I'm in a fantasy baseball keeper league, and the time has come for me to select my keepers. Here's how the process works:
Each owner must select 10 keepers, and has a budget of $100 "dollars" to keep them. Player values are determined by which round they were drafted in the previous year.
There are 22 rounds. Players selected in the first round cost $22 to keep, second rounders cost $21, etc., all the way down to 22nd rounders and free agent pickups that cost one measly buck to retain.
If a player is claimed off of waivers, he loses $10 from his original value. (So if a first rounder is dropped and someone claims him, he can be kept for $12 instead of $22. If no one claims him and he hits the free agent pool, his value becomes one dollar).
We will be having "rollover," so that if our kept players cost under $100, the remaining value gets transferred over to the next year. So if my 10 players cost me $95, I'll have $105 to spend for next season.
If I could keep more then the 10 allotted players, I would. Instead, I have some tough decisions to make, and I'd like the readers of Bleacher Report to help me out.
Here are my definite keepers, with their price in parentheses.
Ryan Braun (22). He's still first round caliber, and young, so he retains his high value and will be very good for a long time. Plus, he's one of my favorite players, so there's no way I'd let him go.
Josh Hamilton (11) and Adam Wainwright (10). I drafted both players in the middle rounds, and both exceeded their draft position. Hamilton is a no-brainer, and is being drafted in the first couple of rounds this year. Excellent value for $11. Wainwright isn't quite as valuable, but he's a great young pitcher at a good value.
Rafael Furcal (7) and Carlos Lee (10). These players were both waived, and I pounced. They both lost $10 from their original price, making them great bargains.
Lee is obvious: a consistent threat across the board at middle round price. Furcal is a very solid shortstop (a tough position to draft), and comes at great value. Especially considering most good shortstops will be kept, Furcal becomes a necessity.
Francisco Liriano (1). Best free agent pickup of the year. An ace at clearance prices. Liriano is the most untouchable player on my team, more so than my boy Braun.
These six players total $61 in value, meaning I have $39 to spend on four more players. There are eight players I'm mulling, so four of them will have to go. These players are:
Alfonso Soriano (22). I traded for Soriano when he was hurt, knowing I could get him cheaply, and he'd be great when he returned. He didn't disappoint, and if I could keep two first rounders, my team would be outstanding.
However, Soriano is expensive, and while I can afford to keep him (my other choices are cheap), it will affect my rollover value for next year. Plus, he's not being drafted in the first round anymore, so his value is less than his price tag.
Finally, outfielders can be found anywhere, and I already have two in Braun and Lee. Soriano may be the best of this bunch, but his value is questionable.
Aramis Ramirez (19). Ramirez is great, and his position is not as abundant as Soriano's. While expensive, he may be worth keeping, as finding a third baseman of his magnitude will be tough to find, and I can afford him.
Nate McLouth (1). McLouth surprised everyone last year, and is likely to regress this season. That said, he's probably going to put up solid numbers in all departments, and at just a dollar is great value.
I think I can re-grab him in the draft, although he'll be more expensive this time around. And, as with Soriano, his position has plenty of available options. Still, a 20-20 type at only a buck? He's very, very tempting.
James Shields (15). I also have his teammate Scott Kazmir, but I like Shields much more. Shields is young and very talented, and one of the best pitchers on my staff. His price tag is hefty but not overbearing. Plus, pitching is more available than outfielders.
Carlos Marmol (3). Last year, as a setup man, Marmol had more strikeouts than many starters (114). He's an incredible source of Ks from a reliever position, and that makes him extremely valuable.
That said, I should point out that my league counts "save/holds" instead of saves, so his probable rise to the closer role doesn't increase his value at all.
In fact, now that he only comes in for saves, he'll have fewer chances to get those Ks. I think he's re-draftable, even if at a higher price, and I tend not to overpay for relievers, so I'd consider letting him go. Still, you don't get this many strikeouts from every reliever, so I may make an exception here.
Ervin Santana (1). Santana was really good last year after being awful the year before. He's a lot like Cliff Lee, only younger. Although he's a pitcher (and pitching is abundant), he's still really good, at a dollar value. The only issue is the fear that he might regress to his days of pitching poorly. With so many other options, might this keeper pick be better spent elsewhere?
Matt Wieters (1) and David Price (1). I grabbed them before someone else could. Price's major-league experience is minimal, and Wieters has none, yet they're being drafted in the middle rounds of many leagues.
In a regular league I wouldn't care so much, but these guys are superb keepers, and I won't be able to keep them at this price ever again. They're going to be studs, and I have them at just a buck each if I so choose.
I'd have to reach for them if I wanted to draft them back (thanks to all the hype), so they'd be too expensive in the draft, but to keep them at a dollar would be great value. Oh, and Wieters is a catcher, a scarce position. He may be worth keeping for that reason alone.
I do have other players on my roster worth a glance, but I've already decided not to keep them. They are: Carlos Delgado (1), A.J. Burnett (11), and Scott Kazmir (14).
Delgado may be cheap, but he's old, and I don't think he'll repeat last year's performance. It's important to note that he stunk it up in the first half, which is why I was able to snag him from the crap heap before his second half tear. He may be up fro grabs at the All Star break again, so he's definitely not worth keeping.
Burnett may now play for my Yankees, but I still don't trust him. I benefited from his career year last year, but his injuries scare me, and I don't want to keep him. I didn't want the Yankees to sign him, so why would I want him on my fantasy team?
Kazmir was great when he first returned from injury, and then hit some major bumps. He gets injured a lot, and while he gets plenty of strikeouts, he's not the best of pitchers, and I can get more value for that price.
I also have Brandon Phillips at $21, but he's no longer a second-round talent, and I wouldn't even consider him at that price.
So please comment below with your thoughts. Who should I keep? Should I adjust my current six "definites?" Should I consider someone I've disregarded? All suggestions are welcome.