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.
Stan Bush? Give me that beat! You got the Tauchman! You got the power! Yeah! You’ve never walked, you’ve never run! You’re a winner! (Though some may say running and walking aren’t bad for baseball.) You got the moves, you got the streets (not as important in baseball)! Break the rules (well, Barry Bonds had some success with this)! You’re nobody’s fool! Yeah! You’re at your best when the going gets rough! (This is true since the Yanks had some injuries and needed Mike Tauchman to step up.) You’ve been put to the test, but it’s never enough! (That’s less true; we appreciate you here, Tauchman). You got the Tauchman! You got the power! It’s all true! So, Mike Tauchman (2-for-4, 2 RBIs, hitting .299) hit another home run last night, his 10th, that’s in 60 games. And he stole a bag, his 4th! He now has three homers in two games, and four homers in the last week. I grabbed him in multiple leagues, because who doesn’t love dongs! Not this redblooded American! Hoo-rah, I got the Tauch!
Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
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The Orioles are on pace to give up 1,776 home runs, because they’re close to our nation’s capital, and that is a great figure, a historic number. A cannot be imitated — help me out here, Captain Lou Albano — never duplicated number. Scratch that, they’re now on pace to give up 1777 home runs because of the Battle of the Assunpink Creek. That was also the title of the Pink concert when her stretch pants were a little too skimpy in the back. “I see your Assupink Creek 2017.” Great show, the aerobatics alone. So, I try to avoid making every lede about hitters in Coors or facing the Orioles, but here goes, because Gleyber Torres has 14 homers against the O’s in five games and 12 homers on the year. There’s math involved in that number. He went 2-for-5 with his 11th and 12th homers. Next up, literally, Brett Gardner (3-for-4, 1 run) hit more doubles than the sketchy guy at the craps table who kept betting the horn and looking over his shoulder. DJ LeMahieu (2-for-4, 2 RBIs, HR) was on the ones and twos, but mostly on the ones, since he hit leadoff and his 4th homer. Gary Sanchez (2-for-4) hit his 15th long ball and don’t mention hitting balls around Gary, he crosses his legs. Then there’s Thairo (2-for-4, 2 RBIs, HR), who should be on the Iron Throne, but that’s a hot internet take, and I’m here for cold ones, but he even has three homers because Our Commissioner Manfred sticks Capri Sun straws into balls and juices them up. If you learn nothing else from this post, and you might not, stream all hitters vs. the Orioles. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
How does Franmil Reyes have such quick hand-eye coordination for a big guy? Of course, it’s due to his 20/20 over 20/20 vision. Franmil’s two-upping your vision! Franmil Reyes isn’t just a big-time power hitter, he’s also the winner of the 1st Annual Kyle Blanks Look-A-Like Pageant. You might remember Franmil’s now famous answer to the question, “California is going through a world-record drought, what would you do to solve this dilemma if you had one afternoon to spend with your doppelgänger, Kyle Blanks?” Franmil took his time, then answered, “I’d go to the tallest peak in the Rockies with Mr. Blanks and we’d make snow angels, melting more snowflakes than Fox News and that water would roll into California. I.e., This is my Fran-friction!” I lifted myself from my Furby beanbag and cheered in my man cave. Bless you, Franmil! Bless you, child! Also bless his power. His batting average will come down some with a larger sample size, but there is no larger sample size than this 7-foot, 450-pound behemoth when it comes to dongs. Sounded better in my head! If you need power, I’d grab Franmil in all leagues. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:
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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 JoseRamirez 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!
J.A. Happ might’ve realized he wasn’t staying with the Jays much longer when guys in the front office kept asking him if he liked the team’s new jersey and it was the same jersey he had been wearing but a small man with a goatee, who said he worked as Peter Dinklage’s stunt double for parts of season 2 and 3 of GOT, was standing with his hand over the ‘Ja’ of Jays. Happ tried to understand, “Do I like the Blue Ys?” The front office exec tried to lead him to the answer, “If there was no,” motioning to Dinklage’s stunt double’s hand covering the ‘Ja,’ “In the Jays, would that be okay with you?” Rather than the low-rent game of charades, they just traded him to the Yankees. Happ should be happy to be out of Canada, we have a burgeoning coal economy. No idea what Happ will do on the Yankees, but what he SHOULD (caps for emphasis, not due to a sticky keyboard) is be great. His 10.3 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and 3.63 xFIP makes him easily the 2nd best pitcher on the Yankees and around that of a top 30 starter. Also, the AL East is like this: J.A. Happ mimes wiping dandruff off his shoulder. Nothing to it, kid! Of course, it’s been like this all year and he still has a 4.18 ERA, so ‘should’ and ‘would’ can have a baby and it will still be, ‘who knows?’ Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
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!