Fantasy Baseball w/Chris Harris
Send your questions now and join Harris in The Show on Monday at 11 a.m. ET!
Christopher Harris (11:00 AM)
Hi, everyone. Welcome in on a gloomy and cold Monday morning here in New England. Let's get right to the questions........
Fantasy impact of Brewers and Cardinals closer situation?
Christopher Harris (11:03 AM)
Hi, Bryan. Well, for sure, there's impact. Izzy and Gagne are out for the moment, and there's no clear inheritor for either role right now. In Milwaukee, I think either Guillermo Mota or Salomon Torres makes sense, but Mota hasn't pitched very well so far this year. Still, both should be owned in NL-only leagues, despite the fact that Brian Shouse got the save yesterday (he's a lefty specialist kind of guy). In St. Louis, Ryan Franklin looks like the biggest favorite, but I wouldn't rule out Russ Springer or Randy Flores.
Hey Chris, Matt Cain was dropped in my league, is there any reason why I shouldn't pick him up (besides maybe the fact he plays in SF and my league has a negative stat for losses)? Thanks!
Christopher Harris (11:04 AM)
Hi, Mark. I mean, it depends on your league size, I guess, but I hesitate to imagine a league so small that Cain shouldn't be owned. He didn't look great last time out against the Pirates, but 42 strikeouts in 46 innings makes him a fantasy horse, in my book.
Talk to me about Kevin Youkilis. He's faded down the stretch the last couple years, do you think KY can go 100-25-100 this season?
Christopher Harris (11:06 AM)
Hi, Brad. Yeah, Yook has been phenomenal so far, jockeying with Carlos Quentin for the AL lead in OPS for a week or so. 100 RBI seems like a fait accompli at this point (he's already up to 30), though I'm less definite about 100 R, simply because he can get monkeyed around in that lineup a little. 25 homers? There's a chance...he's shown increased power peripherals in a short time frame early this year. But I'm going to say he maxes out around 20. Still a very good hitter, though.
Should I drop myself for Andrew Miller or Daniel Cabrera?
Christopher Harris (11:08 AM)
I wouldn't drop Johnny Cueto for either Miller or Cabrera just now. For sure, the bloom has come off Cueto's rose, which is what most of us have been telling you would happen...he's a rookie in a bad ballpark. But I still have him pegged as a top-50 starter in fantasy. Cabrera has quietly started amassing some nice numbers, but there's nothing worse than thinking he's finally turned the corner, only to have him walk 10 in 2 innings. That is coming, trust me. As for Miller...still like his career arc for sure, but don't believe in his control yet, either.
Hey Chris...would you start the struggling Carmona with two starts over one start options like C. Young and J. Shields?
Christopher Harris (11:11 AM)
Hi, PJ. I wouldn't. I think Carmona is due for a blowup outing in the next few...his peripheral numbers just stink, and for some reason (read: luck) it hasn't shown up in his ERA yet. The walks and lack of strikeouts will catch up to him eventually. I'd rather have either of those guys, even in one-start weeks.
Ervin Santana finally got roughed up yesterday, where do you see his final numbers? A good buy low still?
Christopher Harris (11:14 AM)
I think Santana will win double digits, post an ERA in the low 4s and a WHIP in the 1.2-ish area. Remember, even in his "roughed up" outing yesterday, he struck out seven and walked just one. As to whether he's a "buy low," I feel like I've talked about him a lot over the past couple weeks, as have many others, so he may be valued about right just now.
Jeff (Brooklyn, OH)
Jon Rauch going to close the rest of the season?
Christopher Harris (11:15 AM)
Hi, Jeff. It sure looks like it. I hear that Chad Cordero is a month away, and the Nats are none too happy with him anyway. As long as Rauch is decent, I think he's the guy.
Hubert (Oklahoma City)
When will the Dodgers give Andy LaRoche the call? Overall his last 12 games at AAA Las Vegas .324 4 9.
Christopher Harris (11:17 AM)
Hi, Hubert. Yeah, you know, I was just looking over my May rankings comapred to the ESPN.com experts' group rankings from last week (for my Big Rotowski column, which will be out tomorrow), and I saw that while I had Andy LaRoche inside my top 350 (at 327, to be precise), the group average didn't. I think it's a mistake to forget about him. I'm not a long-term believer in Blake DeWitt, and I think it's clear what Nomar is going to give you for a season. I still think LaRoche is the best option, and worth hanging onto on your fantasy bench in NL-only or deep mixed leagues. Not sure when they're calling him, though. They need to see his defense get better......
Billy Wagner has been lights out this year. Any possibility he ends up as the top ranked closer by year's end?
Christopher Harris (11:18 AM)
Hi, Jeff. Well, there's always a chance. I think I'm pretty secure with Papelbon as the top guy...I know he blew back-to-backers, but overall, I think he's on the best team, and has the most dominating stuff right now. But you're right, Wagner has been good. He's sixth on my list already.....
What do you think of the Rockies catcher situation, now that Ianetta has requested more playing time? Are either worth owning?
Christopher Harris (11:20 AM)
Hi, Ricky. It depends on your league format, clearly, but I mention Iannetta on my "If You're Hard Core" ESPN Motion segment last week as a good deep-league add. Even if he's only going to play a few games a week, I think he's worth owning in deeper leagues, and the past week or so has indicated he might be about to play quite a bit more than that. Torrealba (the unholy spawn of Joe Torre and Jessica Alba) isn't worth owning in any format, IMO.
Start Furcal this week? Any news on Kendrick?
Christopher Harris (11:22 AM)
Hi, Ryan. The only news I've heard about Kendrick is that the Angels are still giving him treatment for his hamstring. I think at this point I have to play it safe and not start him this week, simply because he's been teasing us for a couple weeks. Furcal might be back tomorrow, but I don't get the sense that the Dodgers mind playing Chin-Lung Hu, which could mean they keep Furcal and his balky back out a little longer. Again, if I'm playing it safe, I'm passing up on Furcal's possible production for a few days to get definite ABs, so long as I have a viable alternative.
Pete, Cincy, OH
With Toronto bringing in Wilkerson and Mench, do we officially cross Adam Lind off the top prospect list?
Christopher Harris (11:24 AM)
Hi, Pete. Well, hopefully you'd already done that. Lind has been, to be polite, a big disappointment. Could it be he's a "Four-A" player? (Halfway between Triple-A and the majors?) Yeah, I mean, there's a reason the Jays made those moves, and it's not because they love Adam Lind. There's little question that Travis Snider had already passed Lind in the Jays' estimation before the season started, and now 3B Kevin Ahrens is probably considered a better Toronto prospect, too. But I'm going to go out on a limb and say that those kids are going to deal with a different GM by the time they're ready to head to the bigs.
Hey, Chris, I'd really love your input. First, is it worth giving up a top cathcer (McCann) to get a guy like Vlad. And second, who finishes with more value this year: Vlad or Josh Hamilton? Thanks
Christopher Harris (11:26 AM)
Hi, Dave. This is kind of a philosophy question...I think we both know that in terms of pure numbers, Vlad is going to outproduce McCann by a pretty wide margin (unless he gets hurt), so it's more: is it OK to not have one of the best catchers anymore, if it means I get a guy as good as Vlad? And my answer is: Yes. Obviously, it depends on the alternative you have at catcher, but I think Vlad is significantly better, offensive-numbers-wise, than McCann. As for the Guerrero/Hamilton comparison, I still have to put Guerrero higher, simply because I'm not sold on Hamilton's staying healthy all year.
How many games do you see Clement catching this year? I need him to hit 50 games to be eligable next season at C. Any chance he hits that?
Christopher Harris (11:28 AM)
Hi, Ryan. I think the chance involves an injury to Johjima. Clement only has three games caught so far. Johjima has been dreadful so far, but he'll probably pull it together enough to keep the full-time job.
Chris, How will the LA of shake out? Can they keep playing Andruw? Thanks
Christopher Harris (11:30 AM)
Hi, Joe. Yeah, I think they will. Joe Torre believes in Jones's defense, if nothing else, and the organization sure is paying Jones a lot of money to sit. The best alignment is still sitting Juan Pierre, but now Andre Ethier is sitting in favor of Pierre. That's better than when Kemp was sitting -- regular visitors to my chat know I was pretty livid about that -- but still bad decision-making. We all need to keep reminding ourselves it's May, and in the long run, these things tend to take care of themselves. When all's said and done, I predict the alignment that'll see the most games together will be Kemp-Jones-Ethier.
I know you guys get a ton of questions, but been trying to get an answer ever since the new rankings came out. What do frustrated Hafner owners do with him? The fantasy expert rankings suggest keeping him (ranked #89) instead of grabbing guys like Ankiel (#145), Quentin (#161), Nady (#171) or Church (#207). Thoughts? Would you drop Hafner for C Jackson?
Christopher Harris (11:32 AM)
Hi, John. Hafner is a puzzle. He's at #74 on my rankings for May 1, simply because I think *eventually* he'll produce. But I own him in a mixed league, and he's been riding pine for a couple weeks now. Provided your league has a fantasy bench, that's where I'd stick him, but I wouldn't drop him. Remember: just because we're ranking a guy top 100 for the entire rest of the season doesn't mean we think he's top 100 right now. We just think that eventually, he'll snap out of it. Though I have to say: with Hafner, it's getting scarier and scarier. Still, I'd hold onto him, and just start someone else.
Are you picking up Rich Hill after his very nice 2nd start in AAA?
Christopher Harris (11:34 AM)
Hi, Austin. It depends on league format (or DOLF, for regular visitors), but I think Hill has dropped too far in many folks' estimation. Just because a guy gets sent down doesn't mean he's worthless. With Hill, it's been all about wildness, which is all about mechanics. If he finds his mechanics, he'll go back to being the high-K guy we thought we were getting. I'm not dropping Johnny Cueto for him, but if I had a spare bench spot in deeper leagues, I'd use it on him.
Valverde or Lyon for the rest of the year?
Christopher Harris (11:34 AM)
Hi, Mike. Valverde. I don't want that to sound like a wholehearted recommendation of Valverde, because frankly he scares the poo out of me. But I really don't think Lyon will have that job by the All-Star Break.
Jay Bruce update, go!
Christopher Harris (11:37 AM)
Hi, Steve. .924 OPS, .328 AVG, six homers and seven steals at Triple-A. But there are warning signs, too: only 9 walks and 34 strikeouts in 131 AB, meaning his reputation as not exactly a patient hitter is becoming well-earned. Dusty Baker loves veterans, which is why Bruce didn't make the team in the first place, and as long as Corey Patterson is passable, Bruce won't be up. I think Colby Rasmus winds up being worth more this season.
drop Scherzer for Lilly? what about dropping Verlander for Lilly?
Christopher Harris (11:40 AM)
Hi, Mark. Yes to the former, heaves no to the latter. I'd rather not drop Scherzer at all, but I can understand the short-term logic: Doug Davis is going to get his job back. Still, I think Scherzer winds up being a fantasy asset this season, and I still don't dismiss the possibility he winds up the closer at some point in the second half. I have Verlander and Lilly rated well ahead of him, though. As for Verlander, he already has as many losses this year as he did last year. Huge disappointment. But I can't bring myself to drop guys like this. I'd rather bench him for a start or two, and see if I can get a straight story about whether he's hurt. Last week I reported about Jack Morris (now a Twins broadcaster) saying he sees a change in Verlander and he thinks the big righty is covering up an injury. But Verlander says no. Stay tuned.
Tony Stark (Speed Racer sucks)
I don't get the Padres at all. No Chase Headly yet? What do they have to lose. Same with Ian Stewart of Rox. Why aren't these guys in their lineups? Also, do you think AAA closer phenom Chris Perez can be up soon for Cards?
Christopher Harris (11:42 AM)
Headley simply wasn't ready to play left field in the majors yet, which is why they didn't let him have the job he clearly won this spring. By the same token, I think the Pods wanted to see Headley take his demotion in stride and go down to the minors and rake, and he hasn't: .810 OPS, 15 RBI in 136 AB. But with Edmonds getting waived, you have to think Headley is in their plans relatively soon. As for Stewart...he went through a bad slump for a couple weeks, and the question really is: where do you play him? He's not a second baseman (he's way too big), and there's this guy named Atkins playing third. I think eventually Stewart has to get dealt for something really good. As for Perez, sure, he could be up this year. I think he will be, in fact. But I'm not sure the team is ready to give him the closer's job while it's tied for first.
Borowski, Betancourt, or death? For the rest of the season.
Christopher Harris (11:44 AM)
Hi, Jared. I'm going to avoid the last option for as long as I can. As for Borowski vs. Betancourt...I'm still taking Betancourt. He hasn't been great in his time as closer, and it seems like Borowski is going to get a crack at his old job as soon as he gets back in a couple weeks. But I just think he stinks. And Betancourt doesn't. So I'm going to go contrarian here and say I'd still rather own Rafael.
Hello Christopher! It's somewhat sunny up here in northern New England! Anyway, can you talk me out of starting R. Garko today over P. Konerko. The doubleheader is tempting, but Garko's quiet bat is not inspiring. I shouldn't do it, right? Thanks for chatting!
Christopher Harris (11:44 AM)
Hi, Stan. I wouldn't. The odds are Garko wouldn't play both games anyway, because Victor Martinez is likely to play first in one of the tilts. So I'm going Koko in that one.
Chris- usually you are right on about things, but your statement of "Mota hasn't pitched very well so far this year" is off. Sure, he has a WHIP of 1.50 in limited innings, but he's only had 2 outings where he's allowed an ER. He has 19 K's in 16 innings, and has allowed only 1 HR. He sports a 2.25 ERA. I just don't see how that's a rough year so far.
Christopher Harris (11:48 AM)
Hi, Jeff. I was colored by a three-walk outing of Mota's that I saw at the very end of April, and the fact that he's got 11 walks to go with those 19 strikeouts make me think that the Brewers would be headed down another Derrick Turnbow avenue if they made Mota their man (Mota's WHIP is 1.50, let's not forget). He's paid $3.2m, which I guess is an argument in his favor as a closer, but he was just terrible for the Mets in crucial situations last year. I agree that Mota is worth a speculative pickup, but from what I've seen, I don't think he's throwing all that well. Hard, just not all that well.
BRETT MYERS was dropped in my league.... should he be picked up? Do you see him turning things around this year???
Christopher Harris (11:50 AM)
Hi, Dave. Yeah, I do. I mean, Myers has gone down in my estimation after the last year-plus, and I hate to think that the Phillies may have messed with his long-term career prospects by putting him in the bullpen (foolishly!) last year. (I know, I know, the regular readers are like: Dude, we remember you ranting about that all *last* year!) Myers has been candid about not having a great feel for his fastball this year, and his velocity has been variable, which makes you worry he's hurt, though he says he's not. I have Myers No. 134th player in all of fantasy right now, so yes, I think he should be owned in all leagues.
Hey Chris...you continually rank McGowan over Marcum in the rankings. After McGowan's recent blowup and Marcum's back to back 9 K performances can you explain your logic with these two and how you see them panning out this season? Thanks.
Christopher Harris (11:52 AM)
Hi, PJ. You're right, I do. Now, you have to be fair and admit that a few weeks ago in my 60 Feet 6 Inches column, I had my "Come-to-Jesus" moment with Marcum, where I finally admitted I'd been wrong about him, and that his fade at the end of last year was simply a matter of over-use. But I still like McGown's stuff much more. Marcum has better makeup right now, I'll grant you that, and as such will tend toward greater consistency. But I still think McGowan's career could be Roy Halladay with strikeouts. I like them both, I just like McGowan's stuff more.
Aaron (Boston MA)
Need to keep and trade one of Carlos Gomez and Michael Bourn -- who do you prefer?
Christopher Harris (11:53 AM)
Hi, Aaron. I think I like Bourn more. That certainly would've been an easier answer a few weeks ago, and regular readers know that I was pretty much the only bullish "expert" on ESPN.com when it came to Gomez to start the year. But I still think, gun to my head, that Bourn will have more steals by season's end, and that Gomez still could wind up hitting 9th in that Minnesota lineup. Plus at the moment, you're going to get a heck of a lot more for Gomez in a trade. Just remember to mention that he just hit for the cycle.
Should I go to the Celtics game on Wed night or stay home to cook dinner for my in-laws on the night they get back from Florida?
Christopher Harris (11:54 AM)
In-laws, clearly. ;-)
Rasner has been encouraging so far for the Yanks, but the 5th starter spot is a disaster. Do you see them stepping up the timetable to move Joba to the rotation or will they just keep trying different minor leaguers to maybe find a hot hand until either Kennedy or Hughes return?
Christopher Harris (11:56 AM)
Hi, Derek. From everything the Yankees said this past week, I think Joba is staying put for the time being, and maybe for the entire season. I'm with you: I don't see Darrell Rasner as much fo an option, but hey, I didn't see Aaron (10-0) Small as much of an option in 2005, either. I think they're going to give Rasner a fair amount of rope, and I think Kei Igawa is going to get a few chances, too. It'll be patch-and-pray, in my opinion.
Chris, do you sit Markakis this week for a guy like Votto since Markakis plays only 5 games?
Christopher Harris (11:56 AM)
Hi, Shawn. I wouldn't. I liked Votto's 3-HR game, but Markakis is obviously the superior fantasy player, even with one fewer game.
More value E. Santana or Tim Hudson? Both worse than Wang?
Christopher Harris (11:57 AM)
Hi, Peter. I like them in this order: Hudson, Wang, Santana.
Are you buying into the Jason Bay turnaround this year? And how many RBI's can he end up with if some of those HR's stop being solo shots?
Christopher Harris (11:58 AM)
Hi, JB. I'm partially buying Bay. I still think he's a great candidate to get dealt...I would trade him now if I could get a legitimate prospect from a team who needs an outfielder. And let's face it: as you imply, if he gets dealt, his value only goes up. Leg injuries have sapped him of five-category ability, in my opinion, but he's still a good hitter.
Francisco Liriano, Minors
Chris, you better stash me now, by the second half I'll be lights out! Agree?
Christopher Harris (11:59 AM)
Lights out is in the eye of the beholder. When I was asked to pick the best second-half pickup for 2008 back in March, I said Liriano, and I was the guy on this site most suspicious of his comeback. Yeah, I think he'll be a viable fantasy player after the All-Star Break, and your point about stashing him now is a smart one. But I don't think he's going 11-0 with a 1.23 ERA or anything..... He won't be truly himself again until '09.
Is it time to bench Byrnes? I can replace him at Util with Zimmerman who also has been struggling.
Christopher Harris (12:00 PM)
Byrnes is another guy who's never been my fave. But you said it yourself: has Zimmerman really been any better? At least Byrnes gives you a shot at some random steals here and there.
Time to believe in Arroyo? Would you rather have him or Kuroda?
Christopher Harris (12:00 PM)
Hi, Rob. No and no. It's going to take more than one (very good) start for me to bite on Arroyo. And I wouldn't want to get rid of Kuroda right now anyway. Wait until the second half, just before he starts to wear down.
Billingsly and Burnett were dropped in my league. Your thoughts on them?
Christopher Harris (12:02 PM)
Hi, Rob. I think they're both very ownable in mixed leagues, though neither has been as good as advertised yet this year. I've been suspicious of ranking Burnett highly all year, but mainly because I'm convinced eventually he'll get hurt again. Billingsley is a bigger mystery to me...I have Burnett rated more highly at the moment, but they're both in that mid-30s spot for me among starting pitchers. Patience.
Christopher Harris (12:02 PM)
All right, gang, I'm going to have to get rolling, so one more.....
Is Clint Barmes going to remain in the lineup all year? I have K. Greene at SS, and wondering if it's time to cut my losses and Barmes is the best available...
Christopher Harris (12:04 PM)
Hi, Mike. I think I'm sticking with Greene if Barmes is my only other option. I have a hard time believing Barmes will be any better, long term, than Greene has been in his stinky beginning to the year, and Greene certainly has power upside that we haven't seen yet this year. When all's said and done, I don't think either guy will help your batting average much. (But yeah, I do think it looks like Barmes gets the job for the foreseeable future....)
Christopher Harris (12:05 PM)
All right, everyone. I'm sorry I couldn't get to everyone's questions...there were well over 1,000 today (and that was kind of a slow session). But I promise I'll try and do better the next time. I know you're probably sitting there sinking: who the heck does he think he is? But I promise you, I'm very appreciative for your interest, and am overwhelmed (in a good way) by how many questions I get. You guys and gals are the best, and I'm so grateful I get to write about this stuff for you. Thank you very much, and I look forward to chatting again soon......
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