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.
Everth Cabrera (221.9 ADP, $2 in 2013; will be 150s, $6 in 2014)
Everth is the brunette who then turned into the blonde, then who most thought was the brunette, and will then be considered blonde later. Get it? No numbers game here.
I wrote about Cabrera here, where I praised him for his increase in power, super speed, and overall improvement as a baseball and fantasy player.
“Cabrera’s striking out less, walking more, and is hitting more line drives. Oddly, his HR/FB is higher than ever?” I wonder why.
You can safely assume that Cabrera’s going to be suspended this year — and doesn’t really have much of a reason to appeal, unless he’s hoping to fight that losing “save face” battle that everyone sees right through — but you can’t safely assume that that’ll plummet Cabrera’s stock going into next year.
Cabrera’s main value is in his speed, obviously, an attribute that most people won’t expect to decline via stopping steroid usage, PED injection — whatever you want to call it (if you even think he did use any illegal substances at all). After seeing his improvement in the other facets of his game, and everyone still believing in his speed, Cabrera won’t be perceived as having any lower value than he had going into this year, and I think he’ll be perceived significantly higher. “I pay for his speed, the rest are cherries on top,” people will say, expecting at least some of the new production to be real.
If I had Cabrera and could spare the spot, I’d stash him next year as he’ll still increase in value significantly. I’d definitely pick him up next year, because he’ll be valued way higher than he will be going into 2014.
Chris Archer (Undrafted in 2013; 175, 4 bones in 2014)
How freaking sexy and pretty is this guy? Like, I’d do disgusting things to him (wait, don’t forget about my introduction. Archer’s a girl!). And how awesome is his name? Archer. 6:58 later, I’m back. That show’s awesome.
A top prospect for a few years in the revered Rays organization, Archer’s had some control problems and spoiled cups of coffee in the Bigs. But talk about an awesome last four games: 31 IP, 1 ER, 2 CG, 4 BB, 17 K. A decrease in walk rate and increase in grounders might finally herald Archer’s arrival as the surefooted, reliable starter he was projected to be for the past few years. He’s not as good as his past four games — nobody is that good, and he has a .216 BAbip-against — and his value is really high right now, but if he lets up a few runs before your deadline, know that he’ll be anchored in the Rays rotation next year and his ADP should probably be around 175 next year. If you’ve picked him up, he’d be one of the few pitchers I’d really want to keep going into next year. Also, the Rays kind of have a way to keep their guys healthy unless they get dome-pieced.
Justin Upton (16.2 in 2013; 50s, $15 in 2014)
Could this suckfest reasonably be the result of the team he’s on? And not in the Marlins kind of way, but in the everyone-on-this-team-strikes-out-so-hey-I’m-just-going-to-swing-for-the-fences kind of way. According to Fan Graphs, Upton’s contact rate, which was at 77.1% last year, has dropped all the way down to 70.6% in 2013. He’s not swinging at bad pitches any more than usual, he’s just swinging and missing too often. After his SO% got as low as 18.7% in 2011, Upton’s back up to 24.9%, which is some sort of nonsensical regression for a 25-year-old in his seventh Major League season.
He’s definitely better than this, and he’s proven to have more power than his 16 homers implies, but he’s not running and not bombing like a non-runner needs to, so I think even his $15 next year could be a bit too much.
I get asked about trades involving Upton often, and I’d stay away from him now and in the long-term.
Alex Rodriguez (233.4 in 2013; never in 2014 or ever again)
Does anyone read Mark Listanti’s awesome “Derek Jeter diaries”? Well, the way A-Rod’s portrayed in those is exactly how I picture him. Also, A-Rod gets vilified as some monster who’s trying to screw the Yankees and their fans like Cameron Diaz. He went to a second doctor?! What an a**hole! Why won’t he just retire and free up the Yankees’ cap room?! He’s an a**hole. He’s going to appeal?! What an a**hole. I don’t believe this, but does anyone ever just stop and think, “hey, maybe this guy just really, really wants to play baseball again and will do anything simply to get back on the diamond.”
Pedro Alvarez (158.5 in 2013; 140 in 2014)
He’s hitting more fly-balls than ever, is striking out more than ever, and has his highest HR/FB rate ever. But that’s exactly what we expect from Pedro Alvarez, who sounds like Mario when Matthew Berry does his impression.
Alvarez’s 22.1% HR/FB is way too high — even for him — and his LD% is keeping his BA at .242 despite the increase in strikeouts. What you’ll get is what you expect: A BA that hopefully won’t murder you and a whole bunch of dingers on a Pirates team that shouldn’t but does hit. What do those numbers and prospects merit? A pick better than 158. I’d definitely deal for him if I needed the pop for this year. That said, he’s definitely not the best keeper, because he won’t be much better than 2013′s price, but there’s slight value to be had.
Follow Terse on Twitter @TerseRazzball and let him know the guys you want him to give his take on. Also, ask him questions so he feels like he has friends. He needs some of those.