It has been a long season, and hopefully you found Future Considerations to be useful resource for domination of your keeper/dynasty baseball leagues this year. During the past two weeks, we have rolled out our preliminary offseason rankings. These will be updated during the offseason based on player movement, injuries, etc. Last week, we ranked the hitters, but there are a few amendments to those. Wil Myers, one of the most hyped prospects of the year, will slot in at No. 16 overall for outfielders, behind Carlos Gomez and right in front of Austin Jackson. Myers has the upside to be a Fantasy force and we have gotten a glimpse of that potential this season. He can be a Top 10 OF option in keeper/dynasty leagues as soon as 2014. Matt Davidson ranks as the No. 16 3B for long-term formats with the potential to be an everyday starter for the Diamondbacks next year. He may not possess elite upside, but he has an underrated bat that could see him produce big numbers hitting in the middle of Arizona’s order. In unfortunate injury news, Manny Machado suffered a potentially severe leg injury on Monday night. The 22-year-old was developing into one of the most sought after players in Fantasy baseball, but keep an eye on the details of his health this offseason. With that out of the way, it is time to get ready for the offseason.
The winter can be a lonely time for baseball fans, but keeper and dynasty leagues offer year-round action and excitement. The offseason is a chance to improve your team via trade and through the minor league draft (should your league have one). Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Build your 2014 roster around elite talent. In keeper leagues, take quality over quantity and try to stack top tier players such as Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Robinson Cano. Even if you have to overpay in trade, get as many building block players on your roster as you can. You can always add depth through the draft or via trade, but young studs are increasingly difficult to trade for in most long-term leagues. One elite talent that you may want to go after is Giancarlo Stanton. The Marlins slugger did not live up to the hype this year, and his price tag could be down from where it was last winter. He is a legitimate 50 HR threat and could realize his vast potential as soon as next season. Similar advice regarding top talent applies in dynasty leagues, although with less roster turnover there is more of an emphasis on depth. Still, blue chip players in or approaching their prime are the foundation of a long-lasting dynasty
2. Now is the time to make moves. If you play in a keeper league with limited slots, it is important to make the most of your selections. Instead of cutting Julio Teheran and Desmond Jennings because you do not have the room to keep them, look to make a few trades. Giving up quantity to a team that has less than desirable keeper choices could net you a foundation talent. For those teams that are lacking talent and depth, now is the time to acquire it by picking up the leftovers of other teams. It is the season of move making and if you want to contend in 2014 and beyond you need to be an active participant.
3. Minimize risks. Do not take risks on unproven players unless they are elite talents like the aforementioned Giancarlo Stanton. The other risk you should take is buying on a player like Chris Davis, who obviously over-achieved this year. While he did play over his head all around, he is still a very talented player and should be a legitimate power anchor for your squad. Much like Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Gomez last offseason, Davis is not a one-year wonder and should be a borderline elite option in 2014. Plus, if his owner views him as unlikely to repeat his 2013 performance, you may get a slight discount. The more keepers you can protect, the more risks you can take on high upside prospects. For example, Oscar Taveras and Taijuan Walker could absolutely be worth considering as keepers, but only if you are able to keep more than five players per team. Be in tune with top prospects and their values, but building your roster around them is risky business.
4. Do not shy away from older players. This is a situational rule and by no means etched in stone. Unlike the attrition level of football players, the shelf life of baseball players tends to be significantly longer. While players over 30 are typically viewed as declining talents, they are the exact types of difference makers that can help bridge the gap to your unproven young talent. The added bonus is that you can likely grab older players at a discounted price because of the perceived drop in production that comes with age. You do not want a full roster of blue hairs, but a few key contributors can go a long way to keeping you in contention.
5. Do not overvalue pitching. Jose Fernandez is one of the most exciting keeper/dynasty prospects to come along since Felix Hernandez. He certainly looks the part of a future ace and may turn out to be an ace for the next decade, but you cannot ignore the injury risks of starting pitching. Especially young starting pitching. I am not suggesting you trade Fernandez unless you get a king’s bounty, just be sure not to bank too much of your keeper efforts on the pitching side of things. You can always find pitching during the season; your core strategy should be focused on stacking offensive talent. Only dedicate 10-20 percent of your keeper slots to starting pitching.
That is going to do it for this season of Future Considerations, may your offseason be full of trades and tracking prospects. Good luck!
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