This article is part of our The Long Game series.
Following up on my last column about potential closer stashes, I want to look at one of the other big dilemmas likely to be facing keeper-league GMs in the offseason: what to do with a young player coming off a disappointing campaign. While we all marvel at the exploits of Ronald Acuna and Juan Soto in the NL East, and the Yankees' dynamic duo of Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, there are lots of other players enduring much tougher introductions to the majors, or suffering through sophomore slumps, whose dynasty or keeper status is a lot more uncertain heading into 2019.
Generally speaking, this is something you only need to worry about in shallower formats, or leagues with limited keeper spots. In deep NL and AL-only or dynasty leagues, you're usually protecting a dozen or more players, so there's plenty of room for underachievers with upside. In something like a 15-team mixed format, however, the baseline for what counts as "useful" from a roster spot is a lot higher, and a player who can't meet it – or one who barely clears that bar – may not be worth keeping over an established veteran with a similar salary who has a higher floor but lower ceiling.
Here's a look at some of the youngsters who haven't lived up to expectations this season, and their chances of being worth keeping when you freeze your roster next spring. I'll give each player one of three recommendations: HOLD, which means they