Friday, September 24, 2010
Finding Keepers: Boston Red Sox: 09/24/2010
I'll start off with what I perceive to be a "no-brainer" keeper selection in staff ace SP Jon Lester. Lester is currently ranked 30th on ESPN's Player Rater and 29th on Yahoo!'s ranking and the 9th highest ranked pitcher on both sites. Here's a look at his statistics for the last three seasons:
2008: 33 GS, 16-6, 3.21 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
2009: 32 GS, 15-8, 3.41 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
2010: 30 GS, 18-8, 3.06 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
I think you know what to expect with Lester and keeping him on your roster for another season should continue to pay off with Cy Young-worthy numbers.
Another highly ranked Red Sox player isn't as clearly a "no-brainer" as one would hope. 3B Adrian Beltre is currently ranked 17th on both ESPN and Yahoo! and a player that deserves to be in all fantasy MVP award discussions (based on ADP vs. production), BUT there is the issue of his 2011 contract and where he would be playing next season. I think he's a definite keeper in Boston but what if he chases a bigger contract to a place like Oakland or San Diego? Do you really expect .324/82/28/99/2 numbers from him there? Hopefully it's clear where he'll be playing in 2011 before you have to lock in your keepers.
While deciding whether to keep C Victor Martinez or not, take into consideration his #2 rank of all catchers with his .299/58/18/73/1 line. He's seeking a four-year deal but should put up similar, if not better, numbers regardless where he winds up playing.
1B/3B Kevin Youkilis was on his way to another .300/100/30/100 season (.307/77/19/62 in 102 games) when a torn muscle in his right thumb ended his season. Youkilis will only be 1B eligible in 2011, so you have to decide is he worth keeping or do you try to do better at first base. More than likely, the top-10 to top-15 first basemen are going to be kept in your league and Youkilis deserves to be kept, regardless of his ranking. Just keep an eye on news of how his rehabbing is going.
One player that has made a huge jump in the fantasy realm in 2010 was SP Clay Buchholz. His 16 wins came from an ADP of 174 but you wont be so lucky in 2011. He's currently ranked 73rd on ESPN and 59th on Yahoo!. If you choose not to keep him, he won't be available very long. Unless you have a very favorable draft position to scoop him back up, your choices are keep him or bank that the 16 wins were a fluke.
Pundits continue to sing the mantra of "never pays for saves". I disagree. There's nothing wrong with paying for the elite and CL Jonathan Papelbon has elite stuff. Statistically speaking, 2010 was a down year for Papelbon but you need to evaluate his 2011 potential within the confines of a keeper league. If he's the best closer you have on your roster, the chance of getting a better one (without getting super lucky) are slim. Other teams will be keeping guys like Bell, Rivera, Soria, Wilson and Soriano, so why not lock up a closer with 35+ saves and 10+ K/9 in each of his five seasons in that role in Boston.
Injury ended the season early for another of Boston's elite players, 2B Dustin Pedroia. If you stashed Pedroia on your DL for the second half of the season, you probably did so with the intention of keeping the former MVP. Pedroia is the kind of player that will come back with a vengeance in 2011 and make fantasy owners proud they stuck by the scrappy second basemen.
Lastly, I want nothing to do with DH David Ortiz in 2011 as a keeper. It's hard to suggest not keeping a player that has hit 31 homers and drove in 96 runs but the roster limitation of a DH only and the early season slump are enough to steer me clear when identifying keepers. If I am a fan and want him on my roster, I'll take my chances that he'll still be out there to draft, when needed.
Are there any other players on the Red Sox roster you'd be willing to use a keeper selection on for the 2011 season or do you disagree with my assessment of their roster? If so, open up the discussion by leaving me a comment.