Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the fantasy baseball season is delayed. For those that are living under a rock, stay there, especially if you have toilet paper. True story alert! Cougs and I are doing this thing called Shipt, where you get a remote personal shopper to go to the store for you. So, we sent them to the CVS to get me Suave deodorant — Don’t tell me it’s a female deodorant, either. Do you often describe a female as “suave?” I didn’t think so! — soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and, of course, toilet paper. The shopper notified us from the store, they had nothing we ordered, but did we want anything else? We were like, “Sure, peanut butter cups.” When the apocalypse came, we ordered someone to get us toiletries and when that failed, we got candies. Books will be written about the fall of the United States, and there will be a chapter on how we all just shrugged when we got dem candies placed on our doorstep. And, yes, I am now wiping with tiny gold aluminum foil. With this series, I will take a look around the 2020 fantasy baseball rankings to see if there’s any differences now that we might only play a 100-game season. Projections have been updated on all my positional rankings. This is using the top 20 catchers for 2020 fantasy baseball as our guide. Anyway, here’s thoughts on the top 20 catchers for 2020 fantasy baseball with the new Corona timeline:
1. J.T. Realmuto – He was the only catcher in my top 100 for 2020 fantasy baseball, and perhaps the biggest proponent for position scarcity. Sadly (depending on your POV), he also takes the largest hit with the new timeline. His value was so tied up in the large sample size. It didn’t matter if Realmuto was going to hit 22-25 homers or steal 5-7 bags; it mattered that he was going to get all of those runs and RBIs across all his at-bats. All those at-bats he’s no longer getting. Prior to the All-Star break last year, there was roughly 90 games. Figure if we get 100 games this year, catchers will be rested at least once a week and, well, Realmuto had 308 ABs pre-ASB last year and his new projections are at 325 at-bats, so all of this checks out. It’s as if we’re playing until the All-Star Game. His new projections are 56/15/51/.278/2, but his pre-All-Star break numbers last year? Well, he had 10 homers, the same as Jason Castro and Carson Kelly. In fact, look at this, and try to avoid becoming nauseous:
J.T. Realmuto: 55/10/42/.273/4
Jason Castro: 27/10/24/.257/0
Of course, Realmuto’s numbers are better, but are they that dramatically better that some people are drafting Realmuto in the top 50 and Jason Castro is going around 370th overall? This is not to say Jason Castro is good. He could be passable, but that’s the whole point. In a short season, there won’t be time for regression, or in Realmuto’s case, an opportunity to stretch out his floor. That floor, which makes him so good, will be limited because he pounds you with at-bats, raising his value in runs and RBIs. Without those at-bats, Realmuto’s projections look like, well: Steamer hitter projections:
Player A: 60/14/44/.270/2
Player B: 49/15/45/.270/4
Player B is Realmuto. Any guesses on who Player A is? His name rhymes with Zoey Blotto. For this reason, and so many others, I’ve decided to do the brave thing during this pandemic. The only honorable thing that can be done. I’m social distancing from J.T. Realmuto and moving him down in my top 500.
5. Mitch Garver – Since the dawn of time, there’s been one catcher who has homered more than 30 times in 100 or less games: Mitch Garver in 2019. There is only two catchers in history who hit 25 homers or more in 100 or less games, Ivan Rodriguez was the other. That was when he was going by the name Pudge, i.e., when it wasn’t ironic, and he was still on steroids. Prior to 1960, Stan Lopata was the only catcher to top 16 HRs in 100 or less games. Lopata was, according to Wikipedia, the first NL catcher to wear glasses. If any NL catchers are reading this, you can make history and become the first to wear a monocle. (In the AL, Darrell Porter wore a monocle on the Royals in 1978 for one game, when he couldn’t find any tape to hold his glasses together.) With all this said (that is totally true and relevant), I’ve moved Garver up in my top 20 catchers. Before everyone started going viral enough to make influencers jealous, I was worried Garver would be limited in a 162-game season, but if the Twins need to put their best foot forward for 100 games, Garver could be the best catcher in the league. Wouldn’t that still make him the cream of the crap? Yeah, possibly, but still.
31. Manny Pina – I have him projected for 19/7/22/.230 in 196 ABs. For what it’s Werth, Steamer has Pina down for 144 ABs. Mean’s while, he recorded 79 ABs in the 1st half last year, as a backup. Really hard to figure most backup catcher at-bats in a shortened season, and Pina is harder than most. If MLB returns (please, God), then the assumption is they will try to play as many games as possible in a shortened time period. For unstints, they were playing 162 games in roughly 183 days. Now, they might try to play 100 games in 105 days. For most positions, this isn’t a big deal, but managers might be forced to rest catchers more than other hitters. So, catcher backups could see more reps. Point for Pina! Moreover (when someone says ‘moreover,’ they are being so super serious they should get punched in the face), Omar Narvaez and Manny Pina could be in a straight platoon vs. a starter/backup. Instead of screaming ‘natch,’ I will now do the same with CATCH! Could Pina get two games a week to keep Narvaez fresh? Could most starting catchers be rested more? I don’t have an answer for you yet. When baseball announces how long the season will be and when it will start, it will be clearer. Austin Allen, Austin Hedges, and Manny Pina could all have more value. James McCann and Tyler Flowers? Well, “Flowers & McCann” sounds like a gay Flowers in the Attic, but so many backup catchers’ values could get a slight boost in deep leagues. In short after going long, I haven’t moved Pina, due to the Corona timeline, but if you like Pina Coladas and making love to a catcher in a two-catcher league, I’m with you. By the by, for those finding this post after googling “Pina Colada + Corona,” leave that Jimmy Buffet concert right now and go home until further notice!