The season is winding down and that gives us an opportunity to look at one of the most important times of the year for a keeper league owner.  As the playoffs and final standings push come to a close, those in contention will inevitably feel the roster crunch.  Casting off talent to make the all too critical move may win the league, but also be our ticket to a useful building block going into next year’s draft.  This week, we will focus on some of those casualties to see if there is any value to be found.  While these names might not be sexy, they just might be the right price for a keeper or dynasty piece.  Join us as we jump into the trash heap with our hitter profiles as we search for some 2023 keeper values.

Whit Merrifield

A disappointing season with the Royals has turned into a downright disaster after a trade to the Blue Jays.  Many fantasy owners could not, and should not, have kept Whit on their roster as the season progressed.  Before a power outburst on Thursday night, Whit had a single homer and a single steal in 31 games north of the border.  The thing is, Whit really has not changed as a player over the last few years.  From hard hit rates to sprint speed or exit velocity, he may have lost a tick but nothing more.  Between a dip in BABIP and his HR/FB rate, Whit has been on the wrong side of luck this year.  Now, he has one more season in Toronto which saves us from a Scooter Gennett-like free agency.  His role may not be locked in, but I would be willing to roll into 2023 with Whit as a cheap middle infielder if it does not require a large investment.  That said, anything costing more than a pick in the double digit rounds is a bit too pricey here.

Brandon Lowe

Brandon Lowe has been disappointing not only with his performance and the resulting .221 average and eight long balls, but he has struggled to stay healthy with a calamity of injuries.  Now, if you were a reader during the preseason you know that I was very high Lowe’s profile.  This is a bat capable of going .260-40-100-100 in a full season of at bats.  While Lowe did drop off slightly in some of his metrics with a lower xBA (.237) and hard hit rate (39%) that is not much of a surprise with the injuries and the resulting on and off playing time.  The big key here is that Lowe has a career HR/FB of 21% and has come in 10 points shy of that mark during 2022.  With a shift to his career norm, Lowe is right back on pace for 35-40 homers.  With an off-season to get healthy stabilizing the rest of his numbers, I would be thrilled to pick up Lowe on the cheap when he logs 140 games in 2023.

Jesse Winker

After a breakout season in 2021, Winker has been falling flat in his Seattle Mariner debut season.  Across 130 games, he has only managed 13 homer runs on top of a .216 average.  If we look under the covers, there is a mirage of numbers that could intrigue.  For example, a career low BABIP or career high walk rate beg for better days.  On the other side of the coin, Winker has dropped his contact quality two seasons in a row.  There certainly are better days ahead, but that does not mean a serviceable fantasy starter.  The nail in the coffin for this potential keeper is that he has dropped off against right handers which has been the calling card over the years.  A continuously disappointing stat line and the potential to lose time to youngsters, it is time to move on from this fading star.