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January 17, 2014
TTO Scoresheet Podcast
Welcome to BP’s take on Scoresheet fantasy baseball. Scoresheet, for those unfamiliar, is a type of fantasy baseball in which your drafted team plays simulated games each week against other teams in your league, with your players’ performance depending on how they played in real life that week—but not entirely, unlike in a roto or head-to-head league. Other differences from most roto leagues include the importance of real-life fielding ability and a tendency for rosters to be rather deep. While many Scoresheet leagues have their own unique quirky rules, most allow players to be kept for an indefinite number of years, and allow rookies to be kept very cheaply. For non-Scoresheet players in deep or dynasty leagues, we urge you to check out BP’s new TINO podcast, but after you listen to that, we think we will be able to provide some supplementary value as well. Or, better yet, sign up for a Scoresheet team to explore a whole new world of fantasy baseball.
We want to thank BP for this chance to contribute to their suite of fantasy baseball offerings. Our goal is for the weekly column and podcast to complement each other. Both will cover similar ground and maybe even the same jokes. But we believe reading the article will make the podcast more meaningful. And vice versa. In upcoming weeks we look forward to joining in the BP Fantasy fun by taking a position-by-position look at the upcoming season, starting with catcher this week. We’ve got lots more planned after that, but if there’s anything you’d like us to tackle, please feel free to contact us @TTOScoresheet on Twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our catching rankings for Scoresheet fantasy baseball are below. They should prove useful for the keeper, trade, and draft decisions you are making at the point in the fantasy season.
When researching catchers, we found a large middle class who project to hit around .260/.310/.410, most of whom are under 30 years old (which, as we’ll repeat over and over, is so important in Scoresheet, with its liberal keeper rules). So if you aren’t fortunate enough to be keeping someone in the top tier of catchers, we recommend monitoring your draft to make sure you end up with a catcher somewhere in this tier, preferably one with upside potential and who is likely to log plenty of innings now and in future years (and who will remain catcher-eligible for the foreseeable future). And don’t forget that catcher defense is relatively unimportant in Scoresheet, so don’t use it to make any decisions on the position.
We’ll now highlight a few catchers to consider targeting or avoiding, and please check out our podcast below for more tips, picks, and strategies for the position.
Perhaps the epitome of a win-now catcher is Joe Mauer, who promises to put up another stellar season. As you’ve no doubt heard, the Twins have said he is now a full-time first baseman, which should hopefully save his knees and correspondingly boost his production. However, it also means this year is likely his last to be catcher-eligible. If he’s on your team and you aren’t playing for this year, he’s a great trade chip.
Jonathan Lucroy is entering his prime years as a hitter and has shown a consistent ability to get on base each of the last two seasons, posting an exceptional line at the plate in 2012 and followed it with a strong showing in 2013. He’s expected to continue as the full time catcher for the Brewers in 2014 and beyond and represents an underrated opportunity in the top 10 catchers for now and the future.
After a really disappointing performance in 2013, Miguel Montero is a gambling opportunity for those of us open to taking a chance on a 30-year-old guy that got on base less than 32 percent of the time last year. Before that, though, Montero was quite valuable as a catcher that played full seasons for several years in a row with an .820-plus OPS in three out of four. We don’t have complete agreement here, however; Ben is way more optimistic than Jared that Montero can recover some of his past value, with Ian splitting the difference. We have a similar debate over Carlos Ruiz, who is five years older and also had a much better season two years ago than last year.
We see Derek Norris as a good value just on the keeper side of the border line. He put up an OBP of .345 last year with power trending in the right direction, and he only turns 25 in February, suggesting he hasn’t yet reached the peak of his offensive output. Combined with an apparently clear path to significant playing time (at least for now), he’s a target for a trade in which you’ll win.
REDRAFT FOR VALUE
We sure hope you aren’t considering Kurt Suzuki as your long-term answer at catcher. But while all the hype in Minnesota surrounds Josmil Pinto, all indications here in January are that Suzuki will be the Twins’ Opening Day starter. The playing time, plus the potential to bounce back a little from last year’s performance, suggests he’s a guy to consider late.
George Kottaras is slated to be the backup catcher in Chicago behind the Cubs’ Welington Castillo in 2014, and he has reinvented himself in recent years as a high-OBP backup. As a left-handed batter, Kottaras is likely to benefit from platoon splits that would have him facing right-handed pitchers and can be a fun value pick near the end of the draft. As a way to make sure you don’t run into game reports with “Catcher, AAA” listed under your team, Kottaras is an option to keep in mind.