Entering the last weeks of the season, a few things have become crystal clear #1: No one wanted Crystal Clear Pepsi in the first place, why is it back? #2: OPS Leagues are the best in fantasyland and #3: It hasn’t been my best season overall.  I know, I know, anyone that writes for Razzball should dominate every league they are in.  I’m doing well in more leagues then I’m not, true; however I’ve had an epic collapse in my home league that has messed with me as I owned the first half; another I know I should be doing better in  but moving across country, starting a new job; life really got in the way this summer (not that’s it’s an excuse…well it is, life happens).  So I’m taking responsibility (or at least placing the blame).  However one thing I didn’t need to be reminded of is the luck of it.

I’m not blaming luck, because when it’s on my side I give it the credit it’s due.  No matter how many adds and drops (and I make a lot in my leagues), no matter how good a draft, none of it matters if you don’t have that extra bit of luck. As opposed to fantasy football (where it’s 50% luck, 5% draft prep and 45% waiver wire quickness) baseball I feel is less luck, say 35%, with draft prep at 25% and managing in season 40% (these numbers come from my head, where I was lucky enough to add them up to 100%).  So this season, I didn’t have it, and so on it goes.  Time to get ready for next year.

Back to #2: keeper leagues are da bomb.  I’ve been in one for almost a decade, another for almost as long and started another this season.  The different rules, learning the in’s and out’s of said rules; over time seeing what owners you can trade with, who will pay for their guy; feeling a weird bond with a certain player (even if he’s on your team’s rival; I had Pujols on my team for his prime years while living in St Louis, as a Cubs fan, and I’m sure I appreciated his greatness more having him on my keeper team).

Unfortunately, planning for next season has already started for some of you and I’m thinking about you, here to help (and scouting out guys that I want to add to my teams too).  If you’re eliminated, I’d move for these guys sooner; if not, look to grab them before the season ends. They might help the rest of the way (no promises) but for this exercise their 2017 season definitely looks brighter.

First up, Tommy Joseph, Philadelphia Phillies first baseman.  But he’s got two first names, and one of them ends in Y, you say. Well I say no one calls me Philly, because if they did I would at best give them the stink eye and say never, never call me that, I’m an adult dammit! (Truth be told, my Dad, and only him, sometimes calls me that, and I’m ok with it). TMI, amirite? Or TMJ? No, no TMR, Thomas Richard Joseph. Three first names! Uh-oh, he might be a serial killer. Nah, actually he looks like a high school baseball coach/gym teacher.

Joseph is owned in only 4% of Yahoo and 3% ESPN Leagues may not be a ton of help due to sharing time with Ryan Howard. But Howard is gone next year and the first base job is Tommy’s for the taking.  Joseph’s average is hovering around .250 with an OPS  of .770 on the season; ok, not great numbers for a first baseman.  Here are some better ones: an ISO of .239 and 19 homers thus far in 307 plate appearances at the major league level (add in another 6 homers at AAA this year).  Some more subpar ones: a BB% of 5.6% and a K% of 23%; to me though, those are big bopper percentages if I ever saw ’em.  Joseph should produce some power numbers with 600 PAs and if so, he can get to 25-28 homers next year while the RBIs and OPS come along for the ride.

A guy more widely owned (yet not in enough leagues for my taste) is Steven Souza Jr.  Injuries have had their way with him this season yet he still has 17 homers and seven steals this season.  However it’s looking more and more like Souza is a guy that plays in about 120 games; this season if he passes 126 games played it’ll be the most games he’s played in since A ball back in 2009.

Souza has had ISO’s of .174 last year and .168 this season; in the minors he was usually above .240.  So that extra power is there; already being 27 makes the power spike hopefully coming as early as next season (when he’ll still be 27).  Owned is a few more leagues than Joseph or Healy, 30% in Yahoo and 13% in ESPN, Souza could help this season and this weekend he gets the Yankees and then the Red Sox, both at home.

Another guy I’ve mentioned before is Ryon Healy.  Currently manning third for the A’s Healy is playing for a spot next year, as well as this one (as he should, not that it matters the A’s are done).  On the season Healy has nine homers, an .835 OPS and three of those homers he hit in his last seven games.  Drafted in the third round back in 2013, Healy started this season at AA, stayed there for 36 games, then 49 at AAA before making his MLB debut.

In his 54 MLB games so far this season Healy has a BB% of 5% and K% of 20%.  In the minors he consistently had a K% under 20% so that should improve as he gets more comfortable at the MLB level.  Only 24 years of age, Healy should hold down third the rest of this season and into next.  A solid keeper for sure, Healy has ownership numbers of 5% in Yahoo and 4% in ESPN.

Looking ahead to part two, and who knows, maybe more parts, a trilogy or even a fourpete; it’s my column, and I can do with it what I want to (within reason Jay?), so we’ll see how many guys I can think of worth adding before season’s end.  Furthermore I want to know how are you all doing with your keepers?  Started thinking about next season, or trying to win this one?  I’ll definitely revisit keepers and OPS leagues throughout the off-season.  Enjoy the weekend, Razzballers & Razzballettes, Phil B out.


  1. Cheese says:

    Great stuff! Would you drop Cron for either Souza or Joseph? Unlimited Roto keeper league but also trying win this year.

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:

      @Cheese: Thanks! I like Souza better than Cron for the rest of this season and into next; he’s been hot lately and besides the power may kick in a few steals, so I’d drop Cron for him. I wouldn’t drop Cron for Joseph this season if you’re still trying to win, as Cron has been playing more consistently.

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