Fantasy Baseball with AJ Mass
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AJ Mass (11:01 AM)
Good morning gang! It's our first fantasy chat of 2010. Glad to have you along for the ride. We're happy to discuss any/all of the Draft Kit articles we've written so far (Ellsbury, Pineiro, 'Mulligans', Pierre Rankings, Mock Draft) or any other Q's you might have. Who's up first?
Dave S. (Staten Island, NY)
Hi AJ, I enjoy your work..... David Wright. I love him but I'm scared of drafting him high. What do you see for him this season. Would Zimmerman be the safer pick?
AJ Mass (11:03 AM)
Wright should be better than last season in terms of power... I think he simply "gave up" trying to hit home runs at home and got psyched out a bit. With the lower centerfield wall, I'd expect at least 20 HR this season, and a high batting average as well.
AJ - Pierre rankings are my favorite article of the season. Since it adjusts each stat to its proper weighted value, why would you not use those formulas (adjusting for 2010 expectations) as your top 200 rankings?
AJ Mass (11:05 AM)
Thanks. Pierre Rankings are a tool, not a strict rankings system. I think its value comes in seeing what value a particular stat line would have garnered you last season, and for you to map out your own personal expectations of each player against that list.
AJ, I have the first pick in my keeper league redraft. Who do I take Hanley or Albert ? Thanks
AJ Mass (11:05 AM)
You can't go wrong with either, but I'm ranking Albert #1.
AL Only League. Lookin' for a DH. Ortiz or Thome? I figure Ortiz will produce more, but I'm thinking I could get Thome for a lot less...but will he produce a lot less too, or just a little less? Basically, what are your thoughts on Thome's upcoming year in the Land of 10,000 Lakes? THANKS!
AJ Mass (11:07 AM)
I'd roll with Papi. I think Thome is a great value late, and with the ability to DH he actually has value again. If anything, I think you have to see whether or not Thome's presence impacts a guy like Jason Kubel.
Ken (New Jersey)
Ryan Howard will break the home run record this year write it down in 6 months you will remember this comment and be wowed
AJ Mass (11:08 AM)
To be honest, I probably won't remember - and Howard wont reach 50 HR... but dare to dream, Ken.
Is Joey Votto a 1st rounder this year?
AJ Mass (11:10 AM)
No. Too many stud 1B available and Votto is not going to be taken that early - if third round comes by and you haven't grabbed a 1B yet though, you'll get good value at that point.
We're switching to a H2H Points league for the first time. How should this affect my draft strategy? Do you look for more well-rounded players?
AJ Mass (11:13 AM)
Usually, if I'm playing H2H, I draft three or four dominant closers early on and try and dominate pitching. With a points system though, I think you simply draft the best players available according to the points system you're using and look for starters over role players, since you need more AB per week to have more success, generally speaking.
Hi AJ, glad to have you back chatting again. So I know the golden rule of fantasy is to not let your personal allegiances get in the way of drafting, but im an avid member of red sox nation and just got my draft slot of 4, which i think will be arod (#3 guy loves the phillies)...im thinking of drafting longoria over arod, would this be crazy?
AJ Mass (11:15 AM)
I wouldn't take Longoria ahead of A-Rod, but again - your team. If you're going to be miserable rooting for A-Rod all season, then don't. Aren't we playing to have fun, first and foremost? If owning A-Rod makes you miserable, then don't do it.
Yes! AJ's Back! (Prospect, CT)
kershaw for haren in a dynasty h2h league...thoughts on each side?
AJ Mass (11:16 AM)
Kershaw's age certainly makes me want to keep him over Haren for dynasty.
To Brian (NYC), if you don't want to win your league, then don't draft A-Rod...if you want to win your league draft A-Rod and then trade him during the season for a big return...it's that easy.
AJ Mass (11:17 AM)
Good point, Eric. You can always trade A-Rod (or the pick itself if your league allows).
Matt (Indianapolis, IN)
I am new to fantasy baseball, having to keep up with it everyday will be a job in itself but right now I'm worried about the draft. Is there a template as to what position to draft when. I know in football you want to establish a good QB or RB. Is it smart to draft a good starting pitching rotation or a solid batting lineup?
AJ Mass (11:19 AM)
Fear not, Matt. You don't have to jump off the cliff without a parachute - play in a league where you only make weekly lineup moves and it's a lot easier to get your feet wet. As for draft strategy, there are plenty of good primers in our Draft Kit. Read TMR's Manifesto - it's a great starting place.
Who makes the most starts in 2010 in the #5 spot for the Cubs?
AJ Mass (11:21 AM)
I think Silva likely gets the call early, but I'm hoping Samardjiza earns a shot out of S.T.
2010 only. Hamels or Beckett?
AJ Mass (11:22 AM)
Beckett. Not a fan of Hamels, and never will be.
Keeper decision: Clayton Kershaw or Wandy Rodriguez. Wandy is the safer pick, but Kershaw has much higher upside. Which would you pick?
AJ Mass (11:23 AM)
Pitching is so ephemeral. Assuming there's no "value" difference in terms of salary and/or giving up a draft pick, I'd go with Kershaw - and I don't love Kershaw, but there's always SP on the waiver wire.
Another AL Only question, this time about pitchers. I know the OAK staff has some interesting youngsters....but what do you think of TOR's staff? Romero??? and some of those arms coming back from injuries...your thoughts?
AJ Mass (11:26 AM)
My buddy Jason Grey did a terrific piece on the A's starters... as for Toronto, I'm not sure what the final five will be, but I'm optimistic about Morrow and Zep. If McGowan is healthy, I'd gamble on him as well.
Stan the caddy (NYC)
Deciding on my last keeper choice before I hit the links with Kramer....Granderson, Ichiro, Bay or Dunn? We use OPS and not AVG for the 5th offensive stat.. Who would AJ choose? Already keeping Braun, Longoria and B Roberts. Thanks.
AJ Mass (11:27 AM)
Dunn and Bay take the lead for me - the only reason I lean a bit more towards Dunn is the potential flop of the supporting cast in NY for Bay - as you'll see in my Bay article tomorrow, I think he himself will be fine.
AJ Mass (11:28 AM)
Halfway through the chat! Time for a dance break...
Ryan (Astoria NY)
How does Jerry Manuel's boneheaded decision to bat Reyes third effect his fantasy value? His runs and SB's figure to decline quite a bit
AJ Mass (11:31 AM)
Not necessarily. I think batting order is greatly overexaggerated. You get a lineup as good as the Yankees, and 100 runs scored can come form anywhere. Let's see how it plays out before getting too disparaging.
AJ, can you provide us the link for Jason Grey's article? I'd be interested in reading up on the A's pitchers, esp Brett Anderson.
AJ Mass (11:32 AM)
http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=4946101&name=grey_jasonAvailable on Insider
Better keeper: Greinke (give up 9th round pick) or Sandoval (12th)? ARod, Wright, Zimmerman and Reynolds already off board at 3B as keepers. Halladay, Wainwright, Lester, Carpenter, Verlander, Josh Johnson top SPs off board.
AJ Mass (11:33 AM)
I'm always keeping hitters over pitchers. It's my own bias b/c SP can't help you in as many categories as hitters. And Panda with a 12 is a huge bargain.
Mike (State College)
Is speed more valuable in H2H leagues? Trying to figure out who my third keeper should be between McCutcheon, Beckham and Zobrist (all 12th rounders). My other keepers are Longoria (7) and Lind (25).
AJ Mass (11:35 AM)
Speed isn't "more valuable" because each category still counts the same. However, you need to hold on to it longer over the course of a season than you do in a roto league, so I would try and make sure I drafted speed earlier rather than later. Personally, I love McCutcheon.
Hal (New Orleans)
Whats the key to picking keepers? Should I just keep my best four guys overall or do I look to solidify depth-short positions if I have top 5 guys?
AJ Mass (11:36 AM)
I think you keep your strongest hitters, especially if they are at 2B/3B or named Hanley.
Hi AJ, I am in a 18-team mixed league. What approach do I take to a snake draft for a deep league like this?
AJ Mass (11:38 AM)
You need to have a draft list with tiers clearly delineated at each position. There could be 30 players taken between picks - so no room for mistakes. If there's one guy left in a tier, grab him. As the draft moves on, take players with jobs before reaching on rookies who "may" show up later.
Would you rather have Votto or Morneau this year?
AJ Mass (11:40 AM)
Close call here, so I'd pass on Votto to take Morneau a round later if I thought he would still be there "next round" - so, favoring Votto, but not by a ton.
Greg (Boston, MA)
Hey AJ, what is your feeling on SS this year? After Hanley and Tulo its seems there is a drastic drop off. Is it a good idea to draft Tulo early in the second round over someone like Wright or Howard?
AJ Mass (11:41 AM)
I'm not as down on SS as I am at 2B. I'm grabbing Utley if at all possible and would rather "settle" for Andrus or one of the Cabrera boys than reach early for Tulo.
SteveFitz (Cicero, IL)
How high do you draft Strasburg if he's available in your keeper draft?
AJ Mass (11:43 AM)
As much as I think he could be a huge star in the future, I draft for 2010 first. So, Strasburg might be the 5th SP I take, but not before, and if that means I miss out, so be it.
any word on if jason heyward starts in the majors?
AJ Mass (11:45 AM)
No word, but I think he will be. Just my opinion, but Cox isn't going to want to miss out on the chance to manage him.
What are the odds of Soto bouncing back from a horrid sophmore season
AJ Mass (11:46 AM)
Does nobody come to this website for the articles? http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?page=mlbdk2k10cubs James Quintong addresses this far more completely than I could right here.
Any word on whether Posey starts in the Bigs, or if Bengie Molina is a legit option at Catcher for half a season or more?
AJ Mass (11:47 AM)
I think Posey stays down under, at least until trade deadline.
What is your strategy in an auction league if you miss out on the power bats at both 1b and 3b?
AJ Mass (11:48 AM)
I don't think you can completely miss out. After all, grab a Konerko or a Branyan late and you can still get your 30 HRs.
so then where should you target heyward? thanks!
AJ Mass (11:49 AM)
I think if you want him badly, you're going to have to take him no later than 18th round. I'm not one to chase rookies, so I'm not taking him that early, but someone in your league probably will.
Is Johnny Cueto a cheap sleeper again this season?
AJ Mass (11:51 AM)
I like Cueto a lot to fill out a staff. Pitch him until he has a bad start, then sit him. If the next two are just as bad, send him on his way.
Lightning Round: Number one sleeper that no one is talking about is...
AJ Mass (11:52 AM)
In this day and age of info overload I doubt there is one. I'm higher on Kurt Suzuki and Cody Ross than most.
Mike (Los Angeles)
Lightning Round: Lackey in the AL East or Brett Anderson against the sweet AL West?
AJ Mass (11:53 AM)
I'd take my chances with Anderson. As I wrote in my Pineiro piece, I am not big on Lackey.
Do you see Sizemore getting back to his 30/30 form? If so with what kind of BA?
AJ Mass (11:54 AM)
25-25 maybe... all the surgery scares me off of him a bit. Maybe he tops out at .280, but I doubt it.
The one question on all of our minds is...Do the Cubs win the world series this year
AJ Mass (11:55 AM)
And here I was thinking it was whether or not Ochocinco wins Dancing With the Stars.
Are you a believer that Johan will return to form? He seems to be a steal for the round you get to draft him this season.
AJ Mass (11:56 AM)
I think you're right. I'm not elevating him back to top-5 SP status yet, but he's bound to get a lot more run support than last year, and could easily win 15-17 games.
AJ Mass (11:56 AM)
Getting down to the last few Q's... make them count!
Ian Kinsler or Tulowitzki?
AJ Mass (11:57 AM)
Kinsler, based on my feeling that 2B is not a position to wait on.
AJ, on a serious note im a Cust fan.. do you see him batting over .250 and hitting with 25-30 home runs
AJ Mass (11:58 AM)
Don't see the average, but the pop is reasonable.
Thoughts on Chris Davis this year?
AJ Mass (11:59 AM)
Great value late, especially with all those 1B getting grabbed in first few rounds.
AJ Mass (12:00 PM)
Thanks, gang. First chat of many... we'll be back next Tuesday at this same bat-time, so spread the word. Until then... Stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you!