The esteemed Commander Daniel Pants has been called to the Spice Wars where he will defend the season of fall against the armies of Pumpkin Spice. If you’re interested, we’ve set up a GoFundMe to buy Commander Pants and his Zipper Platoon a collection of ascots and sweaters. If you’re feeling generous, you can get him one of those Eddie Bauer sweater vests that just screams, “I’d totally be out in the woods if I wasn’t so busy drinking hot coffee on my veranda waiting for my bitcoin investments to start paying off.”

Like any good lef-tenant would do for his Commander Pants, I gathered intelligence on the fine baseball players playing the balls on Friday night. And when I was done looking through the shirtless paparazzi photos on Sports Illustrated, I even looked at some of the boxscores. Here’s some of the best performances from Friday night and what they mean for your baseball team.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There have been a lot of strange things about this off-season.  I mean, in addition to the obvious, like constantly worrying about the health of ourselves, our loved ones, and the fate of mankind while not having baseball as a job/hobby/distraction.  For me, one of the odder consequences of the delayed season is the fact that I have yet to draft an NL or AL-only team this year, as all of my private leagues are waiting to draft until we have a better idea what the coming weeks and months will bring.  Another very weird thing that seems to have happened to me over the last several months is that I have evidently developed a propensity for paying more than ever before for catchers on my fantasy baseball teams.

I realize now that this trend actually started back in another lifetime late November, when my first draft of the season took place.  I’ve drafted quite a few teams since then — mostly 15-team mixed format, 2-catcher leagues, with a standard 5×5 roto scoring system.  Unlike every other season of my fantasy baseball career, almost every one of them features at least one catcher that I had to pay for with either a mid-round pick of a handful of valuable auction dollars.  Last year, I literally did not even include catchers on my master spread sheet… I just had a handful of names in mind that I knew I could grab at the very end of a draft or with my last dollar in an auction.  This year, paying for a catcher was not a strategy that I came into draft season with; it just kind of happened.  Draft after draft, it just continued to occur: time to make a pick, and I felt a catcher was the best value on the board.  This happened back in my first drafts this winter, and continued through my last drafts a couple of weeks ago — so in terms of the catching position, my take on how to construct the best team really didn’t change once the uncertainty of the season’s timeline and potential format changes came into play.  What I’m also realizing is that I’m pretty happy with how most of my teams turned out overall on paper — to the point where, if worse comes to worst and we have no baseball in 2020 and I don’t get to see if my don’t-wait-as-long-as-usual-to-draft-a-catcher method worked, I will most likely jump right back in and employ a similar strategy in 2021.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Staaaaaart spreadin’ the news, he’s starting today.  He wants to be a part of it, the Yankee Rotation.  James Paxton ($10,400) gets his close up in pinstripes and he’s got a soft landing.  The Baltimore Orioles and their latest edition of a terrible team face off against Paxton, who comes out of Spring Training with a nifty stat line of a 2.08 ERA/.981 WHIP/9.9 K9.  Let’s face it, the Orioles are worse than some of the lineups he faced in Spring Training.  Now let’s take a look at the rest of the slate today.

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jorge Alfaro joins the one and only Fantasy Sausage Pod this week. Not literally, for some reason he wouldn’t answer our calls. B_Don and Donkey Teeth are instead forced to talk about Jorge behind his back. Your hosts tell you everything you want to know, and more, about the up and coming Phillies catcher, who slots in at #12 and #7 respectively in their 2019 fantasy catcher rankings. You can find their entire catcher rankings below.

The Sausage Bros also dig in on a few other young dudes who handle balls for a living on this episode: Gary Sanchez, Willians Astudillo, and Danny Jansen. Find out what’s to like, or not like, about each of these youthful pitch receivers. Plus, Donkey Teeth shares a couple really deep catcher names to keep an eye on for the 2019 fantasy season. There’s nothing quite like greasy January baseball sausage!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You can travel far and wide across the internet and find any number of statistics touting the thump in Joey Gallo’s bat. It’s legendary power that doesn’t deviate much from players like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and J.D. Martinez, no matter how much offseason buzz and the Big Apple may suggest otherwise.

When I started to chop up Gallo’s stats on various parameters, my intentions were simple: consider whether a better version of Gallo could exist.

The idea of adjusting a power hitter’s strikeout rate to foster greater productivity isn’t new and neither is it innovative, but it’s something I always kick around in my head with big bats. I remember watching Kris Bryant on ESPNU (do you remember that thing called cable?) mash for the University of San Diego when I was just a young lad and falling in love with his swing. When he debuted in 2015 with a 30 percent strikeout rate and a .375 BABIP average to buoy his .275 average, I backed off. That was a mistake.

The next year Bryant cut his strikeout rate by over six percent, refining his peripherals into a drastically new hitter. Then he did it again, cutting his swinging-strike rate by another three percent and posting an OBP north of .400 in 2017.  I learned quickly to never doubt Bryant.

We often say to learn from our mistakes, but I’m torn with where to take my affinity for Gallo. On one hand, he’s a different breed of power hitter, with a swing-and-miss problem that I don’t anticipate ever falling below 30 percent. But the pedigree in his bat was once considered similar to Bryant and I love Gallo’s swing for different reasons than Bryant’s. The Cubbie was, and is, compact in his approach. Gallo was, and is, extremely aggressive in coiling his 6-foot-5 body to generate unbelievable bat speed and power, even with some inherent length to his swing.

That length is one reason why we see what I’d like to call “Mount Gallo” below.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As I have gone over in the preseason, streaming against a starting pitcher is sometimes a good approach.  The problem is that sometimes the blame isn’t completely on the pitcher.  This isn’t Looney Tunes and Bugs Bunny isn’t playing all nine positions versus the Gas House Gorillas.  So obviously I am referring to the catcher in this scenario.  Streaming against a pitcher is all well and good, the bad is that they only pitch once every five days and while it’s fun to rosterbate the high hell out of it, why not take advantage of a starting catcher who usually gets five starts a week?  Seems like genius and a better way to try and capitalize on a three game set versus a weak catcher oriented team at gunning down baserunners. So the handy chart below gives us an early glimpse of who we should be taking advantage of with our waiver additions in the steals category.  Stay after the chart, because I drop some tidbits of grandeur.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sometimes it is hard to go for the highest price pitcher of the day. Today, the highest price is $13K for Madison Bumgarner, and we don’t even get to use his hitting stats. However, on a day against the weak offense of the rivals across the bay, there is no reason to avoid the big horse tonight. He is as safe as they come, with no doubts in my mind about his ability to give you at least seven strong innings with a win. Oftentimes, picking a pitcher like this leads to “weaker” hitters; on any given day, those weaker hitters can outperform the best of them. Given that MadBum is the safest, lowest risk guy on the board, having to take a few chances on hitters is totally worth the price.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday July 4th to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. Wanna know what the best part is about signing up with us? The free subscription for the rest of the season to our DFSBot, that’s what! For details on the how to, please visit our Razzball Subscriptions page.

Please, blog, may I have some more?