Fantasy Sports with AJ Mass
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, AJ Mass will drop by to take your questions and analyze all the latest sports news from a fantasy perspective.
Mass, a contributor to ESPN's fantasy coverage of football, baseball and college basketball, also is an MLB Rumor Central writer. He also wrote the book "How Fantasy Sports Explains the World."
Send your questions now and join Mass Thursday at 11 a.m. ET!
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AJ Mass (11:01 AM)
Good morning, gang! We've got 60 minutes of fantasy chattage up ahead, so let's get right to it, shall we? Second cup of coffee is in hand... who will be up first?
AJ, who do you think will be your No. 1 ranked MLB player this season?
AJ Mass (11:04 AM)
It's a good question... but an easy one. It's Mike Trout and not close.
The Phillies seemed to get old fast...anyone on the team worth picking up early in a draft?
AJ Mass (11:06 AM)
Cliff Lee is still a top 10 pitcher and Jimmy Rollins, because he plays SS, is the first hitter off the board.
Best pitcher in MLB for fantasy this coming year?
AJ Mass (11:07 AM)
Both defending Cy's are going to be solid again, but right now, I'm going to tout Waino as No. 1.
Is it worth even drafting Jeter or A-Rod this year? Their status is totally up in the air. It'll be weird not seeing them go anywhere in the draft.
AJ Mass (11:09 AM)
Certainly, if we know before our fantasy draft that A-Rod's suspension is not a factor, we will have to re-assess. However, right now, neither is in my top 200 hitters.
What do you expect from Strasbourg this season?
AJ Mass (11:11 AM)
He's top 40 to me, but I hesitate to predict beyond that.
Could Zach Wheeler be a sleeper?
AJ Mass (11:12 AM)
That's the whole point of sleepers -- they're people who we don't expect to "do it." So, my answering yes to your question is sort of a bad thing.
What are you expecting out of Tanaka this season?
AJ Mass (11:14 AM)
Certainly, we need to see where he ends up. I'd say his stats will almost definitely be better, and thus, he'll be ranked higher, if he ends up in the NL. First time around is almost certain to be solid. After that, we'll see how well he and the league adjust.
Where will the Cards young hitters Matt Adams and Kolten Wong fit into your rankings this season? Do you see Adams getting 500 AB's this season?
AJ Mass (11:17 AM)
Not high on Wong, but he should have a starting job, so in deep leagues, a late MI pick might be, pardon the pun, in the cards. I'd guess Adams gets 400 or so AB at most, unless Taveras ends up not getting the call until July.
What kind of a seasond o you expect from Hosmer this year? Things seemed to finally have clicked for him down the stretch.
AJ Mass (11:18 AM)
I'd put him in my early top 40 hitters. Maybe 20-90-.290?
Since for many of us (at least me anyway) football season ceased to be relevant after about week 3, any idea when the fantasy baseball draft kit will be coming out?
AJ Mass (11:20 AM)
Patience sir. I don't have a hard date at all, but I'd assume we'll know where Tanaka ends up first.
Andrew Cashner (SD)
Is this my breakout season?
AJ Mass (11:21 AM)
Certainly possible. Right now, I would not put him in my top 50 SP, but not too far removed from that group.
Trout and not close? You don't think a certain guy named Cabrera is close (even with his surgery?).
AJ Mass (11:23 AM)
I think Miggy is a solid 2, with an argument to be made for PG as well. But the SB elevate Trout way beyond in terms of fantasy value.
Newton or Kaepernick in a postseason league this week?
AJ Mass (11:24 AM)
I'd go with Cam.
Do you see Yovani Gallardo improving on his performance of last season? Where will he fall in your rankings?
AJ Mass (11:27 AM)
I'd place him outside my top 50 SP right now. His fantasy value is on 3-year decline, so it's hard to feel too confident.
How will Starlin Castro's off year last year impact your rankings of him at SS?
AJ Mass (11:29 AM)
Oh, it definitely has an impact. Memory of last year's rankings is hazy, but this year's 9th round starting point for me is probably at least 5 rounds lower than this time in 2013.
Andrew McCutchen top 3?
AJ Mass (11:30 AM)
Love Cutch. Have him at 6. Generally speaking, move any player within 10 spots either way and it's hard to argue because we're usually splitting hairs.
Are you as high on Yordano Ventura this year as others?
AJ Mass (11:32 AM)
Let's see him officially win a spot in the rotation before we start going bonkers here.
Sam (San Diego)
So, the NFL season (for fantasy) is over and baseball is still months away....how do you spend your time now? What do you work on?
AJ Mass (11:34 AM)
The baseball season is already well underway for me. MLB Rumor Central is where you'll find me, trying to makes sense of all the offseason buzz. Plenty to sift through daily.
Jon (Perth Amboy)
If Oscar Taveras is an everyday starter in StL, where does he rank?
AJ Mass (11:37 AM)
I'm almost always over-cautious with rookies. Especially in fantasy, the "shiny new toy" factor makes it really hard to properly assess value, and that's been compounded by Trout/Harper successes. Probably in the 90-100 range for me among hitters if he's Opening Day OF.
Speaking of MLB Rumor Central, any news on Miguel Sano??? Heard a rustling that he might have to have TJ surgery??
AJ Mass (11:39 AM)
Elbow surgery "has not been ruled out" but that's a lot different from saying "it's going to happen." He's been resting for 5 weeks, so we'll probably know sooner rather than later if he's headed down that path. Either way, I think Plouffe starts season at 3B.
Have you given any thought to some players you are staying away from in 2014 because they will be overrated?
AJ Mass (11:41 AM)
I'll have a better grasp of that once we have our fantasy summit in a few weeks. I try my best to make my own rankings without really looking at what others are thinking. It's hard enough to predict what I think players will do in 2014, let alone what I think other people will predict that those players will do.
Keeper ranks: Taijuan Walker, Archie Bradley, or Michael Wacha?
AJ Mass (11:43 AM)
Picking today, I go Wacha, Walker, Bradley. Haven't yet adjusted my keeper ranks for age, though.
Which rookie has the most impact in both leagues next season, Tanaka excluded?
AJ Mass (11:44 AM)
I think I'd go with either Abreu or Guerrero as first rookie off board, depending on positional need.
Will we get 2012 Albert Pujols or 2013 Albert Pujols in 2014?
AJ Mass (11:46 AM)
Have to hedge your bets on Albert. I think he'll rebound to some degree, but the risk is higher than ever -- because what you're getting is 2014 Albert Pujols, one year older than last.
Is 2B the most random position in fantasy this year? I feel like the top 2 will be Kipnis and Cano in some order then the next 8 are a toss up.
AJ Mass (11:48 AM)
I agree with your top two... I don't subscribe to the random theory after that, though.
Who has a more fantasy relevant season...Jackie Bradley Jr. or Xander Bogaerts?
AJ Mass (11:49 AM)
Xander more relevant, but Bradley may have more real world impact - for better or worse.
Dylan (Fryeburg Maine)
Billy Hamilton is not in the mix for best rookie?
AJ Mass (11:51 AM)
I can't honestly get *that* excited over a guy who essentially sat the entire last month of the season, waiting for his chance to steal bases. If he hits .260, yeah, he can certainly be a RotY candidate, but what if he hits .230?
Who is the best value out of the Rangers' hitters? Is it possible it's Alex Rios?
AJ Mass (11:52 AM)
Why yes. Yes it is.
Is Matt Harvey worth a late draft pick and DL in a 10 tm keeper - keep 8?
AJ Mass (11:53 AM)
If you can indeed draft and stash, then absolutely worth the flier late. You can always cut him later on if you need the roster room.
Likelihood of Andrelton continuing his power surge AND increasing his average?
AJ Mass (11:54 AM)
I'd be thrilled with 15-15 and .270.
Dylan (Fryeburg Maine)
Everth Cabrera>Starlin Castro?
AJ Mass (11:55 AM)
Not willing to go there yet.
does iwakuma regress this year or maintain 2013 performance?
AJ Mass (11:56 AM)
Maintain is a very good word. I currently have him in top 15 SP.
Should I hold or fold on Justin Upton in a keeper league?
AJ Mass (11:57 AM)
Depends on other options, of course, but I do have him in my top 50 hitters, so at least he's in the conversation.
AJ Mass (11:59 AM)
That's my time for today, gang! Thanks to everyone for your questions. If I didn't get a chance to answer, you can try me on Twitter (@ajmass). Until the next time, good luck and may the odds be EVER in your favor.