Redraft leagues are the standard of the fantasy sports industry. Each year you get a fresh start at remembering you shouldn’t draft A.J. Pollock. Ever. You can draft whoever you want at your draft position or spend as much as your budget on whoever you want. But for me there is nothing more fun than a good long-term keeper league. Smart owners get to flex on their leaguemates by keeping players they selected deep in their drafts or picked up on a hunch. Keeper leagues are a great intermediate option between full-on redraft leagues and the craziness of a dynasty league.
Below you’ll find my keeper rankings for 2019. I’ve included each player’s age, position eligibility for the start of the 2019 season and any concerns I have about each player. Here’s what you’ll also see: I’m not high on starting pitchers. Too likely to suffer an injury and miss a large chunk of time. I’m not high on guys with less than two seasons of experience. I’ve seen sophomore slumps and prospect busts far too often. There are exceptions like Ronald Acuna who seem like a sure thing — but when it comes to Vlad Guerrero Jr. I prefer the wait and see approach. Plus, we really don’t know when he’ll even debut. Players over the age of 31 worry me — especially players whose value is speed dependent. I don’t want to keep a player whose decline is starting to begin. Injury prone players: duh. I’m not going to keep someone who can’t take the field.
Keepers by position:
Catcher: 2, First Base: 8, Second Base: 9, Shortstop: 14, Third Base: 13, Outfield: 31, SP: 26, RP: 3.
Keepers by age:
20: 3, 21: 2, 22: 4, 23: 7, 24: 13, 25: 7, 26: 13, 27: 10, 28: 10, 29: 7, 30: 6, 31: 8, 32: 4, 33: 1, 34: 1, 35: 2, 36: 1
2019 Fantasy Baseball Keeper Rankings
|1||Mike Trout||27||OF||LAA||Too good|
|2||Mookie Betts||26||OF||BOS||Bowling arm injury|
|4||Trea Turner||25||SS||WAS||Power ceiling?|
|5||Francisco Lindor||25||SS||CLE||Spring calf injury|
|6||Jose Ramirez||26||3B||CLE||‘18 2nd half|
|7||Manny Machado||26||SS/3B||SD||New stadium/team|
|8||Alex Bregman||24||SS/3B||HOU||Spring training injury|
|9||Nolan Arenado||27||3B||COL||No speed|
|10||Bryce Harper||26||OF||PHI||Injury; ’16 & ’18 AVG|
The more categories you contribute to the higher you’ll rank — it’s that simple. There are concerns regarding everyone after Mookie Betts, but that’s part of the risk you’ll take. If Turner goes 15/60 he could possibly surpass Betts due to the speed scarcity. If Lindor’s calf is fine in 2019 he could surpass Betts based on his position. If Bryce is motivated and hits .280 he could be in the top-5 hitting in the best lineup in baseball. Maybe I’m being a little hard on Arenado because he doesn’t steal bases — but his consistent production in Colorado are just phenomenal.
|11||Christian Yelich||27||OF||MIL||GB%, ’18 career year|
|12||Andrew Benintendi||24||OF||BOS||Power/Speed ceiling?|
|13||Aaron Judge||26||OF||NYY||Big boi injuries|
|14||Juan Soto||20||OF||WAS||Sophomore slump?|
|15||Trevor Story||26||SS||COL||2017 K/rate & AVG|
|16||Cody Bellinger||23||1B/OF||LAD||2018 power dip|
|17||J.D. Martinez||31||OF||BOS||Age & Injury history|
|18||Jose Altuve||28||2B||HOU||2018 power/speed dip|
|19||Javier Baez||26||2B/SS||CHC||BB/K rate & Contact%|
|20||Freddie Freeman||29||1B||ATL||Power ceiling|
Of this second batch of keepers I’d be keeping an eye on Andrew Benintendi, Cody Bellinger and Javier Baez to potentially join the top 10. If Benintendi caps out at a 20/20 threat then he stays in Christian Yelich territory. If Bellinger can return to 30+ HR power (which I think he can and will) while maintaining double-digit speed and improving on his .263 career average — we’re talking about the #1 first basemen for the future. And Javier Baez won’t change — he’ll still be fun, but frustrating to watch at times. However, if he decides to work on his approach at the plate he could launch himself into elite territory.
|21||Giancarlo Stanton||29||OF/DH||NYY||18 power dip|
|22||Chris Sale||29||SP||BOS||Late 18 injury, ’12-’18 IP|
|23||Kris Bryant||27||3B/OF||CHC||2018 injury|
|24||Blake Snell||26||SP||TBR||2nd lowest ’18 BABIP|
|25||Aaron Nola||25||SP||PHI||5th lowest ’18 BABIP|
|26||Max Scherzer||34||SP||WAS||Age; 2,000+ IP ’09-’18|
|27||Paul Goldschmidt||31||1B||StL||New team; May 2018 AVG|
|28||Jacob deGrom||30||SP||NYM||Regression from career year|
|29||Walker Buehler||24||SP||LAD||Experience, Dodgers|
|30||Trevor Bauer||28||SP||CLE||Late ’18 Injury|
Pitcher time! I’m not expecting a huge drop in Snell and Nola, but a slight regression is coming. Both should still compete for the Cy Young’s in their respective division. People will be mad about Scherzer’s ranking, but he’s got a lot of mileage on that shoulder. I’m high on Buehler — I think he’s a Cy Young candidate as soon as this year. Even while on the Dodgers. In the AL let me cast my ballot for Bauer for the Cy Young.
Kris Bryant is due for a huge bounceback in 2019 — believe that!
|31||Gerrit Cole||28||SP||HOU||Maintaining ’18|
|32||Noah Syndergaard||26||SP||NYM||Injury risk|
|33||Ozzie Albies||22||2B||ATL||vs RH; Aug & Sept ’18|
|34||Carlos Correa||24||SS||HOU||Injuries; Speed|
|36||Vlad Guerrero Jr.||20||3B||TOR||0 MLB XP; Debut date?|
|37||Gleyber Torres||22||2B/SS||NYY||Soph slump? Peak power?|
|38||Xander Bogaerts||26||SS||BOS||SPD downside?|
|39||Corey Kluber||32||SP||CLE||FB Velocity|
|40||Shohei Ohtani||24||SP/DH||LAA||Major Injury|
This is Correa’s last stand. He either lives up to his potential in 2019 or his value is kaput.
I loved Albies when he hit 9 HRs in the first 27 games of 2018, but the .226 he hit in the second-half and the .231 against righties last year have me a bit worried. He is only 22 though and could find himself near the top of a phenomenal Braves lineup.
Torres was a top-10 prospect two years in a row, but what is his height? 25 HRs? 30 HRs? He had a pair of 20 stolen base seasons in the minors, but only stole 6 bases in 2018. If he can reach 30 HRs and touch 15 SBs then he’ll move up to the top-15.
|41||Anthony Rendon||28||3B||WAS||Bumps & Bruises|
|42||Eloy Jimenez||22||OF||CHW||0 MLB XP; Debut date?|
|43||Luis Severino||25||SP||NYY||2nd-Half ’18; Injury|
|44||Justin Verlander||36||SP||NYY||Age; 2,747 IP ’06 – ’18|
|45||Anthony Rizzo||29||1B||CHC||18 vs LHP; ’18 start|
|46||Starling Marte||30||OF||PIT||Age 30 = SPD drop?|
|47||George Springer||29||OF||HOU||Inconsistent PWR & SPD|
|48||Victor Robles||21||OF||WAS||83 MLB ABs; PWR ceiling?|
|49||Corey Seager||24||SS||LAD||Major injury, PWR ceiling?|
|50||J.T. Realmuto||27||C||PHI||Positional injury concerns|
Rendon is one of the few players that I couldn’t really find too many concerns about. That is a major reason why he’s getting some NL MVP buzz this spring training.
Severino’s second-half, urgency to sign a long term contract extension this off-season and the fact that he might not pitch until May has him dropping in my rankings. He still has youth and a team with solid win potential on his side.
I’ll be watching Robles closely this season. He only has one minor league season of double-digit HRs (10) but stole 20 bases every season he’s played in. One concern for 2019 is his lineup slot. Roster Resource has him penciled in to the 9-spot right now.
|51||Gary Sanchez||26||C||NYY||WTF 2018; Injuries|
|52||Eugenio Suarez||27||3B||CIN||Sept/Oct ’18 dip|
|53||Charlie Blackmon||32||OF||COL||Age; 4 years of SB decline|
|54||Adalberto Mondesi||23||2B/SS||KCR||Plate discipline; Team stats|
|55||Jose Berrios||24||SP||MIN||Away splits, End of ’18|
|56||Jack Flaherty||23||SP||StL||BB%; 33 career starts|
|57||Khris Davis||31||DH||OAK||Position; Spring training injury|
|58||Stephen Strasburg||30||SP||WAS||Injury prone|
|59||Jean Segura||29||SS||PHI||Declining SB total|
|60||Eddie Rosario||27||OF||MIN||BB%, Speed ceiling|
There’s a lot to like about Berrios and Flaherty, but their youth and above issues are suppressing their value a little bit. With a few adjustments this season they could bump up 20 or so spots next year.
I’ve already said my peace on Adalberto Mondesi. Yes, I still drafted him in The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational. I needed some speed — so sue me.
If Rendon doesn’t win MVP — I might throw my vote towards Eugenio Suarez. He took a huge power step forward in 2018 and the Reds lineup got a lot better this off-season. The Reds have a realistic chance to win the NL Central which would only help Suarez’s case.
|61||Mitch Haniger||28||OF||SEA||Health; Speed ceiling|
|62||Marcell Ozuna||28||OF||StL||18 Mar-May; 13-16 AVG|
|63||Rafael Devers||22||3B||BOS||Sophomore slump|
|64||Carlos Carrasco||31||SP||CLE||Injury concerns|
|65||Miguel Andujar||24||3B||NYY||Sophomore slump? Trade?|
|66||Matt Olson||24||1B||OAK||Beating sophomore slump|
|67||Fernando Tatis Jr.||20||SS||SD||0 MLB XP; Debut date?|
|68||Jameson Taillon||27||SP||PIT||Maintaining ’18; W total|
|69||Clayton Kershaw||30||SP||LAD||Injury; ’08-’18: 2000+ IP|
|70||Wil Myers||28||3B/OF||SD||Injury concerns return|
Devers was a dumpster fire in 2018, but is still crazy young. He was a former top-20 prospect and if he puts it together this season, God help the pitcher that has to face ANOTHER Red Sox slugger.
Tatis could be one of the biggest risers on this list. Vlad Guerrero could hit 30 HRs with an elite average — but Tatis has a realistic shot at 30/30 if he reaches his full potential.
Kershaw is going the way of Felix Hernandez. Too many IPs at a young age and he’s now a shell of his former self. Keep at your own risk.
|71||Michael Conforto||26||OF||NYM||Health, AVG|
|72||Nomar Mazara||23||OF||TEX||Injuries; Next step – when?|
|73||Joey Votto||35||1B||CIN||Age; 2018 big decline|
|74||Whit Merrifield||30||2B||KCR||Age + SPD = ?; PWR #s?|
|75||Justin Upton||31||OF||LAA||Injuries; SB drop continues?|
|76||Lorenzo Cain||32||OF||MIL||Age; RBI|
|77||Mike Clevinger||28||SP||CLE||Next step or status quo?|
|78||James Paxton||30||SP||NYY||Injuries; Bad stadium|
|79||Joey Gallo||25||1B/OF||TEX||AVG duh.|
|80||Nicholas Castellanos||27||OF||DET||Team stats; Trade?|
I get the feeling if we ever see a full season of Conforto we’re talking about a 35+ HR season. Maybe 2019?
When Mazara made his debut as a 21 year old in 2016 and hit 20 HRs we were all salivating at his potential for growth. However, all he’s shown in the two seasons since is shown Khris Davis like consistency with his power numbers — three straight seasons of 20 HRs. Maybe he can touch 30 HRs? Probably not though.
Clevinger is another guy who I couldn’t find a lot of issues with. He’s now had back-to-back consistent positive productive seasons. He’s not an elite option, but you can’t knock his consistency.
|81||Jose Abreu||32||1B||CHW||2018 injury & dip|
|82||Matt Chapman||25||3B||OAK||Slight injury concerns; Minors #s|
|83||Patrick Corbin||29||SP||WAS||New team; Slider injury risk|
|85||Kyle Tucker||22||OF||HOU||64 MLB ABs; Playing time|
|86||Nick Senzel||23||3B||CIN||0 MLB XP|
|87||Rougned Odor||25||2B||TEX||Plate discipline, 2018 injury|
|88||Yoan Moncada||23||2B||CHW||Plate discipline|
Tucker and Senzel could rocket up this list, but all that’s holding them back is their lack of major league experience.
Odor and Moncada are in the same boat — it seems like Odor is actually working on his issues though. For the third year in a row he’s upped his BB% to 8% last year — really not that bad by Odor standards.
It’s easy to forget after missing 2015 and 2016 and his 5.21 ERA in 2017 that of all the current and former elite Mets starting pitchers, Wheeler was the highest ranked in the minors. He really refound his stuff in 2018 with a 3.31 ERA in 29 starts.
|91||Mike Foltynewicz||27||SP||ATL||Spring Training Injury|
|92||Zack Greinke||35||SP||ARI||Age = eventual decline? Velocity|
|94||Amed Rosario||23||SS||NYM||Plate discipline; AVG|
|95||Yasiel Puig||28||OF||CIN||Injury risk|
|96||A.J. Pollock||31||OF||LAD||Oh god, injury risk!|
|97||Edwin Diaz||24||RP||NYM||Less save opportunities|
|98||Blake Treinen||31||RP||OAK||Under 1.00 ERA isn’t easy|
|99||Daniel Murphy||33||2B||COL||Age; Bumps and bruises|
|100||German Marquez||24||SP||COL||Home stadium; ’18 1st half|
Hader might not be the closer, but who cares when he has close to a 16 K/9 in 81+ IP. Those numbers with even 10-15 saves sound good to me.
I might be higher on Rosario than others, but he’s having a spicy spring so far. 7 runs, 2 HRs, 6 RBI, 3 SB and a .400 AVG in 25 ABs. If he can go 15/20 while improving his .255 career average — you’ve got a keeper stud on your hands.
Despite being 33, Murphy’s move to Colorado really helps boost his draft stock. Another 25 HR season with 100+ RBI and a .320 AVG is coming in 2019.
Alright — what are your keeper questions/comments? Sound off in the comments below!