2020 Third Base Rankings – Fantasy Baseball

The offseason keeps chugging along so here are my third base rankings for 2020. As always, my rankings are based on standard 5×5 rotisserie categories. Below the rankings table, I provide a short blurb covering over 30 third baseman. The signing of Josh Donaldson is a great one for him personally and the rest of the Twins offense as they should once again put up mammoth numbers. He’s the only player who has moved much over the last month. Please leave comments and questions below. If you’re interested in checking out my other positional rankings, click here.

Third Base - 2020 Rankings

RankThird BaseTeam
1Nolan ArenadoRockies
2Jose RamirezIndians
3Alex BregmanAstros
4Rafael DeversRed Sox
5Anthony RendonAngels
6Yoan MoncadaWhite Sox
7Manny MachadoPadres
8Josh DonaldsonTwins
9Eugenio SuarezReds
10DJ LeMahieuYankees
11Kris BryantCubs
12Vladimir Guerrero Jr.Blue Jays
13Matt ChapmanAthletics
14Mike MoustakasReds
15Max MuncyDodgers
16Yuli GurrielAstros
17Miguel SanoTwins
18Eduardo EscobarDiamondbacks
19J.D. DavisMets
20Justin TurnerDodgers
21Hunter DozierRoyals
22Scott KingeryPhillies
23Tommy EdmanCardinals
24Yandy DiazRays
25Miguel AndujarYankees
26Kyle SeagerMariners
27Brian AndersonMarlins
28Giovanny UrshelaYankees
29Matt CarpenterCardinals
30Travis ShawBlue Jays
31Maikel FrancoRoyals
32Starlin CastroNationals
33Tommy La StellaAngels
34Todd FrazierRangers
35Marwin GonzalezTwins
36Jon BertiMarlins
37Evan LongoriaGiants
38Asdrubal CabreraNationals
39Jeimer CandelarioTigers
40Johan CamargoBraves
41Jake LambDiamondbacks
42Brandon DruryBlue Jays
43Ty FrancePadres
44David BoteCubs
45Ryon HealyBrewers
46Colin MoranPirates
47Ke'Bryan HayesPirates
48Alec BohmPhillies
49Bobby DalbecRed Sox
50Michael BrosseauRays
51Matt ThaissAngels
52Jedd GyorkoBrewers
53Taylor WardAngels

Everything is not copacetic between the Rockies and Nolan Arenado. He feels disrespected and is demanding a trade. The issue here is leaving Coors likely drops his overall production by about 10% (nothing scientific there, just a guess). If he stays, he’ll remain number one but if he’s traded, Jose Ramirez and possibly Rafael Devers jump ahead of him. Jose Ramirez will be 27 years old in 2020. His average season from 2017-2019 is .283-95-30-90-25. That includes a shortened 2019 due to injuries plus two very poor halves of baseball (2nd half of 2018 & first half of 2019). I think that a three-year average is a reasonable projection for 2020 and that’s borderline first-round value fam! I covered Alex Bregman in my shortstop rankings here.

Rafael Devers is starting the look a lot like a young Miguel Cabrera. He’s only 23 years old and made massive strides in 2019. I can’t get over what he did over the final five months of the season. Take a look, he didn’t hit his first home run until May 3rd last year. From that point forward, here’s his line: .314/.357/.593 112 R, 32 HR, 105 RBI, 4 SB. That’s essentially a first-round line over a five-month timeframe. After years of being undervalued Anthony Rendon finally put it all together in 2019. Thanks to the career-year I may actually be priced out of Rendon in 2020. I still think he’s a good bet to hit .300 with 30 homers and 100+ RBI but don’t believe he can provide profit around pick 20. He’s still inside my top-30, so I certainly don’t dislike him, I just might be looking elsewhere in the second round.

I’m 100% in on Yoan Moncada. The adjustments he made last season by being more aggressive and cutting his strikeout rate did wonder for overall production. Additionally, he showed up as an underperformer based on deserved barrels and earned home runs. I’ve conservatively projection him for a .275-30-12 with .290-35-15 upside. I covered Manny Macahdo in the SS rankings here. Josh Donaldson goes from one elite offense to another. Hitting in the middle of the Twins lineup should allow Donaldson to reach 200 combines runs + RBI. He’s no longer a batting average asset but should reach close to 35 homers once again.

I went back and forth with Eugenio Suarez and Josh Donaldson. Both have huge power but the difference for me Donaldson’s elite walk rate. He should carry the better OBP and score more runs giving him the edge over Suarez. For those wondering, yes. I’m expecting a steep regression from Suarez. It’s a classic case of don’t pay for last year’s performance. I covered DJ LeMahieu in 1B & 2B rankings here. Kris Bryant is no longer the MVP we know and love. He hasn’t been for quite some time actually. If you look at his Statcast page, you’ll be disappointed but he’s been able to outperform his metrics for a number of years now. He’s still going to bat second or third in a solid lineup and he gets on basea ton. In all reality, he’s safe and should contribute is four categories.

While I believe in Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and believe he will be a future top-25 player for many years, he needs to make a couple of adjustments. I allude to these changes in this piece I did for Pitcher List. So while this rank means I’m out this year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the breakout occur this year. I didn’t realize that I’d be this low on Matt Chapman because I love the guy! I was all over him last year and he did not disappoint. However, I realized that third Base is deeper than I thought. It’s full of 30+ homer guys who can drive in 100 runs. The only reason he’s not higher is because I think he’s a .260 hitter. The difference in my overall rankings between Donaldson and Chapman is about 25 spots, so you can’t go wrong with any of these guys. I covered Mike Moustakas, Max Muncy (although, I’m dropping him one spot), and Yuli Gurriel in my previous rankings, here.

If Miguel Sano could stay out of trouble and stay on the field for 150 games, he’d finish inside the top-five in all of baseball in home runs. His ceiling is higher than almost anyone. The strikeouts are an issue but he finished inside the top-1% in barrel rate, hard-hit rate, and expected weighted on-base on contact (xwOBACON). I covered Eduardo Escobar in the 2B rankings, here J.D. Davis is another Statcast darling from 2019 but his poor defense could hold him back. He does hit the ball on the ground too frequently but he’s decreased his ground ball rate each of the last two seasons. I’m concerned his line drive rate which jumped seven percent in 2019 will come back down lowering his batting average. Line Drives rates are not reliable year-to-year. Still, he provides a solid combination of power and batting average which justifies this rank.

We saw another solid season from Justin Turner in 2019 but once again, he failed to reach 600 plate appearances. With a career filled with nagging injuries and the fact that he’ll be 35 years old, I’m very likely out on JT for 2020. I covered Hunter Dozier in my 1B Rankings here. I’ve seen a lot of hype for Scott Kingery after a solid 19-homer, 15 steal season in 2019. He improved his quality of contact but still has a very high strikeout rate combined with a below-average walk rate. Until he can improve his on-base skills, he’ll be destined for the bottom third of the Phillies lineup. There’s a chance for a 20-20 season but it’ll likely come with a .250 average and below-average counting stats.

I covered Tommy Edman in the 2B rankings. I covered Yandy Diaz in my 1B Rankings here. Roster Resource lists Giovanny Urshela as the starting third baseman for the Yankees and not Miguel Andujar. I’ve ranked Andujar ahead of Urshela, so I believe Andujar could see time at third base, first base, and DH which may give him an edge in playing time over Urshela. I also believe he has more upside in terms of power. If Andujar were healthy in 2019 with the juiced ball, he could have reached 35 homers. I’d rank him higher but I think he’ll see the bench once or twice per week. Kyle Seager is just an old, boring veteran, isn’t he? Don’t go look at the Mariners roster, it’s ugly. They are not competing and no one is going to take Seager’s job, at least in 2020. He’s locked in as the three-hole hitter this season. That’s great for run-production even on a bad club. He showed some signs of life in the second half and if you can stomach the .240 batting average, he could provide 25-30 homers.

Brian Anderson isn’t a sexy pick but in deep leagues, he should be a valuable corner infielder. He kind of reminds me of a young Eric Hosmer except he actually lowered his ground ball rate to near league-average in 2019. He’s going to play every day so there’s a certain sense of security with him for deeper formats in 2020. I tried to tell ya to stay away from players who have their career year in their early-mid 30s. That’s Matt Carpenter. I like Travis Shaw as a bounce back, but boy did I get burned by him last year. He’s dirt cheap now, so grabbing him at the end of your draft won’t hurt you. I think he’s in a decent spot in Toronto and could get back to hitting around .250 with 25-30 homers.

Let’s go ahead and throw Maikel Franco into the bounceback bucket as well. He’s dirt cheap right now and should be given the opportunity to start every day for the Royals. I covered Starlin Castro and Tommy La Stella in the 2B Rankings here.

Third Base gets very ugly after Tommy La Stella. I covered Jon Berti in my shortstop rankings, he’s somewhat interesting for speed. Asdrubal Cabrera seems like the odd man out in Washington but if there’s an injury, he could provide a lot of value as a top-25 option at the position. Johan Camargo will receive a lot of playing time at third base for the Braves if Austin Riley struggles in his second taste of the big leagues. Speaking of Riley, he’s not eligible at 3B at the moment but if he gains eligibility, he’d fall in the Carpenter/Franco range. In keeper formats, I prefer Alec Bohm over Ke’Bryan Hayes but I think Hayes gets the call in June of 2020. Bohm may just be a late-season call-up in a best-case scenario.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.


Hitters to Fade in 2020 Using Earned Home Runs and Deserved Barrels

In my last article, I summarized both earned home runs and deserved barrels. Alex Chamberlain of RotoGraphs devised an equation that factors exit velocity and launch angle in the equation to determine a hitter’s deserved barrel rate. He shows that his revision is very reliable and therefore a great tool to use. You can check out his analysis here. Additionally, I look at overperformers using my earned home run metric that factors barrels, non-barrels, FB/LD exit velocity, directional fly balls, and home park factors. My analysis of earned home runs can be seen here.

What I’m doing is combing the data and research from both metrics to find potential values and, for lack of a better word, busts for 2020. The way I think about it is like this. I use a player’s actual barrel rate in addition to other factors to determine how many home runs a player earned (eHR). However, if a player deserved a lower barrel rate (dBRL) and I plugged dBRL into my eHR equation, his earned home run total would be lower. I’m looking for players who were fortunate in both metrics. I reference what each column is telling us below the high profile fades table.


The High Profile Fades for 2020

Deserved Barrel% (dBRL%) and Earned Home Runs (eHR)

Alex Bregman1.80%-14.39
Freddie Freeman-3.20%-1.03
Jose Altuve-3.40%-2.65
Gleyber Torres-1.80%-1.65
George Springer-4.70%0.54
Kris Bryant-0.80%-4.29
Eugenio Suarez-2.70%-0.61
Max Muncy-2.70%-3.25

Second column: dBRL%-BRL% is Chamberlain’s deserved barrel percentage minus barrel percentage. For example, Jose Altuve had an actual barrel rate of 8.1% in 2019 but his Deserved barrel rate was just 4.7%. So, his dBRL%-BRL% is -3.4%. The same concept applies to earned home run (eHR) minus home runs (HR). I’ll use Altuve once again. Altuve earned 28.35 eHR in 2019 based on his actual barrel rate. He actually hit 31 HR in 2019. So, 28.35-31 is -2.65 is the third column.

Based on Chamberlain’s deserved barrel%, Alex Bregman earned about nine additional barrels in 2019. That brings him up to 35 BRL on the year but still well short of explaining his 41 home runs. His ability to pull well-hit fly balls is unmatched, so while he’ll typically outperform my earned home run metric, I’m still calling for regression for somewhere between seven and 10 homers in 2020.

Oh no. My earned home run metric essentially justifies what Freddie Freeman did last year smashing a career-best 38 home runs. However, dBRL% cuts his rate by about 20%. It’s not a total disaster but Freeman will likely regress back to the 30-homer, line-drive machine we are used to. That’s just fine and the addition of Marcell Ozuna makes him a virtual lock for 220 combined runs+RBI.

Jose Altuve managed a career-best 31 home runs in only 548 PA in 2019. It’s not difficult to project him for significant negative regression in 2020. His dBRL rate is an extremely weak 4.7% and I have him with 2.65 fewer home runs given his actual barrel rate. His park will help aid in a handful of additional home runs, but I think he settles back to 20-22 next year.

Gleyber Torres doesn’t seem to be a major regression candidate if the ball remains unchanged. However, he was still fortunate in the power department and is probably closer to a 30-32 home run hitter. I can’t understand his ADP inside the top 30. There’s no real speed to speak of and his batting average is decent but doesn’t move the needle. With just 26 combined doubles/triples compared to 38 HR, I would anticipate that ratio being closer to 1:1 in 2020. Torres will not be on any of my redraft teams in 2020.

George Springer: Why are there so many Astros on this list? Look, cheating scandal aside, many Astros hitters overperformed their power metrics, especially right-handed pull hitters. Springer hit a career-high 39 home runs in only 556 plate appearances. Don’t pay for that power spike in 2020.

As a lifelong Cubs fan, this one hurts but I’ve been one of Kris Bryant’s biggest critics since the close of 2017. The injuries have mounted and even in a seemingly healthy season, Bryant was good but not great. Both eHR and dBRL% were not on board in 2019 pegging him closer to 25-26 HR on the season. He has been known for outperforming his metrics but expecting 35+ home runs in 2020 is a mistake.

Eugenio Suarez earned his 49 bombs in 2019 but did not deserve such a high barrel rate. Based on my rough calculations, he should have ended up closer to 39 homers in 2019 rather than the sure to be career-high of 49! I like Suarez but he’s selling out for power which has bumped up his K% while lowering his batting average upside. He’s closer to a .250-.260 hitter with 35-37 home runs.

This is sad because I do love Max Muncy. He backed up his out-of-nowhere 2018 breakout but without elite power metrics. Thanks to the juiced ball, his numbers were essentially repeated. He’s still a strong play but maybe owners should expect something closer to 28-30 homers instead of 35.

 Youthful Breakouts, what to expect for 2020

Deserved Barrel% (dBRL%) and Earned Home Runs (eHR)

Austin Riley-2.20%-1.67
Michael Chavis-3.80%-0.45
Mike Yastrzemski-0.70%-2.61
Daniel Vogelbach-0.90%-3.41
Lourdes Gurriel Jr.-2.30%-1.01
Tim Anderson-0.10%-5.58

Austin Riley certainly has power but I think he’s going to take his lumps in the Majors before figuring it out. I won’t be buying in for 2020 but would love to see some improvements with his contact rate. If he displays some minor improvements in 2020 I might be interested in Riley as a potential breakout in 2021. Riley is the type of player that typically takes time to adapt to the next level. Same with Michael Chavis, I’m going to pass on him for 2020. The playing time is not guaranteed and his swing and miss tendencies have me worried. His power is real but not elite. I’m not risking his floor in 2020.

No, Mike Yastrzemski isn’t young, but he hasn’t had much experience in the big leagues. As a left-handed hitter in Oracle Park, it’s rough, just ask Brandon Belt. The fences will be moved in a little bit, so that should help but still won’t make it a hitters park. Yaz is a really nice story but I don’t expect much of a step forward in 2020 if any at all. At least on a per plate appearance basis.

Dan Vogelbach: Both earned home runs and deserved barrels views the large first baseman as more of a low-to-mid 20s home run type of hitter. His contact rate plummeted while his quality of contact decreased. His average exit velocity is near the 50th percentile. He’s also likely to lose playing time to Evan White who signed a new contract this offseason, so I’m 100% out on Vogelbach in 2020 except maybe in OBP formats.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is still very young and also talented. He’s one of the few under-performers that I’m not all that worried about. Based on his overall improvements, I think he’s still growing as a player. He managed 20 homers in just 84 games which is a 162-game pace of 39. Using eHR and dBRL, it’s closer to 32 which is still impressive. With everyday at-bats, I expect close to 30 homers from Gurriel in 2020. That can certainly play if he hits in the middle of an improving Blue Jays lineup.

Tim Anderson‘s barrel rate is justified but he did not earn his home run total in 2019. His home park is favorable but I also include a factor for that in my eHR equation. He’s still young and has now shown decent power in two straight seasons. I won’t peg him as a complete regression candidate, especially if he’s fully healthy for 2020 but his value lies mostly with stolen bases.

Veterans and Catchers to Fade in 2020

Deserved Barrel% (dBRL%) and Earned Home Runs (eHR)

Eduardo Escobar-0.60%-7.17
Roberto Perez-3.80%-3.12
Willson Contreras-3.50%-2.07
Mitch Garver-5.00%-2.72
Matt Carpenter-1.00%-2.55
Mark Canha-1.90%-2.55
Carson Kelly-0.90%-4.22
Dexter Fowler-2.60%-2.30
Tim Beckham-3.50%-0.97
Nick Ahmed-3.00%-2.35
Tommy La Stella-0.80%-6.27
Brett Gardner0.00%-10.42
Omar Narvaez0.50%-9.26
Christian Vazquez0.50%-5.72

Eduardo Escobar is another hitter with a tight launch angle variance. Regression is coming but maybe he’s developed into a 25-27 homer hitter as opposed to the 20-22 homer hitter he was in Minnesota. So in a sense, I’m partially buying into his new approach to maximize his fly balls by pulling them at a career clip. However, it’s not a stable profile year-to-year so I won’t be drafting him expecting 90% of his production from 2019.

Yikes, Chamberlain’s bDRL% has Roberto Perez at about 10 fewer barrels in 2019 docking him approx six-seven homers. My eHR metric has him earning three fewer home runs giving him an earned/deserved HR total of a measly 13 home runs last season. His history of extremely low batting average has me concerned making him borderline top-20 catcher for 2020.

Another reason to not be a slave to Statcast metrics. My eHR metric has Willson Contreras earning only two fewer HR in 2019 bringing his total to a still-solid 22. However, his dBRL% cut his barrel rate in half. He’s another catcher who was a beneficiary of the juiced ball. He’s shown power in the past so I trust him more than Perez but 20+ homers in 2020 is not a projection I feel confident about.

Mitch Garver crushes the ball, there’s no doubt but 31 homers in 359 PA is just crazy. Of course, he’s due some major regression as dBRL docks him 11 barrels! Even given a bump in plate appearances, I’d project him for 20-22 home runs in 2020. That’s in about 450 PA+/- for a catcher. He still should provide solid value but I’m not reaching. I’m actually thinking about dropping him in my ranks.

I tried to tell you not to pay for a career year from a player in his early-mid 30s. Did you listen? I hope so. Despite a massive drop in ADP, I’m still not buying back in on Matt Carpenter. He dealt with injuries in 2019 but that’s nothing new for Carpenter. Expect more of the same with inconsistent results in 2020.

Mark Canha‘s 26 home runs in about three-quarters of a season is solid power production. However, he earned closer 20 homers last year. He’s a nice story and probably batting sixth in a stacked lineup, so he holds some value this coming season, I’m just not a believer in him as a 30-homer bat.

I love Carson Kelly but he might not be the 20-25 home run hitter I was hoping for. He’ll be in the backend of my top 10 catchers and I expect a decent batting average with 15-18 home runs in 2020. Nothing sexy but solid production.

Dexter Fowler is just about done in my opinion. He is morphing into a 10 homer, five steal player. Busch Stadium in St Louis is a tough park for home runs and the Cardinals have so many young outfielders, it feels like Fowler will be in a four-man rotation. There’s nothing to see here.

Anyone expecting a bounceback from free agent Tim Beckham can stop dreaming. He managed a 20.5% HR/FB rate despite a 33.5% hard-hit rate (bottom 31% of the league). He will likely be signed as a backup, so even in deep leagues, I’m staying away.

Nick Ahmed put together a solid overall season and it’s likely going to be the best of his career. The 19 home runs were a career-best but so was his plate appearance total. I’ll set the over/under for home runs at 13.5 in 2020. Is that exciting in today’s game or no?

Tommy La Stella‘s quality of contact was actually decent and his extremely high contact rate provides a nice batting average floor. That being said, anyone expecting 30 home runs across a full season from La Stella will be sorely disappointed. I don’t honestly think anyone out there is expecting 30 homers but I’d be hard-pressed to project him anything more than his total of 16 home runs across 550-600 PA. Maybe the Angels feel comfortable with La Stella as their leadoff hitter and that would be great for his value. Otherwise, he’s just a .280-15 hitter without any speed.

If Brett Gardner played in a neutral park to right field without the juiced ball, he’d be hardpressed to surpass 10 home runs. As it stands, he set a new career-high in home runs at 28 in 2019 at age-35. His HR/FB rate was six percent higher than his previous career-best back in 2017, the last time the ball was juiced. Nobody is expecting a repeat in 2020 but projection systems aren’t fully fading him. I’ll take the under on 15 home runs in 2020.

Omar Narvaez receives a park upgrade in Milwaukee but can he continue to outperform his metrics? He’s done it two years running and his hit tool seems to be his best asset offensively. I’m not fully fading him in 2020 but would not expect 20 home runs. I’m comfortable projecting around 15 homers with a .260 batting average. You could do much worse at catcher. Ditto, what I said about Narvaez for Christian Vazquez. The only difference is Vazquez has only done it for one year, where Narvaez has proven to be more reliable. I’ve ranked Narvaez 10th in catcher rankings with Vazquez at 13 if you’re curious.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.

Image credit: Scott Cunningham


2020 Shortstop Rankings – Fantasy Baseball

Here we go! My shortstop rankings for 2020 are now complete! I’ll hopefully have all of my positional ranks along with my top 300 complete after the second week of February, just in time for prime draft season. As always, I write a blurb or mini-deep dive on each player (at least those ranked inside the top 30) below the rankings table. The rankings are based on 5×5 Rotisserie scoring. If you want to check out my other ranks, click here.

Shortstop Rankings for 2020 - FreezeStats

1Francisco LindorIndians
2Trevor StoryRockies
3Trea TurnerNationals
4Fernando Tatis Jr.Padres
5Alex BregmanAstros
6Javier BaezCubs
7Adalberto MondesiRoyals
8Xander BogaertsRed Sox
9Gleyber TorresYankees
10Manny MachadoPadres
11Jonathan VillarMarlins
12Bo BichetteBlue Jays
13Carlos CorreaAstros
14Marcus SemienAthletics
15Tim AndersonWhite Sox
16Amed RosarioMets
17Gavin LuxDodgers
18Elvis AndrusRangers
19Corey SeagerDodgers
20Didi GregoriusPhillies
21Jorge PolancoTwins
22Dansby SwansonBraves
23Jean SeguraPhillies
24Paul DeJongCardinals
25Willy AdamesRays
26Kevin NewmanPirates
27Mauricio DubonGiants
28Carter KieboomNationals
29Luis UriasBrewers
30Jon BertiMarlins
31Andrelton SimmonsAngels
32Niko GoodrumTigers
33David FletcherAngels
34Jose PerazaRed Sox
35Nick AhmedDiamondbacks
36Freddy GalvisReds
37Jose IglesiasOrioles
38Chris TaylorDodgers
39J.P. CrawfordMariners
40Leury GarciaWhite Sox
41Myles StrawAstros
42Wander FrancoRays
43Willi CastroTigers
44Brandon CrawfordGiants
45Nicky LopezRoyals
46Ryan MountcastleOrioles
47Jorge MateoAthletics
48Orlando ArciaBrewers
49Miguel RojasMarlins
50Jake CronenworthPadres
51Andres GimenezMets

There isn’t much to say about Francisco Lindor other than he great. He’s averaged 33 home runs and 21 steals over his previous three seasons and is only 26 years old! Weird, ATC Projections has him pegged for 33 HR and 22 SB (not weird but spot-on). He brings five-category production with an insanely high floor that I’m looking for in the middle of the first round. Trevor Story is essentially Lindor with a higher ceiling but more volatility due to his elevated strikeout rate. Story’s two-year average of 35 HR, 25 SB with a .290+ average is actually slightly higher production than Lindor but I think there’s a little more batting average downside and his steals may start slipping. Even still, 35 homers with 20 steals and a .280 batting is a top-10 player for me.

Dreams of a season where Trea Turner hits 25 bombs while stealing 50 bases remain a realistic projection. The problem is he’s never done it. He’s still just 26 and posted a career-high 6.8% barrel rate while also hitting the ball harder than ever before. On top of that, he had a broken index finger that knocked him out for over a month. Maybe he won’t reach 50+ steals but the power is blossoming and that makes him worth a top-12 pick. How repeatable is a .400 BABIP? Not very, so why the lofty rank for Fernando Tatis Jr? He’s a stud and will only be 22 years old. His speed and batted ball profile portend to an elevated BABIP and his power clearly plays at the Major League level. I’ll take this risk/reward pick in the second round.

No, Alex Bregman was not dropped because of the Astros cheating scandal but it certainly doesn’t help. Bregman is a professional hitter at home and on the road. I just don’t expect his power to continue at its current rate. I dropped him below Tatis because I think we just saw Bergman’s ceiling in 2019 where Tatis has could go 30-30 as early as next season. I don’t understand why everyone is down in Javy Baez? He dealt with a nagging heel injury throughout the majority of the second half and still hit 29 home runs and stole 11 bases. I sent a Tweet out earlier this month listing all the players who have hit at least .280 with 60 homers and 25 steals since the start of 2018. Baez is basically the only player on the list who isn’t a first-round pick. If he’s healthy, he’s a virtual lock for 30-35 HRs and 15 SB. That’s top-25 for me, not 40th overall.

Adalberto Mondesi has game-changing speed which is the most scarce commodity in baseball. He’s recovering from shoulder surgery, so there’s certainly risk here. By all accounts, he should be ready by Opening Day but I’d expect him to miss the first couple of weeks. That being said, he could easily reach 40 steals and 15 home runs this year. When Xander Bogaerts was being drafted around 50 overall last year, I was all in. He delivered and was a top-30 player in 2019. He’s hitting in the middle of a stacked lineup so 200+ R+RBI are once again in order. He stopped running last year, so he feels a lot like Bregman with a little bit lower floor and ceiling. Covered Gleyber Torres in my 2B rankings

I’ll be taking the discount on Manny Machado this year. His power remained virtually unchanged last year but his batting average plummeted. I attribute some of his decline to the park but also changing teams and leagues. He should be more comfortable in 2020 and still in his prime at age-28. I’d project him for .275-35-100 with 8-10 steals.  I covered Jonathan Villar in my 2B rankings. On one hand, I have Bo Bichette as a borderline starter in a 12-team league, but on the other, he’s a top 75 player. He showed impressive skills upon his call up at age-21 but his speed never really surfaced. Projection systems still seem to believe he has the speed to steal 18-20 bases. I’ll take the under, but only slightly. He should be able to hit 20 homers which is why I have him over, Carlos Correa.

How deep is shortstop? I don’t even have Carlos Correa as a starting SS in a 12-team league! His ranking is simple. He still provides elite metrics in terms of quality of contact but he’s had only one season over 600 plate appearance. In fact, he’s had exactly one season with over 481 PA. I could see myself taking a risk on him if he slips beyond pick 100 but otherwise, I’m out. I’ve been a fan of Marcus Semien for several years now. One of my first sleeper posts two years ago was about him. Of course, he didn’t fully break out until the following year so I guess I was a year early. I think his rise to stardom is real but wouldn’t project him for a full repeat. He managed an incredible 740 PA in 2019. I’d bet against him surpassing 700 for a second straight season. I’ll take 10%-12% off the for Semien in 2020.

2019’s unlikely batting champion Tim Anderson is an intriguing player. He provides power, speed, and has some of the best bat flips on the game. He suffered through ankle and back injuries in the second half which tempered his stolen base totals. Most projection systems peg him for a 20-20 player but my eHR metric shows he was lucky to reach 18 HR last year. I might have him closer to 15 HR and 25 SB with significant regression in batting average because of his .399 BABIP. Still a valuable option. What’s the difference between Tim Anderson and Amed Rosario? Turns, out not much! In fact, Anderson is the second closest when comparing their batted ball profiles on Baseball Savant. Rosario is two years younger and has a better walk: strikeout ratio. Rosario took a big step forward in 2019 cutting his strikeout rate while hitting the ball with more authority. My only concern and this is the reason he’s behind Anderson in my rankings, is his proposed spot in the batting order. Without a good walk rate, he may be destined for the bottom third of the lineup given a poor OBP. Hopefully, he overcomes this and fully breaks out in 2020.

Covered Gavin Luz in my 2B Rankings. Elvis Andrus stole 31 bases in 2019 which ranked fifth in all of baseball. Base stealers are going at a premium on draft day but Andrus can be had after pick 130. Why? He’s 31 and the 20-homer power he displayed in 2017 seems to be the exception rather than the rule. He’s dropped 10 pounds this offseason looking to hold off old age as long as possible. I could definitely see him hitting .280 with 12-15 homers and 25 steals. Corey Seager has really fallen on hard times. He’s only 25 but his ceiling seems to be capped. While he improved his launch angle, his barrel rate and hard hit% actually dropped as a result. If there’s one silver lining, it’s his .230 second-half ISO. He pulled the ball more frequently which help increase his hard contact. I’m not fully buying in but he’s finally cheap enough to roll the dice.

Didi Gregorius goes from Yankee Stadium to Citizens Bank Park. Both parks play favorably to right field which is the only place Didi can hit the ball out. His aggressive, high contact approach should play just fine in Philly and the lineup around him is very good. The batting average won’t be great but I think he eclipses 20 home runs with a very good RBI total. Jorge Polanco and Corey Seager are almost back-to-back in NFBC drafts right now. As much as I love Polanco’s improvements with the bat, he’s not running anymore with just four steals in 2019. Some of the decreases can be attributed to the Twins’ philosophy because they have mashers for days and prefer to score runs via the long ball. But, I also think he was a beneficiary of the ball. I’ll take the under on 20 home runs for 2020 and with a projection of just five steals, I’ll look elsewhere.

Dansby Swanson is going after pick 250 in NFBC drafts. He’s my pick to click for 2020 from the shortstop position. I’ve been vocal about my love for Dansby this year and think his skills could continue to grow in 2020. I hope the Braves give him a shot to hit second or fifth and if that happens, I’m booking him for 25 homer and 15 steals. Note: the Braves signed Marcell Ozuna who will likely hit cleanup which strengthens the Braves lineup as a whole but hurts Swanson’s chances of hitting at a premium spot in the lineup. I’m concerned that Jean Segura‘s speed is diminishing. He’ll only be 30 years old to start 2020 but only managed 10 steals (12 attempts) last year. The last time he stole 20 bags in 2018 his success rate was under 67%. Not good. His batting average is safe given his high contact rate but he hasn’t surpassed 12 homers since 2016. He looks a lot more like Adam Eaton than Amed Rosario.

Paul DeJong‘s power metrics took a nose-dive yet he managed to hit 30 home runs for the first time in his career. *Cough* juiced ball *cough*. I still like him as a potential 30-homer bat but his batting average will likely sit below .250. He’s not a zero in steals though, so if he chips in with six to eight bags, he’s worth a top-225 pick. Willy Adames is a pretty good bet to break out in 2020. He’s still just 24 years old with 900 Major League plate appearances to his name. He improved in just about every aspect in his batted ball profile and cut his strikeout rate from 2018. He’s a good defender at a premium position, so he’s going to play every day for the Rays. I wouldn’t be surprised if he finishes inside the top-20 at the position. For me, there’s a huge dropoff between Adames and the next player, Kevin Newman. Like a 40 spot gap.

Covered Kevin Newman in my 2B rankings

Covered Mauricio Dubon in my 2B rankings

Covered Carter Kieboom in my 2B rankings

Covered Luis Urias in my 2B rankings

I’ll touch on a few players ranked between 30 and 50. If you’re looking for speed late, I’d try to grab Jon Berti, Jose Peraza, Jorge Mateo, or Myles Straw. Obviously, they all have playing time question marks, but you could do worse after pick 300. You can even find some batting average late as well if you haven’t filled your MI slot. I’d look in the direction of Andeltron Simmons, David Fletcher, Jose Iglesias, or Miguel Rojas for a solid BA floor. I don’t expect Wander Franco to be called up this year but there’s always a chance. If he forces the Rays’ hand and gives us one to two months, I think he has the chance to be a difference-maker. That’s why he makes the cut.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.


Hitters to Buy in 2020 Using Earned Home Runs and Deserved Barrels

Earlier this offseason I introduced the earned home run metric (eHR). I explained it here and analyzed some of the largest outliers from 2019 here. The metric’s backbone is barrels but included other variables including directional fly balls, home park factors, and exit velocity on fly balls and line drives. I also ran some regression analysis from 2018 to 2019 to determine how well the metric correlated from year 1 to year 2. The results showed weak correlation so there’s more work to do, but that article can be found here. What I ultimately determined was that while the correlations were slightly better than using strictly home runs per fly ball and home run per plate appearance, the results, as a whole, are inconclusive. That is for extremely small samples and for the players where eHR and HR totals did not differ by a significant margin. Where the value lies in eHR is with outliers.

Alex Chamberlain of RotoGraphs developed a deserved barrel (dBRL%) metric this offseason which has been extremely helpful. His research is great and makes a lot sense so I found a way to use his analysis in conjunction with my earned home run metric. Chamberlain’s introduction to the deserved barrel metric can be found here. But, he refined the dBRL equation earlier this month and the results are much more reliable. In the second article, he explains that the adjusted r-squared (r^2) improved to 0.8 up from 0.68. That’s a huge bump in reliability. Please be sure you check the article out. He still uses a slight bit of caution in that the metric is more valuable when looking at outliers. The way I’ll be using the two metrics together is identifying players that extremely over or underperformed their actual barrel rate based on the deserved barrel percentage but also earned their home run total from 2019. OR, even better, in the rare instance when a player either over or underperformed both deserved barrel% and earned home runs.

That sounded confusing as I wrote it, so let me give you an example. Mookie Betts. His barrel rate in 2019 was 10.3%. Chamberlain’s dBRL metric pegged him for an 11.6% BRl% given his dBRL equation that includes exit velocity and launch angles (aka quality of contact). That’s great, so Betts deserved more barrels in 2019. More barreled balls mean better results. Looking at the earned home run metric, Betts earned an additional 4.68 home runs in 2019 compared to his actual total of 29 home runs. But, I use his actual barrels produced in 2019 in my equation, not dBRL. So Betts’ quality of contact did not directly reflect his bottom line so given his actual barrel rate he actually earned almost an additional five home runs. If the ball remains unchanged, Betts is a guy who could reach a new career-high in home runs in 2020.

Alright, let’s take a look at the players who have a nice buying opportunity in 2020 given this analysis. The second column is simply deserved barrel% minus barrel%. The third column is earned home runs minus home run. I’ve included each player’s HR/FB rate from 2019 as I’ll come back to this article to determine whether or not improvements were made.

Earned HR & Deserved BRL% Underachievers (Buys)

Up for 2020dBRL%-BRL%eHR-HRHR/FB%
Jose Ramirez2.50%0.9012.00%
Mookie Betts1.30%4.8613.10%
Byron Buxton2.60%5.7510.10%
Renato Nunez1.40%5.1516.70%
Shohei Ohtani-1.00%6.4626.50%
Matt Chapman1.20%3.9919.00%
Marcell Ozuna-0.50%7.4022.10%
Rafael Devers2.20%0.3417.70%
Lorenzo Cain2.40%0.629.90%
Andrew Benintendi0.40%5.767.90%
Josh Donaldson-1.30%10.3925.70%
Enrique Hernandez2.70%1.8412.20%
CJ Cron-2.70%14.4719.50%
Brandon Belt1.70%3.718.80%
Yoan Moncada0.30%6.5120.20%
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.0.20%5.8712.10%
Bryce Harper-1.80%10.9323.50%
Rhys Hoskins2.10%3.5214.30%
Aaron Judge0.40%8.2135.10%
Travis Shaw4.10%4.0510.10%
Howie Kendrick0.30%6.1817.90%
Matt Olson0.30%5.5423.70%
Jose Abreu-0.60%14.0921.00%

Source: Alex Chamberlain – RotoGraphs & BaseballSavant

2020 Players to Buy – Under-performed eHR & dBRL

If you’re looking for something positive in Travis Shaw‘s profile that might indicate a bounceback, this is it. Keep in mind, he only managed 270 plate appearances, so his sample is small and therefore, not as reliable. Even still, he maintained a high pulled fly ball rate and hit the ball. He needs to get his contact rate under control but if he gets 100% run at 1B in Toronto, he should get back to 25+ home runs. That’s a steal at his current ADP of 410.

Byron Buxton really surprised me here. His approach completely changed last year as his launch angle jumped seven degrees. Additionally, his exit velocity shot up while cutting his strikeout rate. That’s huge. But, fewer ground balls portend to a lower BABIP and fewer stolen base opportunities, especially with his five percent jump in popup rate. The health cloud is always surrounding him, so he’ll remain an enigma for me.

Annnnnd just like that I’m back in on Rhys Hoskins. His stock has dropped like a rock after being taken inside the top 50 in 2019. He’s all the down at 115 but still has 35-40 homer power (given the juiced ball). Plus, the Phillies lineup is still very good. He’s not going to help in BA or stolen bases but 35 home runs with 200 R+RBI is gold.

It looks like Jose Ramirez is coming in at a discount in 2020 with an NFBC ADP of 18 as of today. Using dBRL%, he earned 10 additional barrels bringing him up to 36 barrels in about 3/4 of a season. While eHR only has him adding about one home run, he still deserved at least six to seven additional home runs in 2019. Assuming the ball remains unchanged and a full season, I’d expect 30-32 home runs from Ramirez in 2020.

I’m inclined to grab Renato Nunez as my corner infielder in all of my 15-team formats. His ADP is currently 277 after players like David Peralta and Joey Votto. He hit 31 home runs last year and actually earned 36. Chamberlain’s dBRL says he should have had five additional barrels. We are creeping dangerously close to 40 homers given these two metrics. His park is extremely favorable and the lineup is not as bad as advertised. I won’t project him for 40 home runs in 2020 but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a .250-35-95 season from him.

Based on my quasi-scientific calculation, Mookie Betts earned approximately 36 home runs in 2019. His stolen base total dropped but his power is as strong as ever. He was the same steller hitter, just unlucky. Fenway Park doesn’t help either and he’s staying put for this season. Unfortunately, the fantasy community is not buying Mookie’s “down” year as he’s the 4th player off the board in 2020. I would not be surprised if he finished 2020 hitting over .300 with 35+ homers, 20 steals and vying for the number one fantasy player next season.

As if we needed another reason to be giddy about the 23-year-old Rafael Devers, he deserved 12 more barrels in 2019. My eHR metric was neutral but go ahead and add those barrels onto his season total and you’ve got another eight homers! Now, remember, Fenway is difficult for power, so maybe his earned total is closer to 38 but still fantastic! Here’s a fun one for ya. Devers hit his first home run on May 3rd last year. From that point forward, here’s his line: .314/.357/.593 112 R, 32 HR, 105 RBI, 4 SB.

It’s nice to see that Jose Abreu, earned home run’s second-largest underperformer, deserved all but 2-3 of his barrels. He’s on the wrong side of 30, so expecting some performance decline is inevitable based on age. However, given these results, I don’t see why he can’t repeat his 2019 statline with maybe a few extra homers and natural regression in RBI.

Aaron Judge is still among the top one percent in all of baseball in terms of crushing baseballs. A healthy Judge can still hit 50 home runs and would be a lock for 40 bombs if he can manage at least 600 plate appearances. Nothing flashy, just simple analysis here.

Marcell Ozuna has under-performed his Statcast metrics two years running making his 2017 breakout seem like an outlier. Ya boy Max doesn’t see it that way. His home parks combined with some poor luck have held Ozuna’s numbers down the last two seasons. He remains unsigned this offseason and it looks inevitable that he’ll be back with the Cardinals. I’ll hold out hope that he goes elsewhere because Busch Stadium is one of the worst parks for offensive production.

Earned home runs pegged Matt Chapman for just about 40 homers in 2019 and his quality of contact was BETTER than his barrel rate indicates. Oakland Collusiem performs relatively neutral for home runs despite conventional thinking. I love Chapman and his price is reasonable. My only concern is his high variance in launch angle tightness. This high variance could mean a wild swing in production. A few of those deep fly balls could turn into popups or low line drives. That being said, the power is legit and I have no issue expecting a repeat of 2019 while adding a few points in batting average.

Similar to Abreu, Josh Donaldson is an aging veteran who had a very nice 2019. He was finally healthy and finished as one of seven players to surpass 60 barrels last season. Deserved barrels docks him five or so barrels and given his age and health history, it’ll be tough to repeat. Luckily for early drafters, his ADP hasn’t changed much over the last year (105 overall in NFBC drafts). I’m grabbing him at that price but it’ll be interesting to see how his value rises now that he’s with the Minnesota Juggernauts.

Deserved barrels dropped Bryce Harper BRL% to 13% which is still very impressive. Including dBRL to earned home runs cuts his eHR difference in half but 5-6 additional home runs in 2019 setting his home runs total at 40. Given Citizen’s Bank Park’s favorable right field, I am fully on board with Harper reaching the 40-homer plateau in 2020.

C.J Cron’s 15% barrel rate last year seemed to good to be true. As it turns out, it was. But, a 12.3% barrel rate is still among the elite. When we combine the two metrics, Cron should have eclipsed 30 homers for the second straight season instead of finishing with just 25. The move to DET is not great but he should play every day in the middle of that lineup, so he’s another nice late-round flier.

Yoan Moncada’s elevated strikeout rate may keep him from hitting .315 again but I’m projecting a power breakout in 2020. While his 2019 strikeout rate was high at 27.5%, it was a 6% improvement from the previous year. Growth from a young player is always a very good thing. As a prospect, his hit tool was rated well-above-average, so if he can continue to improve his contact rate the sky is the limit. Unless Moncada’s ADP settles inside the top 50 (currently at 68), I’m going to be all over him. Don’t be surprised if he reaches 35 home runs in 2020.

Nothing to see here. Matt Olson just earned 40 home runs in just 127 games! Look, Olson is being hyped by just about everyone. His ADP is soaring because of it, but as is he’s going 30 picks after Pete Alonso. I think they are very similar, so give me Olson over Alonso every time given the discount.

Despite a 50+% ground ball rate, Vlad Jr. still earned nearly six additional home runs last year. He just crushes the ball evidenced by hitting the hardest ball of 2019. Check out my piece at Pitcher List on his power potential. I can understand the lofty ADP. His combination of exit velocity and high contact could yield 35+ homers with a .300 batting average in the future.

Unfortunately for Kike Hernandez, the Dodgers have so much positional depth making him a utility option; a part-time option at that. Even still, he should have finished closer to 23-34 homers in 2019 instead of 17. The power breakout we saw in 2018 is real and he’s a nice option in NL-Only and deep-leagues for cheap power.

Normally, I’d been in on Lorenzo Cain with this data but he’s going to be 34 years old. His speed is dwindling and so is the power. While he deserved better in 2019, I don’t expect 15+ homers in 2020.

Here we go again with Brandon Belt. Oracle Park is brutal for left-handed power. Moving the walls in a bit could help but I’m still not buying unless he’s traded. Plugging in dBRL into my eHR equation, he still would have finished with 24 home runs in 2019 across 616 PA. That’s the first time he’s surpassed 600 PA since 2016 so the probability of a repeat is low. Besides, 24 homers in this era does not move the needle.

Andrew Benintendi needs to go back to what he does best. Using his elite hit tool and driving balls all over the field. The dream of 30 home runs for him may likely never come to fruition but eHR shows that he still has some pop. If he can get back to hitting .290 with 20 homers in the Red Sox lineup, he’s a good value at pick just after 100 overall.

Howie Kendrick’s age-35 season was so impressive when you consider his career. His zone contact rate was the best of his career while posting the second-best HR/FB rate. He’s still just a part-time player so his value will lie in NL-Only leagues and for streaming purposes.

Pitching every sixth game is going to limit Shohei Ohtani‘s value as a hitter. Then again, Joe Maddon claims he could use Ohtani as the team’s DH when he pitches. So, there’s that. Ohtani is a unicorn. If he managed 600+ PA, he would hit 35 home runs and steal 12-15 bases. If he threw 200 innings, he’d be a top 10 arm. Neither will happen but we can still enjoy his talent wherever he’s at on the field.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.


2020 Second Base Rankings – Fantasy Baseball

Second base is probably the most shallow positions on the infield for 2020. But, there are also plenty of players who have multi-position eligibility, so the flexibility can’t hurt. I also noticed that there are a ton of second basemen that can provide batting average late in drafts. I’m talking after pick 300 late. Check out the rankings table and below and let me know your thoughts. Below the table, I cover many of the top 35 players with a mini-deep dive backing up my ranking for each player. These rankings are for standard 5×5 roto categories. Previous Ranks: Catcher, First Base

Second Base Rankings - FreezeStats 2020

1Jose AltuveAstros
2Ketel MarteDiamondbacks
3Gleyber TorresYankees
4Ozzie AlbiesBraves
5DJ LeMahieuYankees
6Keston HiuraBrewers
7Whit MerrifieldRoyals
8Jonathan VillarMarlins
9Jeff McNeilMets
10Max MuncyDodgers
11Mike MoustakasReds
12Danny SantanaRangers
13Eduardo EscobarDiamondbacks
14Gavin LuxDodgers
15Brandon LoweRays
16Cavan BiggioBlue Jays
17Tommy EdmanCardinals
18Cesar HernandezIndians
19Robinson CanoMets
20Ryan McMahonRockies
21Michael ChavisRed Sox
22Rougned OdorRangers
23Garrett HampsonRockies
24Kolten WongCardinals
25Kevin NewmanPirates
26Nick SolakRangers
27Dee GordonMariners
28Luis ArraezTwins
29Howie KendrickNationals
30Starlin CastroNationals
31Tommy La StellaAngels
32Mauricio DubonGiants
33Jonathan SchoopTigers
34Carter KieboomNationals
35Hanser AlbertoOrioles
36Luis UriasBrewers
37Jurickson ProfarPadres
38Nick MadrigalWhite Sox
39Jose PerazaRed Sox
40Adam FrazierPirates
41Scooter GennettGiants
42Brendan RodgersRockies
43Franklin BarretoAthletics
44Isan DiazMarlins
45Enrique HernandezDodgers
46Wilmer Flores
47Nico HoernerCubs
48Aledmys DiazAstros
49Nicky LopezRoyals
50David BoteCubs
51Eric SogardBrewers
52Brian Dozier
53Shed LongMariners

The lack of steals in 2019 is a major concern which is why Jose Altuve is no longer a first-round talent. He surpassed 30 home runs for the first time in 2019 and did it in under 600 plate appearances! I’m not expecting a repeat in power but view him as more of a 25-10 type player with a .300+ batting average hitting in one of the best lineups in baseball. Ketel “One” Marte was a massive breakout last season and I was loving it! His skills growth was fantastic in his age-25 season, so there’s no reason to expect major regression provided the ball remains bouncy. Ditto, what I said about Altuve minus the elite lineup around him. Gleyber Torres showed that his power is for real mashing 38 home runs in 2019! But, I am skeptical, but then again he’s only 23 years old. The speed certainly isn’t there and I wouldn’t project him higher than a .275 average but 30 home runs feel like a lock.

Ozzie Albies is another young stud at second base who I believe still has 30-20 upside. He’s slotted to hit second behind Ronald Acuna and in front of Freddie Freeman so runs and RBI will be plentiful. Even if he repeats his power and stolen base production from a year ago, he’s still a top-50 player. DJ LeMahieu‘s swing is made for Yankee Stadium. I’ve said this before and I know you’ve heard it before. He earned his power outburst and his 39 Barrels was a career-high. His average exit velocity last was 91.7 mph which ranked 19th in all of baseball. So I believe he can hit .300 with 22-25 homers while potentially leading the league in runs leading off for the Yankees. Keston Hiura has a bright future. There’s a 30 homer, 20 steal season in his future. He crushed the ball in his rookie year. But, his strikeouts didn’t match his previous seasons in the minors. They shot up. His contact rates are very poor. I think he sold out for power and reaped the benefits without feeling the regression. So maybe he hits .260 with 30 homers or .285 with 22-25 homers.

Can Whit Merrifield recapture 35-40 steals in 2020? I’d rank him higher if I thought he could. He also has two consecutive seasons with over 700 PA. The odds are against him doing it for the third time. I’ll take the 12 home runs and 25 steals he’ll give you and build your roster from there. The move to Miami shouldn’t hurt Jonathan Villar‘s playing time or stolen base ceiling but his power won’t play in Marlins Park. Moving the fences in will help a little but check out the difference in the home run park factors between Camden and Marlins Park. I’d expect something closer to his 2018 which makes him a solid sixth or seventh-round pick but should not be going inside the top 50. Jeff McNeil has some impressive projections that look similar to DJ’s. McNeil’s extremely high contact rate and high line drive approach will provide a strong batting average. I’m not a full believer in his power and he doesn’t provide great speed. He’s similar to DJ but with less power and a much weaker surrounding cast.

I discussed Max Muncy and Danny Santana here in 1B rankings. Mike Moustakas goes from one favorable park to another in Cincinnati. Based on my home run park factors, GABP ranks as the number one venue and it’s favorable to all fields. The Reds have improved this offseason and Moustakas is primed for his first 100 RBI season batting cleanup behind Eugenio Suarez. The addition of Shogo Akiyama as a potential leadoff hitter should be understated as he’s, by all accounts, an OBP stud. Expect 35-100 with a .250 average from Moose. Eduardo Escobar may have outperformed his earned home runs but he also boosted his pulled fly ball percentage in addition to hitting his fly balls at a higher exit velocity. He’s definitely a candidate to regress if the ball is de-juiced but should hit in the middle of the Diamondbacks lineup. I like his ability to hit .260-.270 with 25-28 homers next year.

This is a lofty ranking for Gavin Lux especially since he doesn’t have a guaranteed everyday role. Manager Dave Roberts has discussed giving Lux some time in the outfield to get him in the lineup. I’m ranking him based on his skill and potential because I think he’ll get the playing time. Justin Turner and Corey Seager have not been pillars of health either. I’m projecting Lux for about 500-550 PA and he should provide at least 20 homers and 10 steals given that playing time. Brandon Lowe has legitimate power but also a potential batting average risk. He had a 19.1% SwStr% which explains his 34% K rate in 2019. The only reason he didn’t hit below .250 was thanks to an inflated .377 BABIP. His batted ball profile portends an above-average BABIP but even still, he’s likely to regress somewhere between .230 and .240 this year. The 30-homer upside with 8-10 steals is why he’s ranked here.

I could go back and forth all day with Cavan Biggio. I’ve had many discussions on Twitter about him. He’s destined for a sub-.250 batting average due to his extreme patience and heavy pull rate. His metrics are decent and his speed is very good. Given his walk rate, he could stick in the two-hole for the Blue Jays or struggle and drop to the bottom of the order. I’d expect a .230 average with 15-18 homers and 20 steals. Tommy Edman is a guy I won’t be drafting. He’s being taken around 125 and I just don’t get it. His power is not real and the playing time is not guaranteed. He does seem to be a stolen base threat but if he goes 10-20 with meh counting stats, I’d just rather look elsewhere.

Cesar Hernandez is a hidden gem in 2020. Prior to last season, Hernandez had three-straight .350+ OBP seasons. I think he’ll get back to it next year and if Mercado struggles out of the two-hole, Hernandez will jump in. His power isn’t great but his sprint speed is still in the 88th percentile, so I think he can reach 20 steals on an aggressive Indians team. So, he’s basically Edman but 100 picks cheaper. Robinson Cano is not dead! His hard-hit% and exit velocity were both inside the top 20% of the league last year. Additionally, his zone contact was still a very impressive 89% last year. He won’t hit 25 homers thanks to a low launch angle but should provide around a .275 batting average with 18-20 homers and 85+ RBI hitting behind Alsono and McNeil.

I covered Ryan McMahon and Michael Chavis in the 1B rankings here. If I knew Rougned Odor was going to be given 100% run all year, I’d bump him up. The problem is the fact that the Rangers are in win-now mode and have other options like Nick Solak. Odor can’t be running wild on the bases getting thrown out 50% of the time. If he gets the playing time, he’s a lock for 30 home runs and should chip in 8-10 swipes. Don’t expect anything better than a .240 average though. I just don’t trust the Rockies to play Garrett Hampson every day or even guarantee him 450+ PA in 2020. His talent was on display in September when he hit five homers and stole nine bags but the frustrating inconsistency that the Rockies display is maddening. If he somehow receives 500 PA+, I’d rank him somewhere between Lux and Biggio but I’m not that confident.

I’m not buying Kolten Wong and his career-year. I think the 24 steals will be a career-best and I don’t believe him to be a double-digit home run hitter. So, his defense will keep him in the lineup but I’d project eight homers and 15-18 steals. Kevin Newman might just be a poor man’s Tommy Edman or Kolton Wong. Kind of gross. There’s some speed which is intriguing, but his power is next to nothing. He might hit six to eight homers and steal 15-18 bags. Nick Solak doesn’t have a starting gig thanks to the Todd Frazier signing. That’s really too bad because Solak may just be better than Frazier right now. There’s still plenty of opportunities because, in addition to playing second and third base, he can play the outfield. Currently, the Rangers are running Willie Calhoun out in LF which is just a nightmare defensively. Given the inconsistency of Odor, the age of Frazier, and the poor defensive outfield, Solak should play three to five days a week with a chance for more.

We know what Dee Gordon has become and it’s not valuable in an era when guys like Freddy Galvis are hitting 20+ homers. Since he gives you nothing in the power department, he’d need to steal 40 bases to provide some value and those days are gone. Luis Arraez continues to be bumped to the back of the lineup, especially with the addition of Josh Donaldson. He doesn’t have much power or speed but should hit .300. He’s the batting average version of Dee Gordon. The Nationals are stockpiling second and third basemen. Starlin Castro will likely split time with Asdrubal Cabrera, Carter Keiboom, and mix in a little Howie Kendrick as well. Castro’s value in the past has been with volume. It took him 676 PA in 2019 to compile 22 homers and 86 RBI. I’d project him for around 500-550 PA this year. So, maybe 15 HR and 70 RBI. To no one’s surprise, Tommy La Stella was one player who outperformed his earned home run metric by a ton. I won’t buy into his partial season breakout. Based on this ranking, I’m not a believer that he can perform at that high level for a full season.

Outside of NL-Only and 20-team formats, you’re not likely to roster these guys. That being said, Mauricio Dubon is interesting to me. He has good foot speed and has been slapped with a 60-grade hit tool to go with essentially league-average raw power. He hit a career-best 24 home runs (across Triple-A and MLB) and stole 13 bases. He also stole as many as 38 in 2017 before a devastating knee injury derailed his 2018. The move to San Francisco hinders his power but it’s not so bad for right-handed pull power. With the White sox going all in this year, I’d expect Nick Madrigal up with the big club by May. He doesn’t have any power but he has speed and struck out just 16 times in 532 PA in 2019! Yes, you read that right. He could hit .300 immediately and steal 15-18 bases. Carter Kieboom is blocked right now but probably has the best upside of any player after Nick Solak. Hanser Alberto is a hyper-aggressive hitter but hit contact rate shot through the roof last year. He’s guaranteed to play on a bad Orioles team and should hit 10-12 homers and chip in a few steals. But, it’s his batting average that should boost his value. If you’re looking for batting average late, he’s your guy.

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2020 First Base Rankings – Fantasy Baseball

First Base Rankings 2020

1Cody BellingerDodgers
2Freddie FreemanBraves
3Pete AlonsoMets
4Anthony RizzoCubs
5Matt OlsonAthletics
6Jose AbreuWhite Sox
7Paul GoldschmidtCardinals
8Josh BellPirates
9DJ LeMahieuYankees
10Max MuncyDodgers
11Trey ManciniOrioles
12Carlos SantanaIndians
13Rhys HoskinsPhillies
14Yuli GurrielAstros
15Edwin EncarnacionWhite Sox
16Luke VoitYankees
17Danny SantanaRangers
18C.J. CronTigers
19Yandy DiazRays
20Eric HosmerPadres
21Daniel MurphyRockies
22Christian WalkerDiamondbacks
23Joey VottoReds
24Ryan McMahonRockies
25Joc PedersonDodgers
26Mark CanhaAthletics
27Wil MyersPadres
28Renato NunezOrioles
29Jesus AguilarMarlins
30Michael ChavisRed Sox
31Nate LoweRays
32Miguel CabreraTigers
33Brandon BeltGiants
34Justin SmoakBrewers*
35Evan WhiteMariners
36Marwin GonzalezTwins
37Albert PujolsAngels
38Ji-Man ChoiRays
39Howie KendrickNationals
40Ryan MountcastleOrioles
41Garrett CooperMarlins
42Eric ThamesNationals
43Josh Van MeterReds
44Matt BeatyDodgers
45Kevin CronDiamondbacks
46Austin NolaMariners
47Ronald GuzmanRangers
48Brandon DixonTigers
49Dan VogelbachMariners
50Rowdy TellezBlue Jays
51Chris DavisOrioles

I’m not necessarily using tiers but you could look at these groupings that way if you’d like. Even though Bellinger and Freeman are in the same tier, the difference in value between the two is similar to the difference between Josh Bell and Edwin Encarnacion. Keep that in mind. After the top tier, the values start bunching together. If I can’t get Bellinger or Freeman, I’m likely waiting for someone like Olson, Abreu, or Bell. Whichever seems to fall the most.

Cody Bellinger faded some in the second half but his plate approach and contact gains remained intact. He finished the season with 46 home runs and 15 stolen bases and will be 24 years old this season. There’s no doubt he’s the top 1B option and I’ve got him number five overall. Freddie Freeman is steady as she goes. His ceiling may end up being what we saw in 2019 but he’s still going to be a four-category monster and should chip in five to eight steals. Freeman should provide a better batting average than Bellinger but Cody gets the edge in power and stolen bases.

What will Pete Alonso do for an encore? I love his power but he may have outperformed his metrics last season. Hitters that hit 50 home runs in a season rarely repeat the next year. I still think he reaches 40 home runs and 105+ RBI but his average won’t be great. Do I really need to analyze Anthony Rizzo? He’s the same player he’s always been except that he’s traded a little bit of power for batting average thanks to an improved strikeout rate. So he’s no longer a lock for 30-35 homers but I expect 25-30 with a .280-.290 average. I would not be surprised if Matt Olson outearns Alonso in 2020. If it weren’t for a broken hamate bone in late-March, Olson could have hit 40-45 homers in 2019. Continuously undervalued and under-appreciated is Jose Abreu. Based on earned home runs, Abreu should have eclipsed the 40 home run mark in 2019. As the White Sox push all their chips to win now, I expect Abreu to hit another 30+ homers with 100+ RBI and a .270+ batting average. Safe and steady. The decline is real for Paul Goldschmidt. Busch Stadium is a clear downgrade in terms of power for the longtime fantasy stud. The lineup is weaker without Marcell Ozuna behind him, so I expect another .270-30-95 type season for Goldy. I’m a believer in the breakout for Josh Bell. We’ve been waiting for it and he finally delivered. He improved his launch angle, increased his hard-hit rate and thus doubled his barrel rate. He faded in the second half but carried his launch and hard contact gains, he just became more passive. I expect him to come out healthy in 2020 and provide similar numbers to Goldy ranked one spot ahead of him.

DJ LeMahieu’s swing is made for Yankee Stadium. I’ve said this before and I know you’ve heard it before. He earned his power outburst and his 39 Barrels were a career-high. His average exit velocity last was 91.7 mph which ranked 19th in all of baseball. So I believe he can hit .300 with 22-25 homers while potentially leading the league in runs leading off for the Yankees.

Max Muncy through Edwin Encarnacion is basically a tier. Muncy will be ranked inside my top 100 and E5 will be somewhere around 125-130 overall. That’s a relatively tight grouping. I don’t love paying for career years from guys in or nearing their mid-30s. That means I’m not fully expecting a repeat from Carlos Santana or Yuli Gurriel. I think Rhys Hoskins is due for a slight rebound but his ceiling is capped based on his batted ball profile. Trey Mancini is entering his prime and just broke out in 2019. I love the ballpark he hits in but his surrounding cast is awful. Losing Villar doesn’t help either. If he was in a better situation, he would be side by side with Muncy. I believe in the .275 average and 30-homer power given his batted ball improvements but I’d expect something closer to 85 runs and 90 RBI in 2020.

There’s a large gap between Luke Voit and C.J Cron but I’m including them in this grouping. If Voit grabs hold of the everyday role in New York, he could hit 35-40 home runs in that stadium. However, there’s some risk in playing time which would really hamper his projections. The metrics back up Danny Santana‘s production but a near-30% strikeout rate will make it difficult to repeat his .283 BA. He possesses impressive 20-20 potential from a corner infielder which can be gold and should play every day with OF eligibility as a bonus. I love Cron’s power ceiling but Comerica Park in DET caps it a bit. Still, he should play every day and hit in the middle of the order. I’d expect .260-30 with moderate run production. Boring but solid, moving on.

Yandy Diaz is starting to make the proper approach changes to realize his full potential. The move to the Rays seems to have been a smart one as he’s lowered his ground ball rate and increased his pulled fly ball rate to 20% (up from a measly 3%). Given his high quality of contact and potential launch angle improvements, 25-30 home runs is no longer a pipedream. Eric Hosmer is in a pretty comfortable lineup that is improving. His moderate power and batting average should be enough for him to once again become a run producer in the middle of the Padres lineup. Hosmer’s ceiling is limited thanks to a wretched launch angle but his floor is also relatively high. Daniel Murphy dealt with a lingering thumb injury for most of the 2019 season, so he was unable to take advantage of the Coors Field goodness. Given his age, I don’t believe in him as a 20-homer bat any longer but given health, I would not be surprised to see him hit .300 this season. Christian Walker had a hell of a year breaking out at age-28 with 29 home runs in just over 600 PA. His exit velocity and barrel rate mimicked his predecessor Paul Goldschmidt but I have my doubts heading in 2020. The major improvement for Walker was cutting down on his chase rate. But, his zone contact rate is well-below league average, so I could see a strikeout rate in the upper 20s. He’s a solid late-round pick but wouldn’t trust him as my starting 1B.

Do I think Joey Votto improves on what he did in 2019? Yes. That being said, Votto was the 33rd best 1B last year based on Razzball’s Player Rater. I like the moves the Reds have made to improve their team and think Votto will reap the benefits. He just isn’t capable of hitting more than 20 home runs anymore nor will he hit .300. Domingo Santana and Rougned Odor. Those are the only qualified hitters with a higher strikeout rate than Ryan McMahon in 2019. While he hit 24 home runs, his batting average settled in at .250. That’s difficult to do while playing half his games in the BABIP heaven that is Coors Field. At 25, I’m hoping for .270-30 but paying for .260-25. If Joc Pederson could somehow get 600 PA against RHP (obviously this is impossible), he’d be a third-round player. Receiving only 75% of the possible playing time is going to limit his ceiling which I believe we saw in 2019. Regress his 2019 numbers about 20% and that’s where I believe he ends up in 2020.

Mark Canha showed impressive plate skills on his way to a 2019 breakout. His metrics are decent but I’m not fully buying into his breakout at age-30. He doesn’t strike me as a 30-homer bat and he has a popup problem. His popup rate was 12.1% last year (11.8% for his career) compared to league-average 7.1%. I don’t know what to do with Wil Myers. We are now two years removed from his 30-20 season and back-to-back 20-20 seasons. He’s still just 29 years old but his contact rate was garbage last year. He couldn’t hit offspeed or breaking pitches and it led to a pitiful 34.3% K rate. Draft him after pick 200 hoping for 20-20 and if he doesn’t deliver, it won’t sink you. I ranked Renato Nunez inside the top-40 3B going into 2019 and he did not disappoint. He broke out but also benefited from having Villar atop the lineup along with Mancini’s best season. He’s going to be a batting average liability but given his home backdrop in Baltimore, he should be a safe 28-30 homer bat. Jesus Aguilar saw a major drop in his average fly ball distance last year and it showed. While he improved his chase and SwStr rates, his power just plummeted. Additionally, he hit the ball on the ground an awful lot. He’ll get a park downgrade in Miami but should see plenty of at-bats in 2020. I think he’s a good bet to hit 20-25 homers but I wouldn’t bank on much more.

Michael Chavis is young and he struggled after a hot debut in 2019. He hit .254 with an inflated .347 BABIP. That’s not good fam. His contact rates have me running for the hills. On pitches in the zone, he made contact 11% less frequently than league-average! He should receive some run unless the Red Sox make a move at first base, so I could see 25+ home runs but with a sub-.250 BA. The Rays seem to want Nate Lowe to just go away. It’s sad really. After acquiring Jose Martinez in a trade earlier this week, there’s now one more mouth to feed and another one who cannot play a lick of defense. The Rays essentially have four 1B/DH types in Ji-Man Choi, Nate Lowe, Jose Martinez, and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. Frustrating. I love Lowe and he’d be a top-20 option with everyday at-bats but here we are.

My have the mighty have fallen. This rank is just about where I had Miggy last season and nothing’s changed for me. The ballpark is still brutal, the lineup is terrible and his injury history is sketchy at best. He’ll go down as one of the all-time great hitters but he no longer can provide pop to the opposite field. Miggy is, unfortunately, a shell of himself. Brandon Belt‘s career has been suppressed thanks in part to nagging injuries but also his home park. Oracle Park is far and away the worse venue for home runs to right field. It’s nearly three standard deviations below the mean. I just can’t expect any more than 15-18 home runs and 500 PA from Belt in 2020 unless he’s moved elsewhere. If he’s moved and plays in a neutral park, he jumps five to eight spots. Justin Smoak had one of the lowest BABIPs on ground balls in 2019 at .124. He’s a switch hitter so he bats from the left-side more frequently and pulls over 75% of his grounders. Oh, and he’s extremely slow and can’t hit breaking balls. But, his power metrics look very solid and his contact rates are good. I like the move to Miller Park but see him as a part-time player. I’d expect similar numbers to 2019 with about 20 points of BA.

Two interesting players in this bottom tier 35-50 are Matt Beaty and Josh Van Meter. Of course, playing time is going to be difficult to come by but both have shown interesting skills in their short time in the Majors. Beaty has a rare combination of high maximum exit velocity and high contact rates. Van Meter showed surprising power and speed which could be valuable in deep leagues. GABP is a great place to hit and his power will play up there, so keep an eye on him especially if the Reds get bit by the injury bug. I have an interest in Kevin Cron because of his massive power potential. He amassed 45 home runs across three levels (38 at Triple-A), so if Walker or Lamb falter, look to scoop up King Cron’s little bro. I compared Brandon Dixon to Austin Riley last season and that’s both a good and bad thing. He’s going to struggle to hit for average but has 25+ homer power across a full season of at-bats. I added Chris Davis to the list because he seems like an all-around good guy. Two thumbs up!

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2020 Catcher Rankings – Fantasy Baseball

Catcher Rankings Table - 2020

1J.T. RealmutoPhillies
2Gary SanchezYankees
3Yasmani GrandalWhite Sox
4Mitch GarverTwins
5Willson ContrerasCubs
6Salvador PerezRoyals
7Wilson RamosMets
8Will SmithDodgers
9Carson KellyDiamondbacks
10Omar NarvaezBrewers
11Jorge AlfaroMarlins
12Yadier MolinaCardinals
13Christian VazquezRed Sox
14Jason CastroAngels
15Buster PoseyGiants
16Francisco MejiaPadres
17Danny JansenBlue Jays
18Travis d'ArnaudBraves
19Tom MurphyMariners
20Roberto PerezIndians
21Willians AstudilloTwins
22Mike ZuninoRays
23Sean MurphyAthletics
24Kurt SuzukiNationals
25Tyler FlowersBraves
26Yan GomesNationals
27Austin RomineTigers
28James McCannWhite Sox
29Chance SiscoOrioles
30Jacob StallingsPirates

J.T. Realmuto has been a consistent top-five performer at the position over the last three seasons. His low-to-mid 20s power seems legit and he’s one of the only catchers who can manage 8-10 steals which is extremely valuable at the shallow position. His contact skills provide a safe batting average floor with .290-.300 upside as well.

Gary Sanchez‘s .278 batting average from 2017 appears to be an outlier. His poor popup rate combined with a heavy pulled ground ball rate has led to a deflated BABIP. The power is, however, massive and it’s unmatched at the position (top 1% in MLB in BRL/BBE). Health is also an issue but if he reaches 550+ PA, 40 HR is attainable.

Yasmani Grandal goes from one friendly park to another. Unfortunately for Grandal, the White Sox signed Edwin Encarnacion as the full-time Designated Hitter leaving less room for Grandal to earn more plate appearances when he’s not behind the plate. Let’s not forget, Grandal managed an insane 632 PA in 2019 and will be 31 years old in 2020 with a capable backup in James McCann to spell him one or two times per week. I’m expecting closer to 500 PA for Grandal which is the reason he falls behind Sanchez.

With Castro gone, Mitch Garver should see 65-70% of the plate appearances for the Twins in 2020. He’s average defensively, but it shouldn’t hurt his playing time too much. He outperformed his home run total a year ago but that doesn’t mean his metrics weren’t impressive. He transformed increasing his FB% by 12% and tripled his BRL%. Maybe he doesn’t keep 100% of the gains but he should hit around .260 with 25 HR.

It was nice to see Wilson Contreras bounceback after a disappointing 2018 but he seemed to outperform his metrics last season. His ground ball rate still sits at an underwhelming 50% and his quality of contact skills are good but far from elite. That being said, he still has low-20s power with a better .260+ batting average which plays as a top-five player at the catcher position.

After missing all of 2019 with an ACL tear, Sal Perez is back and is still just 29 years old. Prior to 2019, Perez compiled four-straight 20-homer campaigns and provides better than league-average strikeout rates. He’s an ultra-aggressive hitter who won’t take a walk, so he gets a slight downgrade in OBP formats. That being said, I’d expect a line similar to that of 2016 or 2018 from Perez in 2020.

Wilson Ramos had an average launch angle of 0.0 degrees in 2019. Yuck. It’s too bad because he crushes the ball (90.0 mph Avg EV) and has one of the better strikeout rates from the catcher position (13.2% in 2019, 16.7% for his career). I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hit .280 again but reaching 20 homers is going to be difficult with a 60% ground ball rate.

Will Smith busted out in 2019 with 15 home runs in just 196 plate appearances! You may be wondering why a 30-homer catcher isn’t ranked higher but I don’t fully trust his skills will carry over given the small sample. His xBA was just .225 and he only barreled 13 balls. Given my eHR metric, he actually earned just nine home runs. Still solid but not an elite power bat. With a projected 25% strikeout rate, I think Smith hits in the .230s with 18-20 homers in 2020.

If I miss on a top-3 catcher in the draft, I’m likely jumping in on Carson Kelly who is going around pick 217 in NFBC drafts. The NFBC is a two-catcher format. In single catcher leagues, I’d imagine, his ADP may slip north of 250. Smith, on the other hand, is going around pick 150. No, thanks. Kelly has solid batted ball metrics and very good plate discipline. I think his floor is very high and his ceiling is borderline top-five at the position.

Omar Narvaez is Mr. Outperform his metrics. That being said, his ability to make contact earns him a solid batting average floor. He does receive a park upgrade, but I’m not going to project him for anywhere near 20 home runs again. Expect a good batting average (for a catcher) and take the 12-15 home runs he gives in you and be happy.

Jorge Alfaro‘s ceiling is capped by two main road bumps. First, his ground ball rate was 52% in 2019 (51.1% for his career). That’s going to limit the damage he does with his bat. Additionally, his strikeout rate has been north of 33% each of the last two seasons. If it weren’t for absurdly high BABIPs, he’d be a .210 hitter. That being said, the power is real and he profiles as a player who can sustain an elevated BABIP. He’s like Wilson Ramos without the batting average.

Yadier Molina has been around forever and will be 37 going into the 2020 season. He’s not going to compile 500 plate appearances anymore but he still makes a ton of contact. Even in an injury-shortened 2019, he hit .270 with 10 homers. At some point soon, he’s going to completely fall off but given this ranking, he’s not going to sink your team if that happens in 2020.

I won’t blame you if you want to pay for last season with Christian Vazquez because catcher is a wasteland. The 23 homers were very nice but prior to last season, Vazquez totaled 10 home runs in his previous 999 PA. Yes, he improved his quality of contact but nearly quadrupled his HR/FB rate/ Regression is coming, but how much?

Jason Castro slots in as the starting catcher for the Angels after a part-time role with the Twins. He bats from the left side and will split time with Max Stassi (RHB), so expect something similar to a 60/40 split in favor of Castro. Castro surprisingly was a monster when he made contact w/ a 17.6% BRL/BBE, 46.4% HH% and a .521 xSLG. His K% sits north of 30%, so don’t expect him to hit over .240 but 20 HR is not out of the question.

Why are projection systems expecting 11 home runs for Buster Posey? He’s totaled 12 home runs over the last two seasons combined. Yes, 12! He’ll be 33 to start 2020 and is a complete shell of his former self. I’ll take the under on almost every single one of his projected categories which is why he falls to 15th on my list. Keep in mind, prospect Joey Bart is nearly ready and could steal some at-bats late in the season.

Ahh, the dreaded near 50/50 timeshare in Atlanta with Travis d’Arnaud and Tyler Flowers. It’s great for real baseball value and helps keep their catchers healthy. However, it’s tough on us fantasy players. I wouldn’t expect 400 PA from d”Arnaud and his health history gives him a near zero-value floor. Draft him expecting 300-350 PA. Same with Flowers but without the batting average upside of d’Arnaud.

I won’t be covering everyone ranked 16-30 since they aren’t all that relevant in 12-team single catcher formats but I’ll touch on a few of them. Feel free to ask questions in the comments or on Twitter. Tom Murphy is like Mike Zunino with more guaranteed playing time. He could hit 25 homers with a .230 average or his average could plummet below .200. I know Roberto Perez was a top-10 catcher last year. I also know that even with his breakout at age-30, he’s still a career .216 hitter. I’m skeptical because he doubled his barrel rate without improving his hard hit% or fly ball rate. He’s a solid defensive backstop, so I’d expect another 350+ PA but it might come at a .210 AVG with 12-15 homers.

El Totuga!

Mike Zunino hit .165 last season and his strikeout rate is worse than Alfaro’s. On the plus side, he had a maximum exit velocity of 116 mph and an 11.3% BRL/BBE. I was fooled by a young catching prospect with Jansen last year and it’s not going to happen to me this time. Young catchers have a lot on their plate: managing an entire pitching staff, calling games, playing a physically demanding position. It adds up. I’m talking about Sean Murphy of the Athletics. Besides, he had offseason knee surgery in October and while it wasn’t major and he should be ready for spring training, I’m not jumping in with both feet given the questions marks.

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