It can be tricky playing fantasy baseball and having to play off clues and subtle moves MLB teams make for their star-studded young players. When Eugenio Suarez fractured his thumb earlier this week the fantasy community came far and wide with their takes on if the Cincinnati Reds would call up the second overall pick from 2016 Nick Senzel. Senzel could be up this weekend or the end of the month, and sadly some are even saying maybe not until June. Some have said Suarez’s injury wont change anything for the Reds and that they can play out the rest of the season without him (even if his bat is major league ready). This still is all speculation and if you’re in a keeper league, I hope you grabbed him immediately after Suarez went down. When situations like this occur just a few times a year, you can’t wait for the beat writers or reporters to say what they are expecting to happen, you have to risk wasting that waiver wire pick before the actual word gets out. To succeed in fantasy baseball and in all keeper/dynasty leagues, speculation is all you should need to make a move…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Hello everyone. For those who don’t know me, I’m Viz, Razzball’s fantasy hockey editor. I’m going to be contributing to baseball throughout the season looking at keeper values of players who are already in the majors. For my first preseason piece, I’m going to take a look at closers, specifically how their values are affected by the amount of keepers you have, the size of your league and your ability to make moves throughout the season. I’ll also mention a couple guidelines into what I look for from my closers and what I look for in guys who currently don’t have the role but could get the opportunity.

Let’s get right to it!

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What goes through J-FOH’s head when he does these ranks? I’m glad you asked. Wait… you didn’t ask? Are you sure? No? Not at all? Sheesh, thanks guys… and four girls. I’m going to be my usually contrarian self and tell you anyway. I’m looking at players from their floor to their ceilings over the next 3-5 years (and beyond). I’m looking at games played over the previous few seasons, projecting risk going forward, and predicting how they will age based on their skill set. A player whose value is heavily dependent upon speed will usually lose that speed going into the 30’s and players with power will usually keep that a little bit longer. There are always guys who defy the odds like David “I never juiced” Ortiz or Adrian Beltre. They are a special breed that should never be slept on ’til the day they retire. There is science, stats, and anecdotal B.S., and then there are “those guys”. Joey Bats and those sweet bat throws would fall into that class for me. Excuse me while I preach for a second. I love bat flips. I think they should be mandatory for any home run after the 7th, 6th for the Yankees. This is a kids game that is suppose to be fun and guys like Mad Bum need to either throw the punch or shut the front door. Any a-hole can stand there shouting with a team behind him. At least Robin Ventura had the cojones to try and fight. (I want that shirt!) Now that we have my major side track out of the way, let’s move down to some words about the list before we get to the list. Note to self, take an english class at the local adult education center next year.

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So you and 11-29 of your closest friends have decided to take the plunge and start a fantasy baseball dynasty league. Congratulations…we’ve been waiting for you. Since you enjoy pain, you’ve volunteered yourself as the league’s commissioner. There was much rejoicing, but now the parade is over and you’re left sitting in front of your mom’s computer wearing a Burger King crown wondering what the hell you’ve gotten yourself into. First of all, stop crying. It’s unbecoming. Second of all, that’s what I’m here for buddy! Let’s take a look at how I go about forming a dynasty league from scratch. Hopefully this post will help your league keep the arguments and bloodshed to a minimum and you’ll avoid dying alone. You’re welcome.

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If you lurk in the comments section of any fantasy baseball blog, you’ll see a plethora of “who should I keep” type questions. Keeper leagues – no matter how many players you can protect – are eventually going to require you to choose between players on the fringe of your roster. Who you decide to keep and who you decide to set free is important, especially when your team is competing. You can always trade your fringe guys for draft picks or something like that, but then you’re still choosing between who to put on your block and who to keep for yourself. I used to agonize over these decisions. But after a while I started to see some patterns in the good choices versus the bad ones, and now it’s not such a big deal. I also started taking a lot of downers at that time, but I’m sure the two events are in no way related. If you want to ignore this and do your zag thing, go ahead. I’m just going to try to explain how I personally decide on keepers when there’s a “tie” on my list and only one seat at the table.

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Last week I looked at some players who are more or less widely available and could be useful to rebuilding teams in keepers and dynasties. All of these players are available in the majority of leagues in both the CBS and Fantrax formats, which cater to dynasty players. There’s obviously some risk attached to all of them, but I chose to focus mainly on players who are already in the majors or the upper levels of the minors…the reason being you don’t want to get stuck in a rebuild forever by missing on guys who are four-plus years away. I was able to get my hands on these names in 12, 16, and some even in 20-team formats. They’re not necessarily superstars, but rather interesting pieces given the option to keep them heading into next year. Grabbing them now in free agency can save you the headache of chasing them down in the spring once everyone’s “sleepers” etc. are announced.

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It happens every year. Bath time is disrupted by the ringing of my flip phone. Thinking it’s Subway getting back to me about my sandwich artist application, I rush out of the tub to answer. Alas, it’s just a college buddy wanting me to fill an abandoned team in his dynasty league. Now there’s water all over the floor. These teams are almost always terrible. It’s like buying a car and finding out there’s no engine and the seat cushions smell like homicide. Now what? We rebuild it baby! Whether the team’s suckiness is your own doing or the work of a deadbeat previous owner, rebuilding can be painful. If the team is just completely barren or is full of bloated contracts, there are players you can target now to speed up the process and get things moving in the right direction.

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Without getting too preachy here on a Sunday morning, let’s take a look at some basic ideas for keeper leagues that I have found to be effective. I use the term ‘commandments’ loosely, since what works for me might not work for you. That said, these are the principles I live by in keepers. They should give some insight into where my head’s at when answering questions in the comments as well. You know your leagues, and if you’re winning then just keep on doing what works. But if you’re never getting to the promised land in your keeper league, take a look at the ideas below and see if they make sense to help improve your game. Here are my ten keepr commandments (in no particular order). Cue thunder and lightning…

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