Please see our player page for Tucker Barnhart 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 a big fan of the everyman. I consider myself the everyman. I’m every man’s everyman. A pioneer of normcore. Track pants and a blinking light on my car’s dashboard that either means my seatbelt isn’t on or I need oil. That is me. What better way to elevate the Everyman Culture, than to take part in a tourney where no one is smarter than anyone else. Enter the RazzSlam, a Best Ball tourney.  Every everyman likely knows what a Best Ball league is, but, if you don’t, it’s when you draft a team and the computer manages it for you by choosing who are your best players, and you get those stats. It’s basically one fantasy league removed from the robots taking over and killing us all. Well, the last laugh is on you robots, there’s a virus beating you to the punch! Kinda love that Razzball is putting on a tourney (hosted by NFBC — thank you!) that no one really has any clue how to strategize against. A true everyman experience. Oh, I’m sure there’s a few people who think they know the best strategy for, uh, Best Ball, and a few of them might be right, but there’s an under 1% chance they know why they’re right, and it isn’t just luck. In some ways, Best Ball leagues are a lot like Best Ball strategies. Throw a ton of them out there and a few good ones will rise to the top through sheer force of players’ performances and nothing you’re actually doing. That’s the fun. Anyway, here’s my RazzSlam, a 42-round, Best Ball 12 team draft recap:

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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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Last week we took a look at some later-round hitting targets that can help catch you up in your batting categories. The gift I bring you this week is a look at some pitchers to target who appear ahead of their peers. Oh, the poo that I had to sludge through to do this research. I tried finding team notes for how they’re expecting to handle their pitchers in the early weeks of the season. I have to give a shout out to Jeff Zimmerman for his “Mining the News” articles over on Fangraphs. They were extremely helpful and a must-read. After sludging through the team outlooks about where teams expect their starters to be by opening day, I took a look at Derek Carty’s The Bat to try and find some values. The reason I used The Bat is that the projection system takes into account the team schedule, which, in a shortened season means a lot. The pitchers on this list have a pretty decent ADP range, but grabbing pitchers that aren’t going to throw limited pitches in their first couple of starts should give you a head start against the competition.

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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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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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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:

Psyche! Before we get into the post, fantasy football RCLs have launched.  Get in now!

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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:

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