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.
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.
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.
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!
Thank you for reading
This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.Subscribe now