Fantasy Sports w/Eric Karabell
Send your questions now and join Karabell in The Show on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Eric Karabell (11:01 AM)
Hi there and welcome to another fantasy chat session. Two games in the books, only about 2,400 more to go. Are you ready for more than one really early morning game per day? I am! Let's get those questions...
Hi Eric, Sell high on Harden?
Eric Karabell (11:03 AM)
Well, I think you know what I am going to write next. Great outing, no question. He makes bats miss, he has very good command, the guy could be a 20-game winner at some point. Just one small problem. Those 13 starts in two seasons. Everyone is tradable in fantasy, and I would think Harden's pricetag is higher than it should be right now. We have to be realistic about him.
Eric, I'm looking for steals in my shallow H2H league. Is Bourn worth a pickup? I would have to cut one of Maddux, Okajima, Longoria, Damon.
Eric Karabell (11:05 AM)
Bourn should steal at least 30 bases, assuming he doesn't collapse at the plate or get hurt again. He has the job. I have doubts about him, but stealing bases isn't one of them. Do you need Okajima, a middle reliever who might get 3 or 4 saves? Maddux is underrated, but also a fifth starter in fantasy leagues at best. Sure, take the shot on Bourn.
I'm still worried about Ankiel...who has a better season, him or Mr. Butler?
Eric Karabell (11:06 AM)
Our pal Matthew Berry boldly predicted 40 home runs for Ankiel, which I'll take the under on, but I could definitely see 30. Butler can rake, but Ankiel is actually more proven as a power hitter. I'd keep Ankiel at this point.
Eric, I realize it's only two games but Varitek has looked both awful and overmatched at the plate. Ramon Hernandez is available as a FA but I'm worried about picking him up since I already have Markakis on my team. Should I still go with Ramon or should I take a look at Napoli, Towels, or even Suzaki from Oakland to replace V-tek? Thanks.
Eric Karabell (11:07 AM)
I wouldn't panic one bit. However, I do have Ramon Hernandez ranked better than Varitek in the first place. I just wouldn't judge V-tek on two games in Japan. Also, so what if you already own Markakis? It's not a platoon. Hernandez could hit 20 homers if he stays healthy. None of the others have a great chance at that.
I seem to be getting Kelley Johnson in all my drafts. I project him at around 800 OPS, with 15-20 HR, 100 runs, 65 RBIs and 10-15 SBs (with upside across the board). In my estimation that puts him at about 7-10 among second baseman. Am I too high on him?
Eric Karabell (11:09 AM)
You know, I seem to be getting Atlanta's 2B in a lot of leagues as well. I think all your projected numbers for him are right on. Does it make him top-7? Probably not. I think 2B is actually pretty deep. But he could sneak into the top 10. He's underrated, and even though he's not 23 or really young, he can improve.
I got Cust in the 24th round. A steal, right?
Eric Karabell (11:11 AM)
Just be aware of what you are getting. I see 30 home runs, but a batting average on the wrong side of .250.
Ankeil or Hermida for the first spot of the bench - thoughts on Hermida
Eric Karabell (11:12 AM)
I've been touting Hermida as one of my big sleepers, but now I hear he might be headed to the DL, and that kinda sucks. I'd like to see a healthy, breakout season. He has 25-100 ability, but replacement Luis Gonzalez does not. What a shame. Let's see how bad the injury is first. I would draft Hermida over Ankiel, but I don't really think Ankiel is a fluke, either. He can hit 30 homers.
more droppable...Longoria or Josh Fields?? can't afford to keep them both.
Eric Karabell (11:13 AM)
There's a legit chance Fields is in the minors for awhile. Longoria could be up at any point, because the player he'd be replacing doesn't have a ton of value in the marketplace, and can be benched. Joe Crede can't. I'd probably cut Fields here.
Thoughts on Han-Ram's shoulder? Speaking of another Ramirez shoulder, if A-Ram is healthy, can he hit 40 bombs?
Eric Karabell (11:14 AM)
I haven't seen any indication the shoulder is bothering Hanley. He's still my No. 2 overall pick. As for Aramis, he hasn't hit 40 yet, but has been close. Let's assume about 20 missed games, and 35 homers at best. I think Manny can do this as well.
Nick (Greenwich, CT)
Do u see Percival ending the season as the Rays Closer? What are your personal projections for him?
Eric Karabell (11:16 AM)
It's difficult to be optimistic about Percival closing all season long, based on his health record, but I could see 25 or so saves in four months of work. He did pitch well last season. I don't think I've drafted him yet, but a closer is a closer.
I drafted Headley late in the first year of a 12-man, 5x5 rotisserie league with 21 players. Is he worth keeping on my bench until he gets back?
Eric Karabell (11:17 AM)
Whatever you drafted, whenever you drafted it, I'd argue the last week of March is way too early to make a decision about dropping someone like him. I'd wait. Maybe you don't need the bench spot right away. Headley might be in the minors just a few weeks, for all we know. Maybe he's working on his LF defense. He can hit, now.
Mohan (Hoboken, NJ)
Now that they both have rotation spots, would you rather have Parra or Villanueva?
Eric Karabell (11:18 AM)
They have rotation spots for now, but someone has to leave when Yovani Gallardo returns. Or it could be Dave Bush if he struggles. I would rather have Parra, but it's close. I think he has more strikeout potential.
Any chance Rickie Weeks moves into the top 10 second basemen this year? Id sure love to get more than a .235 BA out of him.
Eric Karabell (11:20 AM)
Weeks has power and speed, could be a 20/20 guy. I'm avoiding, since he's struck out 21 times in 47 spring at-bats, and has never really hit for average in the first place. But top 10 at second base, I think people expect that. Again, 2B is not shallow this season.
Do you trust Corey Patterson for steals? 30+? Would you rather have him, McLouth, or Velez for steals?
Eric Karabell (11:21 AM)
We can debate how good Patterson is, and whether he can get his power back into the 20 range (I think he will), but there's no question he has speed. Even in his two mostly lost seasons in Baltimore he swiped 82 bases. He's going to run. I'd take him over McLouth and big sleeper Velez.
Hold onto RJ? For some sick reason I think he has a great season.
Eric Karabell (11:22 AM)
I don't think it's sick. He's apparently healthy, and when he's out there, he's striking everyone out. He did have 72 strikeouts in 10 starts last season. I see 25 starts, and more than 150 K's. Big year.
I dropped BJ Ryan last night in favor of Tony Pena. Do you think I made the smart move here? Ryan's health concerns me and I feel like Pena could be closing for AZ by June.
Eric Karabell (11:23 AM)
Pena could be closing by next week if Brandon Lyon's poor spring continues. Even if Pena doesn't close, he should help a fantasy team in middle relief. Ryan's health is a big problem. I doubt he pitches in April at all. Get Jeremy Accardo now.
Projections for Soto? Is he worth rostering, even if I already own McCann?
Eric Karabell (11:24 AM)
I think you can do better at utility, but he might make for very nice trade bait. Soto is actually my pick for NL top rookie this season.
Eric do you think that Ellsbury will be an Ichiro type in a few years?
Eric Karabell (11:25 AM)
No, I don't think anyone is like Ichiro. Nobody is guaranteed to get that many hits per season, consistently run like that, the entire package. Ellsbury could be Johnny Damon, or Shane Victorino, and that would be very good, but he's not Ichiro.
Mark (Greensboro NC)
Who should stay on my roster - Jay Bruce or Chase Headley?
Eric Karabell (11:26 AM)
I think Bruce is going to be in the minors for a while. He needs Dunn/Griffey to get hurt or dealt. In San Diego, there's little holding Headley back from left field.
Eric, Do you see Brian Fuentes regaining the closer role in Colorado or elsewhere this year?
Eric Karabell (11:27 AM)
Nope. I think Manny Corpas is legit, and the Rockies contend and keep Fuentes around.
Stan - PA
If you own Molina, is rookie J.R. Towles "trade bait" or should the veteran be dealt? Thanks!
Eric Karabell (11:27 AM)
I assume that's Bengie Molina. Be careful on expectations for Towles. Molina is a safe power option, and Towles might not be.
Out of these MRs, who has the best year and stands as the best to take over as closer: Broxton, Neshek, Rauch?
Eric Karabell (11:28 AM)
I'd rank them the way you did, and wouldn't assume any of them gets more than a few saves. Saito, Nathan and Chad Cordero are the closers. Saito has been suffering minor injuries, but he's been terrific during the season.
Kent still got 25-90 in him? Or is it foolish to hope....
Eric Karabell (11:29 AM)
I'm starting to think what he did the past two seasons is about as good as it gets at age 40. Be careful here. Yes, he could go 20-80, but I don't expect better.
Jake (Cleveland, OH)
Eric, how do you feel about having multiple guys on your fantasy team on the same team in real life? Do you try to say away from having more than 2 guys on your team (especially offensive players). I only ask this because I have Arod/Cano, Swisher/Thome, Lugo/Manny and Rich Hill/Zambrano on my fantasy team.
Eric Karabell (11:31 AM)
In fantasy baseball, I don't give this a second thought, really. Not at all. I might reconsider it on starting pitching in weekly H2H formats, because if you have two Cubs and they go to Colorado and Cincy the same week, that's a problem, but in general this is something to deal with in football only.
Today's start aside, what are your thoughts on Lester for this year?
Eric Karabell (11:32 AM)
Today's start was exactly why I don't target him. He allows way too many baserunners. He did in 2006 when his WHIP was 1.64, and he did a year ago as he was making a terrific comeback. There's potential here, but I generally avoid walkers.
Ben - San Diego
Would you add Bell to the list of MRs to take over Closing? The Hoffman reign has got to end sometime sooon!!! No?
Eric Karabell (11:34 AM)
Someday, but I doubt it's this season. Hoffman's splits show some disconcerting trends, but he still racks up the saves, and will again this year. Bell is a solid MR, but do not expect saves.
Rank these closers: Wood, Accardo, Percival. Thanks!
Eric Karabell (11:36 AM)
I will have the first Relief Efforts of the season coming out later today, and I'll probably go with Accardo, then Wood and Percival. I don't have much confidence anymore in the health of B.J. Ryan. Or Wood, for that matter.
I've read that McGowan has Halladay's talent with more K's - agree?
Eric Karabell (11:38 AM)
I do. I see people drafting Halladay as their staff ace, and they should get wins and good peripherals, but he just doesn't get enough strikeouts for an ace. McGowan isn't as good yet, but he does fan people. In a year McGowan could pass him.
You seem to operate with very static, conservative assumptions. Do you ever win your leagues, or do you typically finish about fourth or fifth? No risk, no reward.
Eric Karabell (11:40 AM)
I'd say those conservative assumptions are exactly why I do well in my leagues, actually. I take plenty of chances, too, but saying something silly like McGowan is a top 10 pitcher doesn't quite work for me.
Cheap steals and overall..Nate McLouth or Carlos Gomez?
Eric Karabell (11:40 AM)
Gomez could steal a ton of bases, but at this point McLouth is more polished. He has more power, and could be a 15/30 guy. I see Gomez struggling at the plate and not running as much because he loses playing time.
When a guy has Peavy-Johan stuff and is available in the 13th round like Harden is in most drafts, don't you almost have to roll the dice on him at that point and cross your fingers? He was unhittable sans Manny's bomb today against one of the best lineups in baseball.
Eric Karabell (11:41 AM)
There's just so much evidence on Harden being an injury risk, it would have to be late enough in a draft that I felt OK at other spots. Of course I'd take the chance, but not if a top 20 starter was on the board. That's what I mean.
Eric Karabell (11:42 AM)
And I'm not at all surprised Harden did this today. He's good! He's always been good. So is Ben Sheets. So could be Kerry Wood. There's just a theme here.
Dave (Reading, MA)
You mix in your chances and risk here and there; you don't base your whole team around them.
Eric Karabell (11:43 AM)
Precisely. And my take is you can't win a league unless you contend first. I know people here on the staff who are win or else. I want to win. But if your team takes too many chances and can't compete, you can't win. Get me into the top 4 come July and let me manipulate my roster into a winner. I don't think seasons are won in drafts too often. It's a really long season.
Would you still not pay for saves in a 12 team mixed league with an 8 man bench?
Eric Karabell (11:44 AM)
I would always get saves. I never punt them. I just wouldn't pay for Papelbon and Putz. Give me Izzy and a Cordero and under the radar saves. In a recent auction I got Brian Wilson for $6. Most other closers went for $16-20. Wilson could get 30 saves.
Young (Beaufort, SC)
Why is everyone so high on Delmon Young? I don't see him doing much more than .280-20-80 with 10 SB, which puts him in the range of, say, Gary Matthews Jr.
Eric Karabell (11:45 AM)
In theory this is true, but Delmon has a shot to be much more than this, and soon. Matthews doesn't. I wouldn't draft Young in the top 50, but if I'm taking a chance on someone, he's a smart option to do so.
More likely to get PT in the majors in the next couple months: Headley or W. Balentine?
Eric Karabell (11:46 AM)
I'm obviously a believer in the young Padres LF, so I take him. Balentien has potential in right field, but there's no telling when the Mariners call him up.
Joe (San Diego)
What would be considered a good WHIP? Its the one stat I don't feel I completely understand how to guage.
Eric Karabell (11:48 AM)
I target pitchers with a sub-1.25 WHIP when I can. I'd check past seasons of your leagues and see what not necessarily the winners had, but the 3rd-5th place teams in WHIP. It's a better range to watch.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
What do you think Reed Johnson could do with the Cubs and how significantly does this cut into Felix Pie's value this season?
Eric Karabell (11:49 AM)
I don't think it cuts into his value at all. On the contrary, Pie cannot hit lefties, and Johnson can. The Cubs needed a more versatile fourth outfielder than Matt Murton, and they have Johnson now. I don't see Pie losing value because of this.
How committed do you think the Rays are in keeping Longoria in the minors for atleast 6 weeks as is being reported? I mean if Aybar is terrible... Im thinking Longoria might be a solid buy low right now.
Eric Karabell (11:49 AM)
I concur. I think it might be six weeks on Longoria, but remember it's not just Aybar at third base. The competent Eric Hinske will make the Rays, and he can play third base.
Grey's Clipboards are really good reads- just wanted to pass that along.
Eric Karabell (11:50 AM)
I concur. Jason Grey knows his stuff and is a great addition to our staff.
Roger (New Mexico)
Has Nick Johnson officially beaten out Dimtri Young for the Nats 1st base job? If so, what do you foresee for Nick the Stick?
Eric Karabell (11:52 AM)
I might be alone on this, but I think Nick Johnson puts up comparable stats to what he was doing before the unfortunate injury. I think Dmitri is fighting for playing time more.
Mark NY NY
The thing that most people dont seem to get is that sleepers arent sleepers if you take them 3-4 rounds too early. This is when I pick the unsexy veterans. Stats fluctuate, this is a good place to get people coming off down years.
Eric Karabell (11:53 AM)
I agree, but I also think people get too concerned about who is a sleeper and when they have to take a certain player. If you really want someone, don't wait? Who cares if you take a player a round or two early and your leaguemates laugh?
Joe (Flushing, NY)
Are you concerned about Eric Bedard's performance this spring?
Eric Karabell (11:55 AM)
Not one bit. But I do think he's a bit of an injury risk moving forward.
Gary (sf, ca)
Any thoughts on Jair Jurrjens?
Eric Karabell (11:56 AM)
Not a big K guy, but firmly in the Atlanta rotation if he pitches well, and should win 12 games or so in 30 starts with a 4.00 ERA. I don't see a major upside guy, but safe guy.
There have been a couple of general risk-averse comments that seem to target my comment. I never a) advocated drafting sleepers too early nor b) said a draft should consist of all risk. But I also said no risk, no reward -- you should roll the dice later in the draft on high upside players rather than drafting "proven" veterans who likely will be available on the waiver wire anyways. Let that be known to the pundits who are reading too much into my comment.
Eric Karabell (11:57 AM)
I'm sure they understand. I take plenty of chances late in drafts. I've taken Bonds, Prior, some of the young players, etc. But early when there are safe, consistent veterans, I think a conservative approach works.
Is Grandersons injury similar to the one that Crisp had? Im a little worried about it.
Eric Karabell (11:57 AM)
I think Granderson is actually becoming a bit underrated because everyone's so worried about this finger injury. Not the same as Crisp to me.
Does Roberts become a Cub and how much will that increase his value if any
Eric Karabell (11:58 AM)
I don't assume this Brian Roberts deal happens anymore, and even if it does, it changes nothing. He'll still run, and score runs. It hurts Ryan Theriot, who would go from leading off to hitting eighth though.
Will Jason Bay bounce back this year?
Eric Karabell (11:58 AM)
A little, but don't expect double digit steals again.
Would you rather have Ian Kennedy or Lester (or neither). I am pitching heavy and need a position player (or two).
Eric Karabell (11:59 AM)
I choose Kennedy over Lester, but I don't see either playing a major, helpful role in fantasy, so be careful.
Eric Karabell (11:59 AM)
OK, that's all the time they have given me, so thanks for the questions and have a great day... Adios...