2019 Staff Keeper League

The 18-team Staff Keeper League auction/draft took place last night. My team (co-owned with Tim Schuler) almost always finishes in the money, but we had sold off a lot of prospects last year to contend, and I asked Shoe if we should deal our $13 Mookie Betts and $6 Patrick Corbin to rebuild. He basically told me to go out and crush the auction, and we’d take it from there. I did what I could – you can judge for yourself.

Before I get to the results, some parameters are in order. It’s a 5 x 5 league with the standard $260 budget and 23-player roster with seven reserves. Each team can keep up to 15 players, and players are kept for the price at which they’re bought for up to three years. Before the third or “C” year, owners decide whether and for how long to extend players at an increase of $5 per year extended. So we had an expiring Patrick Corbin for $1 and elected to keep him through next year at $6. That means he costs us $6 in 2019 and will cost us $6 in 2020. We could have simply kept him for $1 and thrown him back into the pool after this year, or we could have paid $11 per year and held onto him through 2021, or $16 and held onto him through 2022, etc. We rarely keep players more than three years because of injury/performance risk and the time value of auction dollars.

Moreover, after the auction is completed, we have a draft wherein each team gets 10 minor leaguers and seven reserves (all drafted together.) Some minor leaguers are kept from the prior season, shortening the draft for some teams. Reserves who are kept begin their keeper clocks the following year at $5A, and minor leaguers who are promoted (they have to be promoted after a given number of major-league games) begin at $3A the following year.

Here’s the team I bought at auction (Keepers are in black, new purchases in red:)

First off, note the significant inflation in the player prices. This happens in every keeper league because when Betts is only $13 and Corbin only $6, and we multiply that effect over 18 teams, the remaining player pool is going to get pushed up significantly. The first player out was Jose Altuve, and while I’m not especially high on him this year, I bid him up to $53, and it stuck. The early players are often the best bargains, and that was the case here as players with far lower ADPs like Charlie Blackmon went for just as much later. If I had one regret it wasn’t getting more aggressive early on a couple other stars. Overall, I was happy with the prices on Altuve, Kimbrel, Cruz, Hernandez and Cabrera, and the rest were mostly pars – about what I expected.

Here are our minor leaguers and reserves:

RotoWire has the best daily fantasy baseball tools on the web.
Try Our Daily MLB Lineup Optimizer

In a league this deep, I tried to get players slated to play as much as possible. Felix Hernandez is probably done, but his velocity has ticked up above 90 again this spring, so I gave him a shot.

Here are the overall auction results:

And the overall minor league reserve results:

And finally the order in which the minor league/reserves were drafted:

One final note. It probably looks like participating in/administering this kind of league is a huge pain, and that’s especially the case if you’re in Europe, and the auction starts at 11 pm your time (and it’s delayed 30 minutes because the google docs weren’t entirely up to date.) But miraculously, the whole thing was done in five hours, by far the least amount of time it’s ever taken. The big change this year was limiting people to one minute in the reserve/minor league rounds with a penalty of allowing the next person to pick if the time expired. Instead of people waiting until their pick and doing three minutes of research each time they were up, almost everyone had picks at the ready, and only rarely did anyone need to be skipped. It was amazing the difference it made, and I can’t believe we put up with things the old way for so many years. The downside for me was I was manning the stopwatch, and that was a pain to maintain while trying to do my own research. But it was a small price to pay for getting to bed at 4 am rather than six, and I would do it again next year in a heartbeat. Now if only we could shorten the nomination clock, we’d shave off another half hour at least.