Please see our player page for Martin Maldonado 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.

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.  

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

*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? 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 (last two months?). 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 2020 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

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As an Angeleno, I can’t tell you how amazing it’s been to be able to watch Clayton Kershaw every 5th game for all of his 2,500 Ks. I kid, games are blacked out here, and I’ve only seen him in the playoffs. Is he good? Really? Can you describe what he looks like when he’s good? He’s a lefty? A good slider? Are you messing with me? I can’t tell. *opening up Kershaw’s player page* Wow, I feel like I might’ve missed something by never seeing him pitch in a regular season game. Geez. Yesterday, Clayton Kershaw (6 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 2 walks, 8 Ks, ERA at 1.50) recorded his 2500th strikeout and he seems likely to avoid the Doom of F-Her, where he disappears in his 30s, and ruins his Hall of Fame candidacy. Forget that, actually, Kershaw could win the NL Cy this year for old time’s sake. Be kinda awesome to see him collect the award before Game 4 of the World Series, then goes out and gives up seven earned in the 1st inning, eliminating the Dodgers. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Mariners have been something of an s-show. On one hand, they’ve been an excellent source of cheap speed. On the other hand, Dee Gordon, J.P. Crawford, Shed Long, and Tim Lopes are a combined 9/76 with 3 steals over the last 7 days. Checks notes again. Throws up in mouth. Tosses notes into trash. Praise the fantasy gods for the Mariners newest speed demon Sam Haggerty (.7% ESPN, 1% CBS). The Mariners’ rookie batted second on Sunday and has a pair of steals and a homer in 20 plate appearances. He was never a power prospect in the minors but did steal 20+ bases in 2017 (49), 2018, and 2019. His speed kept his batting average decent due to a high BABIP. Haggerty is the proverbial shiny new speed toy in the Seattle lineup. Starting Friday, the Mariners get a four-game set against the Angels. The Angels have allowed the most stolen bases this year, so if you’re desperate for steals, grab Haggerty now to get ahead of your opponents.

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Aaaand we’re back! In case you’re concerned, I’m writing this in complete isolation from any human contact, and yes, I’m wearing my mask. It has a sweet Joker smile and scares old people. 2020 has been real rough my over-the-internet friends, from George Floyd to murder hornets to tiktok becoming so popular its been bad news city, but nothing has rocked our worlds harder than you know what. I’m speaking of course, of the Red Sox heartless trade of my flame and my muse Mookie Betts. Ugh. How could this year get any worse? To boot, my hopes of Betts getting the COVID, missing 2020, and re-signing with Boston look to be all but dashed as he’s signed a lifetime contract with the Dodgers worth more than all the money me and everyone I know will ever make in their lifetimes. But fret not, wunderkind GM Chaim Bloom has replaced him with Kevin Pillar. You know, the former Blue Jay? Yeah, that guy. Welp. Give me the rona now God and end this. But wait–keep that mask on! Pillar flashed some serious leather in right field Friday night and went 3-for-5 with 3 RBI! Maybe this won’t be so bad! At least Boston won’t have to pay a 41 year-old outfielder 30 million dollars in 2031? Or will we all be d-e-d dead by then anyway? Did I mention the Sawx added utlity infielder Jose Peraza too? He went 4-for-5 with 2 doubles, 2 runs, and 2 RBI Friday and Grey told you to BUY. Jose leads the league in batting average, folks! Peraza struggled last year but he’s just two years removed from batting .288 with 23 steals in 2018! Pillar and Peraza could be the bright spots we (I) so desperately need right now. They could do some real damage in a stacked, albeit Mookie-less, Boston line up. Who needs Betts when you got Kevin Pillar and Jose Peraza?! (Sigh, I do. I do. I really do. Come back to me, Mook!)

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hyun-Jin Ryu signed with the Jays. That’s…interesting. *scrambling to see Ryu’s interleague ERA vs. AL teams* 3.84 ERA in 86 2/3 IP with a 8.8 K/9 and this is still too small a sample. Plus, as I always say, you can’t just say a guy’s away stats are what he’d now do when he’s calling a place home. Also, what is going on with Ryu’s early draft price? Maybe it’s still early for ADP and I shouldn’t assign any real truth to where guys are going, but like Hugh Jackman’s marriage to his grandmother, it’s very real how late Ryu’s been going so far this year. I get it, I get it, I GET IT! He’s not a 1-something ERA pitcher, so y’all are compensating for that, but like me with my Happy Socks in my pants, you’re overcompensating. He didn’t just have a Cy Young-type year last year. He had a 1.97 ERA in 2018, too. In six seasons, his career ERA is 2.98. Okay, fine, ERA is stupid. He has a 1.01 WHIP two years in a row. WHIP’s stupid too? Fine, but these are two of the categories you’re hoping to get from your starters. Wins are just stupid stupid. Nothing can be figured from those. So, that leaves us with Ks. He has a 8 K/9 and a 1.2 BB/9, so, you got it, you’ve figured out a reason to not absolutely love Ryu. He’s merely a 2.75/1.01/150 guy. Shucks, what a shame. For penance, I will dye my skin whiter and cat-o-nine-tails my back like a villain in a Dan Brown book. Even if you think the AL could be less kind for Ryu, how much worse will he be from a 2.75/1.01 ratio guy? Fifty points on ERA? Sixty? Five points on WHIP? Ten? He suddenly won’t have one of the best walk rates in baseball? I’m going to be conservative with his projections and they still look great. For 2020, I’ll give Ryu projections of 13-6/3.32/1.09/153 in 167 IP. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2020 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Jeff McNeil went 3-for-4, 3 runs, 3 RBIs with a double slam (19, 20) and legs (5), hitting .326. It’s legitimately surprising when I see any player who has more than 400 ABs with less than 20 homers, so I’m glad McNeil stopped confounding me. Usually don’t do this before the end of the season recaps, but sneaked a peek at my preseason blurb for McNeil, and I will share it right after this awkward sentence, “Truth bomb alert!  I almost wrote a McNeil sleeper post, but A) Mets B) Mets C) There’s no C. D) The Mets are saying he might not have a set position and be more of a floater, and, ever since Meatballs, there’s never been a good use of a floater. E) Mets F) Mets G) I wasn’t as blown away by his projections that I came up with as I thought I would be.  H) That’s about it.  I) Whoa, there’s a HI in the middle of the alphabet?  Who’s trying to say hello?!” And that’s me quoting me! I projected him for 17 HRs and 8 SBs. Those numbers aren’t far off, but you know where I was way off? Yup and yup, his average. I projected him to hit .269, so what changed? He hits everything well. He is in the bottom seven in the league for soft contact — Just Dong, Bryce, Mookie, Bryce — are a few of the names there. He also leads the league in Swing% (59.5), but he doesn’t strikeout a lot. Translation:  He swings a lot and makes good contact. It’s a recipe that’s worked for Castellanos, Javy Baez and Devers, to name a few. The fear for 2020 is McNeil becomes Castellanos on the Tigers, and not the She-cah-go Greek God of Hard Contact. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

MLB teams were whistling 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover yesterday:

Just slip out the back, Zac, make a new plan, Tanner,
Don’t need to be coy, Greek God of Hard Contact, just listen to me,
Hop on the bus, Jesus, don’t need to discuss much,
Just drop off the key, Greinke, and get yourself free.

The deadline seemed to be lulling people to sleep, then the Diamondbacks stepped up and decided they were contenders, be-bopping Jazz Chisholm to the Marlins for Zac Gallen. But it turned out they were Indiana Jones, when he would replace an ancient artifact with a sand bag by switching one Zack with another Zac, so the booby trap wouldn’t expose them to trouble. See, and I always thought the idea of the outfield hot tub was to expose booby traps.  Incredibly, the Cardinals announced the Zack Greinke to Astros deal hours before the Diamondbacks. The Astros rotation is now, as they would’ve said in the 20’s, bona fide. In good spirits, Justin Verlander tweeted out, “As long as we don’t get Bauer, we good.” I hear that, JV.  I don’t trust home/away splits much at all, unless it’s Coors vs. non-Coors, but, if you must know 2.96 home ERA vs. 2.80 away. Usually it’s the inverse, but Greinke is a 15-year vet; you really think he’s going to pitch that differently in Houston? The answer you’re looking for is no.  He’s a control artist whiz like you’d want from your child when they’re doing the pee-pee dance. Speaking of which, did every team relieve themselves of their relievers? Let’s find out!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?