Please see our player page for Willson Contreras 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.

Ramon Laureano is running angry about his 2020 season. After an .853 OPS over his first two seasons with the Athletics with 20 total SBs, Laureano saw his OPS plummet to .704 and accumulated only 2 SBs in 2020. He’s already more than halfway to his season-high 13 SBs. 

Is this for real? Yes, to an extent. He’s projected for 131 SBs if he plays 150 games this season. Thems Rickey numbers! The (current) Athletics organization is notorious for not stealing bases, but Laureano has the speed and while he doesn’t have an elite walk-rate — his 81% contract rate paired with his legs can help him get on base at a decent rate. The only thing that could stop Laureano is an injury. In his young career, he does seem to be slightly injury prone — already dealing with a jammed wrist early this season. 

Below you will find the stolen base leaders so far this season. For each of the players included, I’ve highlighted their sprint speeds and their xwOBA. xwOBA is an indicator of a batter’s skill based on the quality of contact (incorporating exit velocity and launch angle,) the number of times they made contact while excluding the fielding result. There are 22 players who have stolen 2 bases, but I’ve chosen to highlight 7 of the interesting players that popped out to me. 

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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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*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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Someone had his white Vans on! Daniel Ponce de Leon had another strong start Friday night pitching 6.1 innings allowing just three base runners (1 hit, 2 BB) and one run while striking out six for his first win of 2020. He had a no-hitter going through the first six innings until an Orlando Garcia home run, the only hit he surrendered, ruined his bid. Damn Daniel, 2016 called–they want their meme back. I touched on PDL (can I call him PDL? sounds like a bad light beer) last week and concluded he was too risky to touch, but his 3.15 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 28/6 K/BB in September tell me something has definitely clicked. Considering he was rocking a 7+ ERA at the start of the month that gives you a sense of the strides he’s made in just a few short weeks. Perhaps he discovered the dot, dot, dot…fountain of youth? I’m sorry! I had to. Regardless the win was his first as a starting pitcher in 20 tries–that’s right 20! And yes, that is the record, albeit a fairly depressing record to hold. Maybe its these Brewers’ hitters, who he’s struck out 15 times this month to pad his 12.6 k/9 in 20 IP in September, or maybe it was finally getting the run support he needed (Cards scored zero runs for him in half his starts this year). More likely he started consistently locating his elevating fastball which allowed him to mix in breaking balls and keep opposing hitters off balance. Whatever it has been, his 4.96 ERA and 1.32 WHIP don’t tell the full story here. I’m going to choose to believe his 31.5 K% and .221 BABIP are more indicators of the pitcher DPdL is and he’s a player I’ll be keeping a very close eye on this postseason even if he’s just pitching in a middle relief role. So grab your white Vans and make sure they’re cleaner than the “WAP” radio edit because I’m telling you Daniel Ponce de Leon could be a a 2021 sleeper to watch!

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

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“Jeimer real boy,” says Jeimer Candelario, as his nose, labeled with Louisville Slugger’s insignia, grows. Gepetto clears his throat and sits Jeimer down for a heart-to-heart. “Jeimer, I saw you went 5-for-6, 2 RBIs with your 6th and 7th homer in yesterday’s doubleheader.” Jeimer tells him again, “Jeimer a real boy.” Jeimer’s nose-bat grows a little bit more. Gepetto looks at Jeimer’s stats from the last week, “Wow, three homers in four games, and hitting near-.400 in the last seven.” Jeimer, losing his temper, restates, “Jeimer real boy!” Gepetto shrugs, “Works for me,” and Gepetto whittles Jeimer’s nose into a club, and applies pine tar to its tip. So, Jeimer Candelario has been one of the hottest nose-bats in the leagues, recently. Wasn’t entirely by design when I benched Nelson Cruz in one league for Jeimer Candelario, but it actually has worked out better than planned. Jeimer will also be in the Buy column later today. To read it right now, join our Patreon. It’s $5, the cost of 15 minutes on a NYC parking meter. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Lucas Giolito was the first White Sox pitcher to get a no hitter and rack up ten-plus Ks, going 9 IP, 0 ER, 1 walk, 13 Ks, lowering his ERA to 3.09. And you didn’t think he was an ace that you should draft as your 1st starter! *screams at the heavens* REDEMPTION! Crap, I think I just hurt my back. Okay, the Pirates’ lineup was hilariously bad. They didn’t have one hitter with an OBP over .300. No need to bring in a defensive replacement for the White Sox outfield. Go ahead and put your glove away, DeWayne Wise. “Aw shucks.” That’s DeWayne. I turned the game on for the 9th, and I more just wanted to see a social distancing no-hitter celebration. Something akin to Don Larsen jumping into Yogi’s arms, and Yogi sidestepping him to put on a mask and Don skidding on his butt. But that wasn’t the case. We had our first good thing of 2020. Dot dot dot. Until Eloy Jimenez looked like he got hurt in the celebration. “You thought you’d get something nice?” That’s the year 2020 as it evilly cackles. You suck, 2020! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Death, taxes and Mike Trout destroying the competition. It’s comforting to know that even in the chaos of 2020 some things haven’t changed. He’s right back in the Top 3 of the two week running ISO power index. I was thinking Mike Trout was given Compound V by the Vought corporation as a baby, but it turns out he’s more like the male version of Captain Marvel, no discernible weaknesses. Uh oh, my geekness is showing, sorry about that!

So what’s very cool is that it appears the virus threw what it could at the sport and baseball has survived for another week. Love it! So we have comebacks, step ups, step backs and the Red Sox playing like the Pirates. Some Yankees are injured again, another sign that things are getting back to normal. This is a hitter listing. but have you seen Dustin May pitching this year? Unreal. Anyway, you can find last week’s list here.

Here are some of the movers for this week, followed by the list:

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I would say the fact you are reading a 2020 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 anything is a win. Multiple times a day it seems like nothing makes sense, and that’s just in the world of baseball. Will St. Louis ever play a full schedule during the week, or is it just going to be seven inning double headers from here on out? Yelich hit a home run but it was the inside the park variety? Cardboard cutouts of fans come to life on Fox? So in spite of Covid we may not have school in school but we definitely still have baseball. You can find last week’s list here.

Here are some of the movers for this week, followed by the list:

Please, blog, may I have some more?