Fantasy Baseball w/Eric Karabell
Send your questions now and join Karabell in The Show on Thursday at 11 a.m. ET!
Eric Karabell (11:01 AM)
Hello there and welcome to another fantasy baseball chat session. Lots going on in the baseball world, numerous young kids getting recalled, let's get to the questions...
I predict 17,000 Max Scherzer questions
Eric Karabell (11:02 AM)
Probably, so let's get this out of the way. Scherzer will start Monday against the Phillies, replacing fantasy-irrelevant Edgar Gonzalez, but he's not guaranteed more starts. The D-backs will be loyal to Doug Davis, and there's no other room. I think Scherzer will be a middle reliever this season, albeit a very good one.
What to you make of Smoltz saying he's coming back as a RP? Top 10 closer if healthly?
Eric Karabell (11:04 AM)
I don't think he's assuredly a top 10 guy yet, but he clearly knows how to pitch in those situations, and I think he'll earn 25-30 saves. This move is being done not only because the Braves need a closer, with Manny Acosta not reliable, but for Smoltz's health.
Name game: Josh Willingham or Carlos Quentin?
Eric Karabell (11:05 AM)
Ha! I take Quentin. I think he has more power, takes more walks and has more upside. Willingham is off to a very good start, and he could have his signature season as well, but I think Quentin will be the better player.
Over/Under game about Clement: 400 ABs, 20 HRs, 280 BA
Eric Karabell (11:06 AM)
I think all those seem reasonable. Because he remains unproven at this level, and not every top prospect emerges initially (see Alex Gordon), I'll take the under on all three, but I think Clement will be valuable. Oddly, the key thing here is if he plays enough catcher to qualify.
Eric, Now that Jimmy Rollins is'nt going to come off the DL on the 5th, When can we really expect him back?
Eric Karabell (11:07 AM)
What an odd situation. It seemed an innocuous slide into second base, and look at how much time it's costing Rollins. I don't know when he'll return, and I'm starting to wonder if he will be this season's Rafael Furcal, and have an early injury blow up his offensive potential.
Dave (King of Prussia, PA)
Just to get the Seattle rookies out of the way, what do you project for Balentien?
Eric Karabell (11:09 AM)
Balentien has power, but isn't the same type of well-rounded hitter as Clement. Then again, Balentien will play every day in RF. I think his batting average is questionable, but could he hit 20 home runs this season? Absolutely. Say a .270 average.
Big B (Norwalk, CT)
Ryan Howard and Andruw Jones: Over/Under 40 HR each
Eric Karabell (11:12 AM)
Over on Ryan Howard. He'll get going, just like last season, and I think he and Prince Fielder each approach 50 home runs. It sounds silly today, with them struggling, but it's only one month. On Jones, definitely the under. WAY under. I think Jones hits about 20 home runs, that's it.
EK! Great stuff. Can I get an opinion on Hafner? Situation seems pretty dire after his benching. Will it set him right, or is he toast? I can get Kotchman or K-Rod (I already have 4 closers) for him - do either?
Eric Karabell (11:15 AM)
I don't think the situation is dire with Pronk, he's just struggling. That said, I don't think he's a sure thing for 30-100 either. I think last season is his new baseline, as he got old quickly. It doesn't seem you need more saves, and I think Hafner still hits more home runs than Kotchman, so unless you really need that 1B eligibility, keep Hafner.
Should I hold onto Chad Cordero? What about Maybin? Non Keeper league
Eric Karabell (11:17 AM)
I don't see Cordero getting any saves this season. By the time he returns, if he does at all, Jon Rauch will have 20 saves, and there'd be little reason to switch back. As for Maybin, currently striking out in nearly every OTHER at-bat in the minors, he'll be up at some point, but I have doubts he'll help a fantasy team.
Nick (Anaheim, CA)
Adenhart, just called up for 3 starts. Worth dropping Robertson, Galaraga, Eveland or Blackburn?
Eric Karabell (11:20 AM)
Yeah, even when I think/know a young pitcher is up briefly, I still take the chance in case he sticks around. Blackburn is a good example. He's the Twins top prospect according to Baseball America. We all thought he wouldn't stick in the rotation. Now he looks pretty good. Adenhart isn't Justin Masterson; he could stay up and never see the minors again, if there's room. Even with Lackey returning, I think Adenhart's near future is dependent on how well he throws. Galarraga could stick around as well. Robertson doesn't belong in the same sentence with these kids.
Dave (Washington, DC)
Name Game: Nick Adenhart or Johnny Cueto?
Eric Karabell (11:21 AM)
Before seeing Cueto pitch this April, I would have said Adenhart. He's more polished. I still say that now after seeing him struggle once teams got film on him.
Carlos Pena is killing me. Was last year a Brady Anderson season?
Eric Karabell (11:22 AM)
No. The guy has legit power, and I expect he'll still hit 35 or so home runs. The batting average was fluky, but he can go 35-100 and hit .260. Maybe he's Pronk!
Corey (Baton Rouge, LA
Do you think Cliff Lee will finish a top 10 pitcher in the AL in 08'
Eric Karabell (11:23 AM)
In the AL, yes, I think Lee can do that. He's obviously not going to finish with a 0.96 ERA, but why can't he win 15 games, which he's done before, with a 3.00 ERA? He's figured things out, somehow. In the weak pitching league, sure, why not?
Why is Victorino on the bench?
Eric Karabell (11:24 AM)
He's going to start today, and I wouldn't worry about this situation too much. Charlie Manuel wants to keep playing Jayson Werth while he's hot. The guy who really stands to lose time is Geoff Jenkins.
Matt (La, Ca)
Was I too hasty in picking up Adam Lind or will he start producing soon. Drop to pick up Jeff Clement?
Eric Karabell (11:25 AM)
Lind is struggling a bit, and for all we know could be a 4-A hitter, a guy who just doesn't hit at this level. But four days of games isn't enough time to evaluate. Clement is just a better hitter, so if you can handle him at DH, go for it. Clement has a good shot to hit well right away.
Alan (Yonkers, NY)
Blackburn or Gaudin?
Eric Karabell (11:27 AM)
I think Gaudin is safer, but I recall being really impressed with him a year ago when he had big stats at the break. Gaudin must control the walks. He has more fantasy upside, though. Blackburn is not a strikeout guy.
Probably sounds crazy, but Josh Hamilton or Grady Sizemore? Thanks.
Eric Karabell (11:28 AM)
I think Hamilton is terrific, and wrote that all winter long. I have him on many teams. However, Sizemore still steals bases, and while he might not match Hamilton's pop, he's the better fantasy option. Hamilton also needs to prove he can not only play every day in April, but every dayy in the hot summer.
Jay (Worcester, MA)
Encouraged by Billingsley last night?
Eric Karabell (11:29 AM)
I can't say I was worried, to be honest. He's got the stuff to dominate, he just seems like he can't replicate mechanics all the time. But he's got 20 K's in 2 starts, and that's not a fluke.
Chase Utley - over/under on 40HRs ?
Eric Karabell (11:30 AM)
I still take the under, but 38-110 and a .320 average could be enough to get him the NL MVP anyway, if the Phillies win the NL East. Which of course they will!
Do you think Pence and Soriano will bounce back to produce expected fantasy value?
Eric Karabell (11:31 AM)
No, I don't think either will. I've written about Pence extensively, that people think he's someone he's not. On Soriano, I do expect 30 homers, but no longer will he steal the bases people expect.
Jay (Baltimore, MD)
Has Daniel Cabrerra turned the corner, reportedly players have said his stuff is the nastiest in the AL when he is on?
Eric Karabell (11:32 AM)
Cabrera's stuff is nasty, but the walks destroy his pitch counts. Just when you think he's safe, he goes out and walks seven. Not good. Hard to trust him at this point.
Bryan (Fort Mill, SC)
Name game.. Manny Parra or Mike Mussina.
Eric Karabell (11:34 AM)
Moose isn't striking anybody out, and one has to think this good start isn't going to last long. Then again, Parra hasn't really shined. I'd take Parra for now, but it wouldn't shock me if Mussina makes more starts and wins more games.
Another rough outing for Liriano last night in the minors. Are you dropping him in a non-keeper league?
Eric Karabell (11:35 AM)
No, not if I can help it. Obviously some of us have different bench needs and can't wait a month for Liriano, but I still expect he will turn a corner and become good again. He just has no command, and he will get it back.
Nora (St. Louis)
The Cardinals have 5 outfielders who have been playing well this year. How will that affect Colby Rasmus?
Eric Karabell (11:37 AM)
As long as the Cardinals remain on a 90-win pace, and the outfielders are hitting, he's staying in the minors, or coming up in August to pinch run. That's it. But one injury opens the door for him, and I think he is ready.
Which closer has the most value: Ryan, Sherrill, or Rauch?
Eric Karabell (11:39 AM)
Right now Sherrill has the most value, because he's off to a very good start, and you could get a lot in trade. I think all three guys end up in the 28-32 range for saves.
This year's Carlos Pena (unforseen fantasy breakout player) is named Eric Hinske. True or false?
Eric Karabell (11:39 AM)
No, I don't see Hinske keeping this up all summer. Maybe he can hit 20 home runs, but even there I'm skeptical.
EK! Would you trade Pronk and Braun for Miggy Cabrera? Or is Braun turning it around enough to say stay put?
Eric Karabell (11:41 AM)
I wouldn't make that deal. To me Braun will have similar value to Cabrera in the end. Too early to panic. And Pronk isn't toast, it's just a slump. All the DHs are slumping.
Soto is awesome!!!
Eric Karabell (11:42 AM)
He's pretty good. A 20-80 catcher, as I predicted. As time goes on, people will realize that blog I wrote about taking Soto over Mauer wasn't so crazy after all.
will juan Pierre get enough PT to warrant a roster spot for the steals?
Eric Karabell (11:42 AM)
Sure. So will Eugenio Velez also. You won't get any other production though. Pierre can swipe 40 bases this season, sure.
When does Ian Stewart get the call? Can he play middle infield?
Eric Karabell (11:43 AM)
I think if Stewart could play a reasonable second base he would have already been called up. He's a third baseman, and he just has to wait, unless the Rox feel desperate. Certainly they have nothing at 2B now, after Jayson Nix was horrible.
Steve (Ann Arbor)
Don't you think 20-80 is a little too conservative for Soto at this point? He has 20 RBIs in 24 games.
Eric Karabell (11:44 AM)
I think we need to be conservative with him. Catchers wear down, and he's a rookie. Plus, he also had a recent stretch in which he struck out in EIGHT consecutive at-bats, so he will be prone to some slumping as well.
Scott (St. Louis)
With the news about Smoltz possibly being the new closer, am I safe in dropping Soriano?
Eric Karabell (11:46 AM)
I wouldn't do that yet, because we still don't have clarity on how hurt Smoltz is. Then again, he might return before Soriano. I'd just wait a bit longer.
Marc (Toronto, Canada)
Could Rafael Betancourt be like Jon Rauch this year with Borowski injured as well? 30 saves?
Eric Karabell (11:47 AM)
Possible, but I still have a feeling Borowski returns in May and takes that job back. It's not like Betancourt has seized it, or had a good start to the season.
Chris ( Long Island NY)
I need your EKpertise. Which one of these pitchers has more value. Westbrook, Bonser, Laffey, Kendrick. Thanks
Eric Karabell (11:48 AM)
I'd say Bonser for now. He has turned a corner, and losing the weight this offseason agrees with him. Westbrook would be my pick but he's out another month.
Eric, would you drop a pitcher like Lilly or Bannister to pick up Adenhart?
Eric Karabell (11:50 AM)
No, I would not. This guy hasn't even pitched yet! I'd consider Lilly I suppose, but I don't give up on him yet. I'm not a Bannister fan either, but nobody knows how Adenhart will do at the next level. And even if he starts well this week, will he keep the rotation spot? Will he lose it as fast as Cueto did?
Who do you expect to turn it around first? Soriano, Konerko, Zito or Willis?
Eric Karabell (11:51 AM)
The hitters will, the pitchers will not. Run far away from Zito. At least Willis should win 12 games.
Help me out Eric, NO ONE is talking about Jurrjens... yet he was the centerpiece of the Renteria trade, has number one upside, and has started the season with 4/6 quality starts (Missing the other 2 by 1 ER and 2 outs). His BB/9 is 3 and has over 2:1 K/BB ratio... why am I the only one high on him?!
Eric Karabell (11:53 AM)
I drafted him on a few teams, so I did like him, but I don't think the Braves expect No. 1 upside. He's a mid-rotation option, not a big K guy, but should be a 12-game winner for years. He's owned in 50 percent of the shallow leagues. The Smoltz stuff never really affected him. Jurrjens is in the rotation for good.
Who's the best bet this season? Sheffield, Milton Bradley, Mike Cameron?
Eric Karabell (11:54 AM)
I don't fully trust any of them, but I bet Cameron has the most value. He can run, he's the healthy one and he's motivated.
Brian (Miami, FL)
Eric, What's up with Hughes? Was he terrible because of the injury or just overmatched? What do you expect from him when he comes back?
Eric Karabell (11:56 AM)
I think he was overmatched. What the Yankees did, relying on two kids in the rotation, is very dangerous, and fantasy teams should take note as what not to do. Be more balanced. They have nothing in between except Wang, it's all old or too young. Hughes isn't done, but he needs his mechanics fixed. I just don't expect very much in 2008.
I am developing a huge man crush on Mclouth! Please tell me he can keep up this kind of pace.
Eric Karabell (11:56 AM)
He's good, and this isn't a fluke, except the batting average. But he's been a 20/20 guy all along.
John (Herndon, VA)
Karabell... why isn't anyone interested in Matt Kemp? Final line?
Eric Karabell (11:57 AM)
He's owned everywhere, and he's hitting now. I think there's a ton of interest. I could see 24 homers, 85 RBI, 16 steals.
Eric Karabell (11:58 AM)
OK, that seems to be all for our time today. Don't fret, there's another fantasy chat session just a few hours away. Thanks for the questions and the interest, and have a good day.