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Welcome back to Scoresheet season! Scoresheet baseball, for the uninitiated, is a fantasy league that acts as a hybrid between traditional roto leagues and sim games such as Strat or Diamond Mind. If that's of interest to you, we definitely recommend jumping in feet-first. We'll be sticking around all season to help.

In most leagues, setting a keeper list is the key decision point of your offseason. Scoresheet rosters tend to be larger than traditional roto rosters, so many teams have set their starting lineup and pitching rotation once their keepers are locked in. Also, as Scoresheet more closely mirrors real life, many traditional keeper rankings won't be adequate. Our rankings reflect the rules of a traditional public league: 10 teams, 13 keepers, of which two may be crossovers from another league. That leaves the keeper line pegged at about the 115th-best player in each league. Naturally, if your league varies in composition, please feel free to adjust accordingly. And, of course, if you disagree with any particular player ranking, you should certainly go with your instinct. The game is more fun that way.

American League

1. Salvador Perez (Overall Ranking: 3)
2. Yan Gomes (5)
The gap between Perez and Gomes is closer than the gap between Gomes and the field, particularly since Russell Martin is only a keeper in a vanishingly small number (2.9 percent) of AL leagues. Gomes in particular illustrates the difference in value between a mixed league, where he's just one of a few options, and an AL-only league, where he may be the most desirable catcher in the game.

3. Russell Martin (7)
4. Matt Wieters (10)
5. Brian McCann (11)

6. Mike Zunino (16)
On the pod, there was a lot of controversy about Zunino. This had less to do about his ability, about which we mostly agreed, but rather how much that would be worth in Scoresheet. This ranking is on the high side of that argument, but presupposes that a player with mild power, mild projectibility, and a strong enough defensive background to stick at the position for several years would be worth a keeper slot. Zunino and any players listed after him are marginal protects, however, and are worth throwing back if you have stronger keepers elsewhere.

7. Christian Vazquez (17)
Vazquez is close enough to the keeper border that if you had needs elsewhere, he could easily be excised from your team. This ranking supposes that he will improve slightly as a hitter in his second season, and provide your team with fringe hitting for the next 3-5 years, which can't necessarily be said for some of the veteran options at his level.

8. Chris Iannetta (19)

9. Alex Avila (20)
Not listed on our podcast ranking, as injuries and offensive degradation have swallowed a promising career. Upon further reflection, his unique platoon potential and remaining ability to get on base at a strong clip for a catcher make him worthy of a keeper spot.

Below the Keeper Line
John Jaso defines oft-injured and likely won't catch anymore. Josmil Pinto's defensive struggles have deservedly crushed his playing time, meaning his best path to Scoresheet relevance are through injuries or struggles of other players. Dioner Navarro is only worth a keeper slot if he's traded to a favorable ballpark and situation. Jason Castro and Kurt Suzuki are end-of-the-list players who tend to get kept too often by risk-averse owners.

National League

1. Buster Posey (1)
2. Jonathan Lucroy (2)
3. Devin Mesoraco (4)
4. Yadier Molina (6)
5. Yasmani Grandal (8)
6. Travis d'Arnaud (9)
Grandal and d'Arnaud end the list of keeper locks. d'Arnaud has also rewarded the patience of many teams who kept him as a crossover after his poor 2013.

7. Miguel Montero (12)

8. Derek Norris (13)
It's rough to say this after an All-Star season, but it's hard to imagine Norris returning crossover keeper-worthy value in Petco in 2015, even if AL catching talent is somewhat shallow.

9. Wilson Ramos (14)

10. Wilin Rosario (15)
This is almost undoubtedly the floor for Wilin Rosario. Listen to the podcast for a fuller discussion, but Rosario in Coors will struggle to see playing time, and outside of Coors is a marginal offensive player, even as a catcher. His upside makes him keeper-worthy, but be prepared to get burned.

11. Evan Gattis (18)
No longer a catcher and almost impossible to keep in 2016, only the lack of depth in Atlanta's outfield makes Gattis interesting. Stronger teams should think twice about keeping him, and weaker teams should offer around the keeper slot.

Below the Keeper Line
Carlos Ruiz has had a great run, but it's time to start drafting him year-by-year. Jarrod Saltalamacchia isn't just kept in NL leagues, but in many AL leagues as well. He offers cost-certainty, but almost no upside.

This week in the podcast: We’re back for 2015 and we’re starting off the positional series talking about catchers. For more details on the catchers listed here and all the standard segments, such as “Best Thing We Saw This (Off Season) Week” tune in by clicking the link below!

Download Here (1:17:57)
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bhacking
1/09
I'd agree John Jaso isn't a keeper, but not catching in '15 would actually be an argument in favour of keeping him. If he DH's he will still have C eligibility for 2015 and will have a much lower risk of injury.
IanLefk
1/09
Thanks for the feedback. I'd agree that there's a lower risk of injury, but Jaso is still a high enough injury risk that I don't think we can recommend him. We may discuss this again in, oh, a positional ranking or so, but I think moving your catcher to first base or DH doesn't mitigate the effects of frequent concussion symptoms nearly as much as we hope it might. I also don't think Jaso is enough of a difference-maker as a hitter to make the gamble worth it, which might be what you're alluding to in the first sentence.
carlbrownson
1/09
Looking forward to these, and I love that BP put out scoresheet content. Interesting that you have Salvador Perez so high in the overall rankings - in a BL, I'd have a hard time taking him ahead of Mesoraco, or maybe even ahead of the young NL catchers like Grandal or d'Arnaud. How much did defense factor into your rankings? Was that part of it? I have a hard time putting much weight into catcher defense in scoresheet, because all it affects is SB rates, but wondering how you much consideration you guys gave it.
bhacking
1/09
That's a great question, C is the one position where I generally ignore defense but I've often wondered if this is the right strategy.
mattofaction
1/10
I'd be interested in knowing more about this, as well. It's a large part of the reason why I jumped on Yadier Molina fairly early in the draft last year, especially the opponents' SB figure.
blizzard093
1/10
Welcome back! It was a pleasant surprise to hear the jingle on my pod playlist this morning. Looking forward to another season of insight!
touchstoneQu
1/10
I'm scratching my head over these rankings -- I wish you all had explained your criteria for valuing these players. After all, you put a guy who slashed .260/.289/.403 last year as your top AL receiver, and who Steamer projects to hit .279/.309/.425. Blech.

I guess I can understand the ranking if you're thinking of Salvador Perez' age first and foremost, and that he's a long-term asset, but, really, I think you'd be better off with Iannetta and a platoon partner for 2015.

I get why rotisserie leagues rank players like Perez and Gomes higher: they hit homers and have decent batting averages -- but in Scoresheet, like in real life, they make a lot of outs. Also, rotisserie leagues value lots of ABs and counting stats. In Scoresheet, like in real life, it's better to have better production over a shorter time than it is to have mediocre production over the entire year.

Well, whatever. AL catching is a big mess, and no one really stands out. You could just as well not keeping a catcher and picking one up in r15 or r16. Last year, for example, I picked up both Jaso and Iannetta in the draft and platooned them for pretty decent production, something like .250/.360/.400.
fawcettb
1/11
Not clear to me how you could rate Perez, with an OBP under .300, above Martin and his +.400 OBP. Sure, Perez is young. That just means he's going make more outs over the years. And out-machines are not valuable scoresheet properties. Martin's OBP is likely to regress, but so is Perez's number of games played, which is, as far as I can see, his sole virtue.

So what IS your rationale for rating Perez as the #3 scoresheet catcher?
hotstatrat
1/12
Brian, Martin's BABiP was .070 higher than it was the year before and .114 higher than it was the year before that. That ,400 OBP is due for a huge regression. I agree with these top three rankings, except I would, at least, put Martin is the same echelon as Perez and Gomes. Their ages make the fine differences, but the rest of your arguement has merit. Like all A.L. catchers, Perez's long term value might not be worth hanging onto - making Martin and Gomez's current values the better picks. I still prefer the younger guys, however, because they have a better chance of going to a new level.

Gomes is, perhaps, a special case. I wonder if the presumptive lack of great baseball in Brazil meant that he was an underdeveloped talent who will continue to get better and better with all this Major League training. To think we Torontonians gave him away with Mike Aviles for .... Esmil Rogers. Acgk!
mcquown
1/14
Out of respect to readers who formulate well-thought replies such as this one, before clicking "-" please have the courtesy to comment on which portions of the response are found deserving of such a down-rating. It's quite possible to disagree with another reader's position, but the discussion becomes much more valuable to other readers when disagreements are explained - especially in a case such as this one, where the reader has clearly explained his rationale for his positions.


hotstatrat
1/11
This difference in projectable value among all these A.L. catchers is very small - including the guys left off the list. The same is true of A.L. shortstops. It is probably a good year to protect your top relievers over these guys.
cwebb21
1/12
How did Carlos Santana/CLE not make your list? Granted he is primarily 1B/3B, but 11 games at C still qualifies in Scoresheet and most Roto leagues as well.
hotstatrat
1/12
No. It requires 20 games from the previous season to qualify at the start of a season. It takes 10 games to qualify within the current season.
hotstatrat
1/14
What does a - mean here? It is a simple correction of someone's misunderstanding. We should let others go on with their misconceptions? You are just trying to irrritate me?

Minusing my other comments: look at their &#%$ing projections - they aren't that far apart. I don't claim to be always right, but I'm right often enough that I don't deserve such disrespect. If you disagree, have the courage to say why. If you don't like my writing, have the courage to point out why.

It is fair to expect the level of discussion here to be better than the vast majority of other sites. It would be great to have a good debate about these catchers or whatever. You can't argue with a -. It could mean anything, which makes it frustratingly useless.
jfullback
1/13
Thanks for the discussion! To address Salvador Perez, we encourage everyone to listen to this week's podcast, where we talk about him specifically and go over the methodology we use when putting together these rankings.

It is important to keep in mind that these rankings generally reflect a standard Scoresheet keeper league. As such, younger player will tend to be weighted more highly, not just because they have potential to grow, but because it is easier to see keeping a 25 year old catcher for many years than a 32 year old one. We certainly put the most weight on 2015 performance, but the discount for future year keepability is not steep.