h2h Corner ~ Keep, Trade or Drop: Ben Zobrist, Jason Bartlett, Asdrubel Cabrera?

I’m guessing a lot of people obtained Ben Zobrist late in drafts or off the free agent heap, which makes him an attractive keeper for the 2010 season. Add that to his 2009 campaign which came as a bit of surprise and the fact that he qualifies everywhere and it’s no wonder he has his fair share of KTDs.

Ben Zobrist seems to qualify everywhere, he hit 27 HRs last year, stole 17 bases, batted .297 and posted a .405 OBP. What’s more, that HR total wasn’t completely flukey, as he smacked 12 dingers in only 62 games in 2008, so there was a chance he could hit more given the opportunity. Of course, he only managed to hit 23 HRs and steal 20 bases in 1,335 minor league ABs – so there was a ton of reasons to doubt him. Zobrist will be 29 in May, so he is in the sweet spot of his prime. I think you can bank on decent AVEs and OBPs, 20 or so HRs and 15 SBs for the next couple of years.

In 2009, Jason Bartlett got off to a scorching start: 45 runs, eight HRs, 19 SBs and a .347 AVE in the first half. He came back to earth a bit in the second half, posting a .294 AVE. Still he managed 45 runs, six HRs and 11 SBs. I think his second half is more the norm (he is a career .287 hitter, after all). Still, those numbers are wholly serviceable. If he plays the full season, he’ll likely approach 100 runs, 12 HRs and 25 – 30 SBs. Just don’t expect him to win any batting titles.

Zobrist will be 29 in May, Bartlett will be 31 in October, and Asdrubal Cabrera will be 25 in November. That statement alone seems to tip the scales in Cabrera’s favor. Cabrera had a pretty successful 2010, even though it didn’t receive much fanfare. He hit .308, posted a .361 OBP, scored 81 runs and stole 17 bases. This was all for a team that was clearly out of it and missing its best hitters by the dog days. While Cabrera won’t help you in HRs, he should be a steady 90 – 100 run scorer, 60+ RBI producer and 12+ base stealer. He’ll also add some healthy ratios. While he isn’t altogether sexy, he is a few years off his prime and should be a steady fantasy baseball contributor for at least the next seven years. This makes him a more valuable commodity in keeper leagues than Bartlett.

However, I think you need to roll the dice on the next few years of Ben Zobrist. If he can maintain middle infield eligibility, you’ll get a great power source in an unlikely spot. While I’d rather have Cabrera in a keeper league, I’m trading Jason Bartlett – you can simply get much more for him. Still, don’t sleep on Cabrera in your drafts.

Keep: Ben Zobrist
Trade: Jason Barlett
Drop: Asdrubal Cabrera


Reading this column guarantees that you will achieve fabulous wealth and success in your fantasy baseball league. That’s right, you guessed it: it’s time to debate Keep Trade or Drop (KTD).

While there are tons of player rankings available, they are all for 2010 and nothing more. So, if you are drafting in a start-up keeper league, how do you decide who to take? For example, if they’re both on the board, do you go for tried and true Carl Crawford, or do you roll the dice (but only barely) and select the slightly less proven Justin Upton. Read enough of these columns and you might just get your answer.

The KTD series focuses solely on giving keeper league advice. It poses the question: if you are in a keeper league, which player would you rather keep, which would you rather trade and which would you be forced to drop. Rarely is the decision easy to make, but it might just decide whether you compete and win your championship, not just this year, but for years down the road as well. It will also help you make a snap decision when three similar players are on the board and the clock is ticking.

If you want other KTDs, please let me know. Also, feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner)/Facebook.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jesse on March 5, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Cabrera is super underrated…I like him alot. People are going to look at Bartlett’s stats and overpay…I’m going with Asdrubal.


  2. Posted by Albert Lang on March 5, 2010 at 8:20 am

    I agree completely. I almost put Cabrera as my keeper, given his age and my distrust of Ben Zobrist, but there is too much value in Zobrist.

    Trading Bartlett is a no-brainer as he is going well ahead of Asdrubal. I like Asdrubal a lot this year. He wont necessarily match Bartlett’s speed but he should out-homer and RBI him. Cabrera also could run more this year.

    In al-only leagues, people shouldnt be sleeping on Asdrubal.


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