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A First Look at 2012 Keepers
- Updated: August 20, 2011
For some fantasy baseball GM’s, the quest for the 2012 championship has already begun.
For others, 2011 is still within grasp and every effort is being made to win it all this year.
If you are in a keeper league it is a great advantage to know when this season is out of reach so that you can start building towards next season, and the 2011 contenders will likely be your best trade partners.
Whether you are trading or scouring the waiver wire there are a number of strategies to building your keepers for 2012. Most websites and blogs concentrate heavily on rookies and young players. While players like Desmond Jennings, Brandon Belt, and Bryce Harper may someday be 1st round commodities they also carry a huge risk of complete failure. If you don’t believe me consider names like Cameron Maybin, Brandon Wood, Gordon Beckham, Jeremy Hermida, Lastings Milledge, Casey Kotchman, Andy Marte….frankly the list could go on and on.
An alternative, and safer, strategy is to target players that were low dollar fill-in players in your auction draft or late-round picks in your snake draft. These players may not carry the breakout potential that rookies carry but they do offer almost guaranteed profit for your investment. Today I’ll give some examples of starting pitchers to target as keepers for the 2012 season.
- James Shields (TB) – Reason # 5,137,649 why you don’t blow your budget or early draft picks on starting pitchers. Shields is also the poster boy for following skills rather than results. Shields’ horrible 2010 stats hid an elite skill set and he has maintained those skills (8.6 K/9, 3.64 K/BB) this season. The difference has been a complete reversal of his unfortunate BABIP and LOB% from 2010. Shields’ true numbers lie somewhere between 2010 and 2011 but his bargain 2011 price makes him an attractive keeper option for 2012.
- Gio Gonzalez (OAK) – Gonzalez actually had good surface stats for 2010 but his drop in K’s and a high LOB% made people apprehensive about a repeat for 2011. A look behind his numbers shows Gonzalez cut a full point off of his BB/9 last year and in 2011 he has kept his BB% low while dialing the K’s back up for a nice 2.15 K/BB Ratio. With a high groundball rate and a pitcher friendly ballpark Gonzalez should return nice 2012 value.
- Ian Kennedy (ARI) – Kennedy made for a speculative bid at best in 2011 drafts and auctions. When manager Kirk Gibson named Kennedy his opening day starter I though he had lost his mind….or that he saw something very promising. Kennedy has not failed to impress. He already has 3 more wins than he had in all of 2010, his K% has stayed strong, and he has lowered his B% almost a full point to give him a terrific 3.18 K/BB Ratio. Arizona has a real shot to make the playoffs this year which means Kennedy has plenty of opportunities left for wins, making him a great play for 2011 and a fantastic 2012 keeper.
- Daniel Hudson (ARI) – It’s no wonder Arizona is doing so well this year with both Kennedy and Hudson appearing in my top-5 2012 SP keeper list. Hudson technically qualifies as one of “those young players” but he already has an impressive track record. A strong 7.07 K%, an elite 3.48 K/BB Ratio, and a rapidly rising groundball rate make Hudson a great commodity to own for 2011 and, once again, his pre-draft value leaves enough room for solid profit as a 2012 keeper.
- Matt Garza (CHC) – Garza has finally brought his ERA beneath 4.00 and his skills say he can go even lower. Garza has dialed his K% up to over a batter per inning, and while he has issued a few more walks he has also increased his K/BB Ratio to a career-high 2.77. More impressively, his groundball rate has jumped to a career-high 50%! The best part – his LOB% and BABIP% say that he has actually been unlucky this year. I believe Matt Garza will be the James Shields of 2012. Get him before his 2011 value climbs much higher and reap huge dividends in 2012.
That’s all for today. Next time I’ll look at some dynamic keeper value in the infield. Until then, know what season you are playing for and do everything in your power to win it!
Ways to contact me:
My Blog: ChampionRoss.com