Redraft leagues are the standard of the fantasy sports industry. Each year you get a fresh start at remembering you shouldn’t draft A.J. Pollock. Ever. You can draft whoever you want at your draft position or spend as much as your budget on whoever you want. But for me there is nothing more fun than a good long-term keeper league. Smart owners get to flex on their leaguemates by keeping players they selected deep in their drafts or picked up on a hunch. Keeper leagues are a great intermediate option between full-on redraft leagues and the craziness of a dynasty league.
Below you’ll find my keeper rankings for 2019. I’ve included each player’s age, position eligibility for the start of the 2019 season and any concerns I have about each player. Here’s what you’ll also see: I’m not high on starting pitchers. Too likely to suffer an injury and miss a large chunk of time. I’m not high on guys with less than two seasons of experience. I’ve seen sophomore slumps and prospect busts far too often. There are exceptions like Ronald Acuna who seem like a sure thing — but when it comes to Vlad Guerrero Jr. I prefer the wait and see approach. Plus, we really don’t know when he’ll even debut. Players over the age of 31 worry me — especially players whose value is speed dependent. I don’t want to keep a player whose decline is starting to begin. Injury prone players: duh. I’m not going to keep someone who can’t take the field.
Well the first for-sure, definite, 100% confirmed, future Yankee free agent signing has signed with the Padres. And this kid is now every Yankee fan:
That was definitely me back in the early 90’s when my favorite player was Don Mattingly (because he lead the league in having a walrus mustache just like my Dad. Runner up: Dennis Eckersley.) Like all Yankee fans and the bandwagon Yankee fans, I then went through the arrogant highs of the late-90’s dynasty. Followed by the dark, lonely era of the Aughts which turned me into the bitter, jaded fan who grew sick and tired of the high-spending, future-sacrificing ways of the overpaid Yankees that I am today. My writer photo above is a sarcastic response to the Yankee fans who never grew out of the dynasty era and still yell “COUNT DA RINGS BRO! DEREK JETAHHH BABBYY!!!” Despite the Yankees only winning one championship in the last 19 years. But there is now a light at the end of that tunnel! Five of the players in the Yankees starting lineup are home grown players! Our ace came up through our own developmental system and wasn’t just plucked from some poor, small market, podunk team like the Reds! Our bullpen is TERRIFYING!
The eyes of Yankee Nation are set on only one thing: adding another championship ring to the trophy case. The team, fans and front office will accept nothing less. Right now, many experts have the Bombers tabbed as the World Series favorite — we’ll see how that all shakes out in October. I talked to Callen Elslager from the Fantasy Life Blog who just had his 2019 Yankees Team Preview published. Here are his thoughts on a few key questions the 2019 Bronx Bombers are facing:
I don’t pay much attention to Spring Training Statistics. You never know who the statistics are coming against. Baseball-Reference did, however, have an amazing tool last year that attempted to quantify the quality of opposing pitchers or batters faced during spring training games on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being MLB talent and 1-3 being high A to low A level. This tool is great, but it averages all the Plate Appearances or batters faced. You would still need a deeper dive to see if your stud prospect smacked a donger off of Chris Sale or off of your kid’s future pony league baseball coach. So what should we watch for in March when we’re starved for the crack of the bat? Ignore “best shape of their life” stories and Spring Training statistical leaderboards. Pay attention to injuries and lineup construction and position battles! Also pay attention to where Bryce Harper signs… Note that signing can instantly eliminate a position battle detailed herein (although it sounds like only NL teams are involved right now).
Categories, eligibility and speed. These are the things that dictate where I rank hitters. Categories: A guy who contributes in all 5 categories is going to be ranked higher than someone who contributes in only 4 — even if those 4 categories are elite. That’s why I’m a bit lower on J.D. Martinez and Nolan Arenado compare to other people. Eligibility: obviously guys with multiple position eligibility or a shallower position will be ranked higher than say an outfielder. “Then why aren’t you higher on catchers?” Because after the top-2 catchers they’re basically all the same and likely to miss time. Speed: the most elusive of 5×5 categories. If you can give me at least 10 steals I’m going to give you a boost in my rankings. That’s why I’m higher on someone like Tommy Pham than others. If Trea Turner gets the 75-80 stolen base attempts that the Nationals want him to get then he has the chance to end the season as a top-3 player.
Imagine I wore glasses. Don’t, but imagine I did. Okay, sometimes I do, but usually I wear contacts. So, I’m wearing glasses and I’m Burgess Meredith and there’s no one else in the world besides me. I finally have time to read about sports, specifically news about the New York Yankees. Why Yankees news? I don’t know, but imagine it! I’m humming New York, New York, and reading about the Yanks, when DJ LeMahieu signs with the Yankees. Just as I’m reading where the Yankees plan on playing him, my glasses fall and shatter. Since no one else is in this world, I’m doomed to never know where LeMahieu will play when Didi returns. Unable to read anything again, I scream, “Giancarl-NOOOOOOOO!!!” That’s what it feels like. I’m in some weird Twilight Zone episode where I’m the only one who heard DJ LeMahieu signed with the Yankees. Y’all hear about this or no? I’d even accept, “Giancarl-no.” Okay, assuming you people — yeah, you people! — heard about this signing, where is Gleyber Torres playing when Gregorius returns in June/July? 2nd base? Okay, is LeMahieu never playing again? Because, at last glance, LeMahieu stays fairly healthy. Are you thinking Miguel Andujar is benched? Hmm, okay, what if he’s not? Luke Voit’s benched? Okay, maybe, maybe not. A giant five-man platoon for four infield spots? I know Tulowitzki has a tattoo that reads, “Fra-jeel-lay,” but what if he’s healthy? A six-man platoon for four spots? Gleyber Torres is really going to get 155+ games played? Not to answer, but to ruminate. So, what can we expect from Gleyber Torres for 2019 fantasy baseball and what makes him overrated?
Our 2019 Razzball leagues are in full signup mode. Today, I’m in dress-down mode. Casually coming for you in the middle of the night, wearing nothing but slippers and a multicolored housecoat that’s half open so you can see the family jewels while I apply my Ambi. Here’s what Grey thinks about you (repeat 17x). I’m about to blow my top as I let my aggravation Michael Bublé over. If you’re clutching pearls like Barbara Bush’s hologram, you’re better off looking at cute pet pics on Instagram, because I’m sharpening my pointer fingers, i.e., the fingers that I use to type! I am the Fantasy Master Lothario (don’t abbreviate it) and I’ve come for your children! See, because blog writing doesn’t pay so well, I’ve taken a second job as a bus driver, so I’m literally here for your kids. Like a baller! A shot caller! An “I’m outside of Hot Topic at the maller!” Now let’s open a window and defenestrate ESPN’s 2019 fantasy baseball rankings. To the tune of Ice Cube’s No Vaseline:
Is it possible I will have drafted a shortstop in the 1st round, a shortstop in the 2nd round for my MI spot and a shortstop in the 3rd round for my utility spot? Prolly not, but I don’t want to rule out anything with how great the shortstops look. During last preseason, Rudy told me I was too high on multiple shortstops. He never apologized, but that’s okay, I forgive him. As Napoleon said, “I forgive you for only putting two layers in my whipped cream dessert, but if you meant it as a dig on my height, I will never forget.” So, here’s Steamer’s 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. All my 2019 fantasy baseball rankings are under that thingie-ma-whosie, and I mention where all tiers start and stop, and all shortstop projections are mine. Let’s get to it! Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2019 fantasy baseball:
One super quick word about the top 20 2nd basemen for 2019 fantasy baseball and all the 2019 fantasy baseball rankings, each ranking appears insanely long and it is, but I imagine in a lot of leagues guys won’t have eligibility, because I’m using the extremely lax Yahoo position eligibility. Without further ado because this post is longer than the combined length of the Gutenberg Bible and Steve Guttenberg’s IMDB page, I mention where tiers start and stop and all projections are mine and cannot be reproduced without the express written consent of Major League–Damn, I’m being told by Major League Baseball I did not have express written consent to use their warning. Anyway, here’s the top 20 2nd basemen for 2019 fantasy baseball:
Here’s what I said two years ago, “We’re gonna find out if the top 20 shortstops are as Ken Bonerific as the top 20 2nd basemen. Hint: they are. Damn, I gotta work on building suspense. That hint pretty much gives the whole kit away and tacks the kaboodle onto its back as it’s walking out the door. Goodbye, kit and kaboodle, I just gave you away for nothing.” And that’s me quoting me! Then last year, the shortstops collapsed like every piece of furniture you’ve ever put together from Ikea. This year? Rebound, baby! Without further Machado, to recap, this final ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments. The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked them in the preseason. Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2018 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:
My 2018 fantasy baseball season may be over, but my 2019 fantasy baseball season has just begun! Justin Mason of Friends with Fantasy Benefits is hosting a series of #2EarlyMocks with fantasy baseball analysts from around the web and he was kind enough to invite me to participate in one of them. For me, it’s never #2Early. Hell, I’ll do a mock draft for 2024 if anyone is willing to host one! I’ll be taking Blaze Jordan #1 overall!
Below you’ll see the first 7 rounds of the 28 round draft. I was assigned the 1st overall pick — which for round 1 (in my opinion) is pretty boring. However, from there it gets interesting — you have a long time to wait and watch a lot of baseball’s top 20 players go off the board. I’ve included each selection’s 2018 ADP ranking so you can see who has gained/lost the most value. Something to note — the number I’ve written below isn’t their actual ADP — just the rank that ADP falls among all players. For example, Christian Yelich’s ADP was actually 41.3, but that leaves him ranked as the 40th player taken off the board — hence the 40.