Fantasy MLB 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 (10:59 AM)
Good morning, gang! We've got 60 minutes of fantasy chattage coming up, so let's get right to it, shall we? Second cup of coffee in hand. Who, pray tell, is up first?
Which SP's hot start makes you want to pick them up more - Tim Hudson, Buehrle, Charlie Morton?
AJ Mass (11:01 AM)
I'd go more than one game deep before calling anything hot. And I'm not changing any projections after just one game either -- save for injuries. Buehrle before and now.
Jose Reyes Hamstring (The Tub)
Better replacement for my guy out of Starlin Castro, Alexei Ramirez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta or Jimmy Rollins? Thanks for the help!!
AJ Mass (11:02 AM)
I'd go with Jimmy as soon as he gets back from his paternity leave.
Can we believe Justin Smoak is going to break out this year? He's batting clean-up in Seattle. Or is this just a mirage?
AJ Mass (11:04 AM)
Thought he'd be a 20 HR guy with a .250 or so BA. Obviously off to a good start, but not suddenly calling him top 10.
Yes I know, don't overreact to one week. But does seeing any of these young guys in live games change your off season opinion even a little?
AJ Mass (11:06 AM)
Generally, no. I mean certainly if you watch a young pitcher on the mound on the road and he looks calm -- regardless of the results -- you have to make a mental note. However, you can't read too much into what little we've seen so far.
Andrew Zatz (Short Hills, NJ)
AJ, what closer is giving you heartburn at the moment? Nathan? Reed? Papelbon?
AJ Mass (11:07 AM)
Clearly it's Papelbon. Looks bad, not throwing strikes, velocity down AND on top of that, starting to point fingers elsewhere, which is something he something he was actively planning to avoid this year.
I have a SSS question for you. Would you rather own Smoak, Sizemore, or Starting 2b Rendon?
AJ Mass (11:08 AM)
Assuming we don't care about position, I go with Sizemore.
I've been burned by Bonifacio many times before. PLEASE give us a warning that he won't keep up this pace. Good pick up and trade guy?
AJ Mass (11:08 AM)
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...
Are you starting Yordano Ventura today?
AJ Mass (11:10 AM)
If I draft a guy, it's not to sit him -- especially not out of the gate.
If Pap loses the gig, who gets it?
AJ Mass (11:10 AM)
I'd guess Bastardo gets first shot at it.
Stephen (Los Angeles)
Would you drop Alex Guerrero to grab Chris Owings?
AJ Mass (11:12 AM)
Always better to have a guy who can help you now over a guy who may never help you in a one-and-done. But if we're talking two bench guys, then I'm not likely to make the move.
Thoughts on Cosart?
AJ Mass (11:14 AM)
Nice outing. Still has to prove he can do it for more than 5 innings at a time. 8-10 wins and a 4.00 ERA would be what I expect.
Do you think Piscotty gets the call before Taveres and if so, can he keep the job?
AJ Mass (11:16 AM)
Yes, but only because Taveras is not likely to be ready to go if the call comes in the next month or so due to injury. "Keeping the job" not really in the Cards, pardon the pun.
Mark (Big Apple)
How many saves does Valverde get before he loses the job and who takes over?
AJ Mass (11:18 AM)
In order to get saves, your team has to win -- so the number is not very high in my book. I'd say if there's a change at the back of the pen, it would be due to a Vic Black promotion.
John (Findlay, Ohio)
AL only Roto Pick two Dickey, Kluber, Paxson, Feldman, and Martin Perez.
AJ Mass (11:20 AM)
Dickey and Feldman.
does Zimmermann being skipped because of the flu and Roark pitching today mean Jordan will pitch tomorrow and Strasburg will pitch Saturday?
AJ Mass (11:21 AM)
I've heard the plan right now is for Zimm to go tomorrow, and if he can't, it might be one of those "all hands on deck RP-fest" days.
Clem, NJ [via mobile]
Better Ramos replacement: Ellis, Suzuki, Arencebia or Lobotan? Thanks!
AJ Mass (11:22 AM)
Ellis gets my call.
Yadier Molina is my catcher, with Miguel Montero on the bench. Do I keep Montero or trade him? Is he valuable enough to trade?
AJ Mass (11:23 AM)
You need to have a backup catching option at your disposal, so I would not trade him -- at least not until you know where your team's needs lie. After 3 games, you do not know what to trade anyone for.
Mark (Bellefonte, PA)
I realize it's early in the season but at what point do you begin to believe players' stats (both good and bad)?
AJ Mass (11:27 AM)
Barring an obvious mechanical flaw, I think it takes about a month to start thinking that a poor start might not be just a small sample size issue or that a previously underwhelming player may have indeed taken things to the next level.
Michelle (Green Bay)
Fowler is off to hot start. Can he be a real breakout player this year and take it to another level?
AJ Mass (11:28 AM)
Was hot last year too before the injuries kicked in. There's definitely something to see here.
What do you make of the Jays closer situation. I have Santos in my lineup with Janssen on my DL. Is Janssen worth dropping? I could really use the DL spot.
AJ Mass (11:30 AM)
I don't think Santos is the answer, so once Janssen returns, the job should go back to him. I'd try and hang on...
Hi AJ, Can't believe I'm asking, but Starlin Castro or Yunel Escobar?
AJ Mass (11:31 AM)
It's Castro, but if one had both on their roster, it might not be the worst thing to have Escobar in there until Starlin gets off the schneid.
What do you make of the baltimore 2nd base situation when Machado gets back later this month? Flaherty or Schoop?
AJ Mass (11:32 AM)
If Flaherty doesn't have a hit by then, it will be Schoop -- but I believe it's Ryan's job to lose.
Is the closer situation in baseball this bad or is it too early to tell? 14 blow saves through today, 7 "closers" have blown saves and a few have taken losses in tie games too.
AJ Mass (11:35 AM)
And exactly how many "high pressure" situations do closers throw in spring training? Fairly close to zero, with most not even getting any significant innings to "protect the asset." No worries this early.
vic (no cal)
What is your approach regarding sitting studs against top pitchers? For instance, if you had Paul Goldschmidt facing a healthy Clayton Kershaw, would you ever consider sitting him for one game and start, let's say, Justin Morneau or Mark Teixeira against the #5 starter from the Cubs?
AJ Mass (11:37 AM)
Never. This isn't football and you shouldn't manage your team that way. At worst, if PG faces a tough pitcher, he goes what? 0-4? That doesn't hurt your team nearly as much as if you sit him and he hits a HR.
Brandon (Simi Valley, CA)
Jim Henderson was dropped in 2 of my leagues. I'm thinking people panicked too early, should I pick him up or is he really not going to close anymore?
AJ Mass (11:38 AM)
Managers aren't exactly known for their complete and utter honesty, but Roenicke says Henderson is still his closer as soon as he gets back to form.
Ari Scwartzbard (NY)
Do you think Belt will surpass Hosmer by the end of the year?
AJ Mass (11:40 AM)
No. No I do not.
Core (vancouver) [via mobile]
Yu coming off dl Sunday. Drop Nate jones valverde or santos?
AJ Mass (11:40 AM)
I'd drop Santos personally.
vic (no cal)
If you could get a 4th round pick value in a trade for Clayton Kershaw right now, would you make the trade? Let's say, Strasburg for Kershaw? Or Ian Kinsler for Kershaw?
AJ Mass (11:42 AM)
I wouldn't trade Kershaw 1-for-1. Because of the injury, people are already going to try and rob you blind. You don't have to help them by giving them the combination to your safe, too.
Smiley (Ville Platte)
Who has the most saves for the Reds before/if Chapman returns?
AJ Mass (11:44 AM)
I'd guess Broxton.
Jean Claude (Vermont)
Do you see Giancarlo Stanton ending the season as a top five bat?
AJ Mass (11:45 AM)
Not that high, no. Perhaps top 25, if all goes well.
Who are you starting Crisp or Hamilton...until hamilton shows something
AJ Mass (11:46 AM)
Crisp, without hesitation.
Josh S. (Philly)
When healthy, where would you rank Cole Hamels?
AJ Mass (11:48 AM)
Had him in my top 10 before the injury. Assuming he gets back to 100 percent? No reason not to put him in the same place from that point forward... the question is if he'll get there.
Dick (toronto) [via mobile]
Opinion for replacing w Ramos? Castro montero salty mesoraco?
AJ Mass (11:49 AM)
So Schepp blew up in the opener. I had him as a fill in for the inactive Santana. Still worth keeping Schepp for a start against HOU next week?
AJ Mass (11:50 AM)
I don't think you should.
Which of the young popular SPs excites you most? Salazar, Wacha, Cashner, Cole, Gray?
AJ Mass (11:50 AM)
Cashner for me.
want to steal kershaw. A fair price would be ____?
AJ Mass (11:52 AM)
If you're trying to steal him, then you probably aren't interested in being fair. The question should be -- what can you offer that his owner would accept ... and only he can answer that.
who's in with Reyes out, Villar or Asdrubal?
AJ Mass (11:53 AM)
Cabrera for me.
Joe, philadelphia [via mobile]
Do you believe that Gyorko will break out this year?
AJ Mass (11:54 AM)
Likely to be at back end of top-half at his position. Not quite all the way there.
Daryl Hall or John Oates?
AJ Mass (11:54 AM)
Oates. Nobody hand-claps like he does.
Is Aoki a significant upgrade over Revere?
AJ Mass (11:55 AM)
Not significant, no.
Brad Miller has been wildly underrated on ESPN this year. I felt this before the season and the first few games, though a small sample size, have continued that thought. Your thoughts on him?
AJ Mass (11:57 AM)
I think the issue was simply the uncertainty of whether or not it was him or Franklin that would still be in Seattle come Opening Day that drove the "underratedness" of Miller. Nobody arguing the strong start... but like you said, sample size well too small to buy in.
Thoughts on Jeter this year?
AJ Mass (11:58 AM)
More ovations due to retirement than game play.
AJ Mass (11:59 AM)
That's all the time we've got for today, gang! Thanks for the Q's. I am on Twitter (@ajmass) if I didn't get to you... and if you haven't checked it out yet, please take not of my new book coming out in 12 days! "Yes It's Hot in Here" Until the next time... peace to the out!