Hey guys and any random gal who stumbles upon this tiny piece of internet real-estate. Yeah, I know what you are thinking… “Ha, like a girl would ever stumble upon this little hellhole.” Well if one does and she immediately doesn’t close the tab, welcome.
In this edition we will take a look at Tits Grande, (And… There goes that one girl. Thanks, Todd you giant ax wound!) Ho Lee Dae and The Insane Clown Posey, which for the record was the better of the two “Posey” themed names last year. So let’s get right into it.
You know, taking a look at Todd’s keepers is like looking at a dynasty league manager’s wet dream. Young, talented and upside for days. Not to mention the “best” pitcher in the league albeit perhaps not for fantasy any longer. No need to wait, let’s jump right in.
Yeah, there you have it. Not bad. Todd rebuilt last year in what were three trades that I wrote about, quite critically in some cases, here and here. So with that being said, I won’t get into those trades from last year. Let’s take a look at what he is rocking this year.
Carlos Correa is in my opinion the best shortstop in the league and only Machado, who will become eligible this year can rival him at this point. Trea Turner may be more valuable in roto style leagues or category based leagues but in all honesty those are inferior to daily move point based leagues or point based leagues in general. I mean in his age 22 season Correa nearly doubled his walk rate, cut his strikeout rate 6 points to 19%, raised his HR/FB rate and more evenly spread his hits to all fields and to top it all off, still managed to increase his hard hit rate to nearly 40%. This kid is the future and the future is here. If Correa can raise his FB% from 31.7% to 35% which still isn’t very high, he is a sure bet for 30+ home-runs this year and will show he is still ascending up his own personal ladder of greatness. I have no doubt we are watching the continued meteoric ascent of one of the game’s premier young stars. Also, Andy is an idiot for trading him.
I generally write about keepers in the order that they will be drafted but I was just so damn excited about Correa that I made an exception. Todd’s “number 2” keeper is Bryce Harper. Is it just me or does it seem like this guy has been around forever? Harper is still just 25 years and 5 months old. I have always been a bit wary of Harper as I tend to gravitate towards more reliable options but there is no denying that Harper is one of the sports most electric stars and, when healthy, a top fantasy contributor. Even after his outstanding 2015 season in which he hit .330 with 42 home-runs, 118 runs and 99 RBI, I would be willing to bet we still haven’t seen the best of Harper. He followed it up with a major disappointment of a season in 2016 hitting .243 with 24 home-runs, 95 runs and 87 RBI. However, he did bounce back in 2017 but it leaves us wondering which Harper will we get during any given season. Todd is clearly hoping to get more 2015 Harper than 2016 Harper and with what should end up being the largest contract in baseball history, Harper has something to be playing for this year. Some have mentioned 500 million is an achievable mark for Harper when he hits free agency at the end of the season. I would probably take the under but one thing is for sure, Harper is an electric player on what should be an electric team and is primed for a huge season if he can stay healthy and keep his mind focused. Is Todd stoked to have Harper as a keeper? That’s a clown question, Bro.
Cody Bellinger is a bit of a flier. Bellinger came up last year and in 132 games preceded to blast 39 bombs and capture the NL rookie of the year by a landslide. Now I do have some concerns.
Here is a quick query taken from statscast data at 4 young slugger that all broke out last year and far exceeded their expected stats. The one thing you will see is that Bellinger looks like he got a bit lucky in both the average and wOBA categories. If Bellinger were to regress closer to the (x) expected results based on batted ball data then we are looking at what will be considered a very disappointing year from a young slugger who despite an incredibly bright future still might have more learning to do than we expected. It should be mentioned that we saw what might be the beginning of this in the playoffs last year where holes in Bellinger’s swing were ruthlessly exploited resulting in a .219 average with 29 strikeouts in 15 games. Judge set the record last postseason for the most strikeouts in a single post season at 27 only to have Bellinger one up him by topping that. This kid is going to be a star but it might not be this year. You have been warned.
Clayton Kershaw is a once in a generation talent. Kershaw turned thirty 3 days ago and has already been in the league for a decade. Fun fact: Kershaw has lowered his career ERA every single year since he entered the league. After a decade, he sits at a 2.36 career ERA. This guy is as sure of a hall of famer as you will ever see. The worst part about me telling you all these great things is that we are all going to watch our generations greatest pitcher being to fall in the next couple seasons. That, to me, is incredibly sad. I fear that gone are the days of us getting 200 innings from Kershaw. Back problems have started to creep up on Kershaw and have held him out of the rotation for parts of the last two years and if we have learned anything about back problems and baseball players it’s that they do NOT go away and slowly become a bigger more troublesome issue. The innings he is giving you are still absolutely elite and no one can ever deny that but I truly fear that those innings are going to continue to slowly decline and before we know it, those innings are going to look just a bit less elite where other pitchers might be able to start matching the numbers he puts up. Father times catches up with all of us and just as it was painful to watch father time take Ken Griffey Jr. amongst many others from us, we are going to watch another great slowly begin his (hopefully graceful) decline towards the twilight years of his career. Enjoy these next two years, Todd. It may be the last truly elite years anyone in our league ever gets out of the best pitching talent of our generation.
There is one more “keeper” that needs to be talked about for Todd and Tits Grande. During his “rebuild” he managed to procure 1st round picks (technically the 5th round because we keep 4 keepers per team, just an FYI for those of you reading that are not in our league) from both of the Stockford brothers. Now as the reigning, defending champion thisat is truly disturbing. Todd also acquired 8th, 11th and 14th round picks in his trades which means he has an astronomical head start in the 2018 season and has to be considered the favourite to overthrow me as the champion. It is for this reason, that I never took a break this year from fantasy baseball. I am going to have to be on the top of my game to defend my title for another year.
Overall Keeper Status: Tons of youth and talent. I am glad that keepers will reset before Todd gets to enjoy the best years for his three bats. He has a great base to continue to be relevant until the 2020 draft.
Ho Lee Dae
This may seem in poor taste but BREAKING (literally) NEWS ladies and gentlemen, Justin Turner is on the DL to start the season. Now who ever would have thought that a guy who has only ever played a single season without injury would get injured. It is shitty lucky though, especially when wrist injuries generally suck power away even after the player returns to the lineup. Now, it does seem to me that I have been rather harsh on Dave in the past on this blog and in our smack talk boards in league but he is one of the stronger competitors in the league, not to mention a guy who can both take and dish out the trash talk on the smack talk boards or on social media where he is especially savage against uneducated mouth breathing idiots. That said, I am going to try to be a bit nicer today but as the team that likely has the weakest keepers in the league, I might be grasping at some straws. Let’s dive into it!
Well, at least the start of this write up will get off to a good start. Freddie Freeman is a Sabermetrician’s wet dream. Elite exit velocities, strong line drives rates and solid contact rates for a power hitting first baseman. The biggest change in the 2017 season was finally getting his strikeout rate under 20% which has many in the fantasy baseball industry calling for the breakout to finally occur in 2018 which at 28 years old it needs to be now or never for Freeman to prove he deserves to be drafted in the top 2 rounds. If, and it is a big if, Freeman stays healthy he should put up strong numbers and finally enjoy the breakout many have been begging for since he first tantalized us in 2013 and again in 2016. Here’s to hoping Freeman does succeed because Dave will be in HUGE trouble entering to 2019 season if he doesn’t.
Bogaerts was seen as the SS of the future in Boston when he was called up in 2014. He was seen as an offensive force that would be relevant no matter where he played on the field, not just shortstop. Well, that never really happened… I have been incredibly pessimistic of Bogaerts in the past and that isn’t going to change here. This guy seemingly refuses to hit the ball purposely hit the ball in the air and even his “good” seasons (2015, 2016) have glaring red flags suggesting that massive regression was coming. He sported a .372 BABIP in 2014 despite terrible line drive and hard contact rates and a ground ball rate over 52% which lead to an unrealistic .320 average. In 2016 he increased his flyball rate to 34.9% and over doubled his HR/FB rate from 5.3 to 11.4% to hit 21 home-runs in a career high 719 plate appearances which very few saw as repeatable numbers in both plate appearances and HR/FB rates due to less than favourable exit velocities, launch angles and hard contact. Sure enough, 2017 saw Bogaerts come back down to earth to being merely a roster-able 7th ranked shortstop in our league and that type of poor production coming from a keeper is completely unacceptable. It is hard to see him turning into a super star at this point in his career but he is still 25 years old so there is a flicker of hope if he can completely overhaul his approach at the plate.
I know the feeling when a keeper goes on the DL before the season even starts as Price did the same thing to me last year. It sucks and is as frustrating as trying to actually start a real conversation in the Freddies Ofers Facebook group with Brent and Kyle around. Turner, while not being keeper worthy, is still a good option at third base when he is healthy and Dave didn’t think that upgrading his keepers was a prudent move via trade this off season so he really put himself in between a rock and a hard place. It is almost like he wanted to put himself at a disadvantage to see if he could still succeed. At 33 years old, Turner may be the oldest keeper in the league other than our beloved ex Jay, Edwin Encarnacion, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz. Encarnacion, Beltre and Cruz are far more accomplished and still better fantasy options. If Turner comes back and hits ~.300 with 20 HR in the middle of a Dodgers lineup which is probably the most expected result would be acceptable but only end up helping Dave tread water, Dave will be looking to rebuild this year and needs more than that if he hopes to turn what expendable assets he has into keeper upgrades as the season progresses.
Ok, things get much brighter here. First, if I ever got to meet ex Jays GM Alex Anthropoulos I would thank him for bringing so much excitement back to both Toronto and Canada as we finally made it back to the playoffs AND for the first time in over 20 years we had something in Baseball to truly cheer for. However, one move I was INCREDIBLY critical of was the trade that brought R.A. Dickless to Toronto and sent the man we are about to talk about to the Metropolitans. Clearly, we are talking about the man affectionately called, Thor. Oh wait, sorry, I think that might be the wrong Thor. Is this one better? Now, would it ever be nice to have this guy in the Jays rotation. I will forever rue the day that Thor left us. Damn you AA, damn you… Now Syndergaard might as well be throwing Mjolnir every time he hurls a fastball towards a batter because very few pitchers have ever had fastballs explode out of their hand like Thor. This guy is the epitome of electric. He has had some health problems in the past but in 2016 he stayed healthy and showed that his upside is THE BEST PITCHER IN BASEBALL. Yes, I said it. If there is a man who can usurp Kershaw, this is the
god man to do it. Syndergaard is easily the most talented individual on Dave’s team and could either be the player that is built around or the player that fetches the kings ransom that helps balance out his keepers/team for a run at a championship.
Overall Keeper Status: Dave’s keepers sit on both ends of the spectrum. Electric talent with top end elite upside that few other players possess with Freeman and Syndergaard and cringe-worthy talent on the same level as Trump’s administration in which the only real value is name value alone. Dave has some work to do and missed a serious opportunity this off-season to address it. Always a well studied, prepared opponent, I have no doubt Dave can rebound and make the changes needed to bring his team back to contention status.
Insane Clown Posey
Boom! We have finally arrived at the final review. This should bring us to well over 10,000 words and might max out close to 13,000. That’s at least 20 hours all said and told if I had to make a rough guess. Next we have the unimpressed selfie master himself, Keegbump! Now Keeg went all Richard on our asses and kept what must be the oldest two players in our glorious league’s history this year. There is a difference though, both Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre seem to be ageless. Andrew once bet me years ago when we were both just young, up and coming whippersnappers (2013 I think) that Nelson Cruz would out perform Ryan Braun over the course of the season. As per usual, Andrew was early and Cruz got hurt while Braun beast-moded it a year before a steroid bust. Well, how tides have turned. Cruz also accrued a steroid suspension but since then has been the epitome of a consistent high average power hitter with few peers since 2014. But enough chitchat. Let’s get into it!
Nelson Cruz sits at the top of the list when it comes to nearly every important offensive stat available. This guy may be 37 but he has done nothing but bash since 2014. He is the only player to hit 40+ home-runs between 2014-2016 and just missed extending that by a single home-run last year when he belted 39. Now the one reason to downgrade Cruz this year a bit is that he didn’t actually play in the field last year so he lost his OF eligibility. I guess it is a good thing our league is set up in a way that offensive flexibility is not required and tying up your Util spot isn’t actually a big deal in most cases so if there is a league set up for this guy to succeed, it is ours! The other bankable characteristic of Cruz is his health. he has played at least 152 games in each of the last 4 seasons and 5 of the last 6 so you can rest assured that he will be there mashing balls when you need him the most. Baseball has been turning into a young man’s game in recent years but Cruz wants these damn kids off his FUCKIN’ lawn and is showing these kids what real consistent power is. I loved having this guy on my team and Keeg will too!
No player will benefit as much this year from a change in scenery as Yelich. Moving from the cavernous power sapping hell-hole that is Marlins Park to the bandbox that is Miller Park you can only expect power numbers is trend upwards. Not to mention he had to look at this every time he came up to bat, I honestly don’t know how he managed to ever take an at bat seriously with that looming in his view. Yelich even came out in interviews discussing how he knew Marlins Park killed power and changed his approach to keep the ball out of the air which bodes well for increased power this year. Many are excited for what could turn into a career year for Yelich and I have no reason to expect any differently. He even hit a ball at 114 mph during spring training this year which is harder than any ball he hit at all in 2017 so enjoy the ride, Keeg.
If there was a questionable choice of keepers based solely on ADP, Beltre is that choice. With an average pick in ESPN of 133 he is unquestionably one of the best values of the draft. Beltre deserves to be drafted before 133rd but I do doubt he returns 4th round value at this point in, what I consider, a hall of fame career. Personally, I would have rather kept a higher ranked player and drafted Beltre if I wanted him that badly. That being said, if Beltre is healthy he is going to put up numbers. Beltre put up a higher average points per game last year (5.5 ppg) than Turner, Bregman, Moustakas, Lamb and Machado so the only thing holding Beltre back is his ailing legs which have often cried foul after 13 long seasons. Only time will tell if Beltre has one high end season left in him. I for one am rooting for him to silence any doubters on whether he deserves to be inducted into the holiest of baseball shrines.
If you are looking for upside, look no further than Keeg’s keeper pitcher, Chris Sale. Despite an arm motion and body type that has us all thinking that his arm will explode off his body on any given pitch and shower everyone in the front row in blood, tendons and knock out at least one person, Sale has defied us all for years and stayed healthy. No one, and I mean absolutely no one, has the pure strikeout upside that Sale does. Not Kershaw, Scherzer, Kluber, Severino, Ray, Archer, Strasburg or even Syndergaard. Not even Darvish in his incredible 2013 season seriously pushed 300 strikeouts. This guy had the Cy Young all but wrapped up at the All-Star break last year before gassing out while Kluber went all Klubot on the league to steal it from under Sale’s nose. If Sale hadn’t run out of gas he would have pushed 350 strikeouts with 178 K’s in the first half and 130 in the second half which would have been a performance for the ages. Only 3 people have had 300+ strikeouts in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling (2002, 316 K’s in 259 innings), Clayton Kershaw (2015, 301 K’s in 232 innings) and Sale (2017, 308 K’s in 214 innings). Thanks to a soul crushing 12.9 K/9 rate, Sale has truly set himself apart as the premier strikeout artist in the MLB. I feel like Keeg is a ride or die type individual and this is one of the guys that best symbolizes this style of loyalty. Sale is going to go out there every 5th day with the intention to utterly destroy every single batter that dares enter the batters box against him. It’s time to choose; ride or die. Fuckin Eh, let’s ride.
Overall Keeper Status: Keeg needs to get younger. If he can do that with only 2 seasons left before keeper reset than good on him but it might be easier to find a Beltre replacement *cough* Ozuna *cough* and roll out Cruz one more year before the reset but Keeg has done one thing right, load up with high contact, high power bangers and elite upside pitching. Things could be much worse.
Holy shit boys and girls, that concludes a LOT of writing. Hope you are all ready for the draft tomorrow night. I can’t wait to share a couple beers, a couple laughs and some good old fashion fantasy drafting with you guys. Hope we can all get into a Skype chat so the smack talk can reach epic levels. Will there be a new worst pick since Santana? Will Granderson go first over all like last year? Will any glorious new memes be created like the feature image? Tune in tomorrow, folks. Same bat time. Same bat channel.