Fantasy Sports w/Eric Karabell
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Eric Karabell (3:01 PM)
Hello there and welcome to a cold, snowy Wednesday in the Northeast. I'm inside, where it's warm, and it's time to talk fantasy baseball. I'll take the occasional football and hoops question as well, but let's get going... BIG news today! Aaron Heilman got traded again! OK, questions...
Pat (San Francisco, CA)
I know the saying that precludes every sentence with Rich Harden in it ("when healthy..."), but I'm an A's fan and have followed his battered career pretty closely. So how off am I to say that when healthy, he might be the best fantasy pitcher in the game? What round would you draft him in a 12-team league and what do you think his auction value is for this year? What do you think of his long-term keepability?
Eric Karabell (3:03 PM)
Well, let's just start right off with this one, shall we? I don't trust Harden's arm one bit. Or his shoulder. There are reports he has a torn shoulder, and today's Aaron Heilman trade only reinforces the Cubs' need to add depth. I am assuming Heilman was acquired to start. What's the best-case scenario for Harden anyway? Wasn't 2008 that best case, with 25 starts? Look, the guy is awesome, but I'm thinking he's hurt already, and might make 20 starts at best. When healthy, sure, he's a monster, but durability is a part of being the best. I wouldn't draft him where he's going, or keep him.
Sam (atlanta, georgia)
Do you think BJ Upton is a 1st rounder in a 14 team league? Good reports about the shoulder; unlimited potential
Eric Karabell (3:05 PM)
This is one of the main differences you will see - when our cool draft kit comes out - between the overall rankings and projections and mine. I think Upton is healthy and will hit for power. Others won't rank him well because of nine homers in 2008 and the fact his shoulder might cause him to miss some time this season. That's fair. I don't think he's a first rounder in any scenario, though. Someday I think we'll see a 30/30 season.
Kyle J (Philadelphia, PA)
Eric, With the A's lack of stolen bases as a team, how many do you think Matt Holliday will acquire this year?
Eric Karabell (3:06 PM)
I think Holliday will do OK in Oakland, but he won't approach the same stats. When it comes to running, he's not exactly Rickey Henderson, but like most good athletes he is capable of stealing a base each week when the mood strikes. That's just being smart. I don't see him stealing more than 10 bases with the A's, though, which fortifies why he's not a top-20 player for me anymore.
Trade Analysis - Yao for Amare.What is the bigger risk -Amare playing uninspired like he has for he last month for the rest of the season or Yao getting injured?
Eric Karabell (3:08 PM)
Amare went for 22 and 15 his last game while Yao has missed two games. That seals it for me. Yao is a terrific fantasy player, a top-10 option when healthy, but when's the last time he played 80 games? Four years ago? I'll take Amare every time.
Cameron Maybin (FLA)
Hi Eric - do you agree that I'll be starting CF for the Marlin's this year? Dave "The Answer Guy" doesn't believe I'll be starting!!! What do you see my numbers being for 2009?
Eric Karabell (3:10 PM)
Well, Dave might be right. In our two-day rankings meetings last week I seemed to be carrying the flag for Maybin, while others think he needs to be in Triple-A. I think the Marlins want him playing in the bigs, and think he can at least control his strikeouts a bit to hit .260 with double digit power and 25 steals. That seems like a really good rookie season for him, and after 2009, it gets better. Then again, he could be in the minors, so I see being cautious. He does strike out an awful lot.
Which OF do you like more for 2009: Choo, Lind, Kubel, J. Upton?
Eric Karabell (3:12 PM)
I think you have to consider Upton a future star, certainly capable of hitting 30 homers soon. It might be this year. Lind has ability and a job and should hit at least 20. Choo has never had a full season, but should now. I don't assume we can extrapolate his 2008 stats. Kubel is what he is, I doubt he does more.
Tan (Thagimp, CA)
Should I keep Alfonso Soriano - the outfielder on the Cubs - or Roy Halladay - the starting right handed pitcher for the Blue Jays? I think Halladay will help me more in the pitching categories, but Soriano will definately get more home runs and steals.
Eric Karabell (3:13 PM)
You are correct on both counts. Soriano will help more in the hitting categories! I tend to go hitters over pitchers most things considered, and you'll see Soriano does better in my top 200. He remains a possible 30/30 guy. Nothing against Halladay at all.
Jason (St Louis)
What is the best draft position in a 10 team league?
Eric Karabell (3:14 PM)
In any league, any sport, I almost always want to be first or last. Let me choose who I want first, ya know? I think this season I'd like a top-3 pick. I'd be fine with any of Hanley, A-Rod or Pujols third! If not, I never have a problem going last, because there are plenty of good options at 10 and 11, and thereafter I enjoy being able to take two players at a time. Makes the decisions easier!
Hi Eric,Do you think Kelly Shoppach could get significant playing time this season?
Eric Karabell (3:15 PM)
Yeah, I think I am in the minority on this one, too, but I think he's Cleveland's mostly everyday catcher, while Victor Martinez mans first base. It's not like Ryan Garko has established himself as a must-play guy deserving of 500 at-bats. I think Shoppach gets 450 at-bats, Martinez even more, and Garko suffers. Plus, who knows if Travis Hafner can earn 500 at-bats.
keepr league baseball question. Whuch option would you rather have for 2009 only? a) Mark Teixeira b) Cole hamels and Chris Davis or c) Chris Davis, Jay Bruce, and Ryan Ludwick
Eric Karabell (3:17 PM)
Probably Hamels and Davis, though it's in a vaccuum. I think Ludwick will be productive again and Bruce is breaking out. But Hamels is a top-6 starting pitcher, and Davis might end up with numbers pretty close to Teixeira. It's not that I think Davis hits 40 homers, but I don't think Teixeira will.
Is it just me or did 1st base all of a sudden become a thin position. The drop off from the top five is steep.
Eric Karabell (3:18 PM)
I don't think it's as deep with sure things as normal, but if you look at the other positions, none of them seem to be. I can't really say why. First base remains the deepest spot in fantasy, along with third base. If you need 5 outfielders, you'll find it's not deep, and certainly middle infield and catcher are not. Starting pitching is deep, though.
You have previously identified players like Carlos Gomez, Eugenio Velez and Maybin as having increased value this upcoming year. Do they still have sleeper potential?
Eric Karabell (3:20 PM)
I tihnk they all can run, but I seriously question their plate discipline, which often hinders batting average. We saw with Gomez, there are many holes in that swing. Velez is someone I doubt even wins a starting job. He's not as talented as Emmanuel Burriss, and he's a butcher in the field. I think Maybin is tops of this group. Yes, I used to like Velez, but he really didn't show much at the plate in '08.
Eric, not fantasy related but in your last podcast you said you'd prefer Pedroia over Utley for defensive reasons. Can you explain this, as I was under the understanding that pretty much every defensive metric had Utley as the runaway leader for best defensive 2b in 2008.
Eric Karabell (3:22 PM)
You listen to the podcast! You're the one! OK, that's a joke. Turns out a lot of people listen to Baseball Today, so thanks for that. We're scheduled to record again next week, and in February we go weekly. The Fantasy Podcast with Matthew and Nate should be weekly by then as well. Anyway, Utley had a terrific season defensively, better than Pedroia really, but I'm thinking more long-term. Utley worked very hard to become good defensively, but Pedroia has always been good. I think he'll be more consistent. We're still talking about the two best 2B in the game overall. Also, I can find a defensive metric to say anything I want most of the time. There are so many factors to prove a point with, from fielding percentage (matters very little) to range to other ratings.
Will Matt LaPorta make an impact next year for my Indians?
Eric Karabell (3:23 PM)
I don't see him starting the season in Cleveland, but at some point I think he comes up and helps. He's ready to hit in the majors now, but the Tribe has a bit of outifeld depth and can wait. Plus, I think the Indians want to see LaPorta play left field.
John (Chestnut Hill)
Great News, Eric! I have pick 3 in my draft! If i take pujols, would you recommend taking a position player like Kinsler or UPton at #18 or the best available player like Berkman or Fielder?
Eric Karabell (3:25 PM)
That's good news! In round two I'd generally go best available, but one think I personally watch for is I would not go first base with my first two picks. It might mean you can't get Adam LaRoche in round 14 or so, you know? I think Kinsler would be a good pick there over first basemen with more pop.
Traynor (Oakland, CA)
Please rank these 1Bs taking into account OBP, Giambi, C Jackson, A LaRoche?
Eric Karabell (3:26 PM)
I think Conor Jackson gets my nod. I know from our rankings meeting that few think he will develop big-time power, but you have to like a guy who gets on base like that, hits for average, bats in an RBI spot and has multi eligibility (though he's not a good 1B at all, likely an average LF going forward). I'd take Jackson over LaRoche. Giambi is a nice one-year gamble, and he certainly takes walks, but I think the batting average hurts a bit compared to the other guys.
Karabell how are you doing today my man?
Eric Karabell (3:27 PM)
Very well, thank you. It's warm inside, and I made my kids shovel outside! I wrote spins on the Aaron Heilman trade and the Jon Garland signing, and have been busy today! Stay warm everyone...
I sorely missed baseball chats. Eric, I'm keeping M. Cabrera and Kinsler and need to choose 3 from the following: Alexei Ramirez, V. Martinez, Victorino, Liriano, Volquez and Gallardo. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Eric Karabell (3:29 PM)
Me too. I might not give the answer you want, since I normally keep bats over arms, but I think in this case I'd let Liriano slide into the debate. Which hitter would I not keep between Alexei, Victor and Shane? I think Ramirez is in, and based on the fact he's a catcher Martinez is next. Victorino is a nice player, but position eligibility pushes him out here. Plus, I think we've seen his best. It's a good best, but the other hitters should be more valuable. And Liriano should be a monster.
VMART - boince back season and a top C in 2009 or start of a slide?
Eric Karabell (3:30 PM)
I think he's close to a top-5 catcher by most accounts. I see a bounce back season to a degree; we can't write him off from one bad season, but .300 with 20 homers seems like asking for a lot.
Jeremy (Waterville, ME)
How do you think Carlos Quentin bounces back from his wrist injury?
Eric Karabell (3:32 PM)
I think he's going to be very underrated in drafts this season. People don't realize he was going to hit 40 home runs. The hand injury isn't one that should haunt him. I think he's close to being a top-10 outfielder, and wouldn't be surprised if he matches his 2008 output, though over more games.
Monsieur Karabell: Billy Butler! I mean...what are we to think?.
Eric Karabell (3:33 PM)
I'm not at all impressed. Until he begins to hit right-handed pitching, which he hasn't done at all, it's tough to expect 500 at-bats or 20 homers. I think he's barely draftable in a 10-team mixed format.
Santana vs Lincy for the next 3 seasons - discuss (who would you rather)
Eric Karabell (3:34 PM)
I think Lincecum is terrific, but Santana remains my top pitcher. I'm not particularly worried about Lincecum getting hurt, but I see no reason to remove Santana from the top spot now, or in the future. Lincecum is probably my No. 2, though.
James - Phoenix
Is this the year all those bb's catch up to dice k?
Eric Karabell (3:35 PM)
I think he's always going to walk people, though what we saw in 2008 was crazy. Look at his 2007, I see him still walking 80 hitters, but in more innings than 2008. Plus, he doesnt give up many hits. He's a smarter pitcher than people give him credit for. Sure, he walks a lot of hitters, but how many runs did he allow? Home runs? He pitches out of trouble well, though I admit that can't really be quantified at this, or any stage.
Is Blake Dewitt a solid late round 2b? Or do you like DeRosa?
Eric Karabell (3:37 PM)
I like them both. I can't find too many in fantasy who like DeWitt, though. I'd definitely draft DeRosa over him, because he should hit for more power and he is safer. DeWitt gets on base, and I think we will see a Kelly Johnson type line, though with no speed.
Sir Eric; Do you hold out any hope that B Wood can fulfill his promise and become a studly power hitting SS?
Eric Karabell (3:38 PM)
Absolutely. I think there is a Troy Glaus future for him in time, but not necessarily in 2009. Wood has power, but he has to learn which pitches to flail away at. Also, I have doubts his long term position is short. I think third base.
What happened to Corey Hart? You think he improves?
Eric Karabell (3:40 PM)
I don't think anything happened to Hart. His 2008 line was the same as 2007, except for a much lower walk rate that hurt his batting average. I see him settling in around .275 but the 20/20 numbers are legit. I don't think he'll get much better though.
Alexei Ramirez, believer or non-believer?
Eric Karabell (3:41 PM)
Cautious. Very few players - like you can count them on one hand - can hit for consistent power and keep their batting average high with such poor plate discipline. I see Ramirez putting up nice counting numbers, but be wary of the percentages.
Fred (Chi town)
Does Soto's place in the lineup hurt his value? I expect him to bat 6th behing bradley which means 65 runs, tops.
Eric Karabell (3:42 PM)
I expect Bradley to be in the Chicago lineup about half the time, so I wouldn't worry so much about Soto hitting sixth. If Soto hits, he'll get his 80 RBIs. I'd think dealing DeRosa potentially hurts Soto scoring runs, but you don't draft catchers for runs scored anyway.
Will Ian Stewart get 2B eligibility this year (20 games)?
Eric Karabell (3:43 PM)
I say no. I think Todd Helton gets about 300 at-bats again, so Stewart will see plenty of time at third base, with Atkins at first. I know some view Clint Barmes as a utility guy, but if he starts well, and he's very good defensively, he should play.
Bob (Kingsport Tn.)
A lot of fantasy experts are predicting a breakout year for Jose Lopez. May i please get your take.
Eric Karabell (3:45 PM)
See my Alexei Ramirez post on plate discipline. Lopez going 17-89 was surprising enough, I don't see why people think he can do better than that with his walk rate, but hey, I don't have to be the one drafting him!
Is Chad Qualls closing in ARI this year? Good closer sleeper?
Eric Karabell (3:47 PM)
He's the closer as of today. I think Qualls could end up with 30 or more saves if he's consistent. He's just never closed over a long period before. Plus, Arizona does have other options and has pulled its closers before. Sleeper, but not a lock.
Eric will Garrett Atkins be 1B-eligible this year?
Eric Karabell (3:48 PM)
He's already 1B-eligible, and I think the Rockies will use him a lot there in the future, unless he's dealt. It's hard to see Todd Helton playing a full season.
Zack (Salem, OR)
Francouer? What's it gonna be this year?
Eric Karabell (3:49 PM)
I was cautious on his projection and ranking, but we've been hearing positive things from him and the team this winter, and I wouldn't forget he's capable of 100 RBIs again. He's done it twice already. I'd say he's closer to 100 RBIs than the disaster of 2008, but I wouldn't make him a top-40 outfielder on draft day.
Jay (Amherst, MA)
Can keep one, this year only: Duscherer or B. Morrow?
Eric Karabell (3:51 PM)
I think most people would take Duchscherer for one year, wouldn't they? It's very close in our rankings. Even if he makes only 20-25 starts, they should be very good ones based on his 2008. With Morrow, there is more upside, but he's never done this before.
wilson (oak Island)
Who should I take as my final keeper? Billingsley, Abreu, Kemp, King Felix, Joe Nathan. I have Johan, an infield and two solid OF's.
Eric Karabell (3:52 PM)
I'd probably say Kemp. I know that would make it three outfielders, but Kemp is emerging, and even if he doesn't, he brings a strong all-around base. Felix Hernandez next to Johan would be nice, too.
Dan (orlando, fl)
who's better in 2009, kazmir or lackey?
Eric Karabell (3:53 PM)
I'm taking Lackey. I think he goes right back to being a top-10 starting pitcher. I can't project that for Kazmir, not with the starts he's missing every season, and a low win total because he's a six-inning guy.
Zimmerman? Becomes a top 5 3B this year?
Eric Karabell (3:54 PM)
No, I don't think he's going to bounce back to that level. I don't know if he was ever a top-5 third baseman. I mean, Chipper Jones is my No. 5 third baseman. I can see Zimmerman knocking in 90-plus runs, hitting .275, but that would be a change from last year.
Man you're down on my whole 16-team dynasty lineup! Soto, Lopez, Alexei, Hart. Hopefully the ones you didn't mention (granderson, longoria, bruce, rios, votto) will make up for that or I'm in for a long season.
Eric Karabell (3:56 PM)
Ha! I'm not down on all of them. I think they will all duplicate their 2008 seasons, and in Ramirez's case improve naturally. I really like Granderson; seems to me a lot of people are giving up on him and the Tigers. I like your team.
Justin Upton projection? Teix or M Cabrera?
Eric Karabell (3:57 PM)
I would definitely go Cabrera over Teixeira, first of all. And both over Upton. For Upton, I see 25 homers as a high, and eventually he's hitting fourth or fifth for Arizona. But his average, I would take the under on .270, and I don't see him running.
E - walk-off dynasty league question. Which two guys would you keep, in addition to A-Rod and Lincecum: Kemp (6), Ortiz (8), Joba (10), Zimmerman (11) or J. Upton (19)? Thanks Eric!
Eric Karabell (3:57 PM)
If you can keep Upton and lose only a 19th rounder, wow. And I'd keep Kemp. Most would say Joba I think, but I still think he ends up relieving soon due to injury concerns.
Dustin ( manchester,tn)
Eric, who would you keep? uggla or roberts?
Eric Karabell (3:58 PM)
I would keep Roberts, assuming it's Brian you speak of. I want the steals, which are harder to get than power, and a safe average.
Eric Karabell (3:59 PM)
OK, folks, thanks for the spirited chat session today and have a great day, whether it's 20 degrees and an ice storm where you are or 75 and sunny. Wherever you are, it's time to talk baseball! See ya,,,