It is with great honor I submit to the fantastic readers of Razzball my first prospect-centered column. The concept will be a fun one for anybody looking forward to Ralph’s prospect omnibus that will drop in the coming days (stay tuned!).

Two prominent lists dropped in the last few weeks. One comes from Fangraphs, the other comes from Baseball America. Below I look at a few players with large differentials between the two lists. This gets tricky with players who are on one list and not on another, but I made it work.

Before we launch ourselves into the prospect stratosphere, a few logistics…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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So far, the Keeps Korner has focused on the prospects expecting to be called up, but this week we’re moving over to young pitchers who are starting to show some form of a breakout. We’ve gone over most of the prospects who have been called up lately like Ronald Acuna, Gleyber Torres, and Miguel Andujar, but also some who are still waiting like Nick Senzel and Willie Calhoun. All of these guys should be owned in any type of keeper league, even if they are just stashes. Its also time to start looking at the pitching prospects even though we haven’t seen much yet from the pitchers. Jack Flaherty and Walker Buehler, two of the top pitching prospects in baseball, had stellar debuts but there are no plans for them to stay up in the big leagues for now, but both could force their respective teams to keep them up if they want help to keep contending…

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

Finally! We have over a week of actual baseball in the books as the 2018 season is in full throttle. Besides players freezing their asses off and at least one postponed game a day, it’s been great! I love watching fantasy owners take this insanely long season and juxtaposed with it having define the entire year. There is no reason to trade one of your top picks who’s slumping like a Joey Votto or Trea Turner and flip them for Adam Eaton and some change, I am not treating Patrick Corbin like a top ten pitcher humidor or not, I don’t think Matt Davidson is even close to being this season’s Aaron Judge, and Kevin Pillar isn’t a steals specialist after getting three in one game against the same pitcher. Although I don’t look much into the first week, I do like to watch for the amount of playing time that is given to the younger players and who seems to have to most potential for a breakout. In keeper leagues, it’s important to always be quick on the waiver wires when these young prospects get called up because you may end up picking up your future last round pick for next season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

I love keeper leagues. Love ‘em. Can’t get enough of ‘em. Redraft leagues are fine and all but with keeper leagues you become more connected to certain players and have an affinity for them over all others. They become the unofficial “face of your franchise” and are synonymous with your team. Hanley Ramirez will always be one of my favorite players because he was one of my keepers from 2007 (back when he was a 50 base stealing FLORIDA Marlins shortstop) until 2012. I grabbed 26 error third basemen Ryan Braun in 2007 and he was my ride or die until he was 61 games-played outfielder Ryan Braun in 2013. I still haven’t forgiven him for embarrassing the Roswell Aliens like that…

Keeper leagues add a new wrinkle to your draft strategy. You’re keeping Gary Sanchez? Great! You don’t have to decide whether you want to draft James McCann or Tucker Barnhart in the 25th round!  Keeping one of the big-4 aces? Wonderful! You can now load up on offense early and wait to take Kyle Hendricks as your second starter.

If I were writing this article pre-season 2017 pitchers would be few and far between on this list. Only Clayton Kershaw would’ve been found in the top 25. Now, in this juiced ball era, starting pitchers find themselves a bit more valuable. Although, with this universal humidor situation it’ll be interesting to see what happens to the faces of our teams. For example, the day after the Arizona Diamondbacks announced that they would utilize a humidor in their stadium I saw a tweet that said Paul Goldschmidt fell to the 15th overall pick in one draft. If they kept Paul Goldschmidt himself in a humidor for all of 2018 I’d still draft him before pick 15.

Let’s get into my methodology here. I’m going to be mainly focusing on 2018 because the future is hard to predict. However I’m not going to completely ignore that if you’re reading this article you’re probably not in a 1-year keeper league so there will be some projecting for the next few years as well. That means age will be a factor here. Joey Votto can still smash, but is 34 while his younger brother Freddie Freeman hits just as well and is only turning 29 at the end of this season. Position will also be a factor. Needing 1 second basemen in a shallow pool means that they’re more valuable than the 3-5 outfielders you’ll need. The intersectionality of speed/power and age will also be considered. Dee Gordon is turning 30 in April — how long will his legs hold up? Chone Figgins went to Seattle in his 30’s in 2012 and his career was donezo by 2013. Injury history should also be considered. Giancarlo Stanton was an MVP in 2017, but had over 500 ABs just twice in his previous 7 seasons. As a Yankee fan I’m hoping he stays healthy, but as a fantasy baseball owner I’m cautious. Have any of you actually read any of this or did you just jump straight to the chart to find your players?

Oh well, enough jibber-jabber! Let’s get into it:

The 2018 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join with prizes! All the exclamation points!

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It’s finally February, football is in the rear view mirror, spring training is on the horizon, and it’s time to start breaking out the player ranks and loading up the mock drafts (or waiting for Yahoo to let us). While we wait for any MLB team to sign a free agent I have been struggling on which players I plan on keeping this season in my keeper leagues. I’m not talking about Dynasty leagues, where you keep every player, but the leagues where you only can keep two, three, or at most five players every season. These types of keeper leagues seem to be a mainstay for dedicated players and leagues as of late. I have noticed it’s rarely the same players you’re keeping every season, especially if you have so few to keep…

Keeper leagues can be tough because every draft is going to be so unique. Whether each team is keeping two players or five your draft is going to look very different when missing multiple draft day studs forcing you to go into the draft with a completely different strategy. Do you want to keep a great player but forfeit a top pick or somebody not as proven but for a much lower pick? Do you go with the respected fantasy players you can count on like Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw or with the young guns with the high ceiling and questionable floor like Cody Bellinger and Luis Severino

What factored into my list was how much you can trust each player, what round they were taken the previous season, how good of a fantasy contributor have they been throughout their career, their team, age, etc. Even though every league has different keeper numbers and keeper rules I have ranked out 10 tiers of my top 40 keepers. This list is mainly skewed for leagues with just a handful of keepers. Most of the rankings consist of top players going in the first couple rounds or players that majorly outperformed their ADP last season. I did leave off some guys who I would take in the earlier rounds like Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, and Justin Verlander because the juice just might not be worth the squeeze. Getting Aaron Judge or Cody Bellinger in the last few rounds this year is almost laughable and hard to pass up even with your 2nd or 3rd overall pick. Below is my Top 40 separated into tiers of how important I see these players going into keeper leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?