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Today's topic: Keeper League Troubles? What to do.
If you are like me you love fantasy sports and most likely you own a keeper league or two. Such leagues demand more research, more dedication if you will, because you are preparing to compete not just for one season but, for several.
Therefore throughout the season you are constantly on the lookout for the next great prospect to rise up in the ranks of MLB. Now last season I picked up a few promising prospects. They are Alex Gordon, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ryan Garko and Billy Butler. You might agree with me on their potential or you might have found better players such as Ryan Braun; a guy who comes around once in a blue moon.
The problem is that in most keepers leagues you are kept to keeping only a portion of your roster for the next season. In my main keeper league I am allowed to keep 12 players in a 14 man league. !2 players is actually a lot of keepers but, no matter how many you keep, you still end up losing some who you know will turn out to be quite special.
Let me explain that further. In my league I own Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Guillen, Jacoby Ellsbury. Miguel Cabrera, David Wright, Eric Byrnes, Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Ryan Garko, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, Brandon Webb, Justin Verlander, Jenks and John Lackey to name a few. Now in most mock drafts for the 2008 season the guys that are chosen first are: Soriano, Guillen, Cabrera, Wright, Byrnes, Hamels, Oswalts, Webb, Ellsbury, Lackey, Jenks & Verlander. Those are who I would normally save for the next season, however I also want to keep Alex Gordon and Ryan Garko both who have the talent to become solid keepers for 2009.
So what would you do in a circumstance like this? Well here are the various scenarios you must consider if you truly want the best of both worlds.
Scenario #1: Of course you try to trade two players for one which is a very difficult thing to accomplish in a league where everyone has the same problem you do; meaning that they also have more than 12 keepers on their teams.
Scenario #2: This is my favorite. You trade away talent for picks. The draft picks you would get would begin at round 13 of any other draft. However in a keeper draft, the first round enables you to pick up solid players that other teams could not keep or you have the chance to pick up a future keeper like Alex Gordon. Let me say Alex was my first pick overall last year. So I have been trying to trade away Carlos Guillen and Roy Oswalt; and would you believe it; nobody wants them. It's as if some managers actually believe they could find a better player on the free agent market than Carlos Guillen or Roy Oswalt. Yet that is a problem you might face.
Scenario #3: You simply drop the players you love and hope that somehow you will find equal replacements. Now this is the more practical solution however it only works if you have not built up a man crush for your favorite prospects. If you believe that in 2008 you will be able to find an equal bat like Ryan Garko, then drop Garko. Who knows, you might discover that he will make it to you when it is your turn to pick. Remember, each season you will find new and exciting talent rising to the top. It's up to you to be prepared for their arrival.
Scernario #4: Own some luck! If you are lucky enough to trade for a first round pick, get one that comes in the top 5; in my case get a pick that is a 13.1, 13.2, 13.3 etc so that at least one of the guys you drop will come back to your team. Last year I had Brandon Phillips on my team and I traded away Chase Utley for Brandon Webb and a pick. Later on I traded Alex Rios for the first pick of next years draft and that was how I obtained Alex Gordon. However, Brandon Phillips went to someone else before it was my next turn to pick. In this case I did not follow my own advice because I thought Alex Gordon would really shine right away. So did thousands of others. So obviously you have to make some difficult choices. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and even though Brandon did better than Alex in 2007, I still believe Alex Gordon will become a gem over time.
Scenario #5: Never go youth crazy to the point that you will kick yourself out of contention. My plan is that for every 10 vets obtain 1 prospect. That way you will always have a replacement and your team will never become like the San Fransisco Giants. However, when in doubt, stick with your vets. For instance I could drop Carlos Guillen because his stolen bases are down and he most likely has reached his peak. Yet I can be assured that with good health, he could bring me 90 to 100 RBI in 2008. That would then force me to drop Jacoby Ellsbury who has the ability to get me stolen bases and make my team the king of stolen bases with the combination of David Wright, Eric Byrnes, Alfonso Soriano, and Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury however does not hit too many Home Runs. So you can see this conflict. Do I go for youth or do I stick with the vet. Most likely I go with the vet in this circumstance unless I can trade away Guillen or Oswalt for picks, which would then allow me to keep Jacoby.
Well I hope those scenario's help you out and feel free to share your own keeper trials and ways around them.
Good Luck in 2008