Monday, September 20, 2010
Keeper League Mailbag: Question No. 5Posted by Brad Johnson at 5:17am
Jameson is in a 12-team, 10-category OBP league. He may select any six keepers. They cost the average round they were selected in the previous year. His roster is as follows:
Bench Mike Stanton
DL Carlos Santana
Bench Chad Billingsley
Bench Brian Duensing
Bench Colby Lewis
Bench Ted Lilly
DL Stephen Strasburg
First let’s tackle the easy part, who’s worth keeping and/or trading? Listed in parenthesis is the player’s expected draft round cost. Hanley Ramirez (1st), David Wright (2nd), Ryan Braun (1st), Matt Kemp (1st) , Jason Heyward (19), Mike Stanton (last), and Carlos Santana (last) are the seven guys that I think are very good keeper options. Matt Cain (8th) should be fairly marketable depending on the league. Personally, I would avoid pitchers as keepers unless a particularly good and cheap option floats your way.
Positional scarcity is probably my No. 1 concern when selecting keepers in a format like this. You’re in a great position on that front. Hanley Ramirez, David Wright and Carlos Santana adequately fill three of four “scarce” positions.
I’m probably not saying anything unexpected when I tell you that Ramirez should go nowhere. I doubt any collection of talent is worth the downgrade from Hanley to whoever is available in the draft. And while Carlos Santana is not without risk, he’ll only be costing your last pick and likely will be a top-four catcher. Again, I’d be happy to count him as a keeper, although if you’re particularly risk averse you can tinker with trying to acquire Joe Mauer (1st) or Buster Posey (28th). With Wright, I would first look into acquiring Evan Longoria (1st) before settling for him. It’s only a minor upgrade, but worth it if you’re dealing a guy you would have cut anyway.
None of that was particularly enlightening advice. Now we’re at the tricky part. You have Kemp, Braun, Heyward, and Stanton and only three keeps remaining. My first recommendation is to contact the owners of Robinson Cano and Chase Utley to see if either player can be acquired. Who to use in such a trade depends on those owners. First, allow me to digress.
I like Heyward and Stanton a lot as value keepers. However, the keeper rules in your league effectively limit that value because neither player is really a multi-year option at this point. Heyward in his brief tenure with the Braves has demonstrated great talent and questionable durability. He’s a great value in 2011 but might not be a keeper in 2012. If an owner values him as a top-15 OF, you’re getting enough value to consider trading him. With Stanton, I expect to see similar performance to this year, large peaks and valleys in his production. You’re probably going to have a shot at several players over the waiver wire who will have similar seasons (recognizing them when they’re available is a different matter). Again, if an owner really likes him, don’t be afraid to deal him. You can encourage that by talking him up and feigning an unwillingness to trade him. Both players are likely to have an early average draft round in 2011 relative to their talent. Kemp and Braun on the other hand are likely to remain first-round-quality talent and can be kept for the remainder of their prime.
If you’re finding that owners aren’t willing to offer up a ton of value for Heyward, Stanton, Johan, and Cain, you can try marketing Kemp and Braun. The latter remains the first outfielder on my draft board, so if you do market him, aim high. I would be willing to part with Braun for Utley or Cano straight up; otherwise I might turn my nose up. And don’t open with that! That’s a last resort offer. You’re going to find that people are down on Kemp after a merely decent season. He’s still a nice outfielder to have and since we’re talking about keeping Hanley, Wright, and Braun, he effectively costs you a fourth-round pick, not too shabby.
What you do with those four outfielders really depends on what your options are in the trade market. If you can grab a top second baseman, do so. Otherwise do your best to trade up a little. Any of Braun, Kemp, Heyward, and Stanton are nice options. If you had to choose today, I’d leave out Stanton and settle for the established elite guys.
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