Please see our player page for Will Smith 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.

Head-to-head fantasy baseball encompasses some of my favorite parts of fantasy – rivalries, strategies, and ties. Okay, maybe not that last one, but overall, it’s my favorite format to play. Like in roto leagues, you’re focused on compiling stats in your scoring categories (homers, runs, steals, strikeouts, etc.), but your matchup resets each week and you’re on to the next opponent.

Punting is one of my favorite strategies in H2H Categories, mostly because it allows me to not pay a premium for saves or speed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating a) punting both or, b) fully punting either, but I do recommend a version of punting that I feel gives you an advantage over your opponents.

Here’s our disclaimer – This is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. You know your league and your in-season management ability. If you’re an owner who is excellent at scooping up new closers, then punting saves is a reasonable strategy to explore. These strategies are also not meant to be half-assed. If you’re leaving your draft knowing you need to find steals on the wire, take the time to find those steals. Now that you’ve been warned, enter the punting dungeon……if you dare.

 

The 2020 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Our 2020 Razzball leagues are in signup mode. Robot in Signup Mode, “I am entering contest to win Razzball t-shirt even though I’ve never seen a robot wear a shirt. Starting….” The Robot begins to peter out, “…New…Fad.” Oh no, the Razzball Robot has died! *screaming to heavens* What hath you forsaken me?! Heavens, “Focus on the ESPN rankings, you moron.” Wow, the heavens do not take well to histrionics. So, this year’s ESPN rankings are a tad goofier than I remember them, but maybe I just got smarter — Smarterened? Smartered? Became the smarts? Meh, I don’t know. What I do know is ESPN has Tim Anderson ranked 143rd overall and that made me cackle like a hyena for so long a group of white-jacketed asylum workers showed up at my house and tried to cart me away. Me singing to the tune of Pharcyde, “Can’t keep gettin’ carted awaaaaaaaaaay…Can’t keep gettin’ carted awaaaaaaaaaay…Can’t keep gettin’ carted awaaaaaaaaaay…” Any hoo! I’m clutchin’ my pearls like a Barbara Bush hologram and about to take out some ‘perts! *slowly, menacingly sharpens index finger for more incisive typing* I’m about to cut up somebody with words! Now let’s open a window and defenestrate ESPN’s 2020 fantasy baseball rankings. To the tune of Major Tom, I call this Major Dumb:

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I regret to inform you, my fantasy friends, that even fake jedi get the flu. That’s right, Roto-Wan is coming to you today from a Sudafed laced haze that would make Jesse Pinkman proud. Stop interrupting me pink elephant, I’m trying to get a preamble together here. At any rate, we’ve reached the NL in our bullpen previews. Let’s kick it off with the very in flux NL East. My advice is to exercise even more caution with these names than we usually do.

AL East AL Central AL West

NL East NL Central NL West

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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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It’s the episode you’ve waited patiently the entire off-season for, it’s of course the Top 20 Catchers for 2020 Fantasy Baseball. This was essentially Grey recording 60 minutes of catcher questions. Imagine if that was a specialty series weekly during the season here on Razzball? We need a catching expert! Donkey Teeth make this happen! Words, words, words. More words, stop. Oops didn’t mean to write that, but my delete button is broken so I’m going to leave that here. It’s not like I ran out of exciting things to say about catchers, or the players we discuss not named Gary, J.T., Yasmani, Willson, or Carlton Banks cousin. It’s catchers, but we make it enjoyable. Grey talks about Chance Sisco and doesn’t make a single Dru Hill joke.

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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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The hot stove heating up right before Thanksgiving is exactly how it was meant to be. Now if I could see Giancarlo in nothing but taters that would make me thankful for everything. Five hours through my thankfulness, “…um…I’m also thankful for the lines at the DMV because they give me time to reflect…” Seven hours later, “…I’m thankful for my wife’s cooking because it helps me appreciate dining out…” Ten hours later, “…I’m thankful for the kid at the frozen yogurt place who puts his grubby fingers on the yogurt spout because I really shouldn’t have been eating yogurt anyway…” I hope you’re all as thankful for everything you have too on this glorious day of turkey, stuffing and ignoring the cranberry sauce. Any hoo! The Padres and Brewers igniting the pilot light on the hot stove, sending Trent Grisham and Zach Davies to the Padres for Luis Urias and Eric Lauer. This trade is close to even, so why make it? That’s a mystery best left to Grisham’s older, unrelated cousin.

Trent Grisham had a higher walk rate (14.6%) than strikeout rate (13.9%) in Triple-A last year. That originally attracted me. If I’m being honest, before I go any further, a lot was turning me off. He didn’t look like a major league regular as recently as a year ago — I mean, for Criss Angel’s sake, he hit .233 in Double-A in 2018. Hilariously, he had a 26% strikeout rate in Single-A. Grisham is a lefty, which immediately gives me pause, because the wrong manager — hey, Tingler, how’s tings? — will platoon a lefty almost exclusively. Now that I say the quiet part out loud, what the hell am I doing being excited about Grisham, and has anyone turned my marbles in at my library’s lost & found? Thankfully, it wasn’t just a minor league walk rate in a mere 34 games that drew me in for Grisham. In 2015, Trent Clark was drafted 15th overall by the Milwaukee Beermakers. Trent said, “I miss my mommy’s née and I want you to now call me Trent Grisham,” and a legend was born. I.e., you people who need things like I and E spelled out to you, Grisham was a top prospect in the country five years ago. Maybe he should’ve went to college, but can’t fault a guy for skipping classes to play pro ball. Without college, he brought warts with him to minor league baseball, that he might’ve been able to shake prior. So, to recap, Grisham was good, was terrible in the minors, became good again this year. He’s still only 23 years old. Better he figure things out now than later like those great waxy candies. So, what changed, you ask with a bat of your eyelashes. An approach change. He used to try to be overly patient and hit everything the opposite way. He began to pull more pitches this year and became more aggressive, and things went Click, like that terrible Adam Sandler movie, but in a good way. This year Grisham hit 32 homers across three levels. This is a guy who regularly took a walk, and that hasn’t just disappeared. Oh, and he has 15-steal speed. I’m sorry, a guy who can go 30/15 with walks? Who’s being drafted around the last round in many fantasy drafts? Hmm, all of those reasons why I didn’t like him seem like distant memories, which gives me an idea. Hello Sharks! For $400,000, you can have 5% of my secondhand memory foam mattress store called Distant Memories. Only real concern is that Grisham doesn’t do well early on, falls into a platoon or worse, is demoted, but his price is so cheap in drafts, that he’s well within the realm of being a sleeper. Also, he hit .284 vs. lefties last year in the minors, which was better than his average vs. righties, so he’s not an obvious platoon guy. For 2020, I’ll give Trent Grisham projections of 64/19/51/.254/13 in 453 ABs with a chance for much more. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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*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 if one can only remember a year or two? 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. 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 2019 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

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You emerge from mother’s basement, holding your hands up to your eyes to block the sun, and scream, “Ma! I won my fantasy league! Ma!” You stop to look around; it’s a fiery landscape reminiscent to an apocalypse. You open further the basement door, and it falls off its hinges. You, scared, “Ma?” There’s no walls anymore on your house, which gives you a vantage point to the entire surrounding area that smolders. Coming up your once-tree-lined street is a posse of thousands of–An army from another country? Another world? Who are they? What have they done with your family? Just as the questions dissolve over you, a warrior spots you and grunts for you to get in line. You reach for the only weapon you can get your hands on, a Lou Pinella commemorative mini-bat from a 1981 stadium giveaway, and join the post-apocalyptic army. As you scuttle into position behind the marching forces, you see a group of warriors carrying your mother’s head on a pitchfork. Overcome with emotion, you run up and scream, “Ma! I gotta tell you about the fantasy league I won!” In this scenario, I am your mother, and the army is Razzball. You’re welcome! Today is the day when you realize you’ve spent 27,000 man hours this summer beating eleven other strangers to win a virtual trophy, and it feels great! That’s if you won your league, if you came in 2nd or worst, you get an A for effort. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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*glances at Houston score* Welp, another insane offensive night for the As–Wait a second! Make that As– into an A’s. We’ve got a barnburner like the Astros were John Wilkes Booth! (If you get that joke, you’ve also read Manhunt, to which I say — nerd!) The ALCS is going to be a series of 24-23 games that last eighteen hours. “Joe Buck, are you even watching the game or are you just reading old issues of Men’s Health with the pages stuck together?” That’s Ron Darling reprimanding Buck. It was the 4th inning and the entire A’s lineup already had multiple hits, so let’s check some boxes, shall we? Sean Murphy (3-for-5, 3 runs, 4 RBIs) hit his 2nd and 3rd homers, and I recently picked him up for an AL-Only league. He had ten quick homers in only 31 games of Triple-A so he’s got power to spare, and Chris Herrmann was just designated for assignment. I hope Herrmann can find peace with they’re re-assignment. Matt Olson (2-for-4, 3 runs, 4 RBIs) also hit two homers. What Olson is doing in 70% of a season and without a hamate is going fairly unnoticed, and I already know I’m going to be so high on him in 2020. Then, Marcus Semien (3-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs) hit his 27th homer, because what goes up must come down with, uh, Semien. Finally, Khris Davis (3-for-6, 2 runs, 3 RBIs) hit his 20th homer, asserting he’s not really Chris Davis, but I’m not sure I believe him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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