Fantasy Sports w/AJ Mass
Send your questions now and join Mass in The Show on Friday at 11 a.m. ET!
Need an in-depth answer to your question? Want your roster or trade offers reviewed? Get a personalized response from an ESPN expert with The Answer Guys. All questions answered within 24 hours, guaranteed. Ask your question .
AJ Mass (10:59 AM)
Good morning gang. We've got 60 minutes to chat about the world of fantasy sports... so let's get cracking, shall we?
Mark (Boston, MA)
Do you think Travis Haner will recover in '09? What kind of line do you think he'll put up?
AJ Mass (11:01 AM)
Hafner says he'll be ready by Opening Day, but I think his days of close to 30 HRs are behind him. Pay for 15-20 and anything you get on top of that, be grateful for.
AJ, what do you see from Tulo this season. Am I ok picking him up late over Drew, Furcal, & Alexei? Thanks.
AJ Mass (11:03 AM)
I like Drew better, but I'd certainly take a shot at Tulo returning to 07 form over Furcal. Ramirez will either be an All-Star or a complete bust - I see little middle ground from him. If you're a believer, grab him first. If not, go with Tulo.
What're your thoughts on Cliff Lee, last year was probably his best, but can he continue to be a top 10 pitcher? Who would you prefer Lee or Verlander?
AJ Mass (11:05 AM)
Even a little bit of regression in Lee's numbers leaves him near the top of the list. Verlander on the other hand appears to have been overworked in 2007, causing him problems in 2008... where he still went on to pitch 200+ again. I go with Lee.
Adam (NY, NY)
Sabathia, Halladay or Webb, who is a better keeper for 09?
AJ Mass (11:06 AM)
Well you're pretty much asking about three of the nest in the game, so really we're splitting hairs. I go with Halladay myself, due to the insane CG numbers. More IP = more chances at wins.
What's crackalackin', AJ??? I am in a pickle. Which 2 do i keep out of rollins, tex, and braun.
AJ Mass (11:08 AM)
I'd send Jimmy packing. I've never been a fan, and his batting average will almost definitely be the worst of the three.
Do you see a big bounce back from Victor Martinez this season?
AJ Mass (11:09 AM)
He's going to play every day, be it at C, 1B or DH. Wedge has said he'll get him in there somewhere... so from an opportunity standpoint, he'll bounce back. But I don't think he ever regains 100 percent of the power he used to have.
Ross (Austin, TX)
Hey AJ! What are your thoughts on Covelli "Coco" Crisp? Does he get the everyday starting job in Kansas City? What will his numbers be like (is .290/100runs/15homers/50steals too much)? Is he worthy of a 5th or 6th OF spot in a 10 team league with deep benches? Thanks!
AJ Mass (11:11 AM)
Coco will get the starting job, IMO. Now as long as he doesn't fall in love with the HR and start looking longball rather than just getting on base, your stats aren't too crazy. My fear is that the batting average dips and the steals don't come, as he looks to loft the ball.
I've got a Juan Pierre/auction question for you. Last season was the first of his career that he got fewer than 400 at bats, and he still swiped 40 bases. Since he's the kind of guy I'd target late after stocking up on power bats, don't I have to keep him for only $1? He literally can't be had cheaper, so isn't the best strategy to just save a few bucks on a guy I'd target as my #4 or #5 OF and spend that money making sure the first 3 OF's are top end guys? Essentially, this is a value vs. quality argument. Which way would you go?
AJ Mass (11:13 AM)
Are 40 steals - or even 25 steals worth $1? Absolutely.
Vernon Wells seems overlooked. His numbers from 2008 stretched out to 162 games are .300, 30HR, 95R, 117RBI. What are your thoughts on him for 2009 now that he's healthy? Does he have top 10 OF potential? Thanks.
AJ Mass (11:15 AM)
Maybe not top-10, but if he stays healthy, do I think he's worth being one of your top 3 OF in a 12-team? Yes I do.
Bobby Abreu (Unemployment line)
Will I get a job soon or what? This is an outrage!
AJ Mass (11:17 AM)
It's only an outrage if he isn't on a roster in late March. Abreu is a professional hitter - but a defensive liability, as he fears walls like cats fear water. He'll end up someplace - and I'll draft him if I can.
Luis (Dallas, TX)
Can you name a few candidates to receive a lot of holds this year? League counts them. I already have Putz, anyone else come to mind?
AJ Mass (11:19 AM)
Holds are a strange stat - the best pitchers to target are those who will come in and face one guy and then get out of Dodge. That's good enough... so we're looking at a lot of one out specialists --- Joe Smith comes to mind.
Will Joakim Soria be in the top five closers when the season is over?
AJ Mass (11:21 AM)
I think it's a very good chance he will be. His numbers were better than K-Rod's last year if you don't count the 20 more saves. No reason to think that will be any different in 09, and the saves count will be a lot closer.
Which one of these pitchers will have a better year: Bedard, Lilly and R Johnson? What are your projections?
AJ Mass (11:22 AM)
I don't do traditional projections. I find it much more valuable to simply rank my pitchers based on skill set and expectation, without putting a number on it - especially b/c wins are impossible to predict. I have Lilly at the top of this trio.
Of the following, who has the best chance at making a fantasy impact this year? Fowler, McCutchen, Schafer or Rasmus
AJ Mass (11:25 AM)
I'd say Fowler. He's the most likely to "come north" with the team - although Rasmus may well have the most impact in fantasy - albeit negatively.
How much will Holliday's #'s suffer this year playing 81 times in Oakland?
AJ Mass (11:29 AM)
Consider me in the camp that Holliday is not a Coors creation, but a good player who plays better at home - regardless of where that home is, and which is true of many players. That's why it's called a home-field advantage. He's playing in ALL different parks. None of his road stats should matter either - b/c his road trips will take him to all different parks. I see business as usual - maybe a slight dip in slugging - but not a catastrophic drop.
How come everyone is "down" on David Wright as a potential #1 overall? He'll have better power numbers than Reyes, more RBI than Han-Ram, and should steal more bases than A-Rod or Pujols. He's a .320 hitter, 30HR, 110RBI, 100 runs, and 15 SB, isn't that the most lethal combo in the majors?? The only player I can see taking over him is Han-Ram because of the 50 steals and comparable HR numbers (but, still, 50 more RBI is HUGE). AJ, preach to the MASSes on this one
AJ Mass (11:31 AM)
I think the steals do matter. Don't get me wrong - I like Wright, and he's my first 3B off the board - even over A-Rod. But I'm placing him #5 overall.
Projections on Alex Gordon? Will he ever become the phenom people thought we would be 1-2 years ago?
AJ Mass (11:33 AM)
He's not George Brett. Now that the expectations are lower and he's not being asked to be the saviour of the Royals, I think we may finally see him relax enough to begin to put up a 20-10 season with a .280 average. But he's still not George Brett.
Sean, St. Paul
What are your thoughts on Shin-Soo Choo? He had a pretty strong finish last year. A lot of folks are projecting 20-25 HRs, .300 avg., 80 RBIs and 10-15 SBs for 2009. Plus, he turns 27 this year, if you believe in the "Age 27" breakout theory.
AJ Mass (11:34 AM)
I think expecting him to have an OPS of .970 for the whole season is probably asking too much. I think he's a nice average OF who will approach 20-20 but probably hit closer to .260.
Do you rank players strictly based on the previous years performance - it seems like it to me? Drew over Tulo is madness.
AJ Mass (11:38 AM)
I always love when people disagree with me and therefore conclude I'm crazy. I never said Tulo is garbage. All I said is I'd go for Drew first. If I was basing it just on last year's stats, I'd have Tulo far far lower on my list. Plus the cost of Drew will be far cheaper to me than Tulo making him all the more appealing.
Wait, if Wright is #5 overall and BEFORE ARod, where in your crazy rankings do you put Arod and who are your top 10?
AJ Mass (11:44 AM)
We're just talking hitters here... I'm not including pitchers in my mix, who generally I wait on. I have Reyes, Pujols, Grady and Hanley before Wright. I have A-Rod at 18, though he is my 2nd 3B. This doesn't mean that I think he's the 18th best player. It just means that I am unwilling to select him higher than this spot to get back as much value as I would drafting others. This kind of list is much more valuable on draft day than a "who is better" - for example, I'm not going to get Evan Longoria on any of my teams - why? Because most folks are going to grab him in Rounds 1 or 2. I'm not willing to do that.
The Wright/Arod comment has made me leave this chat...
AJ Mass (11:48 AM)
Let's face it. If I don't have a top-5 pick, I'm likely not getting A-Rod. Someone will take him before it gets to me. We all know this. So what difference does it make -to me- if I rank him #6 or #600? He'll be gone before he gets to me. Personally I'd be willing to grab Wright b/c of BA and steals, but not A-Rod. You may disagree, but to be upset that I consider A-Rod to be the #2 3rd baseman in baseball is a bit silly.
VALUE, VALUE, VALUE!! Why can't you people understand that. Would you rather have Troy Tulowitski in round 5 or Rafael Furcal in round 14? I'm not saying Furcal is better than Tulo, but I'd rather have Furcal on my team BECAUSE I CAN GET HIM IN ROUND 14!
AJ Mass (11:51 AM)
Thank you Chet. This is what I'm trying to say. If I can get the best value round-by-round, then I'll come out ahead. People who jump up and grab Russell Martin in Round 4 "because he's the best catcher - look at those steals" may or may not be right... but they're also going to be sorry to have passed on say Ian Kinsler and end up with Richie Weeks.
A-Rod 18th? I understand your logic but there are 17 guys you would take ahead of A-Rod? He's as sure of a bet for 50/150 as ANYONE, and you have him 18th???? No offense but I need a job badly and ESPN could pay me to make a lot more sense than that!
AJ Mass (11:56 AM)
Firstly, I don't think 50/150 is a sure bet by any stretch. And would I personally rather have a Pujols than an A-Rod? Yes. But if you understand my logic, then you'd also understand that there are 17 guys I'd rather take than A-Rod not b/c I think they'll put up better stats than him, but that there are 17 guys I'd rather take that when combined with the REST of the guys I take will put up better stats for the year. Isn't that the point of the game?
Cliff Lee for $1 or Votto for $5?
AJ Mass (11:59 AM)
Cliff Lee for $1? Do we need to ask? BTW, questions like these are flying through the queue, so for those complaining about me "being slow" it's because of hundreds of Q's like this that I'm trying in vain to sift through.
If people don't like your opinions, why do they come here and ask for them/read them? I don't always agree with you, but I enjoy getting your point of view. Thanks for doing these chats for us!
AJ Mass (11:59 AM)
You're welcome. Of course in the interest of equal time...
I think you need to know your audience. Ranking AROD #18 is just plain dumb. How in the world can anyone rely on you for advice? Bye
AJ Mass (12:01 PM)
Well, if Al is leaving, then I am too. Let's face it - a chat without Al is like a day without sunshine. Thanks for your Q's. We'll see you the next time on Villa Allegre!