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.
Take on your favorite writers in the 2016 Razzball Commenter Leagues! Join here…
- What is a keeper league? When I think of a keeper league, I think of a type of league that has an apparatus that allows you to own a player for multiple years. I could spend a thousand words dissecting all the different types of leagues that qualify as a keeper, but to set a baseline for these rankings, I went with 5-10 keeper policy and 12 teams (60-120 players). Everything I ever write will be for 12-team leagues or higher, because it’s against my religion to play anything less. And that’s not to say that this list doesn’t apply to all those niche leagues out there, you can still certainly use this, but I wanted to find a mark in the middle to include as many formats as possible…
- Why do I have no closers? If you have been following the offseason, and by following, I mean showing up here every day while you’re at your day job, then this segment will make sense. This winter we saw a top-three closer (Kenley Jansen) almost lose his job and another top-three closer (Andrew Miller) lose his job for doing absolutely nothing wrong. Aroldis Chapman is a home-wrecker and a bad shot from what I hear. His almost trade/actual trade demonstrated that GM’s value the guy at the back end of games like a college freshman values the third chick he nailed in his dorm room during the first semester. I never want to keep a closer unless your keepers are deep, but even then, saves can always be found. And if you’re worried about ratios, then keep better pitchers. Last year, we saw the rise of a top-5 closer that wasn’t even drafted (Familia) in most leagues, an old DORK-be-a-stud, and a burger in a box get 41 saves with a 10+ K-rate. Draft them, don’t keep them. The one caveat to this is if you are in a league where everyone keeps a closer or two every year, then make an adjustment. There are always exceptions to the rule, but for this list I will stay away from closers.
- Pitchers vs. Hitters? Which way do I go? This dilemma got me tied up a few times, as I tried to maintain some balance in this top-100. I could of easily said that hitters rule like O’Doyle, but that would be too easy. In a redraft, you can always find favorable non-ace pitching that you can slap together for a season. In a keeper, I think that changes as more owners are keeping arms or taking a chance by keeping the rising young “ace potential” starters. Guys like Thor, deGrom, and JoFer have been changing the game over the last few years. Just as it’s not that hard to throw together a staff in a redraft, it’s also not that hard to throw together some bats in a keeper if you start with some top-30 hitters and some top-50 pitchers for keepers. Seriously, go look, there are many middle-of-the-road bats spread all over the top-400 that you can turn into a winner this year. As I ran down the list of cuts I had to make for the final 25 slots, I looked at a player like Kevin Gausman and asked myself: “Who would I rather have in three years, Gausman or Ian Kinsler?” Duh, I would rather gamble on the future ace over the replaceable has-been. Side note, neither made the list, but Gausman just barely missed the cut. The one thing I found interesting is after the top-50, it really turned into a needs based list that will be determined by who your first two or three keepers are. Then from there, I went youth, high ceiling/high floor over age, T.J. candidates… Have you had enough of this already? Yeah me too. Let’s get to the list!
Top 100 Keepers for the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Season and Beyond
- One guy who missed the cut and is a high candidate for ace-hood is Kevin Gausman. Is that even a legit portmanteau? Gaus popped on and off this list a half dozen times before I decided to let him marinate a little longer. Call me bias, but I trust Baltimore and their development of pitchers like I would trust Trump to not offend someone for a day. Another guy that should be here is the Yanks Masahiro Tanaka, whose best pitch is either the slider or the split-finger, depending on who you read. Either way, he has a partially torn UCL and advising someone to keep him would be irresponsible on my part. This offseason in the Razznasty, Ralph, the new prospect guy, got someone to bite on his Tanaka (hehe) and got Steven Matz in return. Over the net high-five to Ralph *high fives monitor*, who I’m sure will be telling that story to his grandkids one day. You might be wondering why T-Ross is so low on this list… In case you missed it, he’s the king of sliders. Over the past two seasons, he has thrown that filthy pitch (top rated in all of MLB) 41% of the time. That’s 6% more than the next guy on the list, Collin McHugh. Speaking of sliders, have you met Grey’s 2015 BFF, Chris Archer? I’m not a huge fan of C-Arch, and the fact that he increased his slider usage from 2014 to 2015 by over 10% worries me. He’s on my short list for the annual Dr. Freeze’s Ferrari Fund.
- Before I leave I wanted to mention some players that could be here next year… Imminent call ups like A.J. Reed, Tyler Glasnow, Jose Berrios, Lucas Giolito, Nomar Mazara, Nick Williams, and Orlando Arcia could be in the top-100 in 2017. Damn, they keep getting younger and relevant sooner every year. I chose to leave them off because that would be a full-on dynasty list, and that’s Ralph department. Seriously though, I wanted the list to be all players with MLB experience. You may not agree with me, I’m assuming you won’t, but that’s cool, that’s what we have the comments for. Like any fantasy contributer, I have my own biases and evaluations, my crushes and those that disgust me. Some players at the end were painful selections, but, some of you are playing for this year and I kept that in mind… I’m mindful, yo. Okay, ’til next post, time for me to get back to ballin’.