Fantasy Baseball – To Keep, Or Not To Keep…

Hello ya’ll,

Grass is getting green, and Louisville Bats are lining up in the warehouse to be shipped to a MLB stadium near you.

Yes the bat will be gripped by Players as they travel up from Spring training to get ready for the 2016 Season. With that comes the dawn of Fantasy Baseball. As millions of players around the world, I will soon partake in a draft that will determine the season in just one day…

Just so you’d know, I won last year. By hook AND crook, I traded away my first 5 rounds to secure the Championship win. And the 8 year old league has a 3 keeper rule in place for returning owners. I asked a my good friend Travis Ketchum to give me his take on who should I keep. And this is what he responded with… Enjoy!

2015 Champions – Dominican Raft Riders! (Player list to select keepers)…

Stephen Vogt, Oak C, 1B  DTD Madison Bumgarner, SF SP
Anthony Rizzo, ChC 1B Stephen Strasburg, Wsh SP
Robinson Cano, Sea 2B Tyson Ross, SD SP
Josh Donaldson, Tor 3B Dallas Keuchel, Hou SP
Elvis Andrus, Tex SS Andrew Miller, NYY RP
Jason Kipnis, Cle 2B Bartolo Colon, NYM SP
Manny Machado, Bal 3B A.J. Ramos, Mia RP
Starling Marte, Pit OF Max Scherzer, Wsh SP
Christian Yelich, Mia OF Wade Davis, KC RP
Gregory Polanco, Pit OF Jeff Samardzija, SF SP
Jose Bautista, Tor OF, DH Jake Odorizzi, TB SP
Kole Calhoun, LAA OF Chris Archer, TB SP
Miguel Sano, Min DH  
Troy Tulowitzki, Tor SS  



Don’t worry, I didn’t forget you.  I just remember a wise man once said, ‘nothing good comes from hustling.’

You really can’t go wrong choosing from this powerhouse lineup.  I feel like Scherzer and Donaldson are musts.  That way you get elite talent on both ends of the diamond.  The last is personal preference I think.  I think it comes down to these finalists:

  • Rizzo
  • Joey Bats
  • Bumgardner
  • Machado
  • Marte

With honorable mention to Cano, Kipnis, Keuchel and Tulo.  Each year I put less and less stock into position scarcity which is why I would throw back Cano, Kipnis and Tulo.  While tops at a weak position, with the choices you have and the limited roster spots, you get as much talent as possible.  The honorable mention for Keuchel has more to do with the other options you have at pitcher.  Even if you kept 3 pitchers, Keuchel could be the odd man out.  Which leaves me to the aforementioned finalists.

Rizzo – Absolute stud and my personal favorite to finish off your squad.  Great average, OBP, power and even some sneaky speed in a stacked lineup.  The counting stats will be there if he stays healthy which there is nothing to suggest that should be a concern.  Will be in a premium spot in one of the better lineups in baseball.  You could get more pop from Joey Bats but it’s not like Riz is lacking in that category.

Joey Bats – Another absolute stud and I couldn’t hate on you if you went this route (#domenicanpride).  Since you have OBP instead of BA, Bats is even better.  My gut said go Rizzo initially when I thought you had the standard 5 categories.  Since you don’t, OBP becomes a non-factor when comparing the 2.  Much like Rizzo, you get power, OBP and a prime spot in what will likely be the strongest lineup in baseball.  You won’t get the handful of stolen bases that you can count on from Rizzo (thanks Joe Maddon) but you’re not keeping either of them to win SB.  Joey gets the slight nod in power and Riz the slight edge in speed, but otherwise their stats should be similar.  Go Rizzo over Bats if you think you can fill your outfield in the draft and vice versa if you are more comfortable filling 1B/CI.

Bum Bum – A pitching stud but 2nd of your choices to Scherzer.  I lean Scherzer because of the strikeout advantage.  Both should have similar ratios and both have good lineups around them so equal opportunity to get wins.  I think Scherzer is a must but if you’re a fan of keeping 2 pitchers, Bum Bum is the next logical choice.  I think the is a lot of depth in SP this year and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it in the draft.  Not a knock on Bum Bum but I would go with either of the 2 previous hitters first.

Machado – A huge breakout year for him last year and a young future star but hard to keep 2 guys at the same position and Donaldson is the obvious choice going into this year.  I think the only reason you go Mucho Machado instead is if you want him long term.  I think Donaldson is the answer but it depends on your desired direction for this team.

Marte Part-eh – Not just another #DominicanPride choice but a dude that is criminally underrated in my opinion.  I put him as a finalist for one reason though…balance.  He’s not the best OF you have to choose from (Hello Joey Bats) but he can be a great source of speed without losing power all together.  The dude was 1 dinger away from a 20/20 season and has now done it a couple years in a row.  He hits in a solid lineup and it doesn’t hurt to slot in front of one of the league’s best hitters (CUTCH!!!).  My concern with him, especially in an OBP league, is his low BB% and high K%.  Guys like that tend to be streaky, which can be good and bad.  If you know when to spot the hot and cold streaks, it’s great…otherwise, not so much.  He keeps his OBP respectable because he gets HBP a lot, but that poses a potential injury risk.  He wouldn’t be my 3rd choice unless you like him as a good source of SB to match Donaldson’s power.  There are a handful of interesting speed options late in the draft and I like the idea of going in with 2 guys that should be a lock for 30HR (Donaldson and Rizzo/Bautista).

That’s just my 2 cents now that I’ve had time to digest your options.  At the end of the day, you have too much of a good thing and it poses a problem that isn’t really a problem.  You have multiple potential outcomes that can get your team off on the right foot so it’s just a matter of how you want the core to start.  I say go Donaldson, Scherzer and Rizzo but I can’t hate if you decided to swap in Bautista, Bumgardner, Machado or Marte.


Good Luck,

Travis Ketchum

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