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The Keeper Corner: 2015 #300-279

Reflection and Projection for Keeper and Dynasty Leagues

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

This season I entered my first dynasty league.  Prior to the draft, I created values for 300 hitters and 200 pitchers.  I blended projections from Steamer, ESPN, and ZiPS.  Then used those numbers to create values for the players, the values are more important than the actual projection because they gave me my rankings.  I'm not going to bore you with the players from 500-301 players since the majority of them were given low projections based on playing time issues.  For example, this was my Byron Buxton projection:

#474               155AB, 17 R, 5HR, 25 RBI, 7 SB, .258 AVG, .778 OPS

I don't know what the fine men at the above companies used to produce those numbers, but they weren't very valuable, and weren't how I valued Buxton in a keeper league.

With that said, in all leagues, winning should be your top priority.  Whether it be win now, or win in two years.  There has to be a time when you expect to win.  So while I was in a full rebuild, it helped me to have a value set for every player.  This gave me something to reference when proposing trades, or accepting and declining other offers.

So now I will begin the revealing of my previous season rankings, and the preseason projections, along a 2016 outlook.  Since few projections are out yet, I will not be able to give out actual ranks for 2016 yet.  Those 5x5 ranks will likely come out with the rest of the Fake Teams rankers in January.

#300 Brett Cecil, RP, TOR

$-1.15, 72 K, 4 W, 20 SV, 3.462 ERA, 1.354 WHIP, 2.571 K/BB

A terrible start to 2015 tarnished his appeal to the Blue Jays, and fantasy owners.  He quickly lost his status as the closer, and was fantasy dead meat from there on.  Cecil actually outperformed his ERA, WHIP, K/BB, and W projection, and was 2 K's short of his projection.  Without saves, he was mostly ignored.

Next season I expect him to return to his set up role with the Blue Jays, and the way teams like to avoid having a lefty closer, I'd imagine he stays there unless injuries pave a way to the closer promise land.  With that said, he was a better real life player than fantasy, and was an excellent reliever last season.

#299 Danny Farquhar, RP, SEA

$-1.12, 65 IP, 78K, 3 W, 2 SV, 2.908 ERA, 1.154 WHIP, 3.391 K/BB

Had a terrible year, missing all of those projections.  His 2016 outlook is that he should be avoided unless you are in a 20+ team league.

#298 T.J House, SP/RP, CLE

$-1.09, 147K, 12W, 3.697 ERA, 1.346 WHIP, 2.371 K/BB

T.J. House is the first sleeper that I had interest in this season.  Following the 2014 season he was in the top third of all pitchers in K/9 and BB/9 with over 100 IP.  Those combined, along with the magic powers of Mickey Callaway spelled breakout to me.  Then he proceeded to get hurt, and only pitch 13 innings in 4 relief appearances.  House was blasted in that small sample, and will slip out of my top 300 in 2016.  That said, he has the opportunity to be a nice cheap arm for your staff if he is starting again next season.  He is presently pitching in the Arizona Fall League.

#297, Wade Miley, SP, BOS

$-1.05, 169K, 13W, 3.838 ERA, 1.371 WHIP, 2.38 K/BB

He fell short of all 5 projected totals.  Next season I expect the Red Sox offense to not be a flaming train wreck, so I expect him and the entire Red Sox staff to have more wins next season.  As far as the rest of his game, I am not excited or attached to Miley.  His pitches don't have the velocity or movement that would allow him to be successful, and he doesn't have the command to make the mediocre stuff work either.  He's developing into a back end innings eater for real baseball and a total dud in fantasy.

#296, Jed Lowrie, SS, HOU

$-1.02, 53 R, 11 HR, 62 RBI, 1SB, .271 AVG, .746 OPS

I have mixed emotions on the Lowrie projection.  I've rode many a Jed Lowrie hot streak, and he's always shown a knack for hitting despite his long and unusual injury streak.  This season he dealt with more injury woes, and with that the MLB birth of Carlos Correa, one of my favorite players.

When Lowrie was on the field he produced.  In 69 games, he hit 9 homers, scored 35 R and had 30 RBI.  His terrible .233 babip led to a poor .222 BA, and a .712 OPS.  If his babip goes to .280 I expect another solid year with some bumps and bruises felt along the way.  He's not a good starter to rely on, but is always a great backup when called upon.

#295, LaTroy Hawkins, RP, COL

$-0.87, 36K, 3W, 29SV, 3.6 ERA, 1.367 WHIP, 2.571 K/BB

Hawkins had a fine final season of his career and helped the Blue Jays reach the playoffs.  He outperformed his projections but more or less was support for other fantasy players, whether that be the closer behind him or the protecting the win for a starter.  He is set to retire.

#294, Shelby Miller, SP, ATL

$-0.79, 171K, 10W, 3.871 ERA, 1.285 WHIP, 2.375

Shelby Miller, 2015's #1 reason why all leagues should shift from W to QS.  Miller either matched or exceeded all of his projections, besides his win total where he only accomplished exited victorious 6 times.  I will always campaign to end the win's use in fantasy, and this is just another reason.  I'd invest in Miller as a reliable mid rotation guy going forward with upside for more.

#293, Danny Santana, SS/OF, MIN

$-0.76, 77R, 6HR, 40 RBI, 22SB, .269AVG, .693 OPS

One of my first articles at Faketeams was about avoiding Santana at all costs, almost entirely due to babip and batted ball issues.  He lost his job as a starter this season, and only played 91.  I have no interest in a player who just posted a 2.2BB% going forward.

#292, Asdrubal Cabrera, TB, SS/2B

$-0.55, 61R, 12HR, 70 RBI, 10SB, .254AVG, .718OPS

Quietly posted a decent offensive, his 15 homers made him the 6th most powerful SS, and he had the 7th best AVG along with 6 SB.

He becomes a free agent this offseason, and with most parks being a better hitting environment than Tropicana Field, Asdrubal might be a sneaky power play for a fantasy team that puts SS off at next years draft.

#291 Brandon Phillips, 2B, CIN

$-0.51, 68R, 13 HR, 62 RBI, 5SB, .265AVG, .699 OPS

He was one homer short of beating all of his projections.  A nice bump in his babip helped him up, but it wasn't enough to explain his season being far better than expected.  Also, a higher babip is well earned when you have the highest line drive rate of your career.  Swiped 23 bags, this was the first time he had more than 20 since 2009.  Being 34 next season won't help, but production is production.  I won't own him, but if you are a contender, I see little reason to not take a gamble next year very late.  He'll be cheap.

#290 Clay Buchholz, SP, BOS

$-0.46, 141K, 11W, 4.123 ERA, 1.296 WHIP, 2.66 K/BB

Buchholz fell short of his win and K totals, but beat all of his ratio projections.  This is due to him missing a large chunk of the season with injuries, and only pitched 113 innings.  While on the mound, he pitched well.  His 8.5 K/9 and his 1.83 BB/9 were strong season totals.  At this point, its clear that you cannot predict his innings from year to year.  Steamer has generously given him a 201 IP projection, which would be a career high.  In the past 7 seasons he has had 4 seasons with under 100 innings pitched, and 3 with over 170IP.  He's a high risk high reward back end arm.

#289 R.A. Dickey, SP, TOR

$-0.44, 170K, 13 W, 4.042 ERA, 1.292 WHIP, 2.329 K/BB

Dickey had a strong second half, and even with that second half, he still barely edged out his ERA and WHIP projections.  Everything else he fell short of accomplishing, and the drop in his K/9 to below 6 is disturbing.  Add in that he'll be 41 years old, and I can't invest in him despite a likely departure from the Toronto Blue Jays.

#288 Henderson Alvarez, SP, MIA

$-0.41, 108 K, 11 W, 3.844 ERA, 1.271 WHIP, 2.571 K/BB

Missed the majority of the season with a shoulder injury.  Had surgery midseason.  Need to see him in spring training.

#287 Junichi Tazawa, RP, BOS

$-0.23, 69K, 4W, 1 SV, 2.908 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 4.313 K/BB

Predictions on saves and wins for relievers are a crapshoot, but Tazawa was given the chance to get saves after the Uehara injury, and told the Red Sox that he did not like closing.  Tazawa fell short of reaching his ERA and WHIP prediction and matched his strong K/BB prediction.  Declining to be a closer is a huge red flag for me, but his peripheral numbers show he is a strong reliever.  Also, a .349 babip was the worst of his career, and does not reflect him limiting line drives to a career low 19.3% while having his best career fly ball, ground ball, and infield fly ball percentages.  Any reliever who doesn't want to be a closer is hard to own, but in exceptionally deep leagues, he is capable of providing value without getting saves.

#286 Angel Pagan, OF, SF

$-0.19, 35R, 5 HR, 66 RBI, 18 SB, .283 AVG, .730 OPS

Played more than expected, and fell short of every prediction.  I'm one of the few to say this, but I really just want Nori Aoki to take over center, so Mac Williamson can get a shot. #FreeMac

#285 Rajai Davis, OF, DET

$-0.14, 37R, 6HR, 56RBI, 39 SB, .268 AVG, .692 OPS

Age has set in.  Rajai is still a speedy guy, but the days of him single handedly winning SB in a matchup are gone.  He actually was not the usual lefty masher he was in years past either.  Just the Tigers 4th outfielder going forward.

#284 Justin Smoak, 1B, TOR

$-0.08, 58 R, 19 HR, 52 RBI, 0 SB, .252 AVG, .775 OPS

Fell short of all of those projections.  The move to TOR enticed me hoping his strong hard hit rates of the past would work out in Toronto. Even when predicting he would be a negative producer, I know I gave him too much credit.  Don't invest going forward.

#283 Kennys Vargas, DH, MIN

$-0.08, 71R, 19HR, 57 RBI, 0 SB, .249 AVG, .730 OPS

Started the year in the Majors and played his way to AAA, and then struggled into AA.  Found some semblance of a stroke from there, and moved forward to play 11 MLB games at the end of the year.  Vargas raked as he always has while in the minors.  As an owner, I hope that he transitions his success from the minors to the majors in 2016.

#282 James Loney, 1B, TB

$-0.07, 62R, 9 HR, 52 RBI, 3 SB, .286 AVG, .715 OPS

Loney broke a finger and fell short of his predictions.  He's the same low power, high contact player.  I don't like him.

#281 Michael Morse, 1B/OF, MIA

$-0.01 57R, 15 HR, 52 RBI, 0 SB, .267 AVG, .777 OPS

Morse missed time with a finger injury, and was generally terrible as a Marlin.  He eventually was pushed to the bench and didn't find any sort of stroke until he was dealt to the Pirates.  It doesn't seem likely his production as a Pirate continues, but the move out of Miami had to help.

#280 Mike Minor, SP, ATL

$0.00 140K, 8 W, 0 SV, 4.034 ERA, 1.282 WHIP, 2.917 K/BB

Long story short, the Braves were terrible and so was Mike Minor.  He's a low end starter who lacks a high ceiling.

#279 Mark Teixeira, 1B, NYY

$0.00, 70 R, 22HR, 60 RBI, 1SB, .234 AVG, .746 OPS

Absolutely crushed my projections, and did it in fewer games than expected.  The best part about this is he managed it with an absolutely putrid babip, courtesy of his lowered K rate (more balls in play).  Also as a result of him putting more balls in play he made hard contact at a 35.3% rate, something in line with what he did as a Ranger.  Pairing that with Yankee Stadium resulted in a career high HR/FB rate.  23% will be hard to duplicate, but a few points shaved off of his HR/FB, and a few more games in field can result in another all power, low average season.  A key to his improved season was that he posted the third best walk rate of his career, hopefully he can replicate that next season.  Even with 30 homers, he was only an average 1B in fantasy.

With that you have every every player from #300 until you start hitting positive value.  I'll be posting about players from my ranks all offseason.  If you have any questions about rankings feel free to comment below or shoot me a question on twitter!