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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?

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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.

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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…

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Little known facts about Sky. Not only does he do some Deep League thinking, he plays in a keeper league. A deep keeper league, if you will. And for those new to the Razzball world, he also writes on the Fantasy Football side. But if you’re new to the site, everything is news to you. In fact, I think I could lie my arse off. Maybe we should play one lie, two truths as a way to get to know each other? But then again, why would we want to do that? Let’s just stay friends…well maybe distant friends…better yet, let’s not be friends. I’ll go with casual internet acquaintances. I have problems with commitment…but of course when it comes to keepers, my Sterling Archer-like mommy issues go out the window and I fall head over heels for guys that I want to hold and snuggle tight to my bosom. Wanna know another truth? I drafted Matt Harvey in my keeper league last year in the 8th round and was downright ecstatic. Then he pitched like he did and I was straight up twitterpated over the man. But then September hit, his arm basically fell off, and my heart felt like it had been ripped through my backside via roto-rooter. All this to say, I’m not keeping him and chances are many players in keeper leagues will do the same as me and throw him back into the draft day pool. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be mine again. Oh yes, he will be mine again. So here’s why I’m targeting Harvey the wonder pitcher in keeper leagues for 2014 Fantasy Baseball…

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Seinfeld is on. George — the show’s best character, I do not care what you think — just brought a book into a bookstore’s bathroom, which is apparently frowned upon. As George tries to put it back on the shelf, a store clerk sees him and forces him to buy the book. Being a cheap bastard, George’s plan is to return the book later that day once the bookstore’s employee shifts have turned over and new people are working. Unfortunately for the now trapped cheapo, the book’s been flagged in the bookstore’s computer and is unreturnable, which is not an actual word. What is George now? Well, everyone, George is now trapped. The book now stinks, smells like poop, is unwanted, yet there’s no way to get rid of it. Also, for the sake of metaphor, throwing it in the garbage is not allowed. This might seem like something you’ve experienced recently or are experiencing right now — this might be like your fantasy baseball team, friend. Earlier this year you might have picked up a guy to test him out and see what he’d do, and now, through injuries or ill-advised bathroom usage, are stuck with the ho. Mike Moustakas comes to mind, but I’ve written about him enough. But, who knows? Maybe, some day, George will sit down on the pooper and thoroughly enjoy his French impressionist-painting book while relieving his rectum. Just like you, who feel stuck with a crappy keeper, might reap that crappy keeper’s benefits next year or down the road. Also, enough with the scatological speak; the keepers you might feel you’re stuck who you’ll enjoy, and some you won’t:

You.

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You’re the only one here. And I’m talking directly to you. You, unlike so many who lost their fateful battle with attrition and the baseball season’s relentless length that still persists, are still frequenting fantasy baseball sites because you, Great One, have made your fantasy league’s playoffs. You’re currently face-to-face, hand-to-hand with some scum who dares vie to destroy you and ruin your winter — except, of course, for fantasy football. You, my friend, are smarter than everyone else — you’ve gotten this far and there’s no looking back now. You’re so close to victory and a bundle of jelly beans and winter-long cloud-nine, you… oh, you’re not in the playoffs? That’s why you’re reading a fantasy-keepers column? Your winter’s already ruined and you’re here to commiserate with fellow losers and quixotically dream big about 2014 and the glory it will bring you? Now, now, we’re here. We’re here to help you pick the right keepers for next year. Loser.

I, though, am not in your boat — and if I was, I wouldn’t tell you, because I have a credibility to hold. I write a lot about fantasy baseball and therefore am pretty good at it, so I’m in the playoffs in three out of four leagues. But, with just as much of-courseness as my not being in your boat, I’m also a keeper writer, so write about keepers I will. Because I love you. I… love… you, poor fantasy player. I love you. Let’s figure out how to salvage 2013.

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In Dune, a group of nomads called Fremen are almost wiped out by a race led by a maniacal, obese lard whose fat must be held up by a series of suspenders in order for him to move. These Fremen, reputed widely as the best warriors in the universe, are restricted to dwelling in caves and hiding from giant worms for their own safety because, well, apparently being the fiercest fighters in all of existence does not go very far. In Star Wars, a useless princess and ever-failing smuggler are helped by a band of stick- and rock-throwing bears to defeat an organization who has a massive army of laser-wielding clones and can blow planets up with one quick press of a humming button. In Lord of the Rings, a midget is able to evade an all-seeing eye while traversing the entire planet en route to destroying an omnipotent piece of jewelry. Also, the all-seeing eye decides not to station any of his acolytes at the only spot where that omnipotent piece of jewelry can actually be destroyed. All of these movies made their creators very, very, very filthy rich. And yes, they’re all freaking awesome, but that’s only because each was able to make their audience take a leap of faith and believe that — at least in those respective worlds — things like that actually did happen. These stories started out as something stupid, but morphed — via a whole lot of different things — into something great, beautiful, and, most of all, successful. They didn’t have our trust at first, but we gave them our faith, and they didn’t disappoint. I mean, when movies like Battle of LA are sci-fi alternatives, we don’t have a choice. Which leads us, farfetchedly — I do not care if that’s not a word — to the leap-of-faith keepers for 2014.

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I hallucinated on Sunday night, and it was really disturbing. You see, the night before was the final night of my trip to the Jersey Shore — one filled with trash of all kinds — on which I can confidently say I imbibed too much low-shelf vodka. I danced with cougars, saw a guy with a mustache, asked if he was Grey, got looked at weird, continued to dance with cougars, got sick, got unsick, had more cougars, and eventually found my way back to my trashy motel. And no, I didn’t wake up with a cougar, but saw the guy with the mustache leave with all six of them. After a nauseating 5-hour ride home earlier in the day, I sat down on my fluffy couch and flipped on ESPN for the Sox/Yanks game. What I hallucinated was a bit odd and was very confusing: I envisioned a guy who isn’t supposed to be playing and who is at war with his team and management get trotted out onto the field to help his team while simultaneously warring with his team, get hit by a pitch, get defended by one of the guys whom he’s at war with, get booed, then cheered, then hit a redemption homer off the pitcher who wasn’t thrown out of the game despite clearly pegging four straight pitches at a player. I saw a manager who never flips out flip out and get ejected while defending a player whom he wishes wasn’t on his team in the first place, yet who he plays everyday. I saw the Yankees beat the Red Sox, and saw Mariano Rivera get hit hard for the hundredth consecutive time. And this wasn’t the first time I’ve felt this confused.

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The trade deadline passed in standard leagues. It’s just over. I feel like I’ve had an awesome couple of months talking to and hanging out with a girl, only to hang out with her, have an amazing night, and then find one unbelievably annoying thing about her and call everything off. It had to happen, but it still hurts. “Just try this. No, it’s not gross… it’s good. Of course the chef cooked it fine. No, it’s not going to kill you. Well how the hell do you know you don’t like if you’ve never tried it? People eat it all the time and they’re fine. Just go away. No, you’re stupid. Yes, you are stupid. No I’m not stupid, you are stupid.” Then you curse at her, she indignantly bails, and you’re left sitting there with what seems to be your pinky up your anus, a full check to pay, and some food that does actually look pretty bad. Hopefully you made your moves when you had your chance — that is, hopefully you listened to sha boi and are reaping the dividends. If not, there’s still hope, although I hate you a little. Not all keepers are acquired at the trade deadline or during a draft, but that’s obvious. At this point, we need to look at some small/disappointing/untrusted names that could pop from now until game-162, and who could see their stock skyrocket before the end of the season — we need to look at the guys we should pick up now so we can have them next year at value. Get it? Yes, you do. Know that old adage, “you’re only as good as your last game?” Well, it’s really stupid, but applies here. The ends of seasons have huge impacts on perceived value.

Quick note: so I appeal to more people, and so you’re not looking at me (my writing) and saying “HAY, I KAYNT HAFF HEEM. HE’S AWLRADDY TAYKEN,” I’ll limit it to guys who are owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We had a photo-shoot today at the mag. One of the models — that is, one of the people who were getting their photo taken because they were being featured in our next issue — was a blonde 26-year-old female. Another one of the models was a 28-year-old brunette. Neither was ugly. “Dude, that blonde is so incredibly hot,” one of my office friends said to me as we creeped covetously from a dark corner. “No, sir, she’s not. The brunette, on the other hand…” “You’re an idiot.” “LOL, why? It’s kind of subjective, don’t you think?” “Not really, the blonde has boobs, a nice bod (he did say bod), a cute face — she’s the definition of hot.” Eventually, after some high-horsing from me on the subjectivity of beauty, we agreed to poll the rest of the guys in the office, and whichever guy’s girl got more votes, he’d get $20 (I work in a weird place). This, friends, is where my metaphor goes off track, and where I start comparing guys like Everth Cabrera to beautiful women.

The beauty of keepers is mixing standard fantasy analysis and our perception of how we think baseball players will be perceived by fantasy players. It’s not just, “this guy mashes I want to pick him,” it’s “this guy mashes, how much will my enemies be willing to pay for his mashing?” I agreed on our “girl bet” because I thought that most of the guys in the office would perceive the brunette as prettier — I applied a value to her because of what I thought others would think about her. Unfortunately I screwed up, but fortunately (or maybe not) I study fantasy baseball a lot more than I do girls, so let’s just delve into keepers before I stare at the $20 void in my impecunious wallet and wallow in my geeky lameness. That is, it’s fantasy keepers time.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
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