Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Finding Keepers: Cincinnati Reds: 11/16/2010

The Cincinnati Reds had an unexpected run into the playoffs this season and several players showed why they should be considered keepers going into the 2011 season. Not only is 1B Joey Votto a serious MVP candidate but quite possibly could be drafted 1st overall in many leagues come draft day (finished as the 4th-ranked player by ESPN's Player Rater) and an obvious no-brainer to be kept.  Slot Votto and his .320/100/30/100/10 line into your lineup for years to come and enjoy.

OF Drew Stubbs gave owners the speed (30 stolen bases), low average (.255 BA) and high strikeouts (168 Ks) to be expected but no one saw the 22 home runs coming along with that (28 HR in 423 minor league games) too. How can a guy with 20/30 skills NOT be considered a keeper? It will be very interesting to see where his ADP plays out in new league drafts for 2011.

Position scarcity or positional ranking needs to be a factor when evaluating a player's keeper potential and this is why 2B Brandon Phillips should be considered a keeper heading into 2011. Overall, some may have considered 2010 a disappointment for Phillips after an ADP of 44.9 produced an end of the season ranking of 91st on ESPN's Player Rater but he still managed to finish as the 6th-ranked second baseman and possess better than 20/20 potential at age 29. I'd safely pencil him in as a keeper and expect something closer to his 162 game career averages of 86/20/80/23 next season.

The word "potential" is usually a word thrown around by fantasy baseball managers who continually finish in the bottom half of leagues each year. Consistently drafting players with "potential" over "proven" players isn't going to win you many leagues. One player that may have finally turned the potential we've all been waiting for into actual production is OF Jay Bruce. Bruce played in a career high 148 games and produced a .281/80/25/70/5 line. His ADP was 109.5 and ended the season ranked 104th, so you basically got what you paid for. The real argument for keeping Bruce comes from the way he finished the season. His August, September and October batting averages were .333, .326 and .444, respectively. Even more promising were his power numbers over those final three months. He hit 15 home runs in 133 at bats compared to just 10 in 376 at bats in the season's first four months. Bruce owners...2011 is the year to lock him up as a keeper!

Lastly, SP/RP Aroldis Chapman presents a challenge when evaluating what 2011 has in store for him. Will he still be a "back of the bullpen" guy or given a shot in the rotation but with a limit on his innings? I'm guessing his unknowns won't become knows until after you are forced to lock in your keeper selections for the upcoming season and would probably have to pass on keeping him unless my team had very limited options for keepers. I'm very interested in hearing some feedback on Chapman's projections for 2011.

The Reds roster has some nice starting pitchers (Mike Leake, Travis Wood, Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez) that could perform well in 2011 and provide lots of fantasy value but I don't deem any of them as being worthy of a keeper selection yet.

So there's my assessment of the Reds keeper options heading into the 2011 season. Agree? Disagree? Would love some feedback. Also, feel free to use the "share" options to help spread the word about COSFBA.


  1. Do you think that the Reds brass is regretting the Volquez for Hamilton trade that was made a couple of years ago? Imagine a Reds lineup with Votto and Hamilton. Hamilton won the AL MVP this year while Votto won the NL MVP. I realize that hindsight is 20/20 but do you think that Volquez will ever be a contender for the Cy Young?

  2. I'm sure on some level there is regret but how regretful can an organization be that's just been to the playoffs for the first time since 1995?
    Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs give the Reds a great start a building a formidable outfield for years to come.

  3. Hearing talk that Dusty Baker prefers to keep Chapman in the pen to start 2011. Seriously diminishes his fantasy value in standard 5x5 leagues but still valuable in leagues with Holds and/or K/9 scoring categories.