Please see our player page for Yadier Molina 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.

In part one of this little mini series, we looked at all of the catchers and corner infielders that I’ll be relying on once the 2020 season gets underway. As much as I enjoy talking about Yadier Molina and Jose Abreu, those guys aren’t exactly dripping with excitement. They’re high floor foundation pieces who are useful fantasy assets, but aren’t the types of players who will carry a team to a fantasy championship. It’s like going to your local burger joint and ordering a plain cheeseburger – it’s not likely to disappoint, but it won’t be a particularly memorable meal either. Middle infielders and outfielders are the bacon, caramelized onions, and special sauce that can be added to that plain burger to make it exceptional. Sometimes, experimenting with exotic ingredients like spicy peppers can lead to indigestion, but it can also lead to a special, unique experience. And there’s plenty of spice to go around in these groups.

All of these ingredients are represented at second base, shortstop, and in the outfield. Power, speed, average, and counting stats – they can all be found in abundance here. The key is to determine who to target and when to target them. Today, I’ll be sharing the middle infielders that I targeted and ended up drafting across my five NFBC leagues for the 2020 season. I originally intended to cover outfielders as well, but since Magoobot’s self-editing mechanism malfunctioned years ago, there’s only room for the guys up the middle today. There’ll be a whole post dedicated to outfielders in part three.

Just like last week, I’ll be breaking things down by position, briefly discussing my pre-draft strategies followed by a quick analysis of each player that I ended up drafting. Both the 12 team NFBC Online Championship and 15 team NFBC Draft Champions formats require that you start 1 2B, 1 SS, and 1 MI at all times, so that’s something to keep in mind during this exercise. As a quick refresher, each player will be placed into one of the following four categories:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Nostalgia can be a funny thing. In challenging times, especially, it can be nice to revisit things that you think back on fondly. It wraps you in a warm, comfy blanket of good memories and better times. Even now, as I’m writing this, I just put on a random 90s alternative rock/grunge playlist that I found on YouTube. I have some very nostalgic feelings about the music from that era. Alice in Chains? Yes please. Soundgarden? Mmm… so cozy. Better Than Ezra? Sure, why not. Underrated band. Tal Bachman? Ahhhh, that’s… wait, what? Joan Osborne? Brrr… it’s getting drafty in here. Savage Garden? Hey, where the hell did my blanket go? Time to pull a Randy Savage and drop the big elbow on this list. Magoo’s gettin’ angry!

Well, so much for my nostalgic musical trip. That brings us back to baseball. It’s really the ultimate source of nostalgia for me. Whether playing, watching, or getting hooked on the fantasy side of things, it’s been a constant in my life since I was about four years old. A nice, warm blanket that’s always at the ready. So to be sitting here in late April with no baseball in sight feels weird. Really weird. And while nobody really knows when or where or in what form our national pastime will return, I’m hopeful that it will at some point this year. But instead of focusing on what we can’t control, let’s focus on what we can control, shall we?

Which brings us to the topic at hand. We might not know when and where baseball will be played this season, but we can certainly choose who we want playing on our fantasy teams. With that in mind, I’ll be discussing all of the players who I’ve drafted in my fantasy baseball leagues in 2020. It might sound like a lot, but it’ll just be covering five leagues in total – four NFBC Online Championship leagues, and one NFBC Draft Champions league. For some perspective, the four OC leagues are 12 team mixed with weekly lineup locks, weekly pickups, and the following starting lineup requirements: 2 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 SS, 1 3B, 1 MI, 1 CI, 5 OF, 1 Util, and 9 P. There is a 1000 innings pitched minimum, but no specific minimum or starting requirements for starting or relief pitchers. The Draft Champions is a 15 team mixed league format with the same starting lineup requirements as the OC format, except it’s a 50 round draft-and-hold with no in-season transactions. What you draft is what you’re stuck with until the end of the season. There is no trading and no injured list in both formats as well.

I’ll be breaking things down by position, briefly discussing my pre-draft strategies followed by a quick analysis of each player that I ended up pulling the trigger on. Since this article is already longer than a typical baby seal comment, I’ll just be covering catchers and corner infielders today, with middle infielders, outfielders, and pitchers soon to follow.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Last night I awoke in a rush. I was sweating, panting almost – awakened by a nightmare more ghastly than you can imagine. One more horrific than the chronic nightmares I had as a child in which the tiny troll figurines stalked my bedroom through all hours of the night. One quick Google search and I’m reliving those dreams – and it’s all too real. Yet, even such horrors do not compare to the demons which disturbed my slumber last night.

Over the past several weeks, I have been struggling to cope with the delay of the Major League Baseball season – something I’m sure you can all relate to. While trying to keep a healthy perspective concerning the real issues and concerns of the present, I have been unable to keep my mind from wandering to the darkest corners of the baseball world. Before the Coronavirus even put the MLB season on hold, I dreamed of such harsh realities taking form. *queues Danny Glover voiceover* You can call it a vision. You can call it a coincidence. I don’t care what you call it, but last night, it got worse.

I found myself walking through an unfamiliar land in which Airpods were even more popular than they are now. Wandering through the streets, I was passed by an Amazon drone engaged in an air delivery. While gazing at its sheer beauty, I stumbled through the gates of Camden Yards and a game program subsequently blew though the wind and onto my startled face. As I pulled the flier away and began to read its text – I instantly gasped in disbelief. 2023 All-Star Game: The Long-Awaited Return of the Midsummer Classic it read, with an action shot of superstar catcher Adley Rutschman spread across the front page.

As I stood in disbelief, I overheard a conversation between two young fans, arguing who indeed was the top backstop in the game, Rutschman or San Francisco’s Joey Bart. But what about J.T. Realmuto, I thought? Or the mid-career development of Willson Contreras? I continued to eavesdrop with the hope that more details would soon become clear.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

No one is playing baseball, which means there’s a lot of wives around the country telling their husbands to stop scratching themselves, and that’s just the wives of fantasy baseballers. Imagine those poor ballplayers’ wives. “Why do you keep spitting into my potted plants?” and “Stop with the complicated signs when you’re calling in our basset hound. He doesn’t understand.” We should be complaining about Bud Black not playing Sam Hilliard or Raimel Tapia while opting for Ian Desmond, but instead Bud Black is home deciding to go with mustard on his hamburger for the last 17 days and refusing to give ketchup a chance. Ketchup is good, Bud, give it a shot! New things don’t have to scare you! Vladimir Guerrero Jr. should be on the field, reminding everyone of his father, but instead he’s home reminding his father to wash his hands. After 1st hearing about the restrictions, Vlad Sr. replies, “Forget shaking hands, I wouldn’t even elbow bump with Moises Alou.” Since everyone has been home for the last two-plus weeks, we’ve culled all the important player news from around the league for your fantasy teams and bring it to you now:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Last week in H2H Categories Strategy we discussed the merits of punting. This week, I want to talk about what I look for in hitters once we get past the early rounds – consistency. Since we play a game that resets every week, we want to roster players that will fluctuate less. Hot and cold streaks will happen even with the best players, but there are certain qualities we can look for in hitters that should minimize our risk.

Growing up, my dad was the coach of my little league team. He would tell us, get on base and good things will happen. While it seems really simplistic, I still follow my dad’s advice when I’m looking for consistent hitters – high contact rates and a low K-BB%. Basically, we’re looking for players with good plate skills. These might not be the sexiest names in the draft, but grabbing a handful of these players in the mid to late rounds will provide your team with an ample floor. Without further ado, let’s get to the list:

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?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

*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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Juiced ball? Whatever. Honestly, I don’t care if balls go bazinga all over the place. If everyone’s using the same ball, it’s all good. It’s more fair than when some were using ‘roids and others weren’t. Pace of game? Doesn’t bother me at all. More the merrier, and more is time. Let games go five hours with no commercial breaks. Sounds awesome to me. Teams not fielding their best team? That’s the biggest issue and it effin’ sucks. Austin Hays didn’t exactly tear up the minors this year, but you can’t tell me a 24-year-old potential future All-Star should’ve been in the minors at all. Same goes for Ryan Mountcastle. The O’s are the worst (literally) and that’s made even worse by them holding down prospects. Can the worst be made worse? Yes, that’s what I’m saying and the Orioles did it.  I’m not saying this simply because I drafted Mountcastle and Hays in leagues this year expecting them to be up by May. Actually, it is the reason!  So what? It makes logical sense the O’s would’ve promoted them. Stupid me using logic. They really needed to see what they had with Rio Ruiz, Mark Trumbo, Dwight Smith Jr.– Do I need to go on? Yesterday, Austin Hays went (3-for-8, 5 RBIs) and a double slam (3, 4) and legs (1), as he bats 2nd. If the O’s start the year with Austin Hays in 2020, and they should, he’s going to be a guy I target everywhere with his 27/10/.260 potential. Too bad he’ll spend all of next year in the minors because the O’s want to infuriate me.  Stop inflaming my ulcer, you bastards! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?