It happened again this Saturday. I went out with some pals and gals, like usual — pick a friend’s apartment at which to do some borderline problematic pre-bar drinking, have too much, pick a Manhattan bar that is depressingly similar to the one we attended the night prior, stumble down the subway stairs, meet friends, undereat food, overdrink drinks, over-laugh laughs, flirt with a girl, start enjoying myself, develop a crush, have great conversation, she goes to the bathroom, I check my fantasy team quick, I’m a petulant schmuck for the rest of the night. My fantasy keeper is sucks again.
“I really thought Mike Moustakas would turn the corner this year, Girl, I was so ready to eat delicious moose tacos. I was so ready… so ready. I just want to win so bad, know what I mean? Wait, you don’t care that Moustakas sucks? What the hell do you mean you don’t care about my fantasy team? Well… that’s a turn-off. C’mon guys, let’s go — this place is lame. No, nothing happened. Some people don’t know how to hold a conversation. Yes, I mean her. No, they don’t want you to call them, we’re never hanging out with them again.” It happens to all of us, when you’re fishing for some mind-blowing cosmic exploration with a brunette you’ve liked for weeks and then suddenly burst into metaphorical tears under the overwhelming pressure of your lovable keeper disappointing you night after night — or at least I tell myself I’m not the only one this happens to, especially when I’m left alone, lying in bed, showering my MLB At Bat app with tears,snot, and loneliness.
There’s something beautiful about fantasy keepers and fantasy keeper leagues. They provide hope. Redraft leagues leave you at the risk of flopping, once again, via a crappy draft, and becoming your league’s joke-butt for yet another season. Keeper leagues, on the other hand, can pull you in either direction. You can keep a guy like Moustakas and screw up what was sure to be a successful season (or successful night with the aforementioned femme), or you can keep a guy like Mike Trout and ride the sexy coattails of his sumptuous tuxedo to years and years of easy league domination and uninterrupted one-night stands. When your league constitution states that your league’s outcome “supersedes all other forms of competition: career success, romantic success, video-game success, backyard-sports success, drinking-game success, and success in other fantasy sports” and everyone in your league takes it outrageously to heart, it’s extremely important to choose your keepers wisely and un-Moustakasy. As part of my new dedication to discover the people who will lead you to success for years and years, I’m your new Razzball keeper guy. That means I’ll be looking at guys currently in the league, not prospects — that’s sha boi Scott’s area and métier. Because it doesn’t take a genius — yes, I am one of those — to tell you that you should keep Trout or Bryce Harper, we’re going to look at young guys you probably got on the cheap and who probably won’t cost too much to keep. Guys you’re presumably on the fence about. Guys you want to retain for 2014, 2015, 2016, etc. Guys you might want to target in the upcoming weeks and before the deadline so you can lock them up for next season or for a late-season playoff run. Think guys in the Moustakas realm (but not him, dear god, not him). I’ll do this as a service to you, my beautiful, wonderful reader, but also so I can at least wake up satisfied with myself at least once in a while. Let’s look to the future, friends, because some of us might already be 2013 history, or some, better yet, are ready to make 2013 history. Let’s take a look at a few guys you want, whether now or later, because for every Moustakas there’s a…
Jason Kipnis, 69.1 ADP in ESPN leagues
It probably appears odd that I’d follow a whole opening about being unable to enjoy a girl’s company with this, but I have a man-crush on this guy. Fortunately, this relationship is a two-way street. It’s not always pretty, and it’s always streaky, but the $15 or #70 draft pick you spent on him this year is sweet value for 15/25 and, eh, .260, from a second baseman. Pundits shoved the whole “he’s not as powerful as he’s appeared” down your throat, but it’s legit.
He had a 14.6% HR/FB rate in his pretty, abridged 2011, a 6.1% rate last year, and sits at 10.8% this season. It could be slightly high, but everything he’s done so far evinces legitimate 15-20 homer power. Even when he’s not crushing like a Matthew Berry grape, his stolen bases come in bunches and can win you that category in any week. He’s extremely underappreciated and is kind of in one of his lulls right now, so go grab. Go. And when you do, never watch him try to hit a lefty slider. Never.
Paul Goldschmidt, 73.2 ADP
How happy are you if you reached a bit for Goldy? In one of my leagues’ drafts I found myself eating pencil deciding whether to pick robotic Goldy or Freddie Freeman. While Freeman is doing just fine, Goldy (I really hate calling him Goldy) wants his 25/15 while in the middle of a sneaky-good Dbacks lineup. You might have paid a decent price, and if in your league you have to pay increased prices every subsequent year it could get steep, but the dude does everything. He’s a .300 hitter, regardless of what his minor league numbers might hint at. His strikeout rate has dropped every year and is inversely correlated with his improving walk rate, and, though line-drive rates are kind of iffy, he has a 28% line-drive rate. If you believe in omens, he literally just hit a grand slam while I was typing that last sentence. He’s been paid, has a .417 OBP, and plays everyday without ailments.
Also, he moves around like a robot. Am I the only person who’s noticed this? He looks like the shy kid in dodgeball who isn’t exactly sure if he’s doing it right and throws a ball somewhere, puts his head down, and furtively scoots over to grab another random ball in the corner. He’d never ask his teammate who has three balls to pass him one. Seriously, watch Goldschmidt play. You’ll know what I mean.
Everth Cabrera is on base and I swear is going to steal his fourth base of the week against me. I just know it. LOL Carlos Quentin lined into a DP. Inning over. I wonder if Quentin is one of the code-names in the Biogenesis list.
Speaking of Cabrera (224.4 ADP) and Biogenesis, the Biogenesis news came out yesterday and Cabrera is on the list, which is kind of disheartening considering he’s actually turning into a legit player rather than merely Roadrunner. By the way, Tony Bosch is definitely one of Miami’s most popular guys that everyone hates. He wants to be cool so badly. He’s so Miami.
Anyway, Cabrera’s striking out less, walking more, and is hitting more line drives. Oddly, his HR/FB is higher than ever? Hmm.
Remember, there’s a chance that this whole Biogenesis suspension thing gets held up in miles of appeals and cases and Bosch doubters and denials and none of the guys on the list get suspended at all… except maybe Ryan Braun. When he thinks about Braun, Bud Selig must foam like I would have if that bat in my house two weeks ago had rabies. Remember this? This is going to be awesome to watch in the upcoming weeks.
So maybe the Cabrera owner in your league is pissed off. Maybe he’s jumping the Cabrera ship and you can pay fifty cents on Everth’s dollar in hopes that he doesn’t get suspended. Everything except this whole PED ordeal is going in Cabrera’s favor. Okay, so maybe he’s not the best keeper considering he might miss the first 50 2014 games, but I’d make a play. If you can suck up 50 games this year and unleash him for your fantasy playoffs, especially on the cheap, why not? Am I nuts?
Target these guys, and soon. Goldschmidt is high, like uber-duper-super high stock right now, but Kipnis and Cabrera are each achievable — especially Cabrera.
I was thinking of doing this column as a one-guy-a-week sort of thing, but ultimately resorted to doing short lists. If you see it in a one-guy, highly detailed form, don’t be surprised.
Follow your keeper dude on Twitter @TerseRazzball. I’m friendly and need friends. I also answer questions because that’s how I assume I’ll make friends.