*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:

1. J.T. Realmuto – Catchers were one of the biggest value movers this year, except for, ya know, Realmuto, who might be the first catcher to come in ranked first in the preseason and end that way since the glory days of Posey. (Glory Days of Posey sounds a lot like Ron Jeremy’s biography title.) Kinda would’ve preferred a few other catchers to Realmuto, if I’m being honest, and, eff it, let’s be honest! Realmuto is being propped up by counting stats other catchers don’t have. For fantasy value on the Player Rater, he’s actually not close to the 2nd catcher — his $21 worth of value vs. Grandal’s $13.20. Preseason Rank #1, 2019 Projections: 86/18/69/.271/5 in 512 ABs, Final Numbers: 92/25/83/.275/9 in 538 ABs

2. Yasmani Grandal – One of the more predictable catchers of recent memory even if recent recent memory reminds us of his terrible 2nd half. I wonder if he’s going over a cliff for next year or if the winter of rest will recharge his illegal-in-48-states-because-the-tobacco-industry-has-lobbyists Juul (Stay woke!).  Preseason Rank #5, 2019 Projections: 62/25/70/.246/1 in 427 ABs, Final Numbers: 79/28/77/.246/5 in 513 ABs

3. Mitch Garver – I ranked him 32nd overall for catchers. He hit 31 homers in only 311 ABs!  El oh *coughs furiously* WHAT THE HELL?! Besides all hitters in the major leagues having ten homers apiece, I don’t know if there’s one guy who stands out as much as Garver for benefiting from a juiced ball. Garver was such a suspicious case, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the one doing the actual juicing!  Preseason Rank #32, 2019 Projections: 31/9/40/.259 in 321 ABs, Final Numbers: 70/31/67/.273 in 311 ABs

4. Christian Vazquez – Did some boneheaded moves this year. One of my biggest was saying to Cougs it was a good idea to move our kitchen five inches to the left. My other boneheaded move was dropping Vazquez in a 15-team TWO-CATCHER league. What a mighty ass I am. I also dropped Tommy La Stella in that league, which sounded worse in June. Or maybe it still sounds bad because of nostalgia. Ah, yes, nostalgia, I remember you well. Any hoo! On Vazquez’s breakout, as I just alluded to, I didn’t expect it, nor recognized it when it was actually happening. I mean, I projected him for six homers! He had months where he hit that many! Preseason Rank #21, 2019 Projections: 41/6/44/.263/7 in 377 ABs, Final Numbers: 66/23/72/.276/4 in 482 ABs

5. Gary Sanchez – My preseason projection for his batting average surprises me because I didn’t realize I was so attuned to Sanchez now being a .240 or below hitter. Reminds me of the old joke. Why do they only put 239 beans in a can? Because one more would be two-farty. Take it, Highlights! It’s yours! Actually, it might be yours. Preseason Rank #2, 2019 Projections: 77/28/88/.239/2 in 503 ABs, Final Numbers: 62/34/77/.232 in 396 ABs

6. Willson Contreras – Speaking of beans, not to toot my own horn, but my preseason projections and end-of-season stats for Contreras are, like the quarter of Harrison Ford that is Jewish, not too shabby. Preseason Rank #3, 2019 Projections: 63/20/74/.271/3 in 496 ABs, Final Numbers: 57/24/64/.272/1 in 360 ABs

7. James McCann – When I look at catchers like Garver, Vazquez and McCann, for whatever reason, catchers really benefitted a lot from the juiced ball. I know, I know, a lot of hitters did, but catchers feel more pronounced. Sure, Jorge Soler was more of a 35-homer hitter who hit nearly 50 homers, but there’s catchers here who were ‘threats’ to hit under seven homers who just killed the ball. Roberto Perez was a threat to hit under 3 homers!  Preseason Rank #23, 2019 Projections: 21/6/31/.231 in 264 ABs, Final Numbers: 62/18/60/.273/4 in 439 ABs

8. Omar Narvaez – Never Nervous Narvaez’s stats took a huge uptick. He hit a lot less grounders and became much more aggressive at the plate, while making nearly similar contact, which accounts for 95% of the improvement. The other 5% is pitchers scared when they see Omar comin’, yo. Preseason Rank #17, 2019 Projections: 41/14/46/.266 in 387 ABs, Final Numbers: 63/22/55/.278 in 428 ABs

9. Wilson Ramos – Hashtag nailed it on preseason ranking and projection. I’m definitely more attuned to Ramos than, say, Syndergaard. Preseason Rank #7, 2019 Projections: 54/17/71/.274 in 454 ABs, Final Numbers: 52/14/73/.288/1 in 473 ABs

10. Travis d’Arnaud – This is around the point in the end-of-season rankings where catchers fall off a cliff, looking more like past years’ values. Le Terminator had some great moments this year for fantasy, months even, but was he a guy you wanted from March until September? Not even close. He was a catcher scab you wanted to pick, then use some adhesive to reapply. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 52/16/69/.251 in 351 ABs

11. Jorge Alfaro – My projections were right on, but my ranking was off. I blame Our Commisioner Manfred and him running through a supermarket aisle like he’s on Guy’s Grocery Games but only grabbing juice. Preseason Rank #8, 2019 Projections: 51/17/61/.248/3 in 414 ABs, Final Numbers: 44/18/57/.262/4 in 431 ABs

12. Roberto Perez – I don’t think I did anything especially better this year, but catchers seemed to be more predictable. Outside of Smith, Perez and Severino, I ranked them all. That’s astonishing. Sure, some ranks are goofy they’re so far off, but there’s something to be said for all catchers being accounted for. As for Perez, haha WUT?! You never wanted to be tied to Ro-Pe before this year, now everyone wants to be like Michael Hutchence. Unranked, Final Numbers: 46/24/63/.239 in 389 ABs

13. Yadier Molina – Every year since 2016 he’s played in less games, respectively: 147, 136, 123, 113. So, if my SAT question skills are still working, Molina will only play one game in 2058 at 76 years of age. Preseason Rank #6, 2019 Projections: 61/18/70/.258/3 in 471 ABs, Final Numbers: 45/10/57/.270/6 in 419 ABs

14. Robinson Chirinos – Random Thought Alert! Chirinos would be better than twelve teams’ DHs if he didn’t have to catch, and just had everyday at-bats. Preseason Rank #18, 2019 Projections: 44/20/68/.213/1 in 384 ABs, Final Numbers: 57/17/58/.238/1 in 366 ABs

15. Kurt Suzuki – If you were to own only Nats catchers, i.e., losing Suzuki and adding Yan Gomes in September, you’d have a top ten catcher, and the fantastic portmanteau, Yurt Somes. Preseason Rank #30, 2019 Projections: 32/9/38/.262 in 267 ABs, Final Numbers: 37/17/63/.264 in 280 ABs

16. Carson Kelly – One of the bigger disappointments this year in the catchers’ ranks. My two-catcher pairing of Alfaro/Kelly for Carsonaro Ally was fine in deeper leagues where I rolled it out, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t expect more. Preseason Rank #10, 2019 Projections: 52/14/59/.249 in 487 ABs, Final Numbers: 46/18/47/.245 in 314 ABs

17. Josh Phegley – He’s stepped right in for Vogt in a long line of A’s catchers whose last names make you say, “What the hell is that? Something stuck in your throat?”  Preseason Rank #23, 2019 Projections: 42/13/44/.233/1 in 411 ABs, Final Numbers: 44/12/62/.239 in 314 ABs

18. Tom Murphy – My preseason rank and projections are lying a bit, because I crossed Murphy out in the preseason when the Rockteases released him. Preseason Rank #36, 2019 Projections: 21/9/32/.248/2 in 212 ABs, Final Numbers: 32/18/40/.273/2 in 260 ABs

19. Pedro Severino – To think, if you drafted one Severino this year. You were better off with this one. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 37/13/44/.249/3 in 305 ABs

20. Will Smith – And he chipped in 34 saves! Wait, that’s not right. One big thing that I haven’t mentioned until now and applies to Hancock, catchers’ at-bats were way down, and they still did damage. Kurt Suzuki with a full-season of at-bats is a 34-homer guy? Seriously, dubya tee eff. Jada Pinkett’s husband is a 45-homer guy with 120 RBIs! Someone’s about to get Ribbie wit’ it in 2020! Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 30/15/42/.253/2 in 170 ABs

  1. Bill says:
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    Sincere question for the baseball experts or other speculators – why did we have so many mediocre players going from 15 to 30 HR but the great players were not going from 40 to 55-60?

    • Member Berries says:
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      A lot of power hitters were injured or played injured… thinking Judge, Stanton, Gallo, JD Martinez, Mookie, Krush? , Rhys?

      10 guys hit over 40 Hrs another 40 guys hit over 30 Hrs – bet you there were a lot of career highs.
      year before it was 3 guys over 40 and 20ish over 30… I mean Josh Donald hit 37 and he was dead

      Cruz, Sano, Yelich and Trout probably join Alonso with 50 plus if they finished with 550ABs.

      Then again, MLB said balls arent juiced!

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      Pure speculation without anything to back it up: guessing the 15 homer guys had more just missed warning track shots in previous seasons whereas a lot of the proven mashers hit a lot more no doubters which would leave any park no matter the ball.

    • Coolwhip

      Coolwhip says:
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      A) Juiced balls
      B) Biggest mashers all had various injuries or other things that suppressed their ABs (as MB pointed out) Cruz, Sano, Judge, Stanton, Gallo, Yelich, Trout… etc, all had injuries at some point, Stanton missed entire season, or in Sano’s case, was down in AAA for a while.
      C) The Launch Angle Revolution took hold league wide (and as DT pointed out) it helped a lot guys with deep flys or liners carry them over the wall (with the help of the juiced balls)
      D) some of the 40 guys like JD, Krush, Hoskins, etc had down years and weren’t at their best for a good chunk of season, Krush has been bad since like the end of may.

      • bigbear says:
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        Group D is an interesting mix. Probably multiple reasons. But the barrel% dropped fairly significantly for all three of the examples CW provided. For reference 6.3 is league average.

        JD dropped from 16% to 12% = -4%
        Hoskins dropped from 11.4% to 9.7% = -1.7%
        Krush dropped from 17.2% to 10.1% = -7.1%

        JD’s BABIP, AVG, LA, EV, K%, BB% are all pretty inline with career norms.

        Hoskins’ career norms aren’t a ton better than league average to begin with, so I’d bet the slight barrel rate change made a difference. His LA was 24 (opposite end of the LA spectrum than average) this year and EV was 89.7 (just over league average 87.5). Probably a lot of pop-ups/fly outs. At the beginning of the year, most seemed to think he’d take another step forward this year. I was one. It didn’t happen.
        **Grey’s speculation addendum: When LA goes up too much the 390-foot rainbow HR become 370-foot fly outs.

        Krush seemed to get slightly worse in every category.

        Seems like just a poorer quality of contact for these guys.

        Are there any stats on how pitchers are changing their approach to hitters with known LA approaches (i.e. have they found a hole to exploit)? Wondering if the data can be sliced to show pitches to a sub-league average launch angle (LA-LA?) and their approach to hitters with a LA of 12-16 range?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          That’s really interesting… JD and Khrush’s age curves might be contributing too… Hoskins just might be too much of a weak fly ball guy…

          As for the pitchers, there could be something there, but there are also a ton of either specialized pitchers or bad pitchers… so you have a great RP do you bring him in to face their best hitter or their mediocre hitter? Might not be anything to that either, but there’s a ton of factors that are hard to pinpoint

          • bigbear says:
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            He’s a weak fly ball hitter in my book.

            I was fairly high on Hoskins and Bellinger heading into the season and was willing to draft them both in the 3/4 round area. I was in two leagues this year and both were available when it was my turn to pick in both leagues. In league 1 I went Bellinger. In league 2 I went Hoskins. I won one of those leagues and was runner up in the other. I’ll be fading Hoskins next year unless someone can convince me otherwise.

            Yeah… lots of data and factors. But we all know Rudy has a beautiful mind!

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Yeah, I think I’m out on Hoskins too but will need to dig in further… I worry even if he’s ‘good’ it’s not really that good and similar to CJ Cron or someone who is cheap anyway

              • Coolwhip

                Coolwhip says:
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                That sounds like a deep dive request!

        • Coolwhip

          Coolwhip says:
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          pitchers approach… funny you mention that! So 2 pitchers I highlighted this season Darvish and Odorizzi are examples of this, along with the Houston pitching philosophy in general. Inversely Marte and Gurriel or examples from opposite side. Fastballs down have become dangerous to throw, so these pitchers and houston are examples of pitching up in the zone or above it.

          Sinkers have become almost a no-no, if they end up mid-low to low in the zone, they turn into HRs. If you throw a sinker it better end up outside of zone. The standard drop path for Sinkers lines up perfectly with the ideal 25-30 LA for home runs (results in 36% chance for HR given 90+ mph EV). Houston fixed pitchers by having them stop throwing sinkers and focus more on velocity up and tunneling curves/sliders.

          The weakness is true in part for Sliders too, which have risen from 17% to 19% usage across the league… sliders with more drop than run are also very vulnerable to this. Gurriel Jr. and Marte have become slider seekers, low in zone they drop bat head for ideal LA and murder them if they stayed in zone.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Speculation: The ball added 10-20 feet, so if you were hitting 370-foot outs last year, you hit homers this year, but if you hit 390-foot homers, you hit 400-foot homers

      • Bill says:
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        Makes sense, thanks

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          No problem

  2. Dr Easy says:
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    Too bad Danny Jansen didn’t realize this was the year of the juiced ball! What a dud that pick was.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I forget if I liked him in the preseason, I think Ralph did, we should blame him!

  3. Tom says:
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    When was Soler more of a 35 hr. hitter, how about when was he a 15 hr. hitter?

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      Feels like he always had 30-35 homer power if he could only stay healthy…but he never could. 162 games from Soler has to be one of the biggest surprises of 2019.

      • Tom says:
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        Along with some health issues his biggest hindrance to playing time was the strikeouts, he was and still is striking out in about a third of his ab’s. Teams don’t care anymore about the k’s so it’s bombs away and Soler delivered them.

        • Donkey Teeth

          Donkey Teeth says:
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          Yup, good point

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Agree with DT — he was a 35-homer guy at his ceiling, but wasn’t ever healthy

  4. Donkey Teeth

    Donkey Teeth says:
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    Just pulled my catcher draft rankings up over on FantasyPros.

    I nailed Grandal with him ranked #3, but it looks like someone hacked my account and moved Buster Posey up to #5. What the…

    Mejia and Astudillo were the two other guys I really whiffed on, thought they’d both easily finish top 20.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      You had Posey at #5 and you’re talking about it? Oh god bless you, Donkey, you poor misguided soul

      • Donkey Teeth

        Donkey Teeth says:
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        I’m talking about internet security. Protect yourself, Grey!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Just changed all my passwords to DonkeyNoHonkey1

          • Donkey Teeth

            Donkey Teeth says:
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            I hope your friend Honkey Teeth doesn’t read the comments

            • Honkey Teeth says:
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              What in tarnation!

  5. The Talented Mr. Dope Man says:
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    Grey – thanks for everything this year. I’ve been reading Razzball for many many years now and the content keeps getting better and the site keeps improving. Kudos to you and your team for the hard work you put in. You have a subscriber in me for life (and first year subscribing on the football side). Enjoy your off season and I look forward to your ranking posts!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks! Appreciate it!

  6. Cable says:
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    H/H points 12 team redraft

    worked for me against this year on my way to 3rd championship in 4 years

    drafted SPer heavy with 4 of my first 5 picks & lucky enough that they stayed healthy, finding hitters thanks to the advice from Razzball is always a plus

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      It helps that it was a points league… They are pitcher heavy

  7. Coolwhip

    Coolwhip says:
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    Grey! HAHA love the intro. True story – before taking it intellectual route, i was originally thinking of using that song as the basis for my LAR “season that was” article. LOL. Been wanting to shoe horn that in somewhere, good job, the Top 20 Catchers is a great fit for it.

    It feels like any catcher that didn’t get 15 HRs in 300 ABs was a complete failure this season.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Haha, thanks! Something I didn’t mention until Will Smith’s blurb and I don’t blame you if you didn’t read it, but these guys didn’t even get many ABs and they hit a ton of HRs

      • Coolwhip

        Coolwhip says:
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        Yeah, haha, kinda what i meant but with bad word choice… catchers used to have like 400+ ABs and we hoped some would hit 15 HRs, now so many guys are getting 15-20 with less than 300 ABs, so if guys this year didn’t hit 15+ at a 300 pace then they were lepers and shunned from society. haha

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Mr. Prorater had a field day with catchers this year — Mitch Garver was a 60-homer hitter in a full season of at-bats!

          • Coolwhip

            Coolwhip says:
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            haha i know!!! He woke up this morning and got ready like “its a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neigh…” *spits out coffee* “Huzzah! My ship has come in!” as read the calendar marked 2019 catchers.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              HA, nice!

  8. 183414 says:
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    Grey, Btw, I won the NFBC On Line Championship. Also took down 3 other leagues, and won my Super lg. by a Secretariat 31 lengths.
    Perhaps next year you’ll come down to San Diego and I’ll take you to a game.
    Thanks for your unique and insightful takes, and good sense of humor.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      That’s awesome, man! Glad to hear it!

    • Dave D says:
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      Congrats, dude. That’s quite an accomplishment winning the overall and a super. $143, 000 in winnings is probably enough to treat Grey to a game. Maybe you can even take him for ice cream after the game.

      • 183414 says:
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        Actually won 3 other lgs. and a Budget Championship at CDM. I offered to take Grey last year. I have seasons tickets for 35 years in San Diego. 2nd row over 1st base. I’ll even take grey to dinner before the game at any restaurant he chooses, before the game.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Appreciate it! Cougs and I will have to get down there one of these days!

          • 183414 says:
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            You can interview me. haha

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Haha

  9. Dave D says:
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    Great read. You know what I uncovered researching for my debut article, several real good catchers in 2019 went undrafted in our DC: Perez, d’Arnaud, W. Smith, Vogt. 65 homers riding the pine there alone.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Wow, I can’t believe they went undrafted in our league and I was sitting on losers like Wynns (hehe) and Barnes…

      • Dave D says:
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        Pretty remarkable, huh? No need to waste a top 300 pick on a C when you can grab an arm like Paddack or such.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, it’s now nailing which of them to grab without hindsight

          • Dave D says:
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            Second guessing oneself is an under appreciated art form. At least we have 20/20 hindsight. Maybe we are “fore-sighted”.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Was thinking about this today… I loved Luis Castillo, Bieber and others, but didn’t own them everywhere… too much spreading of the love…

              • 183414 says:
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                Drafted Cole, Corbin, Clevinger, and Castillo as my 1st 4 starters on my championship team. Picked uo Hendriks and Rogers, to go with my Vader, who fell to me in the 12th round at 139. Unfortunately I drafted Kimbrel in the 8th round. Went Yelich/Story/Cole/Rendon/Corbin/Clevinger/Torres/Kimbrel/Olson/Hicks/Hader/Amed.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Damn, that team is stacked! Very well done!

                  • 183414 says:
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                    Thanks Grey. When I get my tickets, I’ll give you 1st choice on which game you’d like to come down for.
                    Greystone’s/ Mortons…2 of many great restaurants in the Gaslamp.

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      That’s awesome of you! Appreciate it!

                • Dave D says:
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                  Yeah, I saw that on the NFBC message board. Pretty awesome draft and season that you had. Your “Midas” year.

                  • Grey

                    Grey says:
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                    That is a pretty perfect draft

                • Dave D says:
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                  Kepler at 246, Narvaez at 254 and Minor 355 were all great picks as well. Good work!

                  • Grey

                    Grey says:
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                    Damn, hell yeah they were

    • 183414 says:
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      I picked up D’Arnaud and Smith in august.

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Nice!

      • Dave D says:
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        Sounds like even your crap has come out as chocolate pudding in 2019. Amazing how dialed in you were.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          It is impressive

  10. William Hung says:
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    ALDS comment – I can’t believe Berrios avoided the Yankees during the regular season. His start in Game 1 will be the first against them in 2019… according to RW

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Really? Wow, that is surprising… I wonder how many times he faced sub-.500 teams

  11. toolshed says:
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    Searage fired. I never thought I would be able to say it. , but the pirates made 2 good moves moves so far in the offseason. Thats probably the only good ones they will make, but it’s a start

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Ha, about time!

  12. Gabe says:
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    Who are my 5 keepers next year. You get to keep 5 players each year (Same or different players). Head to head, standard league.
    I’m having a hard time with this one, any help is appreciated!
    Nolan arenado
    Paul goldschimt
    Carlos carrea
    Jose Ramirez
    Kyle tucker
    Aristides Aquino
    Clayton kerahaw
    Scott Bieber
    Ryan Flarety
    Zack grienke
    Tyler glasnow

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Arenado, Jo-Ram, Bieber, who is Ryan flarety?

      • Gabe says:
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        Jack* haha my bad.

        • Gabe says:
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          What’s your vote on the last two?

Comments are closed.