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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.

We’re not always in the position to keep a Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, or even a Jason Kipnis. That old fantasy adage, “always play for this year”, (yes, I’m in the school that believes punctuation should be outside quotations, and I’m happy to see it gaining traction in some publications) is undeniable, but if you made a push to spring yourself from second to first and are just realizing you made a huuuuuge mistake, you might not be in the position to keep someone on whom you’ll confidently rely next year. I see you, reader @AnalRapistTobiasFunke! Just like that gnawing feeling in your gut when it’s draft day and you’re in the 20th round and don’t have a 3B, staring into that great void you’ve left after a bad trade is deadly. Three weeks ago, you’re in third place : “You mean you’ll give me Jason Heyward  and Albert Pujols for keeper Xander Bogaerts? LOL!” Today: “I am dead.”

Sometimes, you have to overlook a player not yet having produced anything substantial in the Majors yet and dig a bit deeper to find legitimate value. Sometimes, you have to overlook the stupid little bears rustling at the feet of giant laser-wielding bipeds to realize the greatest story of “good vs. evil” ever told — take that leap of faith.

Jackie Bradley

The Daniel Nava train is off the rails and Jonny Gomes sucks — the only thing between Bradley and a starting job on Opening Day 2014 is a successful ROS ’13 and a solid offense/defense performance next year in Spring Training. Bradley leaked on the bed after winning a starting job to start this year, but he’s battled injuries this season and still hit .276 with 26 doubles and a 71/41 BB:K ratio in 353 AAA plate appearances.

He’ll have a much longer leash in ’14, and his elite defense should keep the Sox happy while he continues to develop. As you know by now, he’s not an elite power guy and not an elite speed guy, but, assuming health, he’s good for a 10/15 season with a pretty good batting average. He’ll also be hitting in the Sox lineup… in Fenway.

Considering his youth and his presumed everyday slot in the Sox lineup, Bradley will be going in the late rounds next year — if you keep him now you’ll be able to at least get him at some value.

Avisail Garcia

Garcia will obviously be in the Opening Day lineup, White Sox edition, to start 2014, because he’s already hitting. So, I guess he’s not a full leap of faith, but kind of like… a step of faith?

He strikes out as much as a fat ugly kid, but that’s still improving. He steals bases, has 20-homer power, and is the Sox’s new shiny toy. His production this year is a bit of a joke — he has a .440 BAbip — but the raw tools are there and he’s only 22 despite having amassed a decent share of MLB at-bats already. He could be batting in the middle of the Sox lineup as early as the first game, which will make his draft stock shoot, so grabbing him now is a high-upside, high-risk keeper, just like his prospect status growing up in the Tigers organization.

Sonny Gray

A really good strikeout rate at 26.1% and 73.7% contact rate-against are the most exciting things about Gray, who is, you know, just another stud pitcher to come through the Oakland farm system and produce. He’s got a dirty curveball to complement his fastball duo and is a fly-ball pitcher who plays in O.Co, which is always a good combination.

He’s not overpowering guys as much as his K-rate would imply — hitters have a 29% LD% yet only have a .243 BAbip — but his propensity toward fly-balls should keep the BAbip-against relatively low, though not that low.

Keeping pitchers over hitters is always risky—I’M TAUNTING YOU, MATT HARVEY OWNERS. GO YANKS — and I’d rather have both above hitters than Gray, but I think he’ll be in the rotation next year and has the strikeout potential to be a solid fifth fantasy starter. If he’s free now and you have nothing else, why not?

Anibal Sanchez

This one has nothing to do with leaps of faith, other than the faith required to believe in his shoulder holding up. This is really more for the mistake title last week that made everyone believe I was going to write about Sanchez.

Highest K-rate ever, HR/FB at half its career rate. Everything else is right on par. Expect regression, but love him going forward.

Purposely omitted from this list: Kolten Wong.

Follow shaboi Terse @TerseRazzball for unfunny baseball commentary and to tell him you love him.

From Around The Web

  1. ichirosan says:
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    José Fernández over Ryan Zimmermman and Shin Soo Choo… yay or nay?

  2. Slim

    Buddah Lovaz says:
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    Assuming I’m keeping 6 pitchers out of 15 total keepers. 16 team 6×6(holds) H2H. First 5 are Bumgarner, Moore, Minor, Cingrani, Kenley. Do I keep Harvey and live with being taunted or do I keep Sonny Gray instead? I asked Grey a few days ago and I felt taunted then too.

    • Slim

      Buddah Lovaz says:
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      @Buddah Lovaz: Or was the whole point that I shouldn’t be keeping either and choose another hitter.
      Right now I’m looking at keeping Rizzo, Hosmer, Gyorko, Cespedes, Adam Jones, Stanton, Yelich, Springer plus 1 of BMiller, Franklin, Moustakas, J.Castro

      • Terse

        Terse says:
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        @Buddah Lovaz: With 15 keepers you can afford to take a chance on one. I’d stick with Harvey, though it’ll obviously take patience

  3. Shake N Bacon says:
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    The answer to my question may be obvious, but I’m curious: Who would you keep between these two?

    Rizzo
    or
    Wilin Rosario

    The obvious answer is Rizzo. But he has looked kinda bad this second half. I also sat him for his latest 2-homer game (FUDGE!). So I’m a little bitter. As much as I hate the thought of keeping a catcher, Rosario will most likely end the season as the highest ranked catcher.

    I don’t think I’d keep Rosario over Rizzo, but I don’t think it’s as clear cut as one would think. Thoughts?

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Shake N Bacon: Yeah, I wouldn’t keep a catcher, either. Bite the bullet and keep Rizzo, though it won’t sit well. Keep shakin.

  4. Nate says:
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    @ Terse

    What do you think of this trade 12 team keeper league Roto
    I give Marte, Gio Gonzalez, and Gattis
    I get Stanton, Bumgarner and Jed Lowry
    which side do you like more and would you say the trade is pretty even?

    thanks!

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Nate: I prefer the Stanton, Bum, Lowrie side—Gattis is a wash and I don’t see anything other than utility for him in the future. I like Lowrie.

  5. Mike

    Mike says:
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    great post Terse! what do you think about keeping a $5 Avisail over a $25 Gordon. Crazy or not so crazy anymore?

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Mike: Gordon is good, obviously, and those scrubs over at KC have to put it together for one full season, right? RIGHT? The difference in pricing is pretty steep though, I wouldn’t call you crazy if you stuck with ma boi Avisail.

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Mike: and thanks Mike!

  6. JFK says:
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    If I’m keeping Matt Carpenter, Carlos Gomez and Machado, who do you like as my fourth keeper?
    Lucroy (21st round), Myers (21st round), Addison Reed (15th round) or Iwakuma (15th round)?

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @JFK: 100% Wil Myers

      • JFK says:
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        @Terse:

        I had him in place of Carpenter earlier in the week, but he’s been slumping lately and I’m trying to figure out if this is him normalizing after that hot start.
        What do you see from him next year?

        Thanks!

        • Kevin Maas says:
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          @JFK: keep Harvey for 3 years

  7. fisher_price says:
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    Appreciate any advice:

    I get to keep only five and the round I drafted them in doesn’t matter (each keeper costs me a round 1 -5 pick) (yeah, it’s weird, I’ve complained about it)):

    C Santana
    1B Fielder
    2B Kinsler
    3B Zimmerman, Machado
    SS Zobrist, Segura
    OF Stanton, Puig, Myers, Choo, Heyward

    SP Liriano, Iwakuma, Latos, Jose Fernandez, Erasmo Ramirez
    RP Melancon, Brothers

    It’s our first year “keeping,” so there are some future/prospect types who haven’t done that well this year still on the wire (Bogaerts, Yelich), though Gray and Walker are both taken.

    I’m thinking of keeping only Jo-Fer from the pitchers; I’m stuck on which four of Fielder, Segura, Machado, Stanton, Puig, and Myers to keep. Segura and Machado both seem to have cooled down from their fantastic starts.

    It’s a 5×5 head-to-head league with no innings cap / 5 roster moves per week, so I can stream pitchers pretty well (thanks to Stream-O-Nator!).

    Thanks.

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @fisher_price: I’d keep Fielder, Machado, Seugra, Myers, Heyward

  8. Trailblazer says:
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    Why was Wong purposefully omitted?

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Trailblazer: I don’t see much opportunity for him

  9. Trailblazer says:
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    I don’t have to have a decision for awhile, but off the top of your head, who’d you keep on this list?

    Keep 14 people:
    C Jonathan Lucroy
    1B Eric Hosmer
    2b Matt Carpenter
    3B Evan Longoria
    SS Erick Aybar
    IF Jeff Gyorko
    LF Michael Brantley
    CF Christian Yelich
    RF Mark Trumbo
    OF Dexter Fowler
    Util Mike Napoli
    Util Avisail Garcia
    BN Mike Moustakas
    BN Ryan Braun
    BN Kolten Wong
    BN Mike Olt
    DL Rickie Weeks

    SP Jarrod Parker
    SP Jose Fernandez
    SP Chris Archer
    RP Kenley Jansen
    P Erasmo Ramirez
    DL Matt Harvey
    DL Bobby Parnell
    DL Brandon Beachy

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Trailblazer: braun, carpenter, fowler, yelich, longo, gyorko, trumbo, jofer, archer, parker, harvey, erasmo, Hosmer, Garcia

  10. Matt says:
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    Lowrie over aybar in dynasty?

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Matt: It’s a wash. Depends on your needs. I’d say Lowrie

  11. Todd says:
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    Aloha!
    need some guidance.
    I’m not contending this year, as such I have been sucked into buying into top prospects We can keep 10 for next year at the cost they were drafted at increasing $5. Undrafted waiver adds are $1 to keep. Think our budget is 260. Not too worried about cost. I am worried about choosing just 10 of deez guys.

    Which 10 would you choose?
    Freeman, profar, segura, machado, trout, eaton, marte, Baez, bogaerts, Ian Desmond, yelich.
    Parker, bucholz, a. Bradley, t. Walker, gray, wheeler, cueto, erasmo, Alex wood

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Todd: Machado, Trout, Walker, Wheeler, Freeman, Segura, Desmond, Marte, Bogaerts, and I’d give Profar another year at it

  12. TheNewGuy says:
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    Thanks for the last part!

    Traded Harvey for Anibal midway through the year in a non keeper based on Greys advice that Harvey would get shut down later on. Wanted better than Annabelle at the time, but ant complain about her now especially with the Harvey news! Stuff looks crisper than ever this year, love having him entering the playoffs.

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @TheNewGuy: Yup! Live comfortably. I love him too. and no problemo

  13. yeshcheese says:
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    Keep 8, 12t Roto 5×5

    IF – Prince Fielder, Allen Craig, Brett Lawrie, Matt Carpenter, Starlin Castro
    OF – Bryce Harper, Wil Myers, Nori Aoki, Christian Yelich, Jason Heyward
    P – Shelby Miller, Jose Fernandez, Madison Bumgarner, Jordan Zimmerman, Taijuan Walker

    So here’s my first crack:
    Fielder, Craig, Harper, Myers, Heyward, Miller, Fernandez, Bumgarner

    I don’t even know if I want to keep Fielder … or Castro … or Heyward

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @yeshcheese: Yeah. I like the way you have it. Can’t justify going any other way. Heyward was ripping before he got hit in the face. Have faith, young padawan.

  14. Jay says:
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    TErse – great stuff man. actively knowing The mets roster in september is like running an an impossible jeopardy category.

    In a 16 team team keeper I made a questionable move but I really feel ok with it. my goal going into the season was to compete and make the playoffs but get younger. So I think I accomplished.

    we keep 8, went in with Edwin, Cano, Zimmerman, Lawrie, McCutchen, Wainwright CC, Cliff Lee.
    In april, I traded Craig and CC for Moore and Heyward – yucky but at the time I thought i struck gold.
    I traded LAwrie and cingrani for HAmels and Profar. this happened before LAwrie’s current little streak.
    I traded Cano, Zimmerman, and Lee for MAchado ian desmond and a 3rd round pick. At this point i felt i had too many keepers. yes it hurt dealing cano, but i think what i got back helps my team in the long run.

    So now i’m in 3rd place heaing into the playoffs and looking at keeping Edwin, Profar, Machado, McCutchen, Waino, HAmels, Moore. I stuck on my last keeper because I do believe heyward will “breakout”, but i like desmond too.

    1. thoughts on the revamp?
    2. desmond or heyward

    Thanks bud

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Jay: Thanks jay!

      I really like your first two trades. The final trade is a bit questionable. Losing Cano hurts a buttload.

      Heyward’s the guy to take over Demsond. Three years younger too. You have a good stash of keepers going.

      and no problem

  15. Jack Cecil says:
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    Or Crapnis

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