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.

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  • 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

Rank Name Pos Team
1 Mike Trout OF ANA
2 Bryce Harper OF WAS
3 Paul Goldschmidt 1B ARI
4 Manny Machado 3B BAL
5 Anthony Rizzo 1B CHC
6 Carlos Correa SS HOU
7 Mookie Betts OF BOS
8 Nolan Arenado 3B COL
9 Kris Bryant 3B CHC
10 Clayton Kershaw SP LAD
11 Giancarlo Stanton OF MIA
12 Josh Donaldson 3B TOR
13 Jose Fernandez SP MIA
14 Jose Altuve 2B HOU
15 Jose Abreu 1B CHW
16 George Springer OF HOU
17 J.D. Martinez OF DET
18 Madison Bumgarner SP SF
19 Chris Sale SP CHW
20 Matt Harvey SP NYM
21 Chris Davis 1B BAL
22 Max Scherzer SP WAS
23 Jacob deGrom SP NYM
24 Jake Arrieta SP CHC
25 Miguel Cabrera 1B DET
26 Jose Bautista OF TOR
27 Andrew McCutchen OF PIT
28 Noah Syndergaard SP NYM
29 Justin Upton OF DET
30 Gerrit Cole SP PIT
31 Todd Frazier 3B CIN
32 Jason Heyward OF CHC
33 Stephen Strasburg SP WAS
34 Edwin Encarnacion 1B TOR
35 Yoenis Cespedes OF NYM
36 Corey Kluber SP CLE
37 Dallas Keuchel SP HOU
38 Carlos Carrasco SP CLE
39 Corey Seager SS LAD
40 Gregory Polanco OF PIT
41 Starling Marte OF PIT
42 A.J. Pollock OF ARI
43 Maikel Franco 3B PHI
44 David Price SP BOS
45 Buster Posey C SF
46 Dee Gordon 2B MIA
47 Danny Salazar SP CLE
48 Joey Votto 1B CIN
49 Chris Archer SP TB
50 Charlie Blackmon OF COL
51 Felix Hernandez SP SEA
52 Zack Greinke SP ARI
53 Michael Brantley OF CLE
54 Ryan Braun OF MIL
55 Francisco Lindor SS CLE
56 Matt Carpenter 3B STL
57 Miguel Sano OF MIN
58 Anthony Rendon 3B WAS
59 Kyle Schwarber C CHC
60 Stephen Piscotty OF STL
61 Yasiel Puig OF LAD
62 Christian Yelich OF MIA
63 Robinson Cano 2B SEA
64 Xander Bogaerts SS BOS
65 Lorenzo Cain OF KC
66 Carlos Gomez OF HOU
67 Freddie Freeman 1B ATL
68 Kyle Seager 3B SEA
69 Eric Hosmer 1B KC
70 Marcus Stroman SP TOR
71 Lance McCullers SP HOU
72 Carlos Martinez SP STL
73 Steven Matz SP NYM
74 Sonny Gray SP OAK
75 Adam Jones OF BAL
76 Yu Darvish SP TEX
77 Adam Eaton OF CHW
78 Michael Conforto OF NYM
79 Troy Tulowitzki SS TOR
80 Nelson Cruz OF SEA
81 Byron Buxton OF MIN
82 Raisel Iglesias SP CIN
83 Randal Grichuk OF STL
84 Matt Kemp OF SD
85 Brian Dozier 2B MIN
86 Carlos Gonzalez OF COL
87 Adrian Gonzalez 1B LAD
88 Adrian Beltre 3B TEX
89 Prince Fielder 1B TEX
90 Albert Pujols 1B ANA
91 Carlos Rodon SP CHW
92 Addison Russell SS CHC
93 Jon Lester SP CHC
94 Billy Hamilton OF CIN
95 Taijuan Walker SP SEA
96 Garrett Richards SP ANA
97 Rougned Odor 2B TEX
98 Adam Wainwright SP STL
99 Kolten Wong 2B STL
100 Patrick Corbin SP ARI
101 Tyson Ross SP SD
  • 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’.
 
  1. The Fridge says:
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    Great list….completed an early auction draft over the weekend and tried to minimize spending on pitching. What do you think of this staff:

    Carrasco – 16
    R Igesias – 10
    Odorizzi – 10
    Ventura – 7
    Nola – 5
    Gausmann – 3
    Pappelbon – 7
    Allen – 8
    Osuna – 4

    • J-FOH says:
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      @The Fridge: looks good, but you may struggle to get enough innings to get your stats. None of those arms have pitched 200+ prior to this year. I like Nola, but since he is the phillies ace might struggle to get some wins

  2. Lc says:
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    This is Foh-kin gold for my dynasty auction coming up at the end of the week. Well done! Do you know if any of the number nerds at razzball have auction values for dynasty leagues? Or if the auction calculator has anything of the sorts?

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Lc: thats a rudy question, I’ll put a call out to him….OH RUDY!

    • @Lc: Nope, i don’t have projections beyond 2016. I imagine you could build a model incorporating age – e.g., add $ for 2017 and 2018 if < 27, remove $ if > 29, etc.

  3. Ralph Lifshitz

    Ralph Lifshitz says:
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    Gather round grand kids…..(waits for all 47 to sit), “when I was a younger man I talked someone into biting my Tanaka after I had it dangling”

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Ralph Lifshitz: see , Im good for a long term play too

  4. SpecialFNK says:
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    how do guys like Joc Pederson and Rougned Odor not even make the list?
    those are just 2 names that I noticed were not there just looking quickly.

    • 8theSandbox says:
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      @SpecialFNK: agreed this list is pretty not good and kinda all over the place.

      • J-FOH says:
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        @8theSandbox: I’m sorry you don’t like it. I would be more than happy to have a dialog about any criticisms you might have. Strategies vary from owner to owner so if that’s the case then I say to each their own.

        • 8theSandbox says:
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          @J-FOH: After a second look I didn’t choose my words carefully, my apologies J-FOH. The top of the list looks good. I’d move Chris Davis, J Bats and E5 down due to age (can prob throw Braun in there too). Leaving Odor (a clerical error) and Pederson off drew my attention. Joc hit 26 HRs and hit hard contact can’t be dismissed so easily. The power is for reals and if he adds a dozen steals gets the average up a bit, he’s a budding star and a worthwhile gamble in a keeper league. Seems to me he can be a J Upton type down the road. Compared to a Braun who’s numbers should be on a steady decline over the next 3-5, Joc seems to have the skills to surpass him on a risk/reward basis.

          • J-FOH says:
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            @8theSandbox: His second half he looked so lost after that over inflated first half. On the plus side i like his wlk rate but like Grey pointed out this off season it feels like he is looking for the walk because he is struggling with making contact. If he doesnt get overwhelmed again this year he can be there. If this list went to 103 he would of been here.

            I still like a mix of solid older guys, when your keepers are all youngsters the chances for failure increase. I think one of my major points to this list was balance. I should of been more clear of that in the “words” part of the post.

    • J-FOH says:
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      @SpecialFNK: Pederson was close to making the list but I need to see him adjust out of that funk from last year. His distance between the floor to ceiling is way too high. In regards to Odor I have to apologize for that one. He was getting near the bottom and in re-edit I didn’t get him back in there. He would be in the 90’s. My struggle with him is as much as I like last year, I want to see a little more. Again, sorry for the SNAFU

    • J-FOH says:
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      @SpecialFNK: correction coming. Will be swapped with a Liriano

  5. Endershadow says:
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    Thanks for the ranks

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Endershadow: thanks for the kind words

  6. S.H says:
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    J-Foh, In my 12 team keeper league head to head points.I was offered Heyward and Jose Ramierez, for Josh Bell, Lawrie and the 13th pick in the first year player draft. I have Chris Davis as my 1B going forward so Bell is expendable , My current Of consists of Ozuna, Carlos Gomez and pollock. I am not to sure about Ramierz at this point , and Heyward gives my a good option just in case Ozuna starts or gets sent down to the minors again.

    • J-FOH says:
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      @S.H: I’d want heyward. Ramirez is a throw away

  7. JimmyBond says:
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    great stuff. I will update my War Room spreadsheet to include these as sortable rankings

    • J-FOH says:
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      @JimmyBond: wait til.jay makes the change. Liriano will be swapped out for odor

      • JimmyBond says:
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        @J-FOH: will do

        • longbeachyo says:
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          @JimmyBond: Any way to get the updated version Jimmy?

  8. Fungazi says:
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    What sort of ceiling do you see for Piscotty to have him that high? He comes across as a mid-power, low speed guy.

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Fungazi: he’s a high floor guy whose ceiling looks like Matt Holliday in his prime

  9. Railing Kill says:
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    Great list. What’s the reasoning behind Cueto not being on it, but Liriano, Wainwright and Corbin? Fear of Cueto having an injury? Because without that fear (and really, only one half of a poor season to his name), he’s more trustworthy than those 3 and similarly aged, right?

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Railing Kill: cueto had arm issues last year and is on my TJ list. Corbin already had a TJ so he has that out of the way. Waino will have great ratios til he retires and I like him more than others

  10. Slacks says:
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    Marte ranking seems odd, perhaps you accidentally switched him with JD Martinez? Also Odor should probably be on here.

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Slacks: I’m not a marte fan. He hits the ball into the ground a lot and his value is based on speed. Speed does not age well. He has room to grow but until he adjusts his game I’m not buying him long term

  11. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    Great stuff! Nice to see my two cheapest keepers, Bux ($4) and Rodon ($3) making the list!

      • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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        @J-FOH: Thanks. My other [more expensive, but not terribly so] guys are Abreu ($25), Betts ($25), Blackmon ($20), Hosmer ($14), and Strasburg ($16). $3 inflation / year, so Blackmon man not be keepable in a year or two, but feel great about the other guys.

        • J-FOH says:
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          @Duda Want to Build a Snowman?: Its a solid core but you need more power. I would try to move Hosmer for more power. His ceiling has very few dongs hanging from it

          • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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            @J-FOH: thanks – yeah agreed! This is my first year in this keeper league, inherited these guys via a 3-person snake draft splitting up the 3 teams who left (Abreu was the only real power guy, betts I got trading some pitching).

            Right now, I have a couple trades out trying to trade some of my speed surplus for power, we’ll see. If that doesn’t work out, I’m planning to draft pretty much all power.

            I like your Hosmer suggestion (don’t really love him) – what sort of power bat would you try and get? Based on your rankings, looks like Gomez (not that much more power) or Gonzalez look like candidates… The guy who has both of those guys isn’t looking to keep them.

          • Duda want to build a snowman? says:
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            @J-FOH: completely agreed on the power shortage – this is my first year in this keeper league (I got these guys via a 3 person snake draft splitting up the abandoned teams among the new members – Abreu was the only real power guy, and Betts/Bux/Rodon I got via trade). I’m trying a couple trades right now involving my speed surplus and another piece that could net me Arenado or Springer, but I’m not sure they’ll pan out. If no trades happen, planning to draft pretty much exclusively for power.

            I really like the idea of moving my $14 Hosmer – what sort of power bat would you try and get? Looking at your rankings, seems like CarGo (available for $16) or Gomez (not much more power, but available for $14, same price as Hosmer) are rough fits.

            There’s also a $9 Khris Davis (like him a lot this year) who’s acquirable and a $4 Yasmany Tomas (very unsure about him).

            Any of those 4 guys work? Everyone else in the vicinity is either overpriced or not available.

              • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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                @J-FOH: Oh interesting- yea, there’s a $7 Duda and a $7 Grichuk. Do you like either of those over $9 Khris and $16 Gonzalez?

                • RY says:
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                  @Duda Want to Build a Snowman?: Great list man! Is Soler still worth keeping in a keep 6, 16 team dynasty? I have Abreu, Sale, Gray, Conforto, Soler, Grichuk an moose to keep 6 from. Thanks in advance.

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @RY: keep soler

                  • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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                    @J-FOH: Thanks – yeah agreed. Kind of the opposite you want out of a keeper

                    • Pun Man says:
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                      Duda Want to Build a Stroman?

                    • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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                      @Duda Want to Build a Snowman?: Haha just saw these. Pretty fantastic. Not going to be able to get Sano, but maybe I can swing a trade for Stroman and make it work!

                      Incidentally, verdict’s still out on trading Hosmer for a power bat, BUT I did get an offer of Hosmer ($14) for one of Stroman ($5), McCullers ($7), or Matz ($8)…

  12. MB says:
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    So you would trade Mazara for Cano in a dynasty I take it?

    • J-FOH says:
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      @MB: in a dynasty I wouldnt. Depends on need and 2016 objectives…and if it’s a money league

  13. Mike says:
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    Any reason you are way more bearish on AJ Pollock than most other analysts?

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Mike: we just saw his peak season and like I said in the post, speed tends to fall off around 30 and he’s 30. Just not looking to over value speed guys who peaked their power already

      • Theo says:
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        Would the fact that Pollock just turned 28 change your ranking of him?