I get questions all the time about folks being in keeper leagues. There’s a whole host of questions, baseline kinda stuff, that needs to be addressed before any rendering of a decision on a trade can be given. How big is your league? How many roster spots do you have? What is the starting lineup in your league? Who is already on your team? Who are you thinking about keeping? How many players do you keep? Are there any costs associated with the players, either round or dollar amounts? There are others of course, including the main topic of this article, but before we get to the thrust of this piece, let’s dive into just what type of league you are in.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A KEEPER AND DYNASTY LEAGUE?
Let’s clear this one up right at the start.
I know that everyone likes to sound cool, so everyone thinks/says that they are in a dynasty league. My guess is that less than 10 percent of you actually are.
A DYNASTY LEAGUE MEANS YOU KEEEP YOUR WHOLE ROSTER.
If you don’t keep your whole roster, then you’re in a Keeper League.
So, again, you’re all in keeper leagues.
‘But Ray, we keep 10-15 guys.’
You either keep your whole roster (Dynasty League) or you’re in a Keeper League.
Let’s move on.
THE SETUP MATTERS
Take a look at the questions that I noted in the intro, and realize just how relevant that answers are to your question about what moves to make with your team. I frequently get questions that say something like ‘I’m in a keeper league, keep five, should I hold Cole Hamels or Matt Carpenter.’ Hopefully, you can see just how difficult it is to answer a question like this. What is the context of the question? League type (pts., h2h, roto), league size, keepers allowed, all of that matters. It also matters, to a great level, who else are you keeping. If you already have Gerrit Cole and Noah Syndergaard on your squad, are you really gonna keep Hamels? The answer to that is obviously no. Speaking of Carpenter, he’s very boring if you’re in a batting average league, but, if you’re in an OBP league, his value increases. See how important the context can be? It’s everything really, so understand that when you present me a question seeking advise I need all the data to help answer the question properly. Moreover, you need to factor in, well, all the factors as you make your personal decision on how to run your league, and your team.
*NOTE that I spent 30 minutes breaking a lot of this down in the preseason podcast titled: Building a Keeper League Winner. The podcast discusses the above and also breaks down some ways to actually construct your league – skills to target, how to handle players value from year to year including inflation etc.
NOTE II: Take a listen to How Should You View A Players Age for more on setting up a roster.
HOW LONG WILL YOU ACTUALLY BE IN THIS LEAGUE?
I asked a pretty simple question on twitter, and here is the response to – If you’re in a keeper league, how far into the future do you look when making rules?
First off, let’s admit that there really isn’t enough detail here. That’s what you get when you’re asking a question on Twitter (it’s why using our chatroom for questions and answers is such a good idea). Remember above, where I talked about context? Clearly there is very little in this question, and I just wanted to be up front about that.
As for the respondent’s answers, I was really heartened by the responses.
I loved how a quarter of you said you worry about this season. I believe that’s the best way to play. More on that in a moment.
Forty-four percent of folks said they have an eye toward next year, which I think is the second-best answer, so good work all.
That’s 69 percent, or more than 2/3 of respondents, who said they are focusing on this, or the coming season. This is the happy zone for me. More on that in a moment.
Twenty-nine percent said they look 2-3 years in advance, with a stubborn two percent looking four years or longer out.
Here’s why I’m sure looking for years out is too much, and why even 2-3 years might be too long.
The first point to face is a simple one – will you even be in this league next year?
Before you say of course, really think about it.
Maybe you won’t have any time next year because you got a new job?
Maybe you won’t have any time next year because you met a significant other?
Maybe you won’t have any time next year because you’re planning on traveling?
Maybe you won’t have any time next year because you just got introduced to disc golf, and you love it?
Maybe you will decide to cut down your league total from the nine you are in now to a more manageable four next season, and this keeper league is the one that will go?
Maybe, just maybe, there will be a late season dump trade that ticks you off to no end. You know, one of those I’ll give you Christian Yelich who can’t be kept for Yoan Moncada (17th round keeper) and Austin Meadows (28th round keeper) type of deals. You’ll get pissed since the team that’s currently in second, one spot behind your first-place team, just added the best hitter in baseball and over the final two months Yelich takes the team to a title. Of course, the guy let go of his two best keeper pieces, but in order to get Yelich, to win this year, he did the deal (Flags Fly Forever). Will you quite because it was a terrible trade that robbed you of the win?
Perhaps the league will disband. Two of the guys will decide that their personal life is just to hectic with new kids just popped out into the universe, one guy will quit because he really hasn’t paid much attention in years anyway, and the lady in your league has to pass on playing since she got a promotion at work that will send her across the ocean to Sweden. Are you going to be able to find four folks to replace those four departures? Will the remaining league members even want to stay in the league given that your 10-team league was made up of a bunch of college friends, and now that 40 percent of the league is quitting, perhaps its just a natural break point to do other things with your time?
Maybe 3-of-10 folks turn sour puss, decide they ain’t putting their $50 in, so the winners have to take a smaller victory lap than what was agreed on, and that experience forces folks to leave the league?
I haven’t even spoken about player performance yet, have I?
Maybe you built your team around Jose Ramirez, Jesus Aguilar, Miguel Andujar, Aaron Nola and James Paxton, and you realize that your keepers next year aren’t going to be very good, so you decide to leave since you have no real shot of competing.
Maybe your top-2 arms were Luis Severino and Corey Kluber, and your rookie keeper was Forrest Whitley who has looked like dog s – – t this year. Seems like all hope might be lost for your pitching staff, so do you stay in the league, or just move on?
Maybe your minor league keeper was Michael Kopech, and he blew out his arm throwing his future into doubt?
Maybe your keeper rules dictate that you’re going to lose 4-of-5 keepers from last season. Maybe you should have been more aggressive and dealt, but you kept thinking that if you kept the team together that the boys would rebound. They didn’t, you finished out of the money in fourth place, and now you’re in full rebound mode. What’s your appetite for that?
As you can see, perhaps you should be focusing more directly on today since your league might not even have a tomorrow, because as they say, tomorrow is promised to no one.
Further, as mentioned above, Flags Fly Forever. Who remembers/cares who came in second? About the only person that does is the person who came in second. If you have the chance to win a keeper league, why wouldn’t you go for it? Think of it. You’ve failed to place for the last seven years, and you head into the final eight weeks of the season in fourth place. Why shouldn’t you trade a part of the future for today?
So, go ahead and keep an eye on tomorrow, that’s smart, but make sure you sprinkle in some common sense too. If you’re always looking ahead, you might miss what’s right in front of you.