Handling Fantasy Baseball Keeper Decisions

It’s time to start talking about keepers. We’ve reached the point in the offseason when fantasy owners have to consider who they plan to keep and cut. While much of the fantasy baseball industry can be fit into neat bundles – for example, the majority of leagues cater to 5×5 roto or H2H – keeper rules are non-standardized. Each league has its own custom assortment of rules, costs, and considerations. With that in mind, it’s easier to teach how to handle keeper decisions than it is to pen a one-size-fits-all guide.

What follows is my keeper conundrum in a non-standard Yahoo league. It’s a points league based on linear weights. We’re basically playing points wOBA and FIP. The rosters are shallow with left, center, and right field disaggregated, five starting pitchers, five relievers, a 1400 innings cap, and a 150 games played cap for position players. We range between 10 and 12 owners. The league was originally formed via Tom Tango’s blog, and typically includes two or more owners from the FanGraphs family.

We’re allowed to keep four players at the cost of previous draft round minus two. So if I picked a player in the 15th round, I would lose my 13th round pick to keep him. We can keep fewer than four players, although I don’t need to worry about that (I did last year). Below are the most keepable players on my roster.

Player Keeper Cost
Andrew McCutchen 1
Giancarlo Stanton 1
Adrian Beltre 1
Jose Abreu 3
Johnny Cueto 10
Corey Kluber 11
Christian Yelich 13
Edwin Encarnacion 15
Sonny Gray 19
Josh Harrison 23
Joc Pederson 23
Michael Wacha 21

My assignment for you is to develop a strategy based on this information. For what it’s worth, I know what I plan to do. As much as part of me would like to openly discuss those plans, I also know they’ll affect the plans of my leaguemates. So I’m afraid I’ll have to keep things to myself. I will happily play devil’s advocate in the comments.

To recap, I get four keepers with an attached cost. I’m maximizing points which are based on linear weights. The rosters are shallow and the caps are easily reached, meaning there is scope for platooning and careful game management. For example, I would sit ANY hitter against Clayton Kershaw. If you want to get REALLY into it, I believe the league is public. One more thing: I won the league so I pick last.

I will provide a little more information tomorrow via an update, but I want you to think up the main strategies without too much prompting from me. Remind me if I forget.

How would you handle this conundrum?

You can follow me on twitter @BaseballATeam

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Jeff Zimmerman

You should really consider:

Christian Yelich, Sonny Gray, Josh Harrison and Michael Wacha

How could you go wrong?