Please see our player page for Jorge Alfaro 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.

I’m still not convinced Yermin Mercedes isn’t a LARP. Or a Transformer. His name really is Yermin Mercedes? Just out here with a name that sounds like a German saying German Mercedes? And he doesn’t wear a Mercedes emblem around his neck like Flavor Flav? Is this real life or a simulation? The White Sox lost Eloy and just randomly found a guy who can do exactly the same? Right, right, okay, so the story I heard about one fantasy baseballer hearing the news of Eloy’s injury while on the Mercedes-Benz factory tour and crying onto a C-Class, and that transforming into Yermin, was a lie? I don’t hear lies, I hear truths! So, Yermin Mercedes went 2-for-4 and hit another home run (2nd) yesterday, and has basically done what we would’ve hoped for from Andrew Vaughn in our wildest dreams. But can it continue? Ah, excellent leading question! Yes, Yermin can hit .550. No! Of course not! He does have a solid hit tool (can hit .280) and good power (20-ish homers). The moment he slumps and Vaughn hits (it’ll happen — hopefully for my teams) Yermin will be on the outside, while Vaughn moves in. There is a chance Mercedes could hit 25 homers/.280, which is essentially Trey Mancini-type projections, so he’s worth rostering for now. tl;dr: Mercedes goes vroom, vroom, make room. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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:

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Down the stretch we come. Two weeks remaining of the MLB season and hopefully, this article finds you in the playoffs. I’ve tried to recommend relatively low-owned options all year long and that’s not changing at this point. This week the juggernaut offense of the Miami Marlins gets eight games over the next six days. I jest a little by calling them juggernauts, but over the last 14 days, the Marlins have posted a team wOBA of .334 – good for 11th in the league. Their opponents in this stretch are the Red Sox (3) and the Nationals (5). While they do face Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, none of the other starting pitchers is anything to be scared of. Shoot, even Scherzer and Corbin have combined for a 4.07 ERA this year. After the starters, the Marlins bats will face bullpens that have posted 5.00+ ERAs on the year. So, who can help us this week from the Marlins? Since Jon Berti hit the IL, Corey Dickerson (25.8% ESPN, 35% CBS) has been leading off against right-handed pitchers. Jesus Aguilar (20.1% ESPN, 45% CBS) has quietly had a really nice rebound season. He’s reduced his strikeout rate for the 4th consecutive year and can help you in every category other than stolen bases. Miguel Rojas (10.3% ESPN, 18% CBS) returned from an IL stint and has batted close to .400 and has chipped in a pair of steals over the last two weeks. If you’re desperate at catcher, Jorge Alfaro (7.1% ESPN, 31%) has posted a decent batting average and has chipped in a pair of stolen bases. Finally, Garrett Cooper (10.2% ESPN, 22% CBS) provides multi-positional eligibility and has mashed three homers over the last two weeks. If there’s a specific category you feel that your team is lacking, pick your favorite Marlin. Let’s take a look at some other options to help you out down the stretch.

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In the first of sixteen doubleheaders yesterday, we were treated to The Bobby Dalbec Show, starring…Bobby Dalbec. *Bobby enters stage right and the crowd quiets* One boy in the front row of the black & white audience stands and points, “It’s the resurrection of the great Red Sox legend, Bobby Doerr!” Then an usher points, “Oh, my God, Dalbec is present tense for Doerr!” Another argumentative guy screams, “Yo, Bobby Dalbec, what’s the deal with Red Ruffing? He die from huffing? From being a Red? Screw socialism!” Yesterday, Bobby Dalbec, local hero, and all-around Red Sox player, went 3-for-6, 4 RBIs with his 4th and 5th homer in, like, two games. His power isn’t without its ceiling, but that ceiling is on the moon. He could be a 35-homer guy in the majors. The big drawback is–Wait a second, did he have a 50% strikeout rate going into the doubleheader? Hey, Dalbec, B. Doerr, don’t B. Don’ter. Dalbec might hit .205 for the immediate future, but he eventually finds contact once he gets comfortable in a league. For this year, Dalbec or Moistasskiss? Ya know what I’m saying, go with the hot hand and Bobby Doerr’s present tense. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Well, I thought by the time June rolled around I’d be writing knowing whether or not a plan was in place for at least an attempt at baseball in 2020, but instead as I write this the immediate future of the MLB, along with much else in the world, is still painfully up in the air. As we all deal with everything going on around us, though, I don’t think it’s too self-indulgent to turn to a favorite past time/hobby/obsession/part-time job to help strengthen us mentally and emotionally — and for the readers and writers here at Razzball, that past time, of course, is fantasy baseball.

Since I’ve always been a fan of mining bad real-life MLB teams for deep-league value — attempting to find treasure in the perceived trash pile that other owners may overlook completely — we’ll take one of those bad MLB teams and see what it might have to offer, especially for us deep leaguers.  I’m choosing the Marlins, since for about five months now I’ve just had a feeling that they could be at least a bit better than folks expect, especially in fantasy terms (though in a shortened season with expanded playoffs, who knows what craziness could ensue).  I’ve gone through my rosters, and here are the Marlins I have on multiple teams, all of whom I’d consider grabbing more shares of if and when I draft more teams for 2020.  Let’s see who on this team is leading the charge to make me think there might be something to see here…

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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.

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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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After assessing starting pitching the last couple of weeks (ERA, WHIP), today I turn my attention towards the hitting side. There are so many unknowns right now about the length of the upcoming season; possibilities include everything from no games, to a full 162-game season stretching until Christmas. With at bats & counting stats completely up in the air, evaluating hitters with rate stats makes sense. What are the best ones to use?

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