I am going to go over two strategies for NL only keeper leagues involving Bryce Harper and Starling Marte. These are moves that can help you for this season and be HUGE for you for the next two or three seasons depending upon your league rules.
In my league, due to many fights over rebuilding trades and how valuable a certain prospect is, we no longer carry a farm system. In fact, no one can draft a prospect. When they get called up that player enters free agency and everyone bids accordingly. Therefore I cannot take advantage of these kind of strategies as I did in my league in past years to very great success with the following strategy.
Bryce Harper is a very unique player and situation and I think if I was in a league where I could draft him I would be loving the fact that Harper was sent down and start the year in the minors. My advice for all of you NL only keeper league owners that can draft minor leaguers is to spend up to $14 to land Bryce Harper in your draft. You might say this is crazy talk to spend $14 on a guy who is not on the opening day roster and no one knows for sure when Harper will arrive to DC. That's a good point but making a risky move at $14 that has the potential for a huge return is much different than spending $30 or more on a very injury plagued player. I believe Harper will be up with the Nats by early to mid June. That still gives you about 100 games for this season. I believe Harper this year will produce like a $20 power bat once he is up. If I take $20 times that by 2/3 of the season not that comes up to a value of $13.33 which I pushed up to $14. In addition depending upon your league rules regrading keepers for future years you could lock up Harper for the next couple of seasons at a way under valued deal. The guys at Baseball America are talking that it's a foregone conclusion Harper will be a 50HR guy. Find the $14 and land Bryce Harper in your draft.
A strategy I use to do before my league changed it's rules was I used to decide who is going to be my last hitter on my active roster. Who will be my 14th hitter? It use to be a good role player who ideally could give me roster flexibility, I felt that was good value. But back in 2007 for my draft I wanted to land my last hitter spot with a top prospect who has excellent chance of being up by early to mid June and get that player for $1 or $2. In 2007 I landed Hunter Pence who if memory serves correct was up in late April or early May. In 2009 I landed Andrew McCutchen who was up that year in late June. After that we changed the rules in my league but if your league allows you to draft prospects then I love this strategy and using it on Starling Marte of the Pirates. Marte has power, he has speed, he had an excellent spring training and he is very close to being ready. Alex Presley could be a nice player but I don't know if he is an everyday player, plus injuries do happen. I expect Marte to be with the Pirates by early to mid June. So wait everyone out in your draft room and either use your last outfield spot or UP on Starling Marte for $1. Marte will give you very good value for the summer and you will have one great keeper at $1. Oh, last point, in the reserve rounds in your draft land that role player as your 14 hitter and after the draft you can activate the role player and have Marte on your bench. I really believe this is an excellent strategy.
Do your homework for draft day.
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NL King - C.Lizza