Fantasy Sports w/Eric Karabell
Send your questions now and join Karabell in The Show on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Eric Karabell (11:00 AM)
Hello there, and welcome to another Wednesday fantasy sports chat session. January's just about over, so two weeks until Spring Training... are you ready? Heavy on the baseball today, let's go!
Mike (Albany, NY)
Eric, please choose 1 to keep: Felix Hernandez, Chris Young (SD SP) or Joe Nathan?
Eric Karabell (11:02 AM)
Chris Young has better numbers, and probably will in 2008, but if I'm looking long-term, it's King Felix. I do think he takes a nice step up, and I wonder about Young's health. No way I'd keep a closer over young starters like these.
Bigger acquisition: Pedro Feliz or Johan Santana?
Eric Karabell (11:04 AM)
Yeah, yeah, rub it in to a Phillies fan, you Mets fan. Hey, good for you. Johan is the best pitcher in the game. I think from a fantasy aspect this moves him into my first round. His ERA and WHIP have to go down, if for no other reason than facing Adam Eaton and not David Ortiz 3 times per game. Oh wait, Eaton never lasts long enough in a game to hit 3 times. Sorry, Anyway, great move for the Mets. I don't think any of the prospects the Twins got will make serious contributions in 2008. As for Pedro Feliz, it was a great day when we spent $8 mil for a 3B with a career .288 OBP. Drinks on the house! Well, at least this means Wes Helms will be leaving. I'd still like to see Greg Dobbs start against RHP.
Ray, Burlington, NJ
better lineup in 2008: Mets, Phillies or Braves?
Eric Karabell (11:06 AM)
The Phillies still have the better lineup than the Mets, but one could argue these are the top offensive teams in the NL. Five of my top-10 players in fantasy are Philles/Mets hitters, and now a sixth player, Santana, could make it 60 percent of my top-10. WOW! Has that ever happened before? Sounds like a blog idea. Braves are OK, assuming Chipper gets another 500 PA, but a distant third here.
Eric, my plan is to not draft closers to the last few rounds for my draft. Can you name some setup men who you think will emerge as closers later in the season?
Eric Karabell (11:09 AM)
I don't know if I wait until the last rounds, as I will avoid the top closers but still look to have a safe closer, an Isringhausen type. Betancourt in Cleveland, Marmol with Cubs, Reyes in Tampa and Riske in Milwaukee seem like guys who could get saves after the first month or so.
Great NFL blog this morning. I almost asgree 100% that Super Bowl performances shouldn't and usually don't dictate what a player will mean in terms of value for next season. However, wouldn't you say the performance Joseph Addai had in the Super Bowl carried over into this season?
Eric Karabell (11:11 AM)
Thanks, Sam. I agree, too. I think baseball is the sport where we tend to overrate the stars the next season. See Beckett, Josh. No, I don't think Addai was overrated at all. I wish I had added that to the blog! I really expected him to emerge, and he kinda did, once Rhodes left. It wasn't that Kenton Keith stole touches, but more that Addai got banged up a few times and needed a rest. This could be a problem going forward, but I wouldn't panic yet.
Johan Santana (Los Mets)
Do you agree with this forecast: 20-8, 2.75 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 230K, NL CY YOUNG
Eric Karabell (11:13 AM)
I would agree those stats are about right. People will expect 25 wins, but that just doesn't happen. Maybe a lower WHIP and a few more K's. Hey, this guy is the best. Who's the best starter in the AL now? Interesting for AL-only leagues...CC?
Where will Ryan Grant rank among fantasy running backs in the 2008 season (top 5, top 10, top 20)?
Eric Karabell (11:14 AM)
In terms of where he's drafted, I think Grant is a second-rounder, in the 12-15 range. Where will he finish? Probably a top-10 RB, but there is some risk. He's got half a season of carries under his belt.
Wombat (St. Louis)
GM Eric. I am perplexed by Kinsler. His current ADP is 70, which makes him the 5th 2B selected in mocks, yet I do not see the big leg up he supposedly made last yr to justify the jump in ADP from 07' (07'ADP=155). His swing has not improved from 06', he still can't hit righties and all you have to do is pitch inside to him. I think he is a good player, just not the 5th best 2b available. What's your take?
Eric Karabell (11:16 AM)
I don't think Kinsler has to make too many strides to become a good fantasy player. He seems on the path to a 20/20 season, and that gets noticed by us. I have him as the No. 6 2B, after Utley, Phillips, Upton, Cano and Roberts. He's got holes in the swing, but does have power, and can run. It will be interesting to see where he hits in the order, and if he can make adjustments. Big year for him.
I don't think I could ever get myself to draft a closer named "Riske". He seems destined to fail in that role. Putting that aside, now that the Twins have moved Santana, shouldn't they move Joe Nathan. I've heard rumors of him going to the Cubs. Would his value increase or decrease at Wrigley, with the Cubs offense?
Eric Karabell (11:18 AM)
I don't think the Twins are necessarily rebuilding and giving up on the season. They're not doing what the A's are doing. The Twins just locked up Morneau and Cuddyer to big deals. They would have had Santana for only this year, then he would have bolted anyway. So they'll get ripped for this deal, but I think they did OK under the circumstances. If Nathan left I'd assume he's just as valuable. He's a good pitcher in any park, any league, a top-5 closer. If he moves it would certainly do wonders for Pat Neshek's value. Cubs should just let Marmol close.
Jack (Phoenix, AZ)
Who do you think will have a better FF season (Larry Johnson or Frank Gore) in 2008?
Eric Karabell (11:19 AM)
I'm giving Larry Johnson one more shot in the first half of the first round, because I think 2007 was just a lost year. I'd take him over Gore.
Nick (Greenwich, CT)
16 Team Keeper League! Would u trade Peyton Manning and ur 3rd round pick for Welker and Mcnabb.. I might pull the trigger.. Don't have much WR depth!
Eric Karabell (11:20 AM)
I don't think I'd do it. McNabb is already 30, and I think there's a large difference between him and Peyton. Plus, that 3rd rounder you deal, can't you get a WR there? Keep the best player in the deal.
Better keep this year only each for $10 - Gallardo, Lincecum or J.Vasquez. Points league where wins are weighted heavily. Thanks Eric.
Eric Karabell (11:21 AM)
I go Gallardo. Can't predict wins for any of them, really, but this guy is emerging.
Pick one to keep: Cano (cost 5th round pick), Hamels (6th), Rios (6th), Carlos Pena (10th), Gallardo (10th), or Rowand (21st)?
Eric Karabell (11:22 AM)
Interesting. I'd seriously consider Gallardo or Pena. Depends on the rest of your team and if you have pitching or power.
Has there ever been a more divisive hitter in fantasy then the '08 version of Carlos Pena. I mean too me he could be a huge bargain or a major bust. Can you offer any insight?
Eric Karabell (11:24 AM)
Kind of agree. I think the power was legit, and he settles into a 30-35 homer guy, but his average drops some. I'd say he's not much more likely to be a bust than other first basemen in the 5-12 range. He's a bargain if everyone in your league thinks that was a fluke season, and you can get him 5 rounds after Konerko goes.
I have the 4th pick in my upcoming draft, and I 'm seriously considering taking Chase Utley b/c of the huge disparity between him and the second best second baseman. Is that too early? Is that a dumb way to look at it?
Eric Karabell (11:25 AM)
Makes sense, but 2B isn't as weak as you think. Brandon Phillips and BJ Upton are legit 25/25 guys, and nearly as valuable as Utley. But I think the first round after A-Rod is wide open, and Utley at 4 isn't that much of a stretch.
Would you keep Russ Martin in the 23rd or Hawpe in the 18th?
Eric Karabell (11:26 AM)
Definitely Martin. Top-2 catcher vs. top-30 outfielder is easy. Martin might not run as much, but he'll still be very good. And I think Hawpe is pretty safe, too. But there are more guys like him.
We know you dont like the Feliz signing, but how about the Geoff Jenkins pickup? Do the Phills plan on sitting him against lefties?
Eric Karabell (11:28 AM)
I don't hate the Feliz move if Dobbs still gets a chance in a platoon with him. Feliz is a great fielder, no question. And he has pop. Seems like a lot of money just to upgrade Helms, but it's not my money. Jenkins still hits RHP well, and Werth destroyed lefties. That's a very good platoon. I don't think Dobbs or Jenkins will see even close to 100 at-bats against lefties all year, nor should they. Jenkins could go 20-70, even in this platoon.
Name one player you are willing to reach for this year and another that you absolutely will not touch in fantasy baseball drafts.
Eric Karabell (11:30 AM)
For pitchers I can see my team ending up with Gallardo, Rich Hill, Brett Myers and Smoltz quite a bit, based on where I project them. I won't be taking Sheets, Harden, Pedro, Penny, Bonderman anywhere, I don't think.
Paul T. (Cincinnati)
Bedard or Haren? And does your opinion change when/if Bedard goes to Seattle?
Eric Karabell (11:31 AM)
I still take Bedard. He might be the top pitcher in the AL now. Haren is top-10, but I actually think I liked him more in Oakland, odd as that seems. Bedard moving to Seattle doesn't hurt him one bit.
Scott (Albany NY)
In reference to Thaddeus's question- how about hitters?
Eric Karabell (11:34 AM)
Thought that was coming! I doubt I will get Byrnes, Kemp, Figgins, Kendrick, Loney or a top catcher. I think I will get Ramon Hernandez, Berkman, Cano, Lowell, Tejada, Delmon and Josh Hamilton in a few leagues. But who knows? Everyone in my drafts knows what I'm thinking anyway...which I like.
Fianl keeper...Markakis ($13, 2yrs) or Delmon Young ($4, 1yr.)?
Eric Karabell (11:34 AM)
If the years were equal, then Delmon. It is enticing to get an extra year from Markakis though. Have to go there.
Matt (Htfd, CT)
Eric, Love your chats..Can you rank these pitchers for 2008 (12 team H2H)...Carmona, Billingsly, Pedro?
Eric Karabell (11:36 AM)
Just the way you listed them. I'll probably get Fausto in leagues as well. I think he was legit, and while the wins drop, he'll start striking more hitters out. I doubt I get Billingsley anywhere, but still I take him over Pedro.
In a 10 team league with 7 keepers, is it stupid to keep 7 hitters? basically, my seventh slot could be pena, verlander, or harang.
Eric Karabell (11:37 AM)
Not stupid at all. I once kept 10 of my 12 keepers as hitters in my 20-year-league. Harang and Verlander seem like good keepers, so just make sure that last hitting keeper isn't a reach.
Now that we sure Ellsbury will remain in Boston, what can we expect from him at the top of that lineup?
Eric Karabell (11:38 AM)
I don't think the Santana trade changed anything on this. Coco Crisp is still there. While you and me and many others would play Ellsbury over Crisp, he can't simply sit. A deal needs to get done somewhere. Assuming Ellsbury starts in CF and leads off, I expect 100 runs, a .290 average, maybe 8 homers and 25 steals. He's good, but could get overrated quick.
You dont like Pedro? Didn't he K more than a batter an inning last year? How many guys do that? Let alone basically rehabilitating v major league hitters.
Eric Karabell (11:39 AM)
I don't like where he will be going in drafts, no. He's old, brittle and likely a 6-inning pitcher at this point, which will hinder his wins potential. Do we think his ERA will be under 3? I don't. Still a good pitcher, and could go 12-8 in 25 starts with a 3.20 and 150 Ks. I'd call that good at this point. Wouldn't Mets fans take it?
You've mentioned Cano a couple of times, are a lot of people lower on him than you are?
Eric Karabell (11:41 AM)
I think he's being ranked properly, but I tend to really go after middle infielders early in drafts, so I don't have to suffer with Mark Loretta as my starter. I figure I can always find a 1B or OF. I expect Cano to keep getting better, actually.
James, Columbus OH
Eric, I have been messing around with a few mock drafts and am finding if you do not take one of the top 3B, that the shelf drops off QUICK (i.e. beltre is last upper tier w/o risk). Who do you like this yr at 3b? Edwin? Blalock? Crede? Kozumanoff? etc etc. Thanks
Eric Karabell (11:42 AM)
I found that as well. In fact, I don't think 3B is much deeper, if at all, than 2B and SS. All three positions drop off after the top 12 or so. I think Kouzmanoff and Edwin are safe, because they are healthy and still young. I know people who love Blalock, but I can't go there yet.
Would you take Johan over Reyes now? Wouldn't you want somebody who's a stud in all his categories as opposed to one who is decent in most and a stud in one?
Eric Karabell (11:44 AM)
No, not really. I don't view it that way. A year ago I had Santana around No. 7 or 8. Reyes runs the most, and while his power was down, still hits for average and scores runs. I want the SS over a SP, but I do like Santana as a first-round pick.
Would you rather keep V. Mart or C. Lee?? my other keepers are Holliday, Ichiro, and Jeter. Thank you!
Eric Karabell (11:45 AM)
If you're already keeping two outfielders, then I'd go against the rankings and keep the catcher there. And it's not like Victor is ranked so much worse than Lee to start with.
Keeper question, need 2 of the 4, AP, Addai, Grant or MJD? We get points for receptions and kick returns as well, thanks!
Eric Karabell (11:46 AM)
I rank AP and Addai in my top-5, pretty much regardless of format. They catch the ball, too. Grant and Jones-Drew are second-rounders.
Over/Under- .250-17-65-35s for Maybin? Assuming he leads off and plays everyday.
Eric Karabell (11:47 AM)
Under on the power and steals. Maybin remains pretty raw, and while I think he does get the opportunity, I don't expect a monster breakout just yet. This is not the same as when Hanley came to Florida and exploded. Maybin needs some time, I think.
Please help me EK: Would you rather have Granderson and Haren or Crawford and Felix in a H2H points keeper league? Stephania thinks that Felix is an injury waiting to happen.
Eric Karabell (11:49 AM)
She's probably right, but regardless I would take Haren over Felix, and that side of the deal. Granderson can run more if he wants, you know. He's not Crawford, but not as far away as people think.
Eric. An easy question. Would you draft Johan Santana any higher than in previous years because of his move to New York?
Eric Karabell (11:49 AM)
Answered this earlier, no. I am moving him up a bit after this deal, but he'll be at the back end of round one for me. Hey, he's the best pitcher, and if you want to take him top-5, I don't fault you, but I still want one of those building block hitters.
Is drafting Ben Sheets, considering his injury history, too risky a pick?
Eric Karabell (11:52 AM)
There's a spot in every draft for just about every player, even Sheets and Harden. It just won't be me. We can't have any confidence that either will make 30 starts. Sheets is very good when he's out there, but the past two seasons a 3.82 ERA is not what people expected. Make sure you have good pitchers around him, healthy ones.
I just do not see how you predict Pedro at a 3.20 ERA. His ERA last year - -while rehabilitating his shoulder v major leaguers - - - was 2.57. The year before that his ERA was over 4 but he was pitching with the injury. Just not sure why an offseason of rest, strengthening and healing would balloon an ERA from 2.57 to 3.20.
Eric Karabell (11:55 AM)
I don't want to debate it too much, and trust me, it's not personal, but Martinez made 5 starts. That ERA shouldn't even be looked at. Look at the 1.429 WHIP, if anything, or expected ERA, it's a much better indicator. And even there, it's too small a sample size. Hey, I think I'm predicting pretty good numbers for the guy, actually, considering his injury history. I don't assume he makes 30 starts.
Speaking of Florida acquisitions, what about Andrew Miller this year? Does he go straight into the rotation? What are your projections on him?
Eric Karabell (11:56 AM)
I won't go near him, unless I am rebuilding a keeper team. He still walks people. Someday he could be a monster, but for now, the Marlins just want to get him experience, and that's seldom good in fantasy.
Hey Eric! Would you take LT or a high-profile QB like Brady with the #1 pick?
Eric Karabell (11:56 AM)
I think in 2008 if I get the first or second pick I will be trading down. Way too many risks for FFL in 2008!
Who's playing second for the Rockies? Anyone worth taking in mixed redraft leagues?
Eric Karabell (11:57 AM)
For now, not really, but I do want to see if Ian Stewart can win a job. That would be interesting, because he can hit.
Better Keeper, Liriano or Verlander?
Eric Karabell (11:58 AM)
Liriano should be fine, but I still play it safe with Verlander.
Eric Karabell (11:58 AM)
OK, that is apparently all the time I have been given... look for another fine chat later in the day and enjoy the Super Bowl! Fantasy baseball, it's just about here...adios.