Keeper League, After Week 1

Week 1 came and went, and I saw a 6-5-1 start that could have gone anywhere from 5-7 to 9-3 on Sunday.

I made a couple lineup changes. First of all, I had to plunk Harvey and Chapman on the DL, so I picked up setup men to replace them in my lineup. My normal roster leaves me with everyday position players, 2 setup men, 3 closers, and starting pitching the rest of way, including occupying both bench spots. Right now, I’m stashing Alex Guerrero, so that has me down to one extra SP.

Ironically, one of the setup men I picked up was K-Rod. Then he turned into a closer. Which is great, maybe, but sort of jacks my whole idea of having two reliable setup guys. Holds are a fickle category, even moreso than saves – it’s a hard category to win without two reliable guys, unless I’m up against someone who’s largely punting holds. I picked up Sergio Santos to replace Chapman with my final draft pick, so now I’m set with 4 closers and one on the DL. Eventually, Santos will hopefully make a reliable setup option, but I might be forced into an odd decision when Chapman comes off the DL; I really doubt that K-Rod will have trade value in a league where saves and holds have equal value.

My Week 2 Roster looks like:
C – Buster Posey
1B – Prince Fielder
2B – Dustin Pedrioa
3B – Pedro Alvarez
SS – Everth Cabrera
1B/3B – Chris Davis
2B/SS – Dustin Ackley
OF x5 – Starling Marte / Austin Jackson / Nori Aoki / Khris Davis / Carl Crawford
UTIL – Emilio Bonifacio

SP x6 – David Price / Shelby Miller / Corey Kluber / Zack Wheeler / Tyson Ross / Alex Wood
RP x3 (closers) – Craig Kimbrel / Ernesto Frieri / Francisco Rodriguez
P x2 (closer/setup) – Sergio Santos / Luke Gregerson
DL x2 – Matt Harvey

No real major changes other than dropping James Loney for Emilio Bonifacio. That was a no-brainer for two reasons – first, I never liked Loney much to begin with; second, I like to ride the hot hand with my UTIL spot. My personal choice is to avoid DH-only players like Victor Martinez or Billy Butler because they cramp roster flexibility by cementing my UTIL spot. When Bonifacio cools off, I’ll drop him for another hot hand. Similarly, Ackley is a place-holder until Guerrero gets his call-up later this season; although, to be fair, Ackley looks good so far in a legitimate way.

Otherwise, I’m pretty happy with my lineup. My major concern after one week was a low number of home runs, but that will go up and down. I came out pretty steady on .AVG and .OPS, both of which are scored categories. I also ended up with a lot of speed, even without Marte or Cabrera contributing steals. My only concern going forward might be my perpetual annual concern – too much top-of-the-lineup speed contributing runs and steals, not enough middle-of-the-order power contributing HRs and RBIs. We’ll see. I’m banking heavily on major power coming from Chris Davis, Fielder, Alvarez, and Posey – any week where two or three of them slump a bit and no one else in the lineup (like Austin Jackson or Khris Davis) pick up the slack might see me lose those categories, as I did this week. Khris Davis’s cold start was a little concerning, so it was highly encouraging to see him bounce back with multi-hit games after he got a day off.

People in this league do lots of different things with pitching; I try to cover all categories – my goal is always to have the potential to go 12-0-0 in a given week, so I go after holds and saves. Some guys punt saves or holds completely. I know one guy picks up 3 set-up men for his RPs, and fills everything else with SP. Other guys punt saves and pick up 4-5 setup men. I’m hamstrung slightly right now, with Guerrero occupying a bench spot I’d normally fill with a seventh SP. Likewise, I’m holding 4 closers right now. I rotated a couple different guys through that single setup spot until deciding today on Luke Gregerson, who I’ve always been a fan of. I’ll feel more comfortable when Chapman comes off the DL and I make final decisions on how my relief options will pan out; ideally, by then, the Brewers will have settled on whether or not K-Rod or Henderson will be a long-term closer this season (given the choice, exclusively as setup men, I’d prefer K-Rod to Santos).

It’s too early to be worried about any starting pitching; Corey Kluber’s outing was discouraging, though. I’m confident in a bounce-back, though, and otherwise I’m pretty confident in my starters. I imagine some of them – Ross, particularly – might find their way out of the lineup eventually, but for now, it’s way too early to jump ship for someone else who put up a remarkable first start. I will feel better about my pitching once I can pick up that seventh starter, though; but Guerrero’s potential is too high to ignore – an 18th-round pick who could potentially produce 20 HRs from the 2B spot is, well, worth stashing for now.

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