We’ve finally made it – the final top dynasty keepers! The best of the best, the cream of the crop, or any other cliché you can think of.
You’ve been waiting for weeks to see who made the top 25, right? Well, if you are a fan of hoarding the top fantasy pitchers, then this top 25 is not for you as only two hurlers cracked my Tier 1 group.
I understand the importance of pitching in real life, but in the fantasy baseball world, I’ve always been able to cobble together a solid pitching staff during the season either with trades or timely free agent adds. In all of the dynasty leagues I’m in, I have used my prospects as trade chips to bring in established pitchers.
If you love to add players 30 or older, you will also not be a fan of my Tier 1 group. I love Mike Trout and Freddie Freeman (the lone 30-or-older players to make this list), but I’m building a dynasty team. I want the youngest top players possible. That said, Trout is still in my Top 10 while Freeman comes in at No. 21 thanks mostly to the fact he is 32. But with the universal DH, I could understand why he should be a top 20 player.
Just Draft Dodgers!
When sitting on the couch watching a baseball game and one of your favorite teams is whoever is playing the Los Angeles Dodgers, you are not going to like this list either.
The Dodgers have four of my top 25 keepers (Freeman, Walker Buehler, Mookie Betts, and Trea Turner) and could have had five if Corey Seager decided to stay in Southern California. And who says money can’t buy happiness. Of those four players, only Buehler is a homegrown talent after being drafted in the first round of the 2015 draft out of Vanderbilt (though Pittsburgh did draft Buehler in the 14th round of the 2012 draft).
While the Dodgers dominate the list, the Toronto Blue Jays own the top five as two players – Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – crack the group. Seven other teams also have two players show up in Tier 1.
So, let’s see who they are and get to the 25 top dynasty keepers.
Tier 1 Players
Some Love for Seager and Jimenez
Corey Seager will probably make some of you shake your head and call me an idiot for listing him as my 25th best keeper. I know he has been injured a ton during his career, but the injuries aren’t your nagging hamstring pulls and other soft tissue issues. They have been Tommy John surgery or a broken wrist when hit by a pitch. When healthy, Seager can do it all, as seen by his two top-10 MVP finishes. His career slash line is .297/.367/.521 with a career OPS+ of 131., and his 162 games average is 26 homers and 93 RBI. I’ll take that production from my shortstop all day long.
Eloy Jimenez didn’t help his stock with fantasy fans when he tried to pretend a spring training game was important and thus tore a pectoral muscle reaching over the wall trying to make a catch. But if you can look past that, you will see a player who can mash the ball. His 162-game average is 38 homers and 110 RBI with a .271/.316/.506 slash line. He struggled last September, but 24-year-olds are allowed to have slumps. If you don’t want a player who is now 25 and will hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs for the next five or more years, go ahead and pass on Jimenez. I’m not one of those dudes.
Look, Some Pitchers!
Here land the only two pitchers ranked in my top 25. So congratulations, Walker Buehler and Corbin Burnes, you made the Tier 1 group. Since his first full season in 2018, Buehler’s worst WHIP is 1.042 and his worst ERA was in the COVID-shortened 2020 season at 3.44. For his career, his ERA is 2.90 with a 1.006 WHIP. Since most standard leagues still use ERA and WHIP, it’s really good to have pitchers like Buehler on your staff. Last year did see a drop in his SO9 rate to 9.2 (compared to 10.3 and 10.6 the previous two seasons), but I will still be happy with a 9.2 rate.
Maybe the Milwaukee Brewers were trying to ease Corbin Burnes into the majors, or maybe they didn’t know what they had. After starting only four of the 62 games he appeared in from 2018-2019, Burnes started nine of 12 games in 2020 and then all 28 games he appeared in last year as he dominated the National League. He led the league in ERA (2.43), ERA+ (176), FIP (1.63), SO9 (12.6) and SO/BB (6.88). Like Buehler, Burnes is only 27 and entering the prime of his career. He is still a dominant pitcher who should be on your team if possible.
Seeking a big, slugging DH who can also slot in as a left fielder? Well, then Yordan Alvarez is your man. The Astros slugger burst onto the scene in 2019 by winning the AL Rookie of Year by slashing .313/.412/.655 with 27 homers and 78 RBI in only 313 at-bats. After missing most of 2020 with knee issues, he returned last year to hit 33 homers, drive in 104 runs and slash .277/.346/.531. His average EV last season was 93 mph (88.4 is MLB average) while his hard hit percentage of 54.2% dwarfs the MLB average of 39.2%.
Jose Ramirez – The Quiet Superstar
Since joining the White Sox in 2020, Luis Robert has been a beast at the plate. He finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2020 and after getting through a torn hip flexor last season, came back to put up great numbers. In 124 career games, Robert has a slash line of .294/.294/.512 with 24 homers, 74 RBI and 15 steals. He will only be 24 this season and showed improvement from his rookie season, cutting his strikeout percentage from 32.2% to 20.6% and increasing his average EV from 87.9 mph to 91.2. There is no reason for you not to draft Robert.
Another cornerstone player to build around is Rafael Devers. In the last two full seasons (2019 and 2021) he has smashed 70 homers and driven in 228 runs in 312 games. His slash line in 2019 was .311/.361/.555 and last year it was .279/.352/.538. In his career, his 162 game average is .279/.338/.509 with 33 homers and 108 RBI. Need more evidence about how good Devers is? His career home run percentage of 4.8 is 1.5 points better than the MLB average while his EV of 92.4 is 4.1 mph better than the MLB average.
While Devers is a beast and is only 25, I couldn’t rank him ahead of the Guardians’ Jose Ramirez, who makes a strong case to be ranked in the top 10. He finished third in MVP voting in 2017 and 18, was second in 2020, and sixth last year. Four top-five MVP finishes in six years is simply outstanding. Ramirez has a career .354 OBP to go with a .501 slugging percentage. But what makes him a fantasy star is his ability to steal bases. In the last three full MLB seasons, he has 34, 24, and 27 steals.
Entering the Top Ten
|7||Shohei Ohtani||UT, SP||LAA||27|
Kyle Tucker doesn’t have the prettiest swing, but the former No. 5 pick overall knows how to hit. After getting some playing time in 2018 and 2019, he slashed .268/.325/.512 in 2020 with 42 RBI in 58 games. He followed that up with a 30 homer, 92 RBI season last year with a .294/.359/.557 slash line. What Tucker does best is hit the ball hard. His career barrel percentage is 10.5 (6.6% in MLB average), his hard hit percentage is 46.7 (35.4% is MLB average) and his strikeout percentage is only 18%. Tucker is also able to steal bases, swiping 14 in 16 attempts last year and has 28 in 32 career attempts.
When it comes to Wander Franco, Grey said it well about the phenom. I’ll just add this: when is the last time the Tampa Bay Rays have spent money on any player, much less lock them up with an 11-year, $182 million contract? Everyone knows the Rays spot and develop talent. They love Franco. You should as well.
I hate leagues that treat Shoehei Ohtani as two separate players. Last time I checked, he is one player who is outstanding on both the mound and in the field. If your league allows you to have him as both a hitter and pitcher, then he could easily be in the top five on this list. Completely healthy last year, Ohtani showed off his amazing skill by slashing .257/.372/.592 with 46 homers, 100 RBI and 26 steals (and that was mostly with Mike Trout not in the lineup) while going 9-2 on the mound with a 3.18 ERA and 1.090 WHIP while post a 10.8 SO9.
Can’t Lose With This Group
|4||Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||1B||TOR||23|
|3||Ronald Acuna Jr.||OF||ATL||24|
|1||Fernando Tatis Jr.||SS,OF||SD||23|
If you have one of the first five picks in your new dynasty league, you can’t go wrong with selecting any of these players. I can make an argument for each of the five players listed above to be the top dynasty keeper. How do you lose choosing between Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Ronald Acuna Jr., Juan Soto, and Fernando Tatis Jr.?
I guess if you are in a win-mode now this season, you can knock Acuna and Tatis down your board. But this is a dynasty league. Not taking one of those two players now because they are out for the next one (Acuna) to three (Tatis) months is simply being short-sighted. Assuming Acuna comes back completely healthy, he will continue to combine power (career .549 slugging percentage) with speed. His 162-game average is 43 homers, 101 RBI, and 32 steals.
In his three years in the majors, Tatis has finished third in ROY voting, and then fourth and third in MVP voting. His career slash line is .292/.369/.596 and his 162-game average is 48 homers, 116 RBI and 31 steals. We all know he has had trouble staying healthy, but his talent and ability to fill up every fantasy scoring category is worth the risk. If I have the top pick, I’m taking Tatis.
Toronto Blue Jays fans have to be salivating to be able to watch Bichette and Guerro Jr. every day for years to come. I’m not sure how Bichette dropped to the second round of the 2016 draft, but the Blue Jays are happy he did. Able to play a full season last year, Bichette hit 29 homers with 102 RBI and 25 steals and slashed .298/.343/.484. His 162-game average is 31 homers, 101 RBI and 23 steals with a slash line of .301/.345/.506.
Guerrero Jr. may not be as athletic as his Hall of Fame father, but that is about it when it comes to differences in their talent. Guerrero Jr. The first baseman led the league in homers (48), OBP (.401), slugging (.601) while driving in 111 and hitting .311 to finish second in MVP voting. Only 23, his 162-game average is 34 homers and 100 RBI with a 137 OPS+.
Soto has been a stud since joining the Nationals in 2018. In four years, his OPS+ has been 142, 142, 217 (he was pretty good in 2020) and 175. He commands the strike zone as well, walking a league high 145 times last year (of course, the Nationals had no one else in the lineup to protect him) while striking out 93 times. The average MLB has a 22.9/8.6 strikeout/walk percentage. Soto’s career rates are 17.6/18.6. About the only thing he doesn’t do well is steal bases, which is why I have him ranked behind Tatis. But if you have to “settle” for Soto, that is one heck of a consolation prize.
Starting next week I’ll start to focus on only two to four players per week and why they should or shouldn’t be keepers moving forward.
Until then, thanks for reading.