1.) Chicken&BlewWaffles ($144)
Overview: I may trash this squad pretty much every year for its drafting skills but its keepers are always excellent. I don’t think any other team in the league can compete with his top 5 of Trout, Braun, Heyward, Stanton, and Upton. There’s plenty of power and speed there and he could pretty much fill his lineup with Smallenbergs (MVP 2004 joke) and still be very good. Espinosa is a potential 20-20 SS that costs only $5 and Scherzer struck out well over 200 guys and had solid peripherals. This team’s success is going to come down to finding a big-time starter and filling in 2B/3B. All of the makings are there for a run at the title.
Best Keeper: Mike Trout ($16)—No explanation is really needed here.
Worst Keeper: None. As good of a group as far as talent and value as there is in the league.
Should Have Kept? None. A few decent arms on the team but none are great value.
Nice Available Fit: Mike Napoli (keep building the bomb squad)
2.) Anal Hershiser ($133)
Overview: AH has some nice, young, cheap players and is on track with his plan to rebuild the disaster that the original manager left behind. Harper and Freeman will be around for a while at reasonable prices and while Cargo is maxed out at 30, he’s worth the investment for the power/speed combo. Pitching is the real strength here with Verlander, Wainwright, Chapman, and Sale. That’s quite a foursome with the latter being nice and cheap, although both have throwing motions that have Tommy John surgery written all over them. Hitting is going to be the priority on draft night and keeping Dunn or Eaton might have been a good decision.
Best Keeper: Aroldis Chapman ($7)—Squeaked by Chris Sale ($6) based on him moving into the rotation this year. We’ll see if he has the same kind of success, but, worst case, he’ll be back in the bullpen as arguably the most dominating reliever in baseball. Plus, Sale is 2-3 months away from a visit to Jim Andrews.
Worst Keeper: Not keeping an 8th keeper.
Should Have Kept? Either Adam Dunn or Adam Eaton. Dunn is good for 30-40 dingers and Eaton is being slurped by every fantasy “expert” out there. Spend the money and build an offense since you only have 3 hitters heading into the draft.
Nice Available Fit: Ian Kinsler
3.) HeywardJablowme ($96)
Overview: HJ, the perennial rebuilder and chaser of prospects, always seems to have a solid group of keepers only to be mired in the middle of the pack. There’s no arguing that his core of McCutchen, Posey, Tulo, Hamilton, and AGon is as good as any team out there. Injury is the only thing that stands in the way of those players putting up monster numbers. Gio Gonzalez is a potential ace who should be able to lead the staff, it’ll just be a matter of finding a couple of solid starters. The concerns with this group of keepers center around Rivera and Bundy. Rivera is old and coming off a major knee surgery, he could just as easily be as dominant as ever but what happens if his knee bothers him and he’s merely mortal? There are safer options available for $13. Additionally, while everyone seems to agree that Bundy is the best pitching prospect in the majors, he might not be up at all this season and he will likely be on an innings limit. It’s hard to let a potential ace go and as long as HJ is ok with keeping him for $16 next year, it’s excusable. In the draft, this team should be looking for 2B/3B with a little speed.
Best Keeper: Buster Posey ($16)—Top 20 pick at a premium position who comes cheap for what he provides.
Worst Keeper: Dylan Bundy ($13)—A tantalizing talent but might not see any time in the majors this year, especially since he’ll likely be on an innings limit.
Should Have Kept? Mike Moustakas ($12)—If you’re going to gamble on a young guy, do it on a 3B who could drop 30+ bombs.
Nice Available Fit: Brandon Phillips
4.) HaveyouseenmyWieter? ($118)
Overview: Bautista and Pedroia and the two big guns but this squad has some great impact bargains with Strasburg, Goldschmidt, and Dickey. Strasburg and Dickey are as a good as any duo in the league when it comes to strikeout potential and it is exciting to think what Strasburg can do over a full season. Goldschmidt is a young masher whose stolen base potential is really intriguing—last year he looked similar to what people expected Joey Votto to contribute, aside from his OBP. Brett Gardner is an interesting keeper because of his stolen base potential and Soriano is back with a new closing gig in Washington. Shelby Miller is a nice, cheap gamble but he might not end up in the rotation to start the year, but worth a shot. SS and 3B are going to be areas of interest heading into the draft and it will be interesting to see how those positions are filled now that Zimmerman got the heave-ho.
Best Keeper: R.A. Dickey ($13)—A potential ace at a waiver wire price. Imagine if another squad had stuck with him for only $4.
Worst Keeper: Shelby Miller ($4)—Kind of nitpicking since Miller is so cheap but the Cards have options and Miller disappointed last year.
Should Have Kept? Nobody. Kenley Jensen ($9) and Torii Hunter ($8) were options but Jensen’s not starting the season as closer and Hunter isn’t getting any younger. Not keeping Miller would have meant an extra $4 on draft day.
Nice Available Fit: Brett Lawrie
5.) Wally Backman ($91)
Overview: Wally decided to keep 8 guys and that combined with spending $20 in trades leaves him with the least amount of cash amongst all teams in the league. As usual, his team is built on pitching with Felix, Cain, Zimmermann, and Cueto which means he is going to have to find offense. Fielder is a beast and Kipnis & Rios are great, cheap sources of power/speed, but OBP might be an issue. Ramirez is as consistent as they come at 3B but he is getting older and is currently banged up so he might be a bit overpriced at $21. In order to compete, Wally is going to have to build a lineup that matches his staff and might have to take some chances and search for some bargains based on his draft money.
Best Keeper: Jason Kipnis ($11)—A young power/speed player at a premium position. He cooled down significantly in the 2nd half last year, but the season stats are pretty nice to look at.
Worst Keeper: Aramis Ramirez ($21)—Nitpicking a bit here but mainly because of all of the trades John made last year. Ramirez had a really good season last year, but he’s getting older and the money might have been better spent elsewhere.
Should Have Kept? Nobody. Wally enters the draft with the least amount of money to spend so it was a good decision to only keep 7 guys.
Nice Available Fit: Carl Crawford (the definition of a cheap risk/reward guy)
6.) MOlina MOhomers—Kinsella Bros. ($111)
Overview: MOMO still has Holliday and Pujols but things have changed. Gone are Ellsbury and Phillips in exchange for cheaper options like Yadier Molina and Martin Prado. Both are nice bargains and should outproduce their prices. Greinke should put up ace numbers in LA and Medlen was unbelievable last season. Willingham is vastly underrated and had a great season in 2012 with huge power numbers and a really solid OBP. If Castro can boost his OBP, he’ll be a monster at short and that could come this year. Overall, some great power on this team and it should have a really high OBP. The need on draft day is to pick up some speed but that could wait until later on in the draft.
Best Keeper: Yadier Molina ($6)—MOMO has the #2 catcher for barely nothing–he gets on base, hits for power, and even steals bases,
Worst Keeper: Nobody. No complaints here, which seems to be a pattern with the MOMO since they usually start the season with one of the best sets of keepers. Last year might have been a breakthrough year for them with a 2nd place season, we’ll see if they can string together another season of solid in-season management.
Should Have Kept? Nobody. MOMO is down $16 heading into the draft so guys like Ellsbury and Victorino weren’t worth it and Phillips is overrated in OBP leagues.
Nice Available Fit: Ben Revere
7.) ISaveDemBundles ($113)
Overview: The defending champ is back with a dumb new team name and a solid group headlined by an ace in Kershaw and a couple of cheap mashers in Encarnacion and Craig. Chase Headley had a breakout season last year and hopefully will continue to deliver at Petco but some regression might occur. Zobrist’s versatility is what makes him a strong fantasy commodity and he’ll help DemBundles mix and match his lineup if injuries occur. Everyone is still waiting for the Desmond Jennings breakout to occur and made huge strides last year and could be on the verge of the 20-50 season people have predicted for years. The last guys, Gomez and Ramirez, are really where things become a gamble for DemBundles. Last year was a disappointing season for Hanley and he doesn’t appear to be the max player he had been in the past. Last season may have been a fluke, but with all of the SS/3B options available in the draft, it might have made sense to cut him loose. Gomez, on the other hand, is an interesting choice to not only keep but trade for. He had a nice power/speed combo last year but his OBP was still only .305. Before last season he had never hit more than 8 homers or had an OBP above .300 so it will be interesting to see if last year was a breakout or a fluke.
Best Keeper: Allen Craig ($4)—Arguably the best value of all keepers—if he stays healthy. OF eligibility is a bonus.
Worst Keeper: Hanley Ramirez ($32)—Looks old and slow and there are tons of other shortstops available (Reyes, Andrus, Rollins, Cabrera, Jeter etc.)
Should Have Kept? Madison Bumgarner ($25)—This is assuming that Hanley got dropped since Bumgarner is relatively expensive but he and Kershaw would be quite a duo.
Nice Available Fit: Madison Bumgarner
8.) Melky Discharge ($156)
Overview: MelkyD has a ton of money to spend and he’ll need it to build some depth. Granderson could be out for a portion of the regular season and even if he comes back healthy, his power might suffer but this team should have plenty of slack with Cano, Beltre, Howard, and Trumbo leading the way. Howard should have a bounce back year and while his OBP might stink, if he stays healthy he’ll probably be around 30 homers. Trumbo is another masher who gets a bad rep because of poor second halves and a low OBP but for $10 you he’s well worth the risk. VMart is obviously the best value of the bunch and he should thrive in a loaded Tigers lineup and likely won’t even be catching at all this season. Bauer is a good gamble since he has a ton of talent and will have a rotation spot right from opening day—he could be a keeper that MelkyD has for years. Overall, this team has a really nice offensive foundation but most of his players are pretty old. He’ll need to try to infuse some young talent and grab a legit ace to front his staff.
Best Keeper: Victor Martinez ($5)—Great value for a catcher who has perennially been top 5 at the position. Plus he’s never been in a lineup like this so there should be plenty of RBI opportunities.
Worst Keeper: Curtis Granderson ($30)—He has a broken forearm and is out for a while. He drops bombs but he doesn’t really steal many bases anymore and is an OBP drain. In the auction, he might have gone for less.
Should Have Kept? None. Everyone else on this team sucks. I’d drop Granderson, head into the draft with $186, and go nuts.
Nice Available Fit: James Shields
9.) Holland Olts ($139)
Overview: HO was wheeling and dealing all offseason and didn’t cost him much to completely revamp his group of keepers. Butler and Sandoval are rock solid and Adam Jones and Matt Wieters are finally looking like the stars that everyone thought they would become. Unfortunately, Markakis is deadweight and Addison Reed is risky since he wasn’t all that impressive last season and closer situations are unusually fluid. Ike Davis mashed last year but his OBP was brutal, which really hurts his value. HO has a good amount of cash to spend so getting a frontline starter or speedster shouldn’t be hard.
Best Keeper: Aaron Hill ($5)—Could hit 25-30 homers for next to nothing at a premium position, although he’s been inconsistent over the years.
Worst Keeper: Nick Markakis ($12)—Not only did HO keep Markakis, but he even spent $2 to trade for him. He hasn’t hit over 20 homers or stolen more than 12 steals since 2007–his only good season in the majors. He gets on base at a pretty good clip but that’s about it.
Should He Have Kept? Ben Revere ($13)—Another guy that HO traded for (only for $1) and is actually good value given that he is due to hit leadoff in a decent lineup and push 40 steals.
Nice Available Fit: Jose Reyes.
10.) Wicked Obnoxious ($104)
Overview: This team has a solid core duo of Cabrera and Kemp and is in a bit in transition with the emergence of Rizzo and Machado. Both are young studs who are relatively cheap and could begin the transition to a new regime. Kimbrel is the consensus top closer and while he is a little expensive, he is about as sure as it gets as an RP. Ortiz and Santana are both a little expensive but both bring power and OBP to the team so this offense should be dropping bombs and taking names right from the get-go as long as Ortiz is healthy. In order to compete, this squad is going to have to grab an ace starter who is also a strikeout guy. In the past, this team has depended on grabbing low cost starters off of the waiver wire, but has seen limited success with that strategy.
Best Keeper: Anthony Rizzo ($8)—While Cabrera and Kemp are the moneymakers, Rizzo is a young, cheap power-hitter who could push 30 homers this season. His owner is moving to Chicago and is ready to taunt him from the stands if he disappoints.
Worst Keeper: Carlos Santana ($25)—While people may think that Kimbrel is overpriced at $21, he’s far and away the top closer heading into the season, but anything can happen. Santana is expensive but he’s still young, the lineup is improved, and he’s an OBP machine. I didn’t want have to battle for him in the auction.
Should Have Kept? Nobody. There were a couple of options available but the value wasn’t there.
Nice Available Fit: CC Sabathia
11.) Kosher Fishbergers ($111)
Overview: The Fishbergers have a nice top 3 of Wright, Votto, and Price; however, Votto needs to find his powerstroke again to be worth the max no matter how high his OBP is. With the amount of hype he’s received, it’s crazy that he has only topped 30 homers once. Price and Latos give the Fishbergers a nice duo of starters that will rack up strikeouts and anchor the staff. Kubel and Melky are both reasonably priced, solid outfielders that will add nice depth to the lineup. Jason Motte was an interesting keeper at $14 since he was one of only a few relievers kept but he was lights out last year and strikes a ton of guys out. While only keeping 7 guys is understandable, Jed Lowrie at $4 might have been a nice cheap SS option with some power and decent OBP potential if he can stay healthy. The Fishbergers are going to need to find some speed in the draft and can afford to sacrifice OBP with Votto and Wright.
Best Keeper: David Wright ($25)—A top 20 pick who is still another year or two away from being valued as such.
Worst Keeper: Not Keeping An 8th.
Should Have Kept? Jed Lowrie ($4)—Missed a shot at a $4 shortstop who could hit 15-20 homers with a solid OBP. He just needs to stay healthy.
Nice Available Fit: Michael Bourn (hopefully cheaper than $28)
12.) Mounting Anamosity ($132)
Overview: MA has a solid but unspectacular group of keepers led by Evan Longoria. Everyone has expected Longoria to become a superstar but he’s disappointed the last two years, partially due to injuries. He would probably still go for the max if put back in the draft, but I’m not sure if he’s truly worth it. Peavy and Darvish are both question marks as Peavy was great last year but is older and an injury risk while Darvish tends to walk a lot of guys and pitches in a bandbox—although his strikeout totals are impressive. Montero and Choo are nothing flashy but are both solid. Teixeira is the wildcard and now that he is hurt, it will be interesting to see if MA hangs onto him. He’s already on the downturn of his career and now he has a wrist injury that could sap more of his power this year. In the draft, MA is going to have to build pitching depth with cheap, steady starters and he needs to find a young signature player to transition this team to next season. (UPDATE: TEIXEIRA HAS BEEN DROPPED SINCE THIS POSTING)
Best Keeper: Miguel Montero ($14)—This was a tough call since all of MA’s keepers are relatively expensive.
Worst Keeper: Mark Teixeira ($21)—I wrote this even before he heard his wrist pop and had to drop out of the WBC; Tex appears to be on the backend of his career and given the depth at 1B, he’s a little pricey. I would have thought about making him somebody else’s problem.
Should Have Kept? Nobody—Halladay, Wilson, Lincecum, and Werth were all too expensive. If Ruderman had dropped Tex, he would have had $153 to spend and could have dictated the flow of the draft.
Nice Available Fit: Eric Hosmer
13.) Team Lazy ($184)
Overview: Team Lazy, as per their name, decided to only keep 6 guys, but seemed to have made the right decision. Cespedes, Jackson, and Desmond are all young building blocks with impressive stats that should be leaned on for years to come. Cliff Lee will lead the staff and although he’s expensive, he was extremely unlucky last year with only 6 wins despite a 3.16 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. Joe Nathan was lights out in Texas last year and is a beast when he’s healthy so he should be a solid bullpen anchor. In the draft, this team is going to have to grab a couple of consistent bats that can really solidify the lineup. They have plenty of money to spend so they should be able to throw their weight around.
Best Keeper: Ian Desmond ($5)—Only 3 shortstops went 20-20 last year. One of them is being kept for $32 and the other could cost 3 times as much as Desmond.
Worst Keeper: None. All great values. Lee is a little expensive, but his stats were great last year aside from being absurdly unlucky with wins.
Should Have Kept? None. Sabathia and Moore were two decent options based on how much money the Kinsellas have at their disposal. But both will probably go for less in the draft.
Nice Available Fit: Jacoby Ellsbury (Bid him up and hope for a huge contract year)
14.) Ghost Ride the WHIP ($162)
Overview: After a disappointing season, Ghost Ride comes back with an unimpressive group of keepers. He has two frontline starters in Weaver and Hamels and a masher in Bruce but after that it gets dicey. Profar and Myers are both tantalizing talents but both will likely start the season in the minors and Profar might be down there for a while. Altuve, Soriano, and Ogando are all bargains but none of them are going to carry a team. The good news is that this team has a ton of money to spend in the draft and can build around the pieces that he has. With three pitchers are on the roster, hitters are going to be the focus for Ghost Ride and it has the money to push people around. This could all change, however, if Myers and/or Profar crack their opening day rosters and show off their immense talents.
Best Keeper: Jose Altuve ($4)— RVB is paying almost nothing for 30 steals at a weak position. The only problem is that Houston is probably going to be horrendous so it’ll be interesting to see how many runs he scores.
Worst Keeper: Alexi Ogando ($6)—Ogando is a decent gamble but he’s been jerked around from starter to reliever and back. He could be a great bargain but he pitches in a hitters’ park and has a flyball percentage over 40%.
Should He Have Kept? Glen Perkins ($6)—Might not be the full-time closer to start the season but he throws heat and should end the season with 20+ saves and for $6, that’s a pretty good bargain.
Nice Available Fit: Ryan Zimmerman