Fantasy Sports w/Christopher Harris
Send your questions now and join Harris in The Show on Monday at 11 a.m. ET!
Chris what are your thoughts on Atkins this year? Do you think he could end up being a top 5 3B Fantasy wise? Thanks
Christopher Harris (11:03 AM)
Hi, Steve. I like Atkins a lot, though third base is a *really* deep position this year, so for me at the moment, top five is a stretch. I have him as my eighth favorite third baseman right now, but that's nothing to sneeze at, considering the company he's keeping.
Billy - Chicago
Over/under for starts by Rich Harden if the line is 22?
Christopher Harris (11:05 AM)
Hi, Billy. It's funny you bring up Harden. I was in Arizona this weekend doing the AL-only version of LABR (League of Alternate Baseball Reality), one of the oldest "experts" leagues out there, and I took Harden for $14. That's high, and it had a lot to do with how much money I had left, and what else was left on the board. But I find myself being something of a Harden apologist this spring; his injury last year was an oblique, not his elbow, which is better than the alternative. I'm going to say he makes over 22. I hope.
bill (harrisburg pa)
Michael Bourn I think can steal 40 bases if he can stay in lineup. Your thoughts?
Christopher Harris (11:08 AM)
Hi, Bill. That's the question, really. If he gets a full season in, you're right, I think 40 is well in range. But his on-base skills are certainly in question, as is the fact that the Astros signed Darin Erstad for insurance. I think Bourn will struggle to maintain a .350 OBP, which could make it hard for him to be a full-time player. I wouldn't draft him as I'd draft, say, a Shane Victorino. But I like him as a source of steals-only.
When analyzing the ADP results on ESPN, how can one attempt to figure out a major discrepency with other sites. For example ESPN has Soriano's ADP @ 13 and another site that shall remain nameless has him @ 19?
Christopher Harris (11:09 AM)
Hi, Ira. I guess the way to figure it out is: we have different opinions on players. I can't speak for how any other site came to its rankings, but ours weren't lightly done. We had a rankings summit in early January, with *all* our fantasy writers present, where we debated all players at all positions, and came up with a list. A camel is a horse put together by committee, so the overall ESPN rankings don't jibe exactly with any one of our experts', but I know we took the ranking process very seriously. I guess we just like Soriano a little more, on the whole, than the other site you're mentioning.
In his team preview for the Rockies, AJ Mass called Taveras a sleeper, floating the idea that he could get 50 steals this season. Looking at his ADP (170) is it not crazy to pass on a guy like Figgins (ADP=37) and get cheap steals late? Looking at their averages over the last 3 years, Figgins does beat out Taveras in Runs, RBIs, and Steals, but AVG and HRs are about the same. Doesn't is make sense to draft power guys over Figgins early, then take a guy like Taveras or Victorino later? Thanks.
Christopher Harris (11:12 AM)
Hi, Matt. Never question AJ Mass. Never. (OK, maybe *sometimes*.) Yeah, I like what you're saying. Even in previous years, I've regularly been someone who's written about waiting for steals in the same way as waiting for saves, and I think the argument for that tactic has only grown stronger this season. Steals aren't the precious commodity they were even a couple seasons ago; power is now on the downswing a bit, while speed is on the upswing across baseball. That means it's easier to find. In our mixed mock draft, I took Taveras in the 17th round. And I'm not as high on Figgins as several folks here at ESPN. Steals should be awesome, but his stick isn't elite, for sure.
Cameron (Sarasota, FL)
Why kind of value do you place on BJ Ryan? Given his progress, do you think he will have the value of a top 10 closer even though he is likely to be picked much lower?
Christopher Harris (11:14 AM)
Hi, Cameron. Well, I'm not sure I agree with your premise. I'm starting to believe that because Ryan started talking about being ready for Opening Day so far in advance of April, that news is going to be factored into his draft position in a lot of leagues. Don't get me wrong; in mixed leagues, he's still going to go later than the top 10 closers, but for instance I don't think he'll go later than Jeremy Accardo any longer. Listen, no one can guarantee what happens to pitchers when they come back fast from surgery, and every team says their rehabbing guys look awesome in camp. What I know about Tommy John surgery is that while velocity comes back fast, control often doesn't. I think Ryan is a good gamble if you can get him in the 17th round. I just wonder if you'll really get him there.
Do you imagine Kemp will keep his starting status all year? I cam debating trading him for a 4th round pick in a NL keeper league.
Christopher Harris (11:16 AM)
Hi, Jeff. Kemp was my biggest gamble in that mixed mock I just mentioned; I took him with the 51st overall pick (first pick in the 6th round). I do think he'll wind up giving you 500 AB, but of course, that's nothing more than an educated guess. Joe Torre isn't the optimal manager for a young player, because he certainly leans toward vets, but by the same token, he was the guy who stuck with Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera early in their careers, and that paid off handsomely. And of course, the fact that you're talking about a keeper league makes Kemp only the more enticing.
Joseph (Bozeman, MT)
What are your thoughts on Andruw Jones? I'm banking on a return to form in SLG (not his 50 HR season numbers, just the average of the past 10 years or so).
Christopher Harris (11:19 AM)
Hi, Joseph. Jones won't hit .222 again. But I agree, we won't see anymore 50-HR seasons from him again. The guy is still just 31 years old, and he certainly has something to prove; you'd have to say that he's the *type* of player fantasy championships are built on. Someone like Vernon Wells might be an interesting parallel in the AL. These are players who *could* rebound in a big way, and if they do, they'll wind up having been bargains. But of course, they can also just continue to stink. I don't view Jones as a "must-have"; so I wouldn't take him extra-early just to "make sure you get him." If I could get him in the 12th round or so in a mixed draft? That might be okay.
Joe (springfield, pa)
Where would you rank Atkins as a 1B? He should be available with my fist pick in a keeper league, and most of the 1B talent was kept...
Christopher Harris (11:20 AM)
I'd probably put him around eighth or ninth among the guys currently eligible at first base, too.
AL-only Keeper League: How early is too early to take Evan Longoria, given we don't yet know if he's going to break camp with the team?
Christopher Harris (11:21 AM)
Hi, Andy. Yeah, Longoria is certainly generating scads of interest, isn't he? The thing about a kid like that, who *is* my favorite to win the AL Rookie of the Year, is that all it takes is one owner in your league to be hopped-up about him to see him go "too early." Personally, I wouldn't take him earlier than the 19th or 20th round of a mixed draft. In some leagues, that'll work; in others, someone else will get excited about him, and take him sooner. Don't be that person.
Hey Chris, what is the earliest justifiable round to jump on Justin Upton in a standard 10 man 5x5 mixed roto league?
Christopher Harris (11:23 AM)
Hi, Phil. What I just said about Longoria probably applies to Upton, too, but his upside is higher because of his potential for speed. I think he could go 20-20 this year. But I also think his average isn't likely to help you just yet, either. He's just so young. I think again, right around the 20th or so is okay for him...any sooner in a non-keeper league, and you're buying too much hype.
Does Dusty Baker's presense cause you to de-value all Cincy youngsters this season?
Christopher Harris (11:25 AM)
Hi, Gray. Well, it doesn't help. Jay Bruce is already looking like a player who might not make the team, after a winter of NL Rookie of the Year hype. (Baker said that he assumed either Norris Hopper or Ryan Freel would be in the lineup hitting leadoff every day.) By the same token, Baker did say that he'd talked to Scott Hatteberg about Joey Votto being the starting first baseman, so if that holds up, it's a good thing. The worry you have isn't so much about whether the kids will win jobs coming out of camp, but rather how Dusty reacts after the first two-week slump. Baker is a former ESPN studio guy and a very nice man (as far as I could tell). But you're right: how he treats youngsters is definitely something we have to monitor all spring.
Chris, love the chats...Can you tell me what you expect out of Roy Oswalt this year? Does he bounce back, or is he "is what he is" now? Im stuck between him and Lackey as my last keeper, and im debating roys potential vs Lackey's consistency?
Christopher Harris (11:27 AM)
Hi, Chris. Boy, you hit the nail on the head, but of course, you have to add the questions about Lackey's sore elbow into the equation as well. Now it seems as though Lackey won't even throw for a couple days, which will push back his spring debut at least a week, putting his Opening Day status a little in question. They're both fine options; going into spring training, I liked Lackey a little more. The elbow clouds things...how soon do you need to make your decision? If you can wait a week or two until you can be sure about Lackey's elbow, he'd be my pick. Otherwise? Eesh. It's close. Maybe still Lackey. But I'd hate to see his elbow go bad.
Which side do you favor in this keeper league trade? Hanley for Beckett and BJ Upton.
Christopher Harris (11:28 AM)
Hi, Todd. I think it's a pretty fair trade, actually. Clearly, the person who's getting Beckett and Upton is getting more stats. But the person who's getting Hanley is getting by far the most valuable player in the deal, and can fill in the missing stats with another player. I'm a sucker for Beckett this year, but I don't believe Upton is a .300 hitter. It's not a slam-dunk for me either way, to be honest.
Pete (Philly, PA)
Besides Utley, who do you think Chris will have a solid fantasy year for a second baesmen?
Christopher Harris (11:29 AM)
Hi, Pete. Yeah, of course, Utley is the cream of the crop at second, but Brandon Phillips, B.J. Upton, Brian Roberts and Robinson Cano all deserve to be taken in the first five rounds of a mixed league. It's not a terrible year for second basemen, clearly.
Who wins in a keeper league trade- Braun and Papelbon for Carlos Lee and Russell Martin (I can also substitute Beckett for Martin)?
Christopher Harris (11:31 AM)
Hi, Lee. I'd leave Martin in the deal, and I'd do it. Listen, Martin is terrific. But Papelbon is the best closer in baseball, and right now I'd have to say I favor Braun over Lee by a wide margin. I like the deal for you.
What round do you think is the right time to select Dan Haren? I am a big Haren fan but I don't want to draft him to early and I don't want to wait too long.
Christopher Harris (11:32 AM)
Hi, Dan. I think Haren will have a good year, but you have to beware the ballpark; he's going from a pitcher-friendly place in Oakland to a homer-happy ballpark (of which I just took a tour this weekend!) in Arizona. That said, if you have to have him, you'd probably better be prepared to take him in the early fifth round of a mixed-league draft (or even the late fourth, if you'd be heartbroken not getting him). He was just terrific last year.
Jeff (Atlanta, GA)
What's up Chris! I'm starting to rank the closer position for this year and I'm struggling in that 3-5 range. How would you rank the following: K-Rod, Saito, Nathan? Am I crazy for maybe ranking Saito 3rd?
Christopher Harris (11:34 AM)
Hi, Jeff. I don't think you're crazy; Saito has been awesome. Personally, I go Papelbon, Putz, Nathan, Saito, Rivera and K-Rod. But remember our constant mantra: don't pay a ton for saves. I much prefer drafting a couple "middling" closers late, rather than using a third-rounder on a closer. A save from Huston Street counts just as much as a save from Papelbon.
Hey Chris, love your chats...Can you give me your projections on Jason Giambi? I waited late to get a DH, and he seemed like the best available. Also what up the Upton brothers? Thanks.
Christopher Harris (11:36 AM)
Hi, Scott. You know, I'm not going to be stunned to see some of Giambi's power return. But I'm not sold on him at *all* at first base, and if the Yanks are committed to having both Damon and Matsui in the lineup at the same time, Giambi could be under a squeeze. I think he'll hit 15 HR and 60 RBI, but I also think he could hit below .250. But if he's filling your utility spot, there's little harm in giving him a crack to start the season, and getting rid of him if he just doesn't make any real progress.
Do you see Brandon Wood becoming the starting SS for the Angels at some point this season?
Christopher Harris (11:37 AM)
At some point? I think so. But early? I'm not sure about that. I'm going to say no. For a different perspective, Nando DiFino has gone on record saying he thinks Wood is the AL Rookie of the Year, but I think that's too optimistic. Wood's only just been switched *back* to shortstop this winter, after the Halos traded Orlando Cabrera, so I have to think he's got to put in some Triple-A time. But if Aybar and Izturis struggle, Wood is the next guy in line.
Quick keeper question: Swisher in the 20th round for one more year or Markakis in the 9th for two more years? Thanks
Christopher Harris (11:37 AM)
Hi, John. I think Markakis. Swisher is a good value there, but I think Markakis busts out this year.
Looking for some Pujols insurance. In a mixed H2H leagued, who should I target late (but not too late) at 1B?
Christopher Harris (11:40 AM)
Hi, John. Well, obviously no one you're going to get late in any draft is going to make up for the production you lose if Pujols goes down. It depends on how you want to go. If you want to go high-upside, bad-downside (under the assumption that you'll need to hit a home run if you lose Pujols), you could try a Loney or a Votto. If you'd rather go the steady route, you could try Youkilis, Conor Jackson, Overbay.
Hi Chris - given that hanley is coming off shoulder surgery and has no one to knock him in anymore, why isn't reyes the better pick?
Christopher Harris (11:41 AM)
Hi, Jack. If the shoulder is still an issue, you're right, Hanley would be an overvalued guy. I guess I've drunk the Kool-Aid on that one...I think he's okay. And if he is, the difference between Ramirez and Reyes is pop...Hanley is just such a good hitter. Obviously Reyes is the best stolen-base threat in the game, and clearly worthy of an early-first-round selection, but if you give me the No. 2 choice right now, I'm taking Hanley.
Is Jerry Owens going to be leading off for The whitesox to start the season?
Christopher Harris (11:43 AM)
Wish I knew, Rob. If Owens makes this team and winds up starting, it makes a lot of sense to put him high in the lineup, because he's such a great speed player. It wouldn't be the first time Ozzie Guillen went with a no-stick, great-legs outfielder to top his lineup (see also: Podsednik, Scott). But Owens has fought a tweaked groin so far this spring, and he has to beat out Carlos Quentin for a full-time job. I think a platoon with Quentin is the most likely scenario right now.
Who do you prefer Kotchmann or Delgado?
Christopher Harris (11:44 AM)
Hi, Shawn. I want to say Kotchmann because I like his skill set, and in real-world baseball, I'd take him in a heartbeat. But in fantasy, I think you still have to go with Delgado, just because the upside for power is so great.
steve ny ny
Chris, In an mixed 14 team auction league I am curious as to who you pick as your top $$$ guy and how much you would be willing to go?
Christopher Harris (11:45 AM)
HI, Steve. No matter the draft format, I'm going to say Alex Rodriguez should be the No. 1 overall pick. He's got all that power, and of course also gets you some steals, which puts him above anyone else you can make a case for right now. Mixed league and 14 teams? I think something like $42 or $43 is about right.
Chris, can you give us a brief idea of how the first round changes, if at all, in a league that uses OBP instead of average?
Christopher Harris (11:49 AM)
Interesting question, Marky. I'd say a guy like David Ortiz makes a case for jumping into the first round of an OBP league, as would Ryan Howard, Mark Teixeira and Lance Berkman. Who might fall? Carl Crawford would be one guy. Hanley might fall, too, though maybe not out of the first round. Jose Reyes, too.
Jeff (Charlotte, NC)
Chris, Jerry Owens and Josh Fields are sitting on the FA list in my league. Should be both be on a team? they'd be bench/fill in's for my team. Thanks
Christopher Harris (11:50 AM)
Hi, Jeff. I like Fields more than Owens at this moment, considering it's looking more and more like he'll have a definite job in April, whereas as I just mentioned, Owens isn't guaranteed anything. Neither guy sets my world ablaze. Owens could be rostered as a high-upside bench guy. He was taken in the 22nd round of our mock mixed draft a week or so ago.
It seems the Buchholz hype has overshadowed talk of Lester this spring. What are your thoughts on Lester for this year?
Christopher Harris (11:52 AM)
Hi, MAC. I want to like Lester because his personal story is so great. My concern with him, obviously, is about control. He's just been too wild in the bigs to date. The Red Sox say Lester is stronger than ever this spring (what are they supposed to say?), so there's a chance that turns around. For the moment, though, given Schilling's injury, Buchholz has to be considered a more valuable fantasy commodity. By way of confirmation (if such a thing can exist in early March), I can tell you that Buchholz went in the 17th round of our mixed mock last week, while Lester didn't get drafted.
Jim (Las Vegas)
Rank these 1B's: James Loney, Nick Swisher, Ryan Garko and Adam LaRoche.
Christopher Harris (11:54 AM)
Hi, Jim. I'd have them in this order: Garko, Loney, Swisher, LaRoche. Swisher has had a great first few days in Sox camp, and he's gathering hype-steam. But I'll always be worried about his contact rate.
Chris, you like Renteria this year? He struggled last time in AL... now he's batting towards bottom of the lineup.
Christopher Harris (11:55 AM)
Hi, Jason. I'm not as high as some on Renteria. Yeah, the AL thing has me a little spooked, and I also think his .332 AVG last year was artificially high because of some good luck. He'll be good, but for me he's no better than about the 10th-best SS in baseball.
Chris you should probably point out that Swisher's swing suits Cellular park like a glove and that he will easily hit 30 and has a decent chance at 40 hrs. Biggest sleeper of the year. Can't believe you ranked Ryan Garko ahead of him.
Christopher Harris (11:57 AM)
To each his own, Nick, and I definitely have heard a ton of people saying exactly what you're saying. But I've also heard about stadiums fitting players like gloves in the past, and it doesn't always work out. If Swisher hits above .260, rock on. I just worry he's more likely to be below .250, at which point a little extra power won't offset the average troubles he brings you.
Chris, sorry can i sneak in a NFL question? What kind of impact do you see Turner having with the Falcons, and where could you see him drafted?
Christopher Harris (11:59 AM)
Hi, James. Sure, I can switch gears. The Falcons are paying Turner like a starter, so he's going to be the starter. They already waived Warrick Dunn, and Jerious Norwood is going to be the third-down back they claimed he was all through 2007. That makes Turner valuable, and means Darren McFadden ain't going to Atlanta at No. 3. I can see Turner as a top-15 back right now, but that o-line needs to get better for him to be a top-10 guy.
Joseph (Los Angeles)
Speaking of average killers, how do you feel about drafting Adam Dunn?
Christopher Harris (12:00 PM)
I feel kind of the same way, Joseph. There are folks at ESPN who'll tell you Dunn is a great value pick because so many people worry about his famously low averages, and that he only hit .264 last year, which ain't so bad. But he was .247 and .234 the two seasons before that, so I'm thinking a regression to the mean is coming. I usually don't get him, because I wouldn't pay a fifth-round pick for him in mixed drafts. Nice power, obviously, though.
A follow-up to the Turner question. Does that kill Norwood's value?
Christopher Harris (12:01 PM)
Definitely, Brendan. I can't see him getting many first- or second-down carries. Turner fits Mike Mularkey's scheme very well (power backs = good), while Norwood is obviously a quicker, smaller guy.
Jeremy (Dallas, TX)
Why is Troy Glaus ranked so low this year? Do you think injuries will drain his power? Will he still be able to hit his normal 40 HRs this season?
Christopher Harris (12:02 PM)
Hi, Jeremy. Asked and answered. Glaus is low because people don't believe he'll be healthy. If he is, sure, 30+ HR is a definite possibility. I'm just not counting on it. Then again, I'm the moron who just took Scott Rolen in the AL-only LABR auction this weekend.
Josh Fields or Evan Longoria?
Christopher Harris (12:03 PM)
Hi, Jake. For me, it's Longoria, simply because of upside. Fields is another guy whose lack of contact concerns me.
Can you elaborate on Markakis "busting" out with some projections? Thanks
Christopher Harris (12:04 PM)
Sure, Ryan. With Markakis, I'll go 25 HR, 100 RBI, 15 SB, 90 R and .295 AVG.
Joan (Silver Creek)
CH - I have the 3rd pick overall in my draft and was offered pick 12, a 3rd round pick and a 6th round pick for pick 3, a 5th round pick and a 6th round pick. How should I proceed?
Christopher Harris (12:05 PM)
Hi, Joan. I can see doing that. Having two thirds should be very valuable, and while you're probably going to get a surer thing with the third overall pick, you're also going to get a stud with #12 overall. I can see the logic in doing it, for sure.
Fielder or Howard in a keeper and why? Thanks!
Christopher Harris (12:06 PM)
Tough one, Ryan. To me, they're almost the same guy. Maybe Fielder simply because he's four or so years younger and the best could be yet to come? I really couldn't argue with you either way. They're elite.
Jerry (Portland, OR)
Chris, sorry my friend, but that would be a regression for Mr. Markakis who went 23 HR 112 RBI 18 SB, 97 runs and a .300 avg.
Christopher Harris (12:07 PM)
You're absolutely right, Jerry. I got caught looking at the wrong line on my spreadsheet. So let me clean that up. Markakis, I have: 25 HR, 120 RBI, 20 SB, 100 R, .310 AVG. Thanks, Jerry.
Andy (Phoenix, AZ)
Lastings Milledge has been having a great spring so far. Of course it's early but do you think that he can be a 20/20 guy this year in his new setting? Will this be a trade that the Mets will regret in the long run?
Christopher Harris (12:08 PM)
Hi, Andy. In the long run, I do think the Mets will regret that trade, especially because I think they're *way* overvaluing Brian Schneider and Ryan Church. I thought it was a terrible trade at the time, and I'm sticking with it. If Milledge is going to wind up hitting second for the Nats, he's going to be ownable in every single league on the planet, and 20/20 could very well be in reach. I wrote the Nats preview for the site, and Milledge was my favorite value pick on the team.
Christopher Harris (12:08 PM)
All right, folks, this chat room is about to evaporate, so let's do one more.
Alex (Austin, TX)
Matt Cain or Chad Billingsley? I feel like they're basically the same guy except Cain will get more K's and Bills will get more wins...do I pretty much have the right idea?
Christopher Harris (12:10 PM)
I like Cain a little more, Alex, but I don't hate the comparison. Cain was obviously completely snake-bitten last season, and didn't pitch as bad as his W/L. Perhaps for me it's just a matter of the fact that Cain is a season further along in his development. Billingsley should be very rosterable in all leagues, too. I'd put Cain as a 10th-rounder in mixed leagues, while Billingsley is more like a 12th-rounder.
Christopher Harris (12:11 PM)
OK, everyone. Thanks very much for the enthusiasm and all the questions. (You folks are on top of this stuff, for sure.) I'm sorry I couldn't get to more questions, but I promise to try and do better the next time. I'm very appreciative, as always, for your enthusiasm and interest, and believe me I know how lucky I am to get to do this for a living. Thanks again, and I'll talk to you next week.
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