Seinfeld is on. George — the show’s best character, I do not care what you think — just brought a book into a bookstore’s bathroom, which is apparently frowned upon. As George tries to put it back on the shelf, a store clerk sees him and forces him to buy the book. Being a cheap bastard, George’s plan is to return the book later that day once the bookstore’s employee shifts have turned over and new people are working. Unfortunately for the now trapped cheapo, the book’s been flagged in the bookstore’s computer and is unreturnable, which is not an actual word. What is George now? Well, everyone, George is now trapped. The book now stinks, smells like poop, is unwanted, yet there’s no way to get rid of it. Also, for the sake of metaphor, throwing it in the garbage is not allowed. This might seem like something you’ve experienced recently or are experiencing right now — this might be like your fantasy baseball team, friend. Earlier this year you might have picked up a guy to test him out and see what he’d do, and now, through injuries or ill-advised bathroom usage, are stuck with the ho. Mike Moustakas comes to mind, but I’ve written about him enough. But, who knows? Maybe, some day, George will sit down on the pooper and thoroughly enjoy his French impressionist-painting book while relieving his rectum. Just like you, who feel stuck with a crappy keeper, might reap that crappy keeper’s benefits next year or down the road. Also, enough with the scatological speak; the keepers you might feel you’re stuck who you’ll enjoy, and some you won’t:
Brad Miller (Undrafted in 2013; 200, $3 in 2014)
Being choosy about three bucks isn’t very inspiring—and neither is the small sample-size on which we’re basing these stats—but arrows point to Brad Miller being even better than he’s been in 2013, which has already been a huge surprise to fantasy owners.
With a 24% LD-rate yet a .292 BAbip, Miller’s .263 batting average should get higher next year, assuming pitchers don’t make a complete adjustment on him. His 2:1 K:BB ratio is promising, too, so I wouldn’t expect severe regression or a sophomore slump.
He’s not powerful and doesn’t have great speed — when he came up I, confused, was asked by readers if they should pick him up to help catch up on steals — but his pairing with Nick Franklin atop the Mariners lineup is promising for next year and for beyond. If he can start putting the ball on the ground a bit more — fly-balls in Seattle aren’t very good — so he can use the speed he does have, that’s just another reason that his average will be higher than where it sits now. Ten homers/15 steals from a SS that you didn’t pay for? Not a bad MI slot going into the year.
Ike Davis (Doesn’t matter)
You don’t want Ike Davis. Already at 26, he’s only had one decent season and that included a miserable first half that was salvaged by a whole lot of luck in the second half. In 2012 with his 32 homers, Davis’ HR/FB was 16.4% — and that was in the cavernous Citi Field.
Don’t expect some sort of turnaround or revival from Davis. The bat’s slow and the Mets suck. I’d elaborate more, but don’t really think you need convincing.
Daniel Nava (Undrafted; 200, $4 in 2014)
A few columns ago I made a joke about keeping Nava, but, like I mentioned earlier, this is for the Georges who don’t really have much of a choice — for those guys who poop with books. For these guys:
Nava is your éclair. The fantasy world is Mrs. Enright.
The guy’s OBP sits at .390 and he hits at the top or in the middle of the MLB’s best lineup. He doesn’t strikeout much — 17.2% — and has a freakish 26% LD-rate. From last year to this year, he’s improved that K-rate, increased his walk rate, is hitting more fly-balls in conjunction with an increase homer rate, and, for the sake of playing time, has gotten a lot better in the outfield. Even if Jackie Bradley finally sustains playing time in the outfield, Mike Napoli‘s only on a one-year deal and there’s no promising he comes back to play first for the Sox. You can guarantee he’ll get just as many at-bats as he’s getting now, and if he does, that awesome approach and lineup surroundings will constitute a prime recipe for more delicious Nava Java. If you don’t have a young stud to fall back on, keep the cheap, proven veteran. Then thank me.
Jedd Gyorko (250, $1 in 2013; 180, $5 in 2014)
You only paid $1 for him on Draft Day 2013, but you know you had higher hopes for him than that would imply. You were also affected by the injury he suffered. You’re not very happy about this.
The one thing that Gyorko’s done successfully this year is exactly what he was supposed to successfully do, and that’s hit for power. In 107 games, the guy-who-I-can’t-figure-out-if-he’s-fat-or-not has 18 homers and 25 doubles. He doesn’t hit grounders — and he’s not supposed — and if he can retain a HR/FB somehwere close to his current 10.1%, he’ll pop 25-28 homers next year if he can stay healthy and play 150 games. He’s in Petco, which puts a dent in that prospect, obviously, but Gyorko’s also obviously a huge power source from a position that lacks in the category. I think he decreases his strikeout propensity next year and improves his approach as he blooms late in the vein of Jason Kipnis. He’s a two-category guy if he can stay healthy and become a bit more consistent, but power from second base opens up a lot of opportunities for the rest of your roster. Post-hype? Yes.
Follow Terse on Twitter @TerseRazzball. He’ll be pining for baseball, like you, during the barren winter. Comfort him.