SLB 2016 Undeniably Way Too Early Keeper Predictions


It’s been a while since we got any fresh content on the ole SLBlog…so, as we draw nearer and nearer to spring training, keeper announcements, and–eventually–the 2016 SLB Draft in picturesque Marshall, Minnesota…it seems like the right time for an uneducated, completely speculative look into the future.

As such, I’ve thrown together a quick piece giving some way-way-way too early keeper predictions for each team. I know most clubs have a solid handle on who they’re likely to keep, but a lot can happen between now and the keeper declaration deadline, so these predictions could be waaaaaay off for a number of teams.

I’ve included some dark horse keeper candidates for teams as well. This was done for a number of reasons: potential injury, uncertainty at certain position, temptation to keep a hot young prospect, and/or my own indecision when attempting to choose between some players.

So, without any further ado…here are the way-way-way too early keeper predictions.


genies_draftlogoGenies in a Bottle

Keeper Prediction:

Mookie Betts (BOS–OF)
Kyle Schwarber (CHC–C/OF)
Carlos Carrasco (CLE–SP)

Dark Horse(s): Xander Bogaerts (BOS– SS), David Ortiz (BOS– 1B), Danny Salazar (CLE– SP), Masahiro Tanaka (NYY–SP), & Lew Ford (VEN-OF)
Draft Priority: 1


Keeper Prediction:
Miguel Cabrera (DET–1B)
Todd Frazier (CHW–1B/3B)
Johnny Cueto (SF–SP)

Dark Horse(s): Charlie Blackmon (COL–OF)
Draft Priority: 2

SLDSL Disappointments

Keeper Prediction:
Miguel Sano (MIN–3B)
Dee Gordon (MIA–2B)
Chris Archer (TB–SP)

Dark Horse(s): Jose Bautista (TOR–OF) & Cole Hamels (HOU–SP)
Draft Priority: 3

captainjack003Captain Jack Sparrow

Keeper Prediction:
Giancarlo Stanton (MIA–OF)
Bryce Harper (WAS–OF)
Jose Fernandez (MIA–SP)

Dark Horse(s): Nobody, because these are his “big three for the future” and he’s going to have them as keepers for “probably the next decade.”
Draft Priority: 4


Keeper Prediction:
Josh Donaldson (TOR–3B)
George Springer (HOU–OF)
Clayton Kershaw (LAD–SP)

Dark Horse(s): Jason Heyward (CHC–OF) & Jason Kipnis (CLE–2B)
Draft Priority: 5

seabass001Sea Bass v11.0

Keeper Prediction:
Kris Bryant (CHC–3B)
Yoenis Cespedes (TBD–OF)
Sonny Gray (OAK–SP)

Dark Horse(s): Jon Lester (CHC–SP) & Yasiel Puig (LAD–OF)
Draft Priority: 6

highcheese001High Cheese

Keeper Prediction:
Freddie Freeman (ATL–1B)
Anthony Rizzo (CHC–1B)
Stephen Strasburg (WAS–SP)

Dark Horse(s): Lance McCullers (HOU–SP) & Arodys Vizcaino (ATL–RP)
Draft Priority: 7

radioactiverush001Radioactive Rush

Keeper Prediction:
Paul Goldschmidt (ARI–1B)
Starling Marte (PIT–OF)
Matt Harvey (NYM–SP)

Dark Horse(s): Troy Tulowitzki (TOR–SS)
Draft Priority: 8

38mph00138 MPH Heaters

Keeper Prediction:
AJ Pollock (ARI–OF)
Joe Altuve (HOU–2B)
Max Scherzer (WAS–SP)

Dark Horse(s): Buster Posey (SF–C/1B), JD Martinez (DET–OF), & Noah Syndergaard (NYM–SP)
Draft Priority: 9

dome_dog_logoDome Dog

Keeper Prediction:
Andrew McCutchen (PIT–OF)
Corey Seager (LAD–SS)
Jacob deGrom (NYM–SP)

Dark Horse(s): Adam Jones (BAL–OF)
Draft Priority: 10


Keeper Prediction:
Ryan Bruan (MIL–OF)
Jose Abreu (CWS–1B)
Zack Greinke (LAD–SP)

Dark Horse(s): Evan Longoria (TB–3B) & Gerrit Cole (PIT–SP)
Draft Priority: 11

mike-2015-draftmoney grubbers

Keeper Prediction:
Nolan Arenado (COL–3B)
Carlos Correa (HOU–SS)
Chris Sale (CWS–SP)

Dark Horse(s): Corey Kluber (CLE–SP) & Carlos Gonzalez (COL–OF)
Draft Priority: 12

crackerjack001cracker jack

Keeper Prediction:
Manny Machado (BAL–SS/3B)
David Price (BOS–SP)
Madison Bumgarner (SF–SP)

Dark Horse(s): Chris Davis (TBD–1B/OF), Brian Dozier (MIN–2B), & Joey Votto (CIN–1B)
Draft Priority: 13


Keeper Prediction:
Mike Trout (LAA–OF)
Francisco Lindor (CLE–SS)
Jake Arrieta (CHC–SP)

Dark Horse(s): Anthony Rendon (WAS–2B/3B) & Luis Severino (NYY–SP)
Draft Priority: 14

SLB vs MLB: Team Comparisons


It’s once again time to match-up each member of the Salmon League with the big league counterpart.

We’ve done this a couple of times now, but give how much the landscape of the league has changed since the last comparison prior to the 2013 season, it seems like the right time for an updated look at the SLB vs MLB comparisons based on the events of the last three seasons.

Without any further ado, here are the updated SLB vs MLB Comparisons:

High Cheese = Detroit Tigers

tigers001Despite tons of success in recent years, this club is currently in an odd situation. They’re coming off an unexpected down year caused by a number of unexpected injuries and regressions. Perhaps the biggest issue was that the front office seemed – for the first time – completely unable to respond to the team’s needs last year. In previous years, they’d made splashy moves to improve the club (occasionally to the detriment of the team’s future) to push for a championship. Last year, that type of move came way too late to matter. Luckily, they still have a very solid core – albeit, one that is relying heavily on pair of mashing first baseman/DH-types – and could quickly return to the top of the league next season if everything breaks right this spring.

Radioactive Rush = Miami Marlins

Grant = MarlinsIt’s probably safe to call this one of the most frustrating clubs in the entire league. Their owner seems to have absolutely no idea what he’s doing. The only reason he even owns a team is due to nepotism. The club has some of the most talented players of an entire generation, but still can’t find a way to win. The club has historically overvalued their players and asked for far too much in trade demands leaving them empty-handed when opportunities to make beneficial moves arise. This club will likely remain in the cellar until the immense talent of the players is able to overcome the buffoonery of the front office or the current leadership steps aside and lets someone else take the reins.

Sea Bass v11.0 = Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto_Blue_Jays_1977It seems that this club has some kind of positive buzz or excitement ever year, but the results are almost never there. Despite a very brief run of success in the now quite distant past, recent years seem to be full of unfulfilled promise and broken dreams. The front office is one of the more tech savvy and analytical in the game, but those efforts haven’t translated to success on the field. This season, the club finally went big making some splashy mid-season moves, but none of those moves proved to be enough to put the club over the hump and turn them into a championship caliber team. Coming into next season, the club will be without its best pitcher from last season and needs to build around one of the best third baseman in the game.

ZIMA = Colorado Rockies

G-Doggy = RockiesGiven how established this club is, it is very easy to forget that they were once an expansion team. In the franchise’s time with the league they have had precisely one successful season that included a magical, underdog run to the championship matchup that – unfortunately – didn’t result in a win. Despite that one magical season, however, this team doesn’t appear to have that know-how to put the team over-the-top and turn this crew into regular contenders. It seems as though there is always a solid pipeline of talent, but that never seems to translate to success on the field. While injuries to key players have played a large role, it’s time to wonder if this front office needs a serious shakeup to get over the hump and make the most of the talent they have to become regular contenders.

Captain Jack Sparrow = Oakland Athletics

Oakland_Athletics13It’s tough to get a read on this club. They made the playoffs in 2013 and 2014, but faltered in 2015 despite a lot of potential. The front office is obsessed with proving its mettle and seems more focused on “winning trades” than winning championships. The club, despite plenty of recent success, always seems to be looking toward the future rather than trying to win in the present. This mindset has led to some questionable moves and currently has the club at a cross roads. While there is plenty of young talent, it’s hard to trust management will see the plan through rather than hitting the reset button at the first signs of trouble and churning over half the roster to “shake things up.”

SL Disappointment = Chicago Cubs

Chicago_Cubs303This club won a championship so long ago that it’s easy to forget that it ever even happened. Since then, the results have been less-than-impressive and the club has largely been synonymous with losing, often in heartbreaking fashion. It’s so bad that some people legitimately think this franchise is cursed!! Year after year there seems to be a glimmer of hope that the team will finally turn things around and break through to capture another championship, but it has yet to come to fruition. Despite the relative lack of success, there is a large fan base that wants this club to succeed and things are looking up as it seems that 2016 and beyond could be a great time for this club – if everything goes according to plan.

InSaNeAuDiO = WCW Monday Nitro (circa 1999)

nitro_logoThis is basically a runaway train to nowhere. The folks in charge have literally no idea what’s going on and only seem to pay attention in small spurts here and there. While they occasionally have a good idea, they’re prone to quickly forgetting to follow-up on it and letting it die on the vine rather than striking while the iron is hot. They are relying heavily on an act that – while still very solid – is growing stale and they seemingly refuse to think about or plan for the future. They seem wildly obsessed with collecting popular and successful names from days gone by rather than putting the time and effort into building toward the future. It’s not uncommon to find that they’re asleep at the wheel and have forgotten to renew the contract of one of their best performers, only to suddenly learn that he’s now an unexpected free agent. They are probably doomed.

Genies in a Bottle = Minnesota Twins

twinsA few short years ago, this club seemed to be a lock for the postseason and a dark horse championship favorite every preseason. Recent years haven’t been so kind. The club has hit some unprecedented lows leading many to wonder if the magic had finally dried up. While 2015 didn’t exactly lead the club back to the postseason, it certainly showed some promise that a return to prominence was on the way. Despite a stubborn reliance on mostly mediocre pitching and some long-in-the-tooth bats, the club made a large commitment toward youth and seems poised to continue this progression going forward as they return to contention.

38 MPH Heaters = Kansas City Royals

Kansas_City_Royals56Following years of irrelevancy and downright buffoonery, this club has turned itself into a legitimate championship caliber club over the past two seasons. Great draft day decisions, combined with a surprisingly steady and patient hand in the front office has allowed this club to stick to “the plan” despite bumps along the way. A few short years ago, this club was a laughingstock with a few good players and some very questionable direction. Fast-forward to 2016 and you’re looking at a club with a championship trophy and a very bright future where they appear poised to be in the hunt for even more success.

Dome Dog = San Francisco Giants

giants001It’s hard to predict what you’re going to get from this club. They’ve got championship caliber talent, but over the course of the last four years, when it comes to making the postseason, they’ve found themselves on the outside looking in just as often as they’ve found themselves in the hunt for another championship trophy. The front office is clearly very savvy and has made a number of shrewd moves in recent years to build upon a strong core to bounce back quickly on the heels of each of the club’s every-other-year stinkers to get back into contention. It will be interesting to see if the club can break this every-other-year trend and turn themselves into an every year powerhouse.

TheFightingFernandos = Pittsburgh Pirates

PiratesWhile this club has a history full of championships, the recent years have been something of a cruel joke. The club has exciting young stars and proves year-in and year-out to be one of the best in the league, but when the stakes are raised in the postseason, they can’t seem to get over the hump and translate their regular season success into another championship trophy. It’s hard to imagine this club won’t be competitive in the near future, but there is a definite need for some spark to put them over the top if they intend to return to the Promised Land and win another championship.

money grubbers = New York Yankees

new_york_yankeesThis club was once considered an unstoppable dynasty and still has a shelf of old trophies to gawk at, but in recent years a combination of age and some questionable front office decisions have started to show cracks in the foundation. While the club finally returned to the postseason, they were never viewed as a championship threat. It’s always good to see an old warhorse still hanging around, but it’s sad when he’s not taken as seriously as he was in his prime. The club still has the resources, but no one views them as a preseason favorite to win a championship, let alone make the postseason fray.

cracker jack = Los Angeles Dodgers

Los_Angeles_Dodgers60It’s impossible to talk about this league and not talk about this club. They are one of the most-storied franchises in the league and have a long history dotted with success and failures along the way. Recent years have seen a string of very competitive teams reach the playoffs after successful seasons, but fall short of championship time and time again. The front office is forward thinking and has no qualms about pulling the trigger on big, splashy moves that will put the club in the best position to win and win now; while making it a point to never completely mortgage the future. While they have not won a recent championship, it’s safe to say they are going to be one of the odds-on favorites year-in and year-out.

The Dominators = St. Louis Cardinals

Graves = CardinalsOMFG…we get it, you guys win, a lot. This club seems to be a perennial favorite, not just to reach the postseason, but to get there with the best record in the league and stomp the competition all the way through the championship game. They’ve got more championship trophies than they know what to do with and their front office has been operating on a whole different level in recent years that leaves this club with almost no legitimate rival in the league. No matter who this team loses to free agency, trades, or injury they always seem to pluck another diamond from the mine and continue their winnings ways. It’s very easy to hate them…oh so very easy.

SLB Amendment Voting Results


In record time (almost) all of the votes were cast and we’ve received enough feedback to make determinations regarding the five amendments that met the requirements for voting this off-season.

There will be very few major changes and only one that figures to have any real impact on strategy or gamesmanship, even though, only at the very beginning of the season. All-in-all, these seem like some solid decisions for the overall health of the league.

Without any further ado, let’s get into the voting results:

Amendment #1

Proposal: Draft order is announced on Friday night.
Proposed: Travis
Supported: Steven, Grant, & Adam


Results: There will be no change and the draft order will be announced prior to the draft on Saturday.

Amendment #2

Proposal: Increase league membership to 16 teams.
Proposed: Steven
Supported: Justin & Adam


Results: Nope, not happening. The league will remain at 14 teams and, hopefully, Steven will stop pushing for expansion that has zero support from literally anyone else in the league, not even the guys who endorsed the proposal.

Amendment #3

Proposal: If a team attempts to draft a player that has already been selected, the manager of that team must take a shot.
Proposed: Graves
Supported: Grant, Justin, & Craiggers


Results: Yep, shots. If a team attempts to draft a player who is already rostered by another club, the entire draft will stop until they’ve taken a shot. The shot taker can pick their poison. It can be beer or cider or water or Gatorade or hard alcohol…as long as they take a shot, the draft can continue.

Amendment #4

Proposal: The winner of the 5th and 6th place playoff game gets higher draft priority.
Proposed: Justin
Supported: Graves & Adam


Results: The winner of the 5/6th place playoff game will gain higher draft priority. This will provide incentive for both teams to put forth their best effort and not tank the week for higher draft priority.

Amendment #5

Proposal: All non-drafted players are placed on waivers following the draft.
Proposed: Steven
Supported: Justin & Adam


Results: All non-drafted players will begin the 2016 SLB season on waivers, rather than as free agents. This will alleviate the “free for all” nature that usually follows immediately after rosters are made live and will require owners to contemplate using their waiver priority and FAAB to grab a player that slipped through the draft or to fill a position they bypassed in the draft.

Draft Review and Rankings 2015

2015 draft review rankings
In what is probably a record, the draft review and rankings are completed and ready for public consumption just a little over a week since the draft and well before the season begins and everyone’s roster has been turned inside out.

As always, I want to make it very clear that there is no science or metrics (or legitimacy) to these rankings. It is completely subjective and based on my opinions toward players, their value, their abilities, and where/when you drafted them in relation to my perceived views of value elsewhere in the draft.

Just because I ranked you near the bottom doesn’t mean you won’t/can’t win this thing.

I’ve had a lot of people take these things personally over the years and that’s just redonkulous. These are no more accurate or telling about potential success than if any one of you were to randomly write a ranking yourself. It’s all opinion.

That having been said, there are a few rules I tried to stick to when doing the rankings.

I tried to avoid using any players you’ve acquired since the draft and – aside from occasional mentions – I tried to avoid factoring your keepers into your team strength. I really wanted to focus on JUST the draft itself. Obviously, I probably screwed up somewhere along the way, my apologies for that if/when you see it.

Additionally, I tried to avoid giving anyone credit for a “best pick” within the first three rounds, because it’s really hard to give a guy praise for an early pick. Those are generally gimmie picks. At the same time, I also tried to avoid ragging on anyone with a “worst pick” in the final three picks of the draft as it’s often scrap heap time for a lot of teams who are stockpiling NA or DL-stashes or—if you’re drafting correctly—your holds guy.

That doesn’t, however, mean that some of you didn’t have your “best pick” in the final three or your “worst pick” in the first three. It happened, a couple of times actually.

Also, just so y’all have an idea of how this works, I generally rank the teams immediately after the draft based on “gut feel.” After that I take some time to dig through the rosters and look at some stats, but I generally go with my “gut feel” for the final rankings. Some teams will move up or down the more I look at them (there’s a prime example of that this year), but for the most part the ranking is reflective of how I felt on draft day after round 17.

As always, I’d love some feedback – love it, hate it, wish I’d die in a chemical fire – hit me with it.

Alrighty, enough of me rambling, let’s do this thing, without any further ado; here is the 2015 Draft Review and Rankings…

Continue reading

Grant’s 2015 Draft Rankings


Grant Morfitt – general manager of Radioactive Rush and absentee drafter – has put together some rankings for the 2015 SLB draft.

Here’s how he put these rankings together: “I averaged out projection from ZiPS, Streamer, and Forcaster, with just our draft guys, pitted the numbers in each category against each other and then added them up to get a rank. Here would be the best teams w/o keepers based on those three projection systems.”

There you have it, without any further ado, here are Grant’s 2015 SLB Draft Rankings:

14. Radioactive Rush
13. Genies in a Bottle
12. Dome Dog
11. money grubbers
10. InSaNeAuDiO
09. Captain Jack Sparrow
08. Sea Bass v10.0
07. ZIMA
06. TheFightingFernandos
05. High Cheese
04. Dominators
03. 38 MPH Heaters
02. cracker jack
01. SL Disappointments

What do you think? Does this look right to you or do you think Grant missed the mark?

Let’s hear it in the comments.

Steven’s 2015 Draft Rankings


Steven Kunkel – the official statistician of SLB – has compiled his rankings of the 2015 Salmon League draft.

Below are his rankings and his 50-word rundown of each team’s draft day performance.

14. InSaNeAuDiO

It started out with Cueto, but it went pretty downhill from there. Especially with Lester, Gray, Samardzija, Cobb, and Cole going in round 3 – this team could have really gone a different route. Especially when it comes to Utley, Pompey, and Turner. One of those guys doesn’t actually have a starting position. It’ll take some real work to turn this one around.

13. ZIMA

On the surface this draft looks like it could be a win as it’s loaded with top-level talent in Posey, Cano, Springer, Carpenter, Kershaw. Except, once you get beyond that you start asking youself “what is this guy going to do?” Trumbo, Baez, J.D. Martinez, Adams, Arrieta, McHugh, Keuchel all have very brief levels of success. Combined it’s just too much of a combined risk to feel like this team is going anywhere in ‘15.

12. money grubbers

I’m not following where the big magoo is going with this draft. Morneau doesn’t feel like an equatable 1B to the rest of the league anymore. Moss is good and moved to a more hitter friendly park, but stayed the same in what was supposed to be his “breakout” year – now he’s just a year older. Segura has been stated as the overdraft of the draft and Rosario doesn’t actually have a starting spot anymore. In addition, Napoli had 55 RBI in 415 at bats with bad hips. What’s the forward projection on that move with Craig sitting in the wings? I believe in Mike, but I don’t believe in the direction he went with this one.

11. Radioactive Rush

Grant played the homer card. Santana, Arcia, Hughes, and Perkins all reside on this roster. The problem is they’re all Twins, not Nationals. Include, soon-to-be replaced by Lindor, Jose Ramirez and, never actually been good, Domonic Brown into this list and you get a #11 ranking. Grant’s most redeeming factor was that he has Harvey, Hughes, Lester, and Paxton in his starting rotation, which is why he got this nod over Mike. I just believed in the quality of his pitching more.

10. High Cheese

Price, Zimmermann, Ross, Cashner. Levi’s pitching is top notch, but his hitting doesn’t inspire much confidence. I don’t think a team can get away with Kendrick, Alvarez, Escobar, and Martin as a combined unit and I’m not convinced Cruz is going to keep jacking 40 bombs. There’s a power and speed combination here, but the names don’t inspire confidence from this projector. Levi has some work to do to make it 5 years in a row.

09. SL Disappointments

John is still sitting on fantasy baseball gold in Jose Bautista and he just added Kyle Seager to the mix without losing Pence. He also put together one of the strongest rotations in fantasy baseball by grabbing Hamels, Wainwright, Latos, and Archer. However, he’s probably in need of one more masher to make up for Gordon, Hosmer, and Murphy; especially when two of those aren’t getting you 20 SBs.

08. Genies in a Bottle

Jeremiah called my ranking garbage and there are likely a few that agree. However, he ended up here because his best pitcher still remains Gio Gonzalez – the 5th starter on the Nationals. What is a guy supposed to do with that when the offense is predicated on high upside picks like Carter, Wong, Betts, and Soler? The pitching needed to be better.

07. cracker jack

Since 2005 this cat has missed the playoffs once. My guess is that he doesn’t actually end up here. However, these are the players on his team that missed an extensive amount of games last year due to injury: Molina, Votto, Sandoval, Ramirez, Ellsbury, Harper, Fielder, Belt, Wacha, and Bailey. Justin sniped every possible injury risk dude on the planet this year and as the saying goes “It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Lets see how it works out of them?” Granted, since he’ll only own 3 of these guys at the end of the season, it probably doesn’t matter.

06. Captain Jack Sparrow

Listen, my analysis wasn’t necessarily a true draft analysis. I included the trade that occurred literally 14 seconds after the draft had ended and, in all reality, that trade hurt Captain Jack’s stock a little bit. Captain Jack’s team now revolves around Stanton and the 50 homer power he possesses. Finishing 6th kind of depends on how Jose Fernandez returns, but if you asked me if I thought Matt Harvey was going to be awesome when he returned, I would have said yes. I think Travis will be just fine with this mix.

05. TheFightingFernandos

The groundhog officially landed on the “don’t sit next to this mother fricker” list this year because he’ll literally cheat off of you, but that doesn’t stop him from having a very nice mixture of talent going into the season. Cole, Wood, and Pineda are primed to take off and he has a nice power/speed combo that doesn’t get degraded by low OBPs. He’s set to contend.

04. Sea Bass v10.0

ALL of his guys hit homers and half of those guys steal 20 bases too and that doesn’t even count the fact that he has a 3rd basemen whose ready to hit 123 homeruns in a season. Add in the fact that he has Bumgarner, Gray, Carrasco, and Ventura to anchor his staff and you’re looking at one bad mother fricker. Craig, your team has what it takes this year. Be careful with it.

03. Dominators

I’m pretty high on me. I mean, I think I’m pretty smart. In reality, if you look at it with a questioning eye, I’m probably over ranking myself. We don’t know if Kipnis is going to stay healthy. We don’t know what’s going to happen with Bogaerts or Polanco and we have no idea if Miller, Fiers, or Peralta are going to pitch well at all. However, my top end talent is top of the line and Jayson Werth as a bench player makes my day every time. I’m sticking with it and I’m sticking with it hard!

02. Dome Dog

Chris Davis in round one made me puke and Adam has no speed to work with. However, all of these 30-year-old hitting superstars coming together on one team reeks of something that’s about to work and work in a big way. I hate Adam’s bench and I think he’s trying to grab lightning in a bottle twice with his relief pitching, but he’s done something intriguing here and I like it.

01. 38 MPH Heaters

Morgan’s pitching staff is the best pitching staff in the league and when he dumps Brandon McCarthy to get another holds guy it’s going to be even that much better. Morgan rode a very similar team to a championship last year as it was pitching heavy and balanced. He’s done a similar thing this year with high OBP guys and a mixture of some that hit homeruns and some that steal bases. Yes, this ranking comes post trade, but it appears Morgan has put together another winner as long as Andrus doesn’t burn the whole strategy down because of how terrible he is.

It looks like Steven sees a repeat for Morgan in the future.

Agree? Disagree?

Let’s hear it in the comments.