Keepers are almost locked in with only 15 players left to be designated as kept with a mere 5 hours and change until the deadline, let’s take a look at our most recent submissions from the two participants in the trade market, one from a guy who overpayed and another from a guy who underpaid in acquiring keepers.
Frenchy: Carlos Gonzalez, Adrian Gonzalez, Hunter Pence, Michael Brantley, Stephen Strasburg
On the bright side, Frenchy is leading the league in Gonzalez. He got there at a significant cost, though. While I’ve documented my qualms with Frenchy’s trade and how it will weaken his draft, I’d also like to point out that he had some additional suitable potential keepers in Pablo Sandoval and Carlos Sanata that beg the question of whether or not a trade for a keeper was even necessary in the first place. Regardless, if we’re simply looking at the players kept and judging them, I think Frenchy did pretty well for himself.
When healthy, Carlos Gonzalez is among the best players in the league. Down on many draft sheets this year due to a rocky 2014, a bounceback year is exceedingly possible. While Pence is likely to miss the first month of the season with his recent forearm fracture, he’s still a solid stat filler worthy of keeping to roam alongside Gonzalez in the outfield who should be healthy for the bulk of the 2015 campaign. While his homerun totals are down from his absolute prime in 2008-2011 when he made four consecutive All-Star teams, Adrian Gonzalez is still a lock for 20+ homeruns and close to 100 RBI. With Pence as the meat in a Gonzalez sandwich, Frenchy has three consistent and productive offensive players. Joined by Strasburg, who after entering the big leagues with a ton of hype has quietly lived up to his potential and then some, Frenchy has one of the better top 4 keeper crops in the league.
In Brantley Frenchy has kept more of a wild card. His cumulative statistics were a bit of an outlier last season. His .327 batting average far exceeded his career .289 mark, his 20 homeruns doubled his previous career best of 10, his 97 RBI were 24 greater than his previous best of 73. Having said that, his peripheral statistics were largely consistent with his career averages save a modest increase in batting average on balls in play (.333 vs .311 career) and HR/Flyball Percentage (7.2% vs a 4.2% career mark). At 27, this is the time in a players career when he presumably should see statistical improvement so I’m not certain last year’s production is as much of an outlier as it may seem. Similar statistics at years end would not be shocking at all although I’d be surprised to see significant improvement.
All in all, good keepers by Frenchy but at a significant cost.
A1: Albert Pujols, Matt Kemp, Josh Donaldson, Jordan Zimmerman, Zack Wheeler
A1 had some tough keeper decisions to make but looks like he made the most of them. My thoughts on the trade for Zimmerman have already been shared, but A1 did well to add a top 50 player for a limited cost. This is the type of trade Frenchy should have been close to making for AIDS Gonzalez once the market was already set. Zimmerman isn’t the guy you want as the crown jewel of your pitching staff, but you could do far worse for a 2nd or 3rd starting pitcher. Zack Wheeler fits a similar mold. His sub 4.00 ERA and impressive K/9 make him a viable keeper with plenty of potential to contribute in a positive way, but he needs to get his WHIP (1.33 in 2014) under control in order to be a true asset.
Offensively A1 keeps an interesting mix of players that, if healthy, can be very solid. Albert Pujols enjoyed a bounceback season in 2014 after an outlier 2013 that saw him choke on the huge contract he signed with the Angels. While I don’t anticipate that Pujols will return to the lofty status that he enjoyed during his decade long heyday in the early 2000’s, he should be a lock for 20+ homeruns and close to if not more than 100 RBI. Donaldson backed up a spectacular 2013 with a slightly lesser 2014 campaign. His strikeout numbers went up and his batting average and on base percentage dipped, however, his counting statistics were relatively unaffected. You can blame his decline in ratios on a batting average on balls in play that dropped nearly 50 points and settled almost 30 below the league average. The fact is, Donaldson hit into some tough luck last season and he’s marked for slight improvement this year. Finally, in Matt Kemp A1 keeps on of the leagues most frustrating players. Kemp is often injured and, even when healthy, hasn’t flashed the talent that should have made him MVP in 2011 since that season. While he played close to a full season in 2014 the physical wear and tear on his body reduced his effectiveness. Having said that, without other viable options on the roster and a trade already in the books, A1 made the most of his keeper situation with a player who can be a top 25 outfielder assuming he can remain between the lines.
So we’re almost done, three stragglers left to declare. Here’s are tally thus far:
The gray, bald, and elderly are on the clock.