Keeper League, After Week 8…

Missed some weeks there, due to some travel and other various life circumstances.  It’s been bad, though.  Just a lineup that’s not coming together – for every good day or stand-out performance I have per week, I have another that swings the pendulum back.  As a result, my team sits at 34-53-9, good for last place in the league.  There’s been some changes since the end of April, including a trade that just concluded this morning.

My Week 9 roster is:
C – Buster Posey
1B – Chris Davis
2B – Dustin Pedrioa
3B – Pedro Alvarez
SS – Everth Cabrera
1B/3B – Garrett Jones
2B/SS – Jed Lowrie
OF x5 – Starling Marte / Austin Jackson / Nori Aoki / Khris Davis / Marlon Byrd
UTIL – Seth Smith
BENCH – Alex Guerrero / Gregory Polanco

SP x5 – Shelby Miller / Corey Kluber / Tyson Ross / Sonny Gray / Marco Estrada
RP x3 – Aroldis Chapman / Ernesto Frieri / Jonathon Broxton
P x2 (starters) – Rick Porcello / Trevor Bauer

DL x2 – Matt Harvey / Prince Fielder

Well, so much for my grand power trio of Prince, Crush Davis, and Pedro Alvarez.  Prince is gone, Crush is having some predictable regression (but remains a good 9th-round value), and Alvarez is being his streaky self.  When one of them is hot this season, the other is not.  I picked up Marlon Byrd and Seth Smith as they started to heat up, so they’ve helped round out the roster lately.  Garrett Jones was thankfully available after Prince hit the DL; he immediately had a multi-homer game for me, and hasn’t had a hit since.  Great.  At that point, I realized this is probably a lost season for me, so I dumped an extra starting pitcher and picked up Gregory Polanco.  At least I know he’ll be up in a couple weeks probably; Guerrero… well, after getting his ear bitten off, who knows.  But if I’m out of it this season, there’s no reason to give up on holding onto a middle infielder with 20HR+ power.  He’s gotta come up sometime this year.

As for pitching, Alex Wood’s shift to the bullpen made him expendable.  Maybe I’ll pick him up again later if he’s not held already, but I noticed that I’m already loaded for young keeper-potential pitching.  With Corey Kluber and Tyson Ross both looking very worthwhile, Wood was expendable anyway; I don’t want to keep too many pitchers.  Chapman came off the DL, and Frieri (sort of) reclaimed his closer job, so that helped solidify my relievers.  I dropped any holds guys until today, when I picked up Broxton, giving me a 1-2 HD/SV punch when Cincinnati wins.  It’s gonna be feast-or-famine for me there for awhile.

The big trade involved pitching.  In this keeper league, you sign your keepers to contracts; once the contract is up, they return to the draft pool.  Two of my expiring contracts were David Price and Craig Kimbrel.  Last week, I floated some bait to my fellow managers – that my expiring contracts were available for keeper depth.  I looked around at which keeper tiers I wanted to shore up, and who might be open to a trade.  I floated a question to a fellow manager I’ve made trades with before – what would he want for Sonny Gray?  He said Price and Kimbrel.  I said done.

I love Sonny Gray.  Really.  I should have kept him last season – I had him at 25th-round value, but elected to keep Shelby Miller instead at 22nd-round value; while both the A’s and Cards are excellent at working with young pitching, I trusted the Cardinals a little more.  I chose poorly; Gray looks like an absolute beast, and Miller has looked a lot like Lance Lynn in his sophomore season.  However, there’s a silver lining here – whoever I kept between Gray and Miller last season, it would have been a 1-year deal.  This season, perhaps not.  My trade partner drafted Gray in the 8th round, so that’s the value I inherit.  It’s very likely that I keep Gray long-term, freeing up all of my earlier picks for big bats.  But this is a lesson for me – I should have trusted what I saw in the postseason.  Miller was relegated to bullpen duty and barely used; Gray was a stand-out, going toe-to-toe with Verlander in the ALDS and looking mighty impressive doing so.

It’s entirely possible this team bounces back; the potential is there.  But a lot of guys will have to get hot all at the same time to do so.  It’s a lineup full of potential, but so far not much else – as I said, for every day that goes right, the next goes bad.  This past week was a perfect example – my Friday was excellent; the bats were electric with 6 HRs, somewhere around 15 Rs and RBIs, and a .450 average.  It had pulled me and my head-to-head opponent to a 6-6 lock.  Then Saturday and Sunday passed, seeing a combined average of about .120, 0 HRs, and about 5 Rs and 2 RBIs combined over both days.  My team sank to 2-7-3.  It didn’t help that another Corey Kluber gem was spoiled by Rick Porcello and David Price both getting blown apart, too.  But that’s just how it goes sometimes.