Here at Pitcher List, we thought it would be fun to give the readers a look into the dynasty leagues of our staff members. Two weeks ago, I unveiled our champion, the RD Giants. This week, I mainly discuss my keeper options going into next year and my offseason plans. Just as a point of reference, I go over free keepers and our MiLB system in my first dynasty post if you are unsure what some of the terms mean.
My For-Sure Keepers
I have quite a few players I deem worth keeping thanks to going all in (probably the wrong idea, but OH WELL). Being able to keep 10 players as well as a team keeper really makes it hard when you go in to keep everyone you want, so necessary moves have to be made to clear out keeper room. I do this process every year give or take: buy players at the deadline, sell players off once trading opens, and restock my farm system/picks. People hate that I do it, but they haven’t stopped me yet.
Most of the time, I have to move out players of better quality, but so far, I have been able to get out from under players before they collapse (Joey Votto is the main guy who comes to mind). With that in mind, here are the players I deem keeper-worthy, how likely I am to trade them, and some general info/stats on them:
While shortstop is one of the deeper positions these days, Francisco Lindor is arguably the best one. While his strikeout rate climbed and walk rate dropped from 2018, he still was an elite threat for home runs and steals. I more than likely won’t be moving Lindor unless a certain Indians fan wants to move Mike Trout … 👀.
2. José Ramirez
It was looking for a while there like José Ramirez was far removed from his superstar year. A long slump that lasted from the end of 2018 through the first three months of 2019 had most owners wanting something—ANYTHING—from Ramirez. Then finally, it clicked again. From July 2 onward, he hit .321/.356/.722 with 18 home runs and six stolen bases. It wasn’t vintage Ramirez as the walks are gone, but he still had the low strikeout rate, allowing him to make the most of his contact. I also more than likely won’t be moving Ramirez as his low strikeout rate helps drastically in points leagues. Again, unless Trout is being dangled.
3. J.D. Martinez
While J.D. Martinez is getting up there in age, he’s still an elite bat and elite fantasy option. Thankfully, the Red Sox keep running him in the outfield at least 10 games a year, as his outfield eligibility is quite nice to have. While 2019 was a down year for him, he still had ELITE Statcast numbers and a .939 OPS. Depending on whether he stays with the Red Sox, I could see his value go down a bit without all the runs and RBI he would get in the Boston lineup. I could see myself moving Martinez, but it would have to blow me away, even factoring in the age. It would take a package of proven free keepers and minor league prospects.
Luis Severino isn’t having so much luck in the playoffs, but the biggest concern coming back from shoulder issues was velocity, and it seemed to be there for the most part. Having only pitched 12 innings in the regular season, it’s hard to picture what Severino will do next year; however, I am still valuing him as an ace as he’s still so young and a proven pitcher. I won’t be moving him as I almost assuredly value him higher than most. He will take a free keeper or two, depending on quality.
Noah Syndergaard is an enigma. One second, he’s rediscovered his slider and is going on a massive stretch. The next, he’s lost it again and can’t finish the season strong. When he’s on, we know what he can be, which is a workhorse ace with strikeout upside, but it’s a year and a half removed now with declining strikeout rates. FIP has him at 3.60, but that’s hard to take at face value without his slider. Still he’s only 27 and has the potential to be a top-10 starter. I could part with Thor, but it’s going to take a package of young prospects and/or free keepers.
6. Jose Altuve
The diminutive second baseman is finally healthy, as he dealt with injuries at the beginning of the 2019 season. Once he came back from the injured list on June 22, he destroyed the baseball to the tune of .323/.360/.581, hitting 22 home runs in only 384 plate appearances. He’s currently crushing the ball in the playoffs and is top five at second base. While his strikeout rate has climbed, he’s traded that for more power, so all the power to you Altuve. I think Altuve is my best trade chip this offseason, but it’s not going to come cheap. Will be looking to move him for another ace or young free keeper talent.
7. Tommy Pham
Ol’ reliable Tommy Pham. You know you’re going to get a decent batting average, a boatload of walks and 20-20 from him. It’s too bad he hits the ball right into the ground (53.4% ground-ball rate) as he hits the ball so hard. I think Pham is someone I can count on to put up points, but I will be actively shopping him because I have so many outfielders.
This is 100% an upside play. Andrew Heaney was not amazing this year but had stretches where he struck out EVERYONE. His 14.1% swinging-strike rate was immaculate (would have placed him eighth, tied with Matt Boyd) and was allowing less contact (75.5% to 70.8%). I don’t think anyone will value Heaney as highly as I will, but I could part with him for a high-end prospect.
Team Keeper—Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
I think Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is the best team keeper I can have as Bo Bichette, Vladamir Guerrero Jr., and Cavan Biggio are all free keepers now. When healthy, Gurriel was a spark plug for the Blue Jays after starting the year off so badly he had to be demoted. Once back up, he had a steady spot in left field and hit .292/.339./.580 the rest of the year. I don’t see myself moving Gurriel unless it’s a massive overpay because at this point there’s no one better for me to keep as my team guy (Randal Grichuk? Teoscar Hernandez? No, thank you).
My Maybe Keepers
I have two more spots to fill, and I’ve got quite a few guys who could fit in there. I would guess most of these players I don’t keep I end up moving or do get kept if I can find space for them if my for-sure guys get moved.
One of the better guys in points leagues, Marcus Stroman should probably be kept. He had more strikeouts with the Mets, but it came with a higher WHIP thanks to the Mets’ lousy defense (1.23 with the Jays, 1.48 WHIP with the Mets). I like him as a pure bulk innings guy, but I think I can do better.
I REALLY WANT TO KEEP DANNY SANTANA! He’s got eligibility at first base, second base, and outfield and would be an amazing fill-in/utility type of bat to have. He rarely walks but hit a ton of homers this year and will steal upward of 30 bases. I almost included him in the for-sure keepers but felt that I had to be realistic and look at him as having bust potential for next year.
Poor Domingo. 2019 looked like it was gong to be the year he proved everyone wrong about his bat until he was diagnosed with a nasty elbow strain. He tried playing through it but ended up just looking awful, sporting a 45% strikeout rate and 35 wRC+. If healthy in 2020, I like him as an under-the-radar power source prone to strikeouts.
REYNALDOOOOOO! I might not keep him strictly because of his playoff-destroying start. He was VERY hit-or-miss in the second half and even with the increased velocity was maddening. He’s still got a ton of potential, but reliever flags are starting to pop up more and more. Wouldn’t surprise me if he finally broke out in 2020, but it might not be for my team.
Defensive wizard Mike Tauchman is a very interesting wait-and-see keeper. If he gets moved or the Yankees somehow make space for him, I can see him getting everyday playing time and being a top-150 player, which is an easy keeper in that case. A knee injury ended his breakout 2019 season and he was scuffing before going down, so you have to question how much of him is for real.
And Anthony Kay and Aaron Sanchez could make sense as keepers for the right teams, with Kay showing potential to start in 2020 and Sanchez having that “upside” element, but with his shoulder issues, I won’t be keeping him.
I have a couple of free keepers heading into 2020, which should help the general output of points next year.
I’m starting to worry about Danny Jansen for 2020. While it seemed like they were going to give him the keys to the team, Reese McGuire came up and ended up splitting time with Jansen toward the end of this season. Jansen started off slow and didn’t find much footing in 2019, so hopefully his 2020 can be a step in the right direction.
Harrison Bader/Tyler O’Neil
I roster both of these guys, so I’m going to consider them one player for now. With Marcell Ozuna more than likely leaving for free agency, I can see both players eventually making the team, but it seems unlikely to me with both of their respective issues. While Bader had been better since getting recalled from Triple-A to work on his swing, he’s still not hitting as well as you would like and sported a 30% strikeout rate. His defense will continue to get him reps, but he needs to start hitting to continue to be in the Cardinals’ plans. O’Neil has tons—TONS—of raw power but hasn’t been able to consistently utilize it thanks to an absurdly high strikeout rate (35% in 2019). He was able to make more contact in 2019, but it needs to be better contact.
With the minor league draft still a good three months away, I have lots of time to prep and find ways to acquire picks. I might end up taking the route of trading for free keepers and MLB picks this year, as I always find at the end of the minor league draft there are guys available I like. One of our members, BG, always does this and every year finds gems he can then flip for talent.
My division is only going to get tougher each year, and the AL as a whole seems MUCH stronger than in years past. I tend to think I have a top-15 or so farm system, but that ranking relies on Forrest Whitley getting back to his No. 1 pitcher upside and Brent Honeywell still having an elbow. My hitting prospects, Vidal Brujan, DJ Peters, and Trevor Larnach, should contribute some in 2020, so keeping them around would be valuable to me.
Going into 2020, I know I want to have a couple of more reliable relievers, whether it means I trade for one to keep or draft them through the MiLB/MLB drafts. Starters have been so hit-or-miss this past year, and who knows what the Wiffle ball is going to be like next year. I like my overall outlook as I’ve got six stud pieces to build around, and hopefully I can hit on a couple of players for next year. Will I win it all? Probably not, as H2H points is as random as they come. But it is fun as hell.
Thanks for reading my article! If you have any questions about dynasty, my reasoning for deals, players in general, etc., feel free to ask! I can be reached on Twitter, Reddit, or here! I’d like to thank all of you for reading my articles this season about my dinky dynasty league team and helping me enjoy fantasy baseball even more.
(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)