Please see our player page for Yainer Diaz 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.

Well, the World Series is over, the citizens of Houston got to have their parade and now here we are – the offseason.

But don’t fret. If you are a regular Razzball reader, then you know we have been looking at the top keepers for 2023. Over the last two weeks we’ve released the 2023 Top Keepers 2023 – Relievers and 2023 Top Keepers – Starting Pitchers. This week – catchers!

Catchers are almost becoming like the place kickers of fantasy football – everyone needs one, but except for a few top players who can actually sway an outcome, they are all the same.

So here are a few simple rules when it comes to catchers:
Catchers, in general, will only play in about 110 to 120 games except for a few outliers. So don’t expect catchers, as a group, to perform like other position players.
If you think two catchers are equal except for age, go with the younger catcher. Few catchers age well.
Be happy if you have a catcher who is a standout in one scoring category. Rare is the catcher who hits for average and homers, even more rare if they add steals.
There are some catchers who make Rule #1, #2 and #3 completely false. If you have one of them, hold onto them for as long as you can.

In backing up rule No. 3, the career leader in home runs by a catcher (as in hitting a homer while playing catcher in that game) is Mike Piazza with 396. There are only three more players who hit more than 300 – Carlton Fisk (351), Johnny Bench (326) and Yogi Berra (305). That is it. This season, the highest batting average by a catcher with more than 200 at-bats was .285 by Alejandro Kirk of the Blue Jays – .285!

So for the below rankings, if you see a player like Martin Maldonado, you are going to wonder why he is even ranked. Dude slashed only .186/.248/.352. But he did hit 15 homers and drove in 45 runs.

You know how many other catchers hit more than 15 homers? Twelve. Do you know how many other catchers drove in more than 45 runs? Fourteen. When looking at a catcher like Maldanado for just his power and run production, he is actually close to being a starter in deep fantasy leagues.

Moral of the story – catchers are their own breed and should be viewed differently.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome back to another week of Top Dynasty Keepers.

With the calendar flipping over to September, it can only mean one thing in the baseball world – roster expansion! For teams that have been out of contention for weeks or months, this is a chance to reward two prospects having great seasons on top of the many top prospects who have already been called up to the minors.

But for a team like the Houston Astros, this is a chance to not only reward two prospects who have had outstanding seasons, but to see if they can possibly offer some help down the stretch or even in the postseason.

CHANCE TO PROVE THEMSELVES

With the rosters expanding to 28 players starting Sept. 1, Houston added right-handed pitcher Hunter Brown and catcher Yainer Diaz to the major league roster. Brown is the club’s top prospect and is currently ranked 71st in the Top 100 Prospects list by MLB.com while Diaz is the team’s No. 3 prospect.

Both players dominated the competition in the minors, Brown all season at AAA Sugar Land and Diaz at AA Corpus Christi before moving up to Sugar Land.

The Astros entered Saturday with an 11-game lead over the Seattle Mariners in the AL West standings. Thanks to that large lead, it gives the club a chance to see what Brown and Diaz can do on the major league level – a chance they may not have received if the lead was one or two games.

Let’s dive in and see why the Astros promoted Brown and Diaz.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY THIS WEEK ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $10/MONTH)

“The best part of any candy bar is the stuff inside the chocolate, so I want a candy bar where the nougat, cookie wafer, crushed peanuts are on the outside of the chocolate. Mouth feel matters too, so the crunchy bits on the outside need to have a soft, chewy texture. Swiss and dutch chocolate are for losers. This candy bar needs to made in The Lou, so I want Missouri chocolate. What is Missouri chocolate? Whatever Willie McGee likes. Willie, please wave.” Willie McGee waves from the back corner of the conference room. We see now Lars Nootbaar holds court in front of the Lars Caandy people. He continues, “Also, I want it to be written “caandy baar” on all the bars. Two A’s, so we need to change all signage around this 5-mile-wide candy empire, that I’ve cordoned off with traffic cones. If you want to work for Kit Kat, get out now! The door’s over there! The only Snickers I want to hear about are chuckles at the water cooler when Willie McGee makes a joke! Do you understand me?” Lars is now screaming into one exec’s face, who is beginning to cry. “Wipe those tears from your face, and go make me a candy bar! Two A’s!” Lars Nootbaar isn’t just a demanding candy CEO, building a nougaty empire, he’s also been one of the hottest bat in the majors for the last month. On the 30-day Player Rater, he’s in the top 40 overall, and he’s now leading off on most days vs. righties. Since the Cards are famous for creating players, it’s only appropriate that they went into a 7/11’s candy aisle and got an idea. This hot Nootbaar won’t melt in your hand, or your fantasy team, so grab him, before he quits baseball to be a full-time candy CEO, like Willy Wonka, who was originally drafted to be a closer, until he discovered he was better stopping Gobs. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Diamondbacks OF Corbin Carroll was recalled shortly after my last article, Stash List Volume 6, Songs for the Jung in Summerwhich feels like a win for the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The league tried to lead these snakes and birds to water, but it’s just snakes drinking at the moment. Makes sense I guess, for the birds to wait their turn, but snakes don’t strike upward real well. Bird should be able to dip in for a sip, if she’s quick about it. Baltimore is three games out of first wild-card spot, two games out of third, so they’re well within striking distance of any or all three of the teams in front of them. The Sig and Elias braintrust imported from Houston has worked wonders in Maryland. Hot-hitting outfielder Colton Cowser was promoted to Triple-A this week, so the coming storm continues to gather just outside AL-Eastern cities. I just think it makes sense to jump him straight to the majors. I realize Kyle Stowers is ahead of him in the time-served column on the pecking-order spreadsheets, but they could go to him if Cowser falters. I suppose they could just easily do the reverse and might be setting up exactly that. Every day matters for them, and I feel like Cowser is more likely to help a team win games right now than Stowers. I haven’t even mentioned Gunnar Henderson yet. He’s reportedly joining the squad today, so they’ve got that going for them, which is nice. Baltimore could be fun to root for when they stop handling this stretch run in the most cynical way capitalistically possible. I realize this horse has been laying motionless between us for quite some time now, but you know who they could really use in that young lineup? A consistent, patient, veteran bat like Trey Mancini. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

And thus the Gunnar Henderson Era begins, not with a whimper but with a cocking of a ballpoint pen, and the cursive of a signature by the 108-year-old Peter Angelos, signing the contract to bring Gunnar up to the majors. “Gunnar, bend down to hear what Mr. Angelos wants to tell you!” His agent yells to him. Gunnar obliges, and Peter Angelos just blehs like Dracula. It’s a fantastic scene, and one Gunnar shouldn’t soon forget. Gunnar won’t be forgotten by fantasy baseball people either, i.e., Us! (Jordan Peele’s second best film. Though, after Get Out, I think they’re all tied, if we’re being honest. Any hoo!) Gunnar Henderson is everything you want — speed, power, contact. He’s Bobby Witt Jr., but better. Call him Better Witt Jr. Actually, call Bobby Witt Jr., a poor man’s Gunnar Henderson. Call him Slingshot Henderson. Itch had Corbin Carroll way above Gunnar Henderson in his top 25 prospects, and, honestly, I don’t know why. You can ask him. Gunnar’s not even particularly high on his top 10 Orioles prospects. Perhaps Itch was once bullied by a 23-year-old who was balding and looked like Cal Ripken Jr. Who’s to say? I’m grabbing Gunnar in every league. With only a month left, he might do nothing, but Gunnar also might immediately click click boom. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Rangers RHP Jack Leiter is a good place to start because he exemplifies what’s  weird about the Futures Game. Leiter hasn’t earned his spot on the field (6.30 ERA), but that’s not uncommon to this game, which different organizations use for different reasons on a player-by-player basis. It’s not an All-Star game, in other words. It’s not even an all-famous game, although that’s what gets Leiter on the roster. It’s not even really a combination of the two. Some organizations might send a middle reliever, like Baltimore did with Marcos Diplan in 2021, who the team DFA’d the other day, almost exactly a year after Diplan gave up home runs to Brennan Davis and Francisco Alvarez in Coors Field during the sixth inning of last year’s Futures Game. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Cubs 1B Matt Mervis (24, AA) looks like a prototypical, left-handed hitting, middle-of-the-order masher at 6’4” 225 lbs who has already blasted 19 bombs in 66 games across High-A and Double-A this season. His strikeout rate has been around 24 percent at both levels along with .644 and .650 slugging percentages, but he has almost doubled his walk rate from 4.6 percent in High-A to 7.7 percent in Double-A. Gotta watch this one closely. Never-nervous Mervis got a little lost in the covid-draft chaos but raked in the wooden bat Northwoods League in 2018 and did the same in the wooden bat Cape Cod League in 2019. He looks more athletic to the eye test than the statsheet and profile might suggest. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Nobody beats the book like Houston. Their prospect lists require close-reading and separate buckets of research because you don’t want to miss Jose Urquidy or Luis Garcia if you don’t have to. Jake Meyers and Chas McCormick both popped from relative obscurity onto fantasy baseball rosters in 2021, and that looks like the way it’s going to go with Astros’ prospects. I don’t know what it is that keeps their guys underrated in general. I guess losing the picks to the cheating scandal didn’t help, nor did the cheating scandal (though it would be pretty hard to argue that it didn’t HELP help in a macro sense). Doesn’t matter for our purposes. The Astros have proven they can teach hitting with buzzers or without. Although they’re not highly ranked around the chamber, and spots are at a premium on the big league roster right now, this list has some of my favorite sleepers for near-term fantasy value, especially at the top. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?