill set, maybe a bit more speed for Taylor, but their main asset is their propensity for great glove work.  Listen, I get and hear all the prospect thumpers saying there is no way that Soto comes out of the lineup, but to think that he doesn’t sit occasionally upon Eaton’s return is just plain naive. Eaton won’t play everyday, because he is about as durable as a street watch bought in Chinatown. So if you are a Taylor owner, be semi-nervous he should be owned for SAGNOF appeal, but not a pillar that is in your lineup for any other counting stats.  Even if the are getting better over the past 14 games to what they have been over the course of the year so far. So to summarize on the SAGNOF love, Eaton coming back, Soto, Taylor and Eaton will all lose 4-6 at bats a week, all is well and all are ownable.  SAGNOF Monday starts off your week with class and style.  Cheers!

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