Upside, Downside, and Everything in Between

15 05 2009

I play in a fantasy baseball keeper league where the first three rounds of draft picks cannot be kept.  As a result, early fourth round picks are very valuable, since they’re the first players available to be kept.  Keepers can span four years, so if you draft someone after the third round, or add him off waivers, you can keep him up to three times.  Most people use these early picks on high-upside players, who might not immediately put up great numbers, but are likely to contribute down the road.  I chose a slightly different tactic, making a somewhat safe pick, that may have much more upside than anyone thought.

Here are the first four picks in the fourth round: Matt Wieters, Justin Upton, Adam Wainright, Howie Kendrick.  Wainright is a starting pitchers, and his selection is a violation of the Kawasaki Konjecture (which, incidentally, applies to keepers) and his early numbers are not so impressive (4.35 ERA, 1.57 WHIP).  The other three are unestablished prospects; Upton and Kendrick each played about 100 games last year, while Wieters has yet to reach the major leagues.  All three could be great, but their selections beg one big question: how the hell did Joe Mauer slip to me with the next pick?

Mauer, 25, also a huge prospect a couple years back, had two years’ experience, one season was mediocre, the other was very good.  He had a mild injury and was expected to miss some time, but given his keeper eligiblity, it was a very easy selection.  Now, it turns out that Mauer may have much more upside than anyone imagined; through his first 12 games he has four homeruns; last year he hit nine in 146 games.  It’s a small sample set, but so far Mauer’s looking better than any Wieters owner could ever hope for.

One more note: I’ll let the manager who drafted Upton off the hook.  Not only is Upton looking really good, the managers had already kept a catcher, Geovany Soto.  If your keeping score on catchers, Mauer OPS: 1.343, Soto OPS 0.561, Wieters OPS 0 (has yet to play a game).

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2 responses

19 05 2009
jordanho

in general, i agree. Mauer should’ve really been drafted by the owner to drafted Wieters. That said, the injury to Mauer was so uncertain that normally, he would’ve been drafted in the non-keeper rounds and instead fell to the keepers. He was actually my top pick to keep (i drafted right after the guy who took kendrick, who i also wanted) as the round played out. Instead, I ended up with Nelson Cruz. Looking back… the same argument could’ve been made for Ryan Zimmerman… drafted even later in that round.

26 05 2009
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Joe Mauer « you like a da juice?

[…] to the plate with the bases loaded, two outs, and the Twins up 12-0 in the 6th inning.  Mauer, my uber-keeper, had a chance to boost my fantasy team considerably, without doing any real damage to my actual […]

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