Fantasy Baseball with AJ Mass
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AJ Mass (10:57 AM)
Good morning gang! We're back for another hour of fantasy chattage after missing last week to attend the ESPN.com Fantasy Football Rankings Meeting. We've got plenty to talk about, including the Gambler's Fallacy column that's gotten a lot of folks in an apparent uproar. All Q's welcome here... Who's up first?
Jamie (Lexington, KY)
Now the the season has started, who are your Top 5 NL hitters/non-pitchers?
AJ Mass (10:58 AM)
Right now, I'd have to rank Braun, Pujols, Utley, Ethier and Kemp in the top 5.
AJ, after reading your article yesterday, one would get the impression that no historical statistic can be used for future guidance. I understand the cards have no memory, but you have to go by something or else we could just assign players randomly and see who comes out ahead.
AJ Mass (11:01 AM)
Not at all. I even say that a career .350 hitter has much legitimate higher expectations over a career .200 hitter. But, when dealing with "the next week" only you are in essence throwing darts. Had to chuckle when one of the nay-sayers yesterday said "Based on your argument, Scott Podsednick is just as likely to hit a home run in his next game as Albert Pujols, and we know that is just not the case." Guess what?
Jake Peavy (ChiSox)
I know it was KC but I looked good right? Signs of a turnaround?
AJ Mass (11:02 AM)
What's with all the "I know it was KC" talk? They are fifth in the AL in hitting. It's not like they're batting .225 as a team like the White Sox. One start only, but certainly a good sign.
How do you handle collusion in a league? Is this just something you have to accept in public leagues?
AJ Mass (11:03 AM)
That's why you're always better playing with friends than complete strangers. Not a lot you really can do, especially if the commish is in on it, save find a new league.
Is there any way Austin Jackson can sustain any semblance of this start or should we sell high ASAP?
AJ Mass (11:05 AM)
Perfect example of a guy with no track record to base this streak on. Is he a .377 hitter? Probably not. But where is his line? I like him, but we've probably seen the best stretch possible out of him for 2010 already.
I usually disagree with everything you write, but yesterday's article is dead on, and everyone who doesn't agree hasn't studied basic probability and statistics.
AJ Mass (11:07 AM)
Bob, thanks. When it comes to prob/stat - it often doesn't register intuitively, so I understand the resistance. But what's amusing is the outrage-- I ran a poll on Twitter as to Tex for May: .350 over/under. It came out just about 50-50 in votes, but nearly 100 percent in "it's so obvious" - I don't think projections ever are.
Lirano Sell high or hold?
AJ Mass (11:08 AM)
Never say never, but I think Liriano has pretty good sustainability on this start to 2010.
Michael P. Hayes (NY)
A-Rod concerns? Is he even a top 10 player anymore?
AJ Mass (11:10 AM)
I haven't thought A-Rod to be a top 10 for a few years now. If not for the lineup around him, I'd be more down on him, but even if his average sags around .275, the RBIs will be there.
AJ - Please tell me, should I pick up Steve Pearce or if I do, will I drop him by the end of the month. Thanks!!!
AJ Mass (11:11 AM)
Pearce was definitely a name I was going to trumpet today. I like him - and with Clement doing zippo, I think he'll get a lot of time to win the job.
AJ, you miss one point in your Gambler's Fallacy argument:You miss the hot and cold streaks that were all part of what made the guy a .300 hitter.If a guy TRULY developed a career avg of .300 by getting a hit in every 3 of 10 at bats, your analysis would make sense. But, you miss the fact that during his career of .300 avg, he had 10 months that he hit .200, and 10 months that he hit .350, or whatever.Therefore, you can't just say a guy has 3 in 10 chance of getting a hit EVERYTIME he comes up to the plate, because historically, he's shown that he's going to have a 2 in 10 chance when things aren't going well, or a 4 in 10 chance when things are going well.
AJ Mass (11:14 AM)
Streaks are certainly a natural part of any collection of stats. I'm not saying they aren't. But there's no way to delineate the moment a streak will start and end. Or whether this is the year Ichiro hits .295 --- or if a Colby Rasmus' "career" numbers take off and he truly develops to a .320 hitter. That streaks will develop is predictable, when and for how long and in what direction? Not a chance.
Gamblers fallacy has to do with "because something happened once, it is likely or unlikely to occur again" such as a certain number appearing twice in a row in roulette. Albert Pujols is ALWAYS more likely to hit a HR than Scott Posednik because the % likelihood is much higher. Pujols hits a HR every 8 or so at bats, while Posednik hits one every 100 or so (made up #s, but you get the point, I hope).
AJ Mass (11:16 AM)
Of course I get the point - just found it amusing that the example chosen actually decided to hit HR No. 1. Obviously, I don't expect Juan Pierre to hit 40 HR in any season, no matter what kind of pace he gets on... but batting average is a different animal and the range of values is very limited to begin with.
Name game: Bruce or Markakis?
AJ Mass (11:17 AM)
Markakis. Better so far, and better for the rest of the way.
Sell high on Cano or Konerko? I think they will both be good for the rest of the year, but there is no way their value gets any higher. What would be fair value?
AJ Mass (11:19 AM)
I like Cano better than Konerko to keep it up, of the two... but I don't know that you do get fair value if the general consensus among your fellow owners is also "they can't keep it up."That's always the tricky part of trades, isn't it?
Tim ((The basement))
Hunter Pence seemed like such a smart pick...to me. Sigh. Is he going to turn it around? I mean, he's "due", right?
AJ Mass (11:21 AM)
You know how I feel about "due" right? I would say Pence has to do better than he's doing now, but would I want to wait on him to show me something? No I would not.
Gambler's fallacy only applies to events that are independent. Each pitch is dependent on the last. Therefore, gambler's fallacy doesn't apply.
AJ Mass (11:24 AM)
Is each at-bat a true independent event? Wind conditions, situation, pitcher on the mound, time of day, what the hitter ate that morning -- there are so many factors that make each at-bat different enough that I would argue that they are independent events... though perhaps not in the strictest mathematical sense of roulette spins... which aren't all that perfectly independent either if you know a little more about dealer patterns and "sections."
Bob (Bob City)
When does Chris Davis return to the Rangers? He's killing it at AAA
AJ Mass (11:25 AM)
I think Davis has more of a chance of being shipped somewhere else than getting up to the bigs and taking over for Smoak at this point.
Kenny Rogers (AJ's Fallacy)
I know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away from Rich Harden, know when to run? Harden, Piniero, Cecil, Fausto. NAME GAME!
AJ Mass (11:27 AM)
Ranking right now, I'd go: Cecil, Carmona, Harden, Pineiro. And it pains me to do it, since I was so on the Jo-el Train.
are you concerned about Max and his last two outings?Nice conversation as I am a math teacher!!
AJ Mass (11:28 AM)
Very concerned about Scherzer right now and wouldn't go near him with a ten-foot pole. And if you liked Monday's column... wait until you see what I unleash on you next Monday. (Teaser!)
Tom Tuttle (Tacoma)
Braun, Pujols, Utley and Kemp are all top half of the first round picks. Why does Ethier get promoted to that class and not, say, Cano?
AJ Mass (11:29 AM)
Could be wrong, but I believe the question was NL, Tom. Cano is certainly in my overall top 5.
D Fowler at the same level as Garrett Jones?
AJ Mass (11:31 AM)
Pretty much on a level playing field - depends on what you need more, SB or HR.
You eating what Jhoulys Chacin is cooking?
AJ Mass (11:32 AM)
A little early to go all in, but if I was looking for a little boost in the K totals, I'd give him a long look-see.
AJ Mass (11:33 AM)
Aside to Pat from NY... that's exactly what next Monday is about.
Best Baseball town....L.A. or San Fran?
AJ Mass (11:34 AM)
If you mean better - I'd go with San Fran. As for best? I happen to think there are several solid candidates - St. Louis, Chicago, New York, Cleveland and Kansas City among them.
Take a recovery flyer on any of these:Coghlan,McLouth,Blanks?
AJ Mass (11:36 AM)
Blanks... though the clock on him is certainly ticking a bit faster.
What do I do with Carlos Quentin?! So much upside, but man hes been brutal...
AJ Mass (11:37 AM)
I'd be a tad patient with CQ -- at least the few hits he's had were mostly for extra bases.
Fact Check (NY)
The real issue here is that "Gambler's Fallacy" deals entirely with random outcomes that are based on chance. In baseball, there is skill involved - amassed career statistics can and do show us that certain players are more likely than others to "right the ship", etc. What it doesn't tell us is exactly when that "righting" will happen, which I think is your point. Can we all just agree that you have a good point, but that the term "Gambler's Fallacy" really is a misnomer here and move on? I think people are taking the name too literally here . . .
AJ Mass (11:40 AM)
In baseball there is most certainly skill involved... in playing fantasy baseball - although you can learn to analyze players and improve your odds at predicting future results - you're also using luck more than skill. But you're right, Gambler's Fallacy was just a way of positioning the argument... perhaps we can agree to call this the Fantasy Owner's Fallacy and move along.
Bedard or Harang? Name Game
AJ Mass (11:41 AM)
Until he's actually back, got to stick with Harang.
Hey AJ... in a 12 team keeper league, is it crazy that Porcello was dropped and is sitting unowned?
AJ Mass (11:42 AM)
In a keeper league, I'd certainly stash him.
I've now learned through your articles that you have had the following occupations: Mr. Met, AC Casino Dealer and obviously ESPN Fantasy Writer. I'm confident that you are also in Dos Equis Commercials as The Most Interesting Man in the World (despite the difference in looks). What other "typical" jobs have you held?
AJ Mass (11:43 AM)
Typical? Not me. I was also part of an improv troupe in NYC for many years and was once a contestant on Remote Control back in the day.
Mike (San Diego)
Ubaldo gave up more runs last night that in his 3 previous starts COMBINED. Is it time to panic?
AJ Mass (11:45 AM)
Absolutely. I'd cut him outright! Look at his career numbers... he'll clearly have a 7.30 ERA the rest of the season. (And yes, that is sarcasm.)
AJ, Capps for Bourn; Which side are you on?
AJ Mass (11:46 AM)
It's all about where you are in saves and your particular team needs. Capps is my No. 4 RP, so from that standpoint it is fair, but I also really devalue relievers overall.
Seems like the Rockies are working Jimenez pretty hard. Do you think he's an injury risk? I was thinking selling high.
AJ Mass (11:49 AM)
He's No. 2 SP right now, and No. 6 overall including hitters in my ranks, so there's not a lot higher he can go. I don't see there being more injury risk than other pitchers... but why not hold on to him? Is his replacement going to perform anywhere near this level?
Remote Control, what a great show that was. Only time I ever liked Colin Quinn
AJ Mass (11:49 AM)
Track down my Mass Confusion blog and you can see the footage of me "Singing Along" with him.
Back up, did you really include Ethier as a top 5 NL hitter and not Hanley? Please explain.
AJ Mass (11:51 AM)
As of right now, yes. 50 points higher in batting average, more HR and RBI...why wouldn't I?
Only 4 episodes of Lost left! What answers do you want them to get to?
AJ Mass (11:53 AM)
I'll be happy if they simply explain enough of the Jacob/Faux-Locke relationship to make sense and clue us in to what/when/where the Flash Sideways are. That's all they owe us as viewers - to make each season an enjoyable ride, and without those two things, they will have failed.
AJ where do you stand on projection tools like ZiPS for example? We've established that the "Fantasy Owner's Fallacy" applies AB to AB or even week to week, but can't we project a player's performance *reasonably well* for the rest of the year based on his peripherals and other stats?
AJ Mass (11:54 AM)
They're just that - tools. It's about how you use them. I can have a hammer, nails and all the wood I want. AJ ain't gonna be able to build you a house. Plus these "tools" can't incorporate nagging injuries (especially ones we don't know about) or other factors that can impact a player's performance.
Colin Quinn (Unemployment Line)
Beckham or A. Cabrera? Name Game
AJ Mass (11:55 AM)
Got to go with Asbrubal.
Due to injuries I've got three Cardinals in my lineup tonight. Would it be foolish to start Hamels since he's going against Wainwright and hitters that I literally cannot sit?
AJ Mass (11:56 AM)
Why? Hamels can't throw a six hit shutout - all to your guys?
Capps is your #4 RP??? Did I read that right?
AJ Mass (11:58 AM)
Leading the league in saves and ERA under 1.00, so I'm assuming the outrage is he's not higher. Cordero, Clippard and Zumaya are currently ahead of him.
I want Lost to answer if I should drop Borbon or Gardner for the Smoak monster. What do you think?
AJ Mass (11:59 AM)
I'd ditch Borbon, but not Gardner - especially not after Curtis' injury.
Do i have a better chance of getting my question answered if i send you a message on twitter?
AJ Mass (12:01 PM)
I do try to get to as many as I can there as well, since time is limited here... but I can't guarantee it, Zack. Speaking of which, we are out of time... We'll be back next Tuesday for more. I appreciate the Q's... Be seeing you!