Keeper league rankings are here (the 2014 Rankings can be found here), and I am going to absolutely shock the world with my number one. This is all about zagging when others zig. You gotta get out in front of the pack with advanced statistics and clever strategory. Sometimes you have to be bold and go against the grain to get that competitive edg…what’s that? Everybody else has Mike Trout number one too? It’s common sense? Well…crap. These are my personal rankings and take into account the 2015-2019 seasons. Don’t start flipping through your calendar – that’s 5 years. It means the senior citizen players are really going have to provide some nice statistics in the first year or two to rank highly. It also means players who are in or, better yet, just entering their prime get a bump. It’s not a hybrid list, so no prospects or Cuban rookies…sorry. It’s also not set for any specific pricing or league settings so assume a standard 5×5 roto format with no penalties to keep a player. Basically it’s a ranking of what I think these players will be worth over the next 5 years as a whole. It’s that simple. Here are my top 100 keepers for 2015 and beyond…Please, blog, may I have some more?
I’m concerned, you’re concerned. We all have concerns. This is a post concerning Javier Baez and our concerns. More specifically, this is about how concerned we should be if we own him in keeper or dynasty formats. If you’re looking for just the 2015 value Baez brings to the table, check out Grey’s Top 20 2nd basemen. Honestly, if you’re not reading all of his rankings you’re doing it wrong. In recent Cubs news, general manager Jed Hoyer came out and said that while Baez is still projected to be the starting second baseman, he’ll “have to earn it” and “make more contact to stay in the big leagues.” Cue air-raid sirens and flashing red lights. The sky is falling but I’m just sittin’ here sippin’ on some tea. Let me explain why I’m still in on Javier Baez in keeper formats despite the nasty strikeout numbers and recent questions over playing time.Please, blog, may I have some more?
In many fantasy leagues, there’s a 20 games played requirement to retain eligibility at a position for the following year. With only 11 games played behind the dish in 2014, Carlos Santana will enter the 2015 season without catcher eligibility for the first time in his career. It’s a bummer for keeper league owners who were slotting him as a catcher, but he remains a solid keeper selection as a corner infielder too. Santana will be 29 to start the season. He already has strong power numbers under his belt – his 27 homers in 2014 matched a career high. He’s also a really nice piece in leagues that reward players for getting on base, leading the majors in walk percentage last year and consistently putting up good on-base percentages. Those walks help Santana’s overall offense, and it shows in Steamer’s 2015 wRC+ projection of 132 (24th overall). But there’s more than just walks to the story, and I think Santana is going to perform even better now that catching and the short-lived third base experiment are both in the rear view mirror.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Keeper and dynasty league owners have to approach drafts a little differently. The pool of players is smaller after a large chunk of players are protected. Prospects are in the mix even if they are years away. In many long term keeper leagues it’s against the rules to pick up players who weren’t signed by an MLB team at the start of the season. This means that each spring a new crop of international signings enters the pool along with players from the previous year’s amateur draft. Two such players for the upcoming 2015 season are Rusney Castillo and Yasmany Tomas. Both are outfielders from Cuba. Both created a great deal of buzz and signed with their respective clubs for multi-million dollar contracts. Both are major league ready and could make an impact in the fantasy game immediately. And yet both are relatively unknown and have question marks just as Jose Abreu did last year. Which one should we take in our first year player drafts in fantasy? That’s a question which has appeared more than a few times in the comments and is worth looking into.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Time to check back in on some winter league action. I mentioned him two weeks ago, but we need to talk about Randall Delgado again. Since our last update, the right-hander has pitched 12 innings with 12 strikeouts, eight hits, two walks, and one earned run allowed. He currently leads the Dominican Winter League in strikeouts with 41. Here’s what I said about him last time “Delgado isn’t a lock for a spot in the rotation this spring, but he’s throwing as a starter this winter after getting only four starts in all of 2014. Two things I like about Delgado are his strikeout numbers and his age/potential for more growth. Last season he posted a 10.0 K/9 in 77+ innings pitched and his FIP was a full run lower than his ERA.” He now has an 11.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 33 innings in the DWL. While he’s currently listed as long relief on the Diamondbacks’ depth chart, I really think he’s going to get his chance to start at some point this year and run with it. Entering 2012, Delgado was listed as Baseball America’s #46 prospect. He was still with the Braves at that point, then was traded in 2013 along with Martin Prado in the Justin Upton deal. The Diamondbacks looked like the losers, but the jury is still out on Delgado at just 24 years old. This has prospect fatigue and breakout written all over it. Here are some other recent highlights from the winter leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
With the Phillies minor league preview coming up this week and recent trade rumors surrounding the Phillies’ ace, I thought it would be worth checking in on Cole Hamels and where his value stands right now in fantasy – particularly in keeper leagues. In some very early 2015 rankings, Hamels has appeared in the #10-#12 range. I don’t disagree with that ranking, but I’ve also seen him listed as a pitcher to avoid and some scuttlebutt about Amaro being to aggressive in his asking price for Hamels in trades. There is never a shortage of opinions on the internet, and attempts to devalue assets in real life sometimes carries over into our fantasy rosters – leading us to question our players. I’m hoping that’s not the case with Hamels, who remains one of the best pitchers in baseball and is deserving of the #1 slot in fantasy rotations. Anything less is undervaluing him in my mind.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Atlanta outfielder Jason Heyward is getting some love for his defense this awards season, winning his second Gold Glove award in three years. But his 2014 campaign was a tad disappointing for the more offensively-minded fantasy baseballer. Keeper league owners hoped Heyward would bounce back to his 2012 breakout form (27 homers and 21 steals) after an injury-riddled 2013 season. Instead they were dealt a bad hand in the power department. While Heyward’s 21 steals provided similar value, 11 homers was a far cry from the power numbers he put up as a 22-year-old. The Braves’ right fielder ended up as the 37th ranked outfielder according to the 2014 Razzball player rater (150th overall). One of the glaring weaknesses this season was his inability to hit lefties. Heyward hit just .169 with two homers against southpaws. That was good for a measly 39 wRC+. Compare that to his 2012 season in which he hit .224 with seven dingers against lefties. Nothing incredible, but it was a more palatable 73 wRC+. All this may lead some impatient fantasy owners to give up on Heyward too early – tempting them to throw him back into the draft in some shallower keeper formats. I think that would be a mistake.Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Royals are in the World Series, and it’s going to be mentioned at some point that the organization moved a big prospect in Wil Myers to acquire two of the pieces that brought them so much success this year. Last season, it looked like the Rays were going to be the ones that ran away with the trade. Myers won Rookie of the Year. He hit .293/.354/.478 with 13 homers and drove in 53 runs in just over half a season. At 23, he came into 2014 with high expectations and a high preseason rank on most fantasy sites. Then they actually played the 2014 season. Myers ended up playing only 87 games thanks to a wrist fracture, and when he was on the field he looked lost at the plate. So what can we expect from the young Rays’ outfielder going forward in keeper leagues?Please, blog, may I have some more?
If you were offered a 23-year-old ballplayer with both shortstop and outfield eligibility, who hit .319/.353/.472 with seven homers and 20 steals in 430 plate appearances…would you keep him? If you were a hot dog…would you eat yourself? These are important questions. The player is Danny Santana, whose rookie season with the Twins was useful to fantasy owners despite his May arrival and lost time with a leg injury. Santana is going to be an on-the-fence decision in a lot of shallow keeper leagues, which makes him worth discussing for the purposes of this keeper post.Please, blog, may I have some more?
We’ll be here every week this offseason discussing keepers and prospects – enjoying the MLB playoffs, the fall foliage, and eventually the Polar Vortex and loss of extremities to frostbite (hard to type with nubs). By the time next March rolls around and we emerge from our hidey-holes, we’ll be well prepared for regular season action with our keeper league teams. I’m admittedly partial to keepers. Currently the only league I’m in that isn’t a keeper is the RCL. Each of the keepers I play in has a different depth and league setting, making each one kind of unique. So while it may be a little lonely around these parts compared to the summer months, I’m really looking forward to talking shop with Razzball nation’s keeper league population.
The plan is to discuss certain players to target, help make keeper decisions between players, and maybe even dabble in some keeper rankings by position. Go ahead and post suggestions for players or topics in the comments. It will help me tailor the posts and make them as helpful as possible. With that, let’s start with some basics that you’ll need to think about if you are joining or returning to a keeper league in 2015…Please, blog, may I have some more?