In this piece, RotoBaller Tyler Petagine examines 2014 keeper candidates at every position, for both deep and shallow leagues. It's an indispensable resource for keeper-league owners faced with end-of season decisions!
2014 Keeper Options
10-team Leagues or Deeper / 14-team Leagues or Deeper
10T: Wilson Ramos (WAS- C) - Ramos was hampered by injury to kick off the season, but has returned with a bang. His solid play has earned him a full-time role for 2014, with most of his damage coming late in the season. It's perfect timing for a player trying to redirect his career.
14T: Evan Gattis (ATL- C, OF) - "El Oso Blanco" can produce magic with the bat-- his main problem this year was opportunity. He started off the season hot, but once starting catcher McCann came of the DL, Gattis struggled to find consistent at-bats. Unfortunately, this is a problem that could well persist going forward, or else he would easily be ranked as a top-10 option.
10T: Brandon Belt (SF- 1B) - The "Baby Giraffe" has produced solid all-around numbers, but his fantasy potential has been neutralized by a weak Giants' offense. Other than Buster Posey, there is very little lineup protection to speak of. However, don't let this prevent you from buying into the hype.
14T: Justin Smoak (SEA- 1B) - As a former 11th overall pick, frustration has overpowered fantasy owners' patience. It is easy to give up hope, but the fire has not been put out yet. The "Smoak" is in the air! 17 home runs while playing half the season in a pitchers' park-- that is not too shabby. No, really, you have to give him another chance: age-27 season is approaching.
10T: Jedd Gyorko (SD- 2B, 3B) - He's not a jerk, people, but that's how his name is pronounced. Well, it's actually Jerk-O-- just like the Jello trademark, except "O" stands for offense. Remember that. The West Virginia product was born to rake, and I'm not talking about leaves, but baseballs. He possesses a Dan Uggla-type profile, while offering good batting average potential.
14T: Jurickson Profar (TEX- 2B, 3B, SS) - The former number one prospect took a major hit in value: he went from being a hype-machine to the Rangers' utility man. You could cut him some slack, as roadblocks have prevented him from becoming a starter. But still, why would a prospect of his caliber not be starting in front of anybody? It just doesn't make any sense, you see. He will not be riding the pine again in 2014, you can bank on that.
10T: Will Middlebrooks (BOS- 3B) - The Red Sox's next big thing is Xander Bogaerts. That is certainly true, except that there is more to the story. Middlebrooks is also a future stud who happened to bump into the traditional sophomore slump. Owners had lost hope early on, but Middlebrooks had a resurgent two-to-three weeks following his second promotion. Just like Boston says "We Believe"-- you have to believe in the young kid. Will Power!
14T: Mike Moustakas (KC- 3B) - The "Moose" has nice upside in the power department-- if you invested a top-13 round pick on him, I can feel your pain. 11 home runs does not exactly cut the cheese, nor does it make you look intelligent. Moustakas should be able to bounce back in 2014, but if not, at least he will have Billy Butler's barbecue sauce to blame.
10T: Billy Hamilton (CIN- SS) - Hamilton is bound to lose his shortstop eligibility, but infielder or not, he is an annual steals machine. There is expectation to become the Reds' everyday center fielder and leadoff man-- and when that day finally comes, he will be valued as a top-50 player overall.
14T: Brad Miller (SEA- 2B, SS)- It is easy to associate his name with an NBA center, but the problem is that he's only 6'2" and not 7'2". Anyway, Miller is an underrated, steady player who does nothing particularly fancy, and lacks the sexy skillset. He does, however, have complete middle-infield eligibility while offering a respectable batting average and productive counting stats.
10T: Starling Marte (PIT- OF) - The Pirates' center fielder of the future has all the goods-- speed, great defense, and a little pop. For fantasy purposes, the large chunk of his value comes from his SB-production. After suffering a wrist injury in mid-August, Marte has been unable to get back to full strength. Nevertheless, in just under 500 at-bats, he delivered his owners gaudy SB numbers (36).
14T: Adam Eaton (ARI- OF) - Eaton was once a scorching hot preseason commodity-- there weren't too many sleeper lists on which you wouldn't find his name. Well, despite over half his season being cut short, his abilities should never be put in doubt-- once he gets settled in over a full season, you are looking at a .280 plus hitter with 90+ R and 25+ SB upside. He's a rich man's Brett Gardner, and is only going to improve.
10T: Tony Cingrani (CIN- SP) - There are question marks regarding his future as a starting pitcher, but his rookie numbers have been nothing short of spectacular. In 18 games started (97.1 IP), Cingrani has recorded 109 strikeouts. If he can see a major increase in workload, 150 strikeouts shouldn't be out of reach. This could be 2014's version of Matt Harvey, and if not, you still have yourself a number three starter.
14T: Chris Archer (TB- SP) - The rookie starter was a fantasy ace for over a month's time, until the rest of the league started to cue in on his tendencies. His late-season struggles are nothing to be concerned about; it's a natural occurrence in a young pitcher's development. This is one of the Rays' aces of the future-- only Matt Moore could be considered a superior option, assuming Price isn't on the roster for long.
10T: Koji Uehara (BOS- RP) - The Japanese import has been a sensation in the Boston bullpen. He is aging at 38 years old, but playing for a full season makes him an elite option. Since taking over the closer role in late June, Uehara has only allowed 10 hits in 38.2 IP! That's simply unhittable, and it translates into a very useful 2014 closer.
14T: Rex Brothers (COL- RP) - Not many people realize his true upside--he might not remain the closer for the long term, but he will produce filthy numbers while he has the r0le. You should not count on 40 plus saves nor an elite WHIP-- but as a tradeoff, Brothers offers a solid ERA and K-Rate.
Bonus- Prospect to Stash
Oscar Taveras (STL- OF) - There is no better stash in keeper leagues. If this stud is sitting on your waiver wire, make no hesitation. He might not take the league away by storm next year, but you could be looking at a top-20 draft pick come 2016. Expect Taveras to receive the same treatment Wil Myers did in 2013-- and his call-up will be equally worth the wait.
To get this article and others like it delivered to your email inbox, sign up for our newsletter. Read the prospect reports for some guys to watch out for, and be sure to check out our daily-updated waiver wire pickup list for some free-agent gems.