Ask Rotoman: Verlander (18th) vs. Darvish (25th)

Hey Rotoman,

I need keeper help. I’m in a 12-team, 5×5 roto league with 29 rostered players. We’re allowed to keep up to 3 players but must surrender a draft pick 4 rounds earlier than where we drafted the player. We can keep the same player the next year by surrendering a draft pick another 4 rounds earlier and so on. There’s no limit on the years we can keep a player other than the declining surrendered draft pick.

My candidates are:

Y. Puig (drafted 19th round, surrender 15th round pick)

D. Salazar (drafted 28th round, surrender 24th round pick)

Y. Darvish (drafted 29th round, surrender 25th round pick)

J. Verlander (drafted 22nd round, surrender 18th round pick)

B. Hamilton (drafted 16th round, surrender 12th round pick).

Who do you like?

Sweet Surrender

Dear Sweet:

Your letter is of interest mostly because I’ve never heard of this keeper system before, and it is delightful.

Which means it is pretty close to unique (though as I type those words I’m sure to learn of others who do this).

As you might imagine, coming up with valuation systems for no dough is outside my pay grade, but let’s run a little pricing logic.

Billy Hamilton is your least attractive player, and he has the highest price. Set him freakin’ free.

The rest of your guys are good keeps no matter what. So, keep Puig, because he’s a hitter, and Salazar, because he’s cheaper than Darvish, and more attractive, which makes your choice either Verlander and Darvish. Both are fine keeps. Which is better?

It would be easy if they were priced equally. Verlander is a former ace who seems to be adjusting to aging and having less velocity. Darvish is coming back from Tommy John surgery. Many pitchers, though not all, do. Will he come back quickly or slowly or not at all is the big question.

Alas, Verlander is more expensive than Darvish. But in the 18th round, Verlander’s price is low enough that his apparent moxie increase in the second half last year, living with less (velocity), is a big plus over Darvish’s rehab.

For me, Puig, Salazar and Verlander are the way to go.