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2022 Keeper Value Rankings - Shortstop

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Many many years ago, I noticed the managers in my long-time keeper league were consistently making terrible keeper decisions year after year. Instead of taking their money every year, I thought I would help them out and find a good set of Keeper League Rankings to share with them. What I found was quite disturbing.

There appeared to be two types of Keeper Rankings available in the industry: Type A is just the site's normal rankings with younger players boosted. These types of rankings only benefit leagues where all Keepers carry the same cost or no cost, such as Rounds 1-4 for everyone's keepers. I also found a Type B that I have no explanation on how any human could ever perceive to be useful in any type of fantasy format. So instead of pulling a rankings list for them, I sat down on Excel for a good month and the Keeper Value Formula was born.

Keeper Value Rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft pick in order to keep a player into the upcoming season. These rankings are based on Keeper "Values." In the marketing world, Value can be defined as "the extent to which a good or service (player) is perceived by its customer (fantasy owner) to meet his/her needs or wants." The Keeper Values are derived from my Keeper Valuation Formula which accounts for age, player cost (ADP), remaining player pool, past performance, future projections, missed playing time, and even position scarcity.

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JB's Keeper Value System

The final product is a quantitative depiction of a player's ability to meet/exceed fantasy owners' needs based on the cost they paid for the player in the previous season (2021 ADP) and will subsequently pay for in the current season's draft (2022). The higher the score, the higher the return the fantasy owner will receive from the player keeping him at their associated cost. Approaching Keeper selections with this value-based attitude will greatly increase the effectiveness of a fantasy owner's draft in a keeper league.

Whereas the main purpose of the Keeper Value Formula is for customization based on specific leagues and keeper costs, I create these yearly rankings with standard 12 team league data, 2021 ADP, and 23rd Round cost for UDFA just as a baseline to help managers get an idea of their options. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @RowdyRotoJB to check out your specific league's values.

 TIER   SCORE   DESCRIPTION
1 >100 Finders Keepers! These are the Elite Keeper Values. MUST BE KEPT at all costs.
2 75-99 Great Keeper values. Unless you have a full load of Tier 1 players, these guys need to be kept.
3 50-74 You are gaining good value with these players. The majority of good keeper options tend to fall into this category.
4 25-49 Minimal value. The value exists, but not as much as your opponents are likely receiving with their selections. Consider if your options are limited.
5 0-24 Break-even point. Keeping these players will likely hurt your overall draft, as you are not adding enough value. The idea is if you don't use a keeper selection here you can likely still draft that player in the vicinity of their 2021 cost.
6 <0 The associated costs make it impossible to return any value, these players will ruin your draft. Stay far away.

 

2022 Shortstop Keeper Value Rankings

Position Rank Keeper Tier Name Team 2021 ADP Keeper Score
1 1 Fernando Tatis Jr. SDP 1 110.21
2 2 Trea Turner LAD 1 94.36
3 2 Bo Bichette TOR 2 92.17
4 2 Wander Franco TBR 23 86.24
5 2 Marcus Semien TEX 10 80.61
6 2 Bobby Witt Jr. KCR 23 80.48
7 2 Jazz Chisholm Jr. MIA 23 80.10
8 3 Jorge Polanco MIN 20 73.80
9 3 Willy Adames MIL 23 54.32
10 4 Jake Cronenworth SDP 18 48.86
11 4 Luis Urias MIL 23 48.28
12 4 Chris Taylor LAD 21 45.71
13 4 Amed Rosario CLE 23 40.40
14 4 Brendan Rodgers COL 23 38.66
15 4 Tim Anderson CWS 4 33.11
16 4 Carlos Correa FA 11 31.45
17 5 Oneil Cruz PIT 23 24.04
18 5 Javier Baez DET 6 21.69
19 5 Brandon Crawford SFG 23 18.46
20 5 Nicky Lopez KCR 23 9.84
21 5 Josh Rojas ARI 23 8.58

 

Tier One

Any time you have the opportunity to keep a top-three overall player in fantasy, you take it at any cost. When that player is just 23-years-old, you smash the keep button as hard as Fernando Tatis Jr. hits baseballs. Speaking of, no one in the league hits the ball like this guy. He was top-five in all of baseball in 2021 in EV, Hard Hit%, and Barrel%. Even with a shoulder injury, this guy still hit 42 HR while hitting for a .282 BA. His .618 xSLG led all of baseball. There is nothing Tatis can do at this point to surprise me. He is a unicorn. In just 546 PA, he owned the second-most HR+SB at 72. Trea Turner had 60 in 646 PA. Bo Bichette had 54 in 690 PA. You might not project Tatis to reach 600 PA again in 2022, but he's proven he doesn't need it to be the best player in fantasy. Can you just imagine if he does make it?

 

Tier Two

This is easily the most exciting Keeper Value tier we've seen yet. We already discussed the fastest player in the sport, Trea Turner, in the Second Base article, as well as the combo-meal Marlin Jazz Chisholm Jr. But now we get to talk some Bo Bichette. Let's make a list of 2021 MLB hitters to reach 100/20/100/20/.290: 1. Bo Bichette. That's the list. Talk about a five-category floor. Also only 23-years-old, and hitting in-between George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Teoscar Hernandez, it's not hard to understand why Bichette scores so high in the formula despite a second round cost.

Wander Franco might be the most polarizing name in baseball at the moment. Analysts can argue all day about how impactful his game is in terms of fantasy, but no one really knows the true ceiling of a 20-year-old stud. Did we learn nothing from sadly watching Vladito go ham on our opponents fantasy teams last year? Steamer appears to be the most optimistic about Wander in 2021 in terms of projections and that line is 85/19/84/10/.289. My apologies, but if Wander Franco is hitting second in the Rays lineup and hitting .289, he's scoring a hell of a lot more runs than 85.

So, let's just say realistically his ceiling for 2022 is 100 R, 20 HR, 10 SB and a .280 BA. Do you know how many hitters reached those numbers in 2021.....four. Now I understand those are lofty goals for such a young hitter in his first full season in the big leagues, and honestly I understand the hesitation in redraft leagues. But in keeper leagues, the choice is obvious.

Is it officially Bobby Witt Jr. szn? His ADP thus far in 2022 certainly feels like it. Regardless of when he actually joins the Royals, Witt is going to make an immediate fantasy impact. Across 123 minor league games in 2021, the 21-year-old hit 33 HR and stole 29 bases while hitting .295 at AA and .285 at AAA. That dog will hunt.

 

Tier Three

Isn't it amazing what a change of scenery can do for a player's fantasy value? This time last year, Willy Adames wasn't being drafted in your plain ol' standard leagues. Then in late May, he's traded to the Brewers, and all of a sudden, he's a Tier Three keeper value for 2022. In 41 games with the Rays last season, Adames hit five homers, with a putrid .197 BA. After the trade, he hit 20 HR with a .285 BA in 99 games with the Brew Crew. Combined for the season, he set career-bests in Barrel%, EV, and BB%. The BA won't stay up in that new-team-boost territory for long, but he's going to see plenty of run scoring hitting near the top of the lineup and has shown enough pop and speed to be an enticing keeper selection for MI slot or a serviceable SS if you foresee many of the top guys being kept in your league.

 

Tier Four

Amed Rosario also found himself a new home for 2021 and for the most part, picked right back up from where he left off in 2019. Hopefully we aren't having to keep any Tier Four values this season, but if you are forced to, you could certainly do worse than a potential 15/15/.280 near the last round.

We must remember that keeper values are not solely tied to talent. As you can see, Tim Anderson and Carlos Correa reside in the fourth tier and yet have been fantasy stalwarts for years. Once you become as consistent as these two, it really becomes hard to find value since they are already being kept on contracts in your league or are going to cost you pretty much the same price to keep as it would be to draft them again. However, they do still have positive scores, which means there is still positive value to be had - and for Tim Anderson, that would present itself in the form of a full 600+ PA season. In both 2017 and 2018, he saw 606 PA. In 2019 and 2021, he logged 518 and 551, respectively. Now that the White Sox offense is a monster unit and TA7 can't seem to hit under .300, if he can stay healthy in 2022, you know you're getting 20/20 and it's most likely worth the fourth-round pick pending your league structure.

 

Tier Five

We've talked Wander. We've talked Witt. Now it's time for Oneil Cruz. To be brutally honest, I would personally have him ranked as a Tier Four keeper value (stupid formula). But to be fair, he is the highest Tier Five score on the list and only missed Tier Four by less than one point. If this was a formula to calculate freak of natures, he'd easily be at the top though. The 23-year-old shortstop stands at 6'7" and weighs 210 lbs. Aaron Judge is also 6'7" (but 280 lbs). Can you imagine seeing Aaron Judge manning shortstop? In just 311 PA in 2021 across the minors and a very short stint with the Pirates, Cruz hit 18 HR and stole 19 bases. In just 311 PA! If you want to see some impressive Steamer projections, they got Cruz seeing 457 PA in the big leagues in 2022, and hitting 21 HR with 14 SB and a .281 BA. Obviously that would nuckin futs if he lives up to those projections in his first season, but I wouldn't want to miss out on the chance that it happens. Just look at this power - changeup at his ankles and he puts it 408 feet into the stands.

 

2022 Keeper Value Rankings Series



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Tight end is a fun position in fantasy football. There's a clear top group of tight ends, headlined by Travis Kelce. The top-five tight ends all count as "must-have" tight ends because of positional scarcity, but it's boring to suggest you draft the following names: Kelse, Mark Andrews, Kyle Pitts, George Kittle, and Darren Waller.... Read More