Fantasy Sports w/Chris Harris
Send your questions now and join Harris in The Show on Monday at 11 a.m. ET!
Christopher Harris (11:02 AM)
Morning everyone, and welcome to the All-Star Break. Let's get right to your questions....
Hey, when are you guys going to come out with a new top 340 ranking?
Christopher Harris (11:02 AM)
Hi, Brad. Coming out today or tomorrow. I know we all submitted our "top" lists last night, so now it's just a matter of our intrepid editors processing the data. I know they're working feverishly...
Is Bobby Jenks on target to return on Friday?
Christopher Harris (11:04 AM)
Hi, Tom. Yeah, that's what the Chicago Tribune reported this morning. Of course, he wasn't supposed to go on the DL at all, so it's possible we're not getting the full story. But at the moment, if he doesn't have any more setbacks, it sounds like Friday.
Tom O (Wayne, NJ)
Thoughts on Jed Lowrie? Is he going to take over the SS position up in Boston?
Christopher Harris (11:04 AM)
Hi, Tom. Unfortunately, I think it looks like a split situation between Lowrie and Alex Cora. Lowrie is obviously the more interesting offensive player, but I worry he just won't get enough starts to be fantasy-worthy right now.
Mike (Albany, NY)
Hey Chris: Brett Myers available on waivers. Drop Chris Volstad or Andy Sonnastine? Thanks!!
Christopher Harris (11:07 AM)
Hi, Mike. Well, first off, let's get to the news on Myers: He's coming back to the bigs, and will start on the 23rd of July against the Mets. I do think it's worth picking him up on a speculative pick, though I'd probably keep him on my bench for the time being. Would I rate him above Volstad and Sonnanstine? I guess I probably would. I like the Sonnanstine story, but he's not going strike out a lot of guys, and while I've been the ESPN fantasy person most hyping Volstad all year, he's not going to be as good as he was last time out every time he pitches. It depends on whether you're counting on any of those guys, or if they're just there in case they suddenly are great. Myers clearly has the most upside of those three guys.
Hey Chris! Harang dropped off of your "60 ft 6 inches" chart. Does this mean that you are writing him off for the year? I could pick up another pitcher that is on your listing but I hate to just give up on Harang. The news about his arm sounds somewhat promising. Could you give us a prediction about his second half performance? It's time to make some tough choices. Since I also own Wainright and Bedard, I have to start thinking about taking some drastic action. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Christopher Harris (11:10 AM)
Hi, Dave. Well, first off, realize that I write the 60 Feet 6 Inches column on Wednesday night, and that was at the height of uncertainty about his injury. You're right, even though he's on the DL, an MRI came back negative, so he's not going to miss a ton of time. That said, on Sunday night, I put Harang 269th on my list of fantasy players (all positions), one spot about Ian Snell. Both guys have just been so disastrous, that I'm not sure what to do with them. In shallower leagues, I think Harang can be dropped, to be totally honest. Now, *could* he turn it around and be the guy we thought we were getting in April? Yes, just like Myers can, which is why in deeper leagues, I'd hang onto both. In shallower leagues, though, I have to believe there are options available that may not have Harang's past upside, but don't carry his danger, either.
Alexei Ramirez (Chicago, IL)
I've been hitting .365 with a .387 OBP since June 1st. Am I a legitimate fantasy 2B from here on out? Better than Polanco and Casilla??
Christopher Harris (11:12 AM)
Yeah, I think Ramirez is a legit deeper-league option at second. He's 15th on my list at the position right now, behind Polanco but ahead of Casilla.
Better consistent K heavy starter the rest of the season...Buchholz, Liriano, or Myers?
Christopher Harris (11:13 AM)
Hi, Dave. If you're looking for "consistent," you've got the wrong three guys. How can I in good conscience tell you *any* of these guys are going to be consistent, when they've been anything but so far this year? If I'm picking the guy I'd most like to own, I'd take Buchholz, barely, over Liriano.
Roger (Hobbs NM)
Hey Chris! Any idea when Liriano will get called back up to the majors? Does he have more upside than Myers?
Christopher Harris (11:16 AM)
To my knowledge, Roger, the Twins haven't many any announcements, but speculation in the Minnesota papers is rampant that Liriano will be up pretty soon after the All-Star Break. Before the season started, I was asked to provide the name of one starter I'd want to trade for at the Break, and I said Liriano; I thought he'd struggle out of the gate, but then he'd get it together. I don't think he's going to be the '06 guy right away, but he'll be worth owning, and should be added in all leagues. He definitely has more upside than Myers, but that doesn't mean he'll perform better...after all, he's coming off major surgery. But yes, his upside is higher. Look at those '06 numbers.
Tony (North Caldwell, NJ)
I'm trying to buy low on Jimmy Rollins and I'll likely have to offer John Danks or Chad Billingsley. Which SP should I keep? I'm leaning towards Danks since I have Johan, Peavy, and Jonathan Sanchez to replace Billingsley's strikeouts. But Chad's gem yesterday is making me reconsider. Your thoughts, please.
Christopher Harris (11:17 AM)
Hi, Tony. Well, I have Billingsley as my No. 21 starter right now, and I have Danks as my No. 39, so I guess I'd rather move Danks. Incidentally, I see a lot of questions asking me to compare starting pitchers for the rest of the year; you can see my top 60 starters here: http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?page=60F60I080710
considering all the trouble bedard has had, would you rather have him or shields right now? why?
Christopher Harris (11:19 AM)
Hi, Joe. I have Bedard No. 17 and Shields No. 19, so they're roughly equivalent right now in my mind. The "why" is pretty simple: when he's healthy and goes on one of his streaks, Bedard might just be the best pitcher in baseball. Shields is a bulldog who throws a wicked change, and it's not like I'm saying I don't like him, but I also think his fastball is *straight*, which tends to get him hit when he's not spot on. If they're both healthy, Bedard's simply has more dominating stuff.
I keep hearing about Rauch possibly getting dealt before the deadline. How likely would you say that is and is Ayala next in line?
Christopher Harris (11:22 AM)
Hi, Cory. I have to be honest: I haven't heard that about Rauch. I guess I wouldn't be shocked, but he's done a pretty good job as Washington's closer, and he's signed on the cheap for next year with an inexpensive team option for '10. But I absolutely could be behind the curve on that one. One name to possibly keep in mind if he does get dealt might be Joel Hanrahan, who has done a nice job since converting to relief. He's a little wild at times, but he definitely racks up the Ks.
Justin ( Queens, NY)
No Pelfrey questions? Red hot team/red hot pitcher. Is he a top 20 pitcher from here on out?
Christopher Harris (11:24 AM)
Hi, Justin. All due respect, put down the Mets-colored glasses. Yes, he had a very nice outing, and yes he's strung together a few good starts. But that 1.47 WHIP and his 64 / 43 K/BB ratio tell me he'll be in for more rough times. And even if he isn't, he's just not a high-enough strikeout guy to justify that high a ranking.
Scott, Groton CT
Brandon Morrow: Thoughts on him the rest of the way? I've been offered Garza for him, and I'm thinking i'll never get a better offer for a guy who might not be closing in a month or so
Christopher Harris (11:25 AM)
Hi, Scott. I agree. Take the deal. Garza will have his bad moments, but I'm with you, I think Putz will take that job back toward the end of July.
Tim Wakefield (Boston)
why don't I get any respect?
Christopher Harris (11:25 AM)
I think you know the answer to that question. Incredible runs of dominance followed by insane runs of badness. Wakefield is the roller coaster of fantasy baseball.
The Drake (NYC)
Happy Monday Chris, Better Keeper, please rank, Lincecum at $10, Danks at $2, Lester at $2. Thanks!
Christopher Harris (11:26 AM)
Hi, Drake. As tempting and delicious as those two young lefties look at $2, I'm going to say Lincecum at 10. He's fixing to be a fixture in the top 10 for years, which is more than I can say for Lester or Danks, no matter how pleasantly surprising they've been.
Vinny (Elmont, LI)
I'm twisting in the wind at 3B with former wunderkind Alex Gordon. Should I drop him for Encarnacion, Tracy or Kouzmanoff?
Christopher Harris (11:27 AM)
Hi, Vinny. Y'know, as annoying as Gordon has been, if you'd been riding any of those other three guys all this time, you'd be just as ticked off at them. I have Gordon rated above those other three guys in my overall top 340, so I guess as much as it pains me, you probably have to swallow hard and bear it.
Lonesome Dave (Foghat NJ)
Thoughts on Broxton if Saito is really hurt... Thanks!
Christopher Harris (11:28 AM)
Hi, Dave. My thoughts are: pick him up. Now. Saito is probably going on the DL. Broxton needs to be owned in all leagues.
Kyle (Athens, GA)
What should be done with Michael Bourn? He can't steal any bases if they're not going to let him play.
Christopher Harris (11:31 AM)
Hi, Kyle. Yeah, and he can't steal first base, either. I'd consider trying to trade him to the speed-neediest team in your league. Bourn's OBP is a dreadful .273, and he was supposed to be the Astros' leadoff hitter? The plan of going into the year with Bourn in the leadoff spot and Kaz Matsui at No. 2 was one of the dumbest things I've heard in a long time. Let someone else see those 32 SBs, and get tempted into giving you something for him. He just can't hit.
Fernando (Pembroke Pines)
Some one offered me Bobby Abreu for Ben Sheets straight up. It may seem like a no brainer since I could use the pitching, but with Ben Sheets heath issues and Abreus second half surges I not sure. What do you think?
Christopher Harris (11:33 AM)
Hi Fernando. Yeah, that's a good one. I'd be tempted by Sheets, too, especially if you need pitching. I have Abreu rated 39th among all fantasy players and Sheets rated 63rd, so I guess that means in a vacuum, I wouldn't do the deal. But if you're really pitching-needy and Sheets is probably the best you could get, I might consider it. You're right: you'd be assuming risk with Sheets (that's why I have him rated a bit low...clearly his stats warrant a higher rating). If he winds up not getting hurt, then he'll be worth about what Abreu is in the second half, IMO.
Comparing Harang to Snell?? I mean, Harang's been bad, but Snell's just been pathetic! 1.91 WHIP, 5.92 ERA, compared to Harang's 1.40 and 4.76, respectively? And Harang's BABIP has shown some poor luck too. Plus Harang has 37 more Ks on the year than Snell. Cmon Chris, he's been bad but don't insult the guy!
Christopher Harris (11:34 AM)
Hi, John. You're right, you're right. His stats aren't as bad as Snell's. Actually, though, Snell's BAABIP is way unlucker than Harang's: .373 (unluckiest in baseball, actually) compared to Harang's .331. Suffice it to say: I'm not counting on either guy being very good the rest of the way.
Patrick (Rye, NY)
Any thoughts on when David Price gets called up and who he bumps in the rotation? Is he too good for the minors right now? Seems like the Rays could use a shot in the arm after falling out of 1st place.
Christopher Harris (11:37 AM)
Hi, Patrick. It's a good question, and from what I can see, the Rays aren't tipping their hand yet. The problem lately really hasn't been the starting pitching, it's been a combination of not getting timely hitting and the bullpen blowing up occasionally. I'm sure the Rays are tempted to bring up Price, but he's still only pitched four Double-A games. Will he skip Triple-A? Possible. Could he come up next week? Sure. If it were me, though, I'd resist the temptation. I'd think about him in August so he could be on the playoff roster. He'll clearly either replace Sonnanstine or Edwin Jackson if and when he comes up (unless someone gets hurt). My guess is Sonnanstine.
David (LA, CA)
Christopher, how do I fill my 1B position: Votto, Degado, Pena, Swisher, Huff, or Mike Jacobs the rest of the year?
Christopher Harris (11:38 AM)
Hi, David. Pena is the clear choice for me out of that group, especially since he's shown signs of life the past week or two.
Pick a Corner Infielder that you would want going forward: Conner Jackson, Adam LaRoche, Chad Tracy
Christopher Harris (11:39 AM)
Hi, Kevin, I'd definitely take Conor Jackson.
Hey Chris, what are your thoughts on Zimmerman? Can he have a big impact the second half of the season?
Christopher Harris (11:41 AM)
Hi, Josh. Well, *can* he? Yeah. The Nats seem to think they're going to get him back before the end of July, which would be very good news. His shoulder reportedly didn't hurt when he took BP recently, which is more than he could say previously. I'm drinking the Kool-Aid on Zimmerman still; I've got him rated 11th among 3Bs for the rest of the year.
Another corner infielder question, do you use Cantu or Huff at 3B for the rest of the year? Both have playing great in 08.
Christopher Harris (11:42 AM)
Hi, Brian. You're right, both have been terrific. I like Huff a little more; I like his short porch and his ballpark overall, and I also wonder if and when Cantu's magic will run out. At least with Huff, he has *something* of a track record for hitting like this, albeit a few years ago.
Jim (Houston, TX)
McGowan should be cut in all shallow leagues, right? Even if he avoids surgery and comes back, he'll STILL be pitching with a tear in his rotator cuff.
Christopher Harris (11:43 AM)
Hi, Jim. Yeah, unfortunately, in shallow leagues he probably needs to go. I was maybe his biggest booster this year, and I love his arm and stuff, but you're right: not with a tear in the rotator cuff. We have to hope, long-term, that he doesn't need surgery, because cuff surgery is just about the hardest thing for a pitcher to come back from.
Tom Tuttle (Tacoma)
Speaking of injury returnees at 3B, Zimmerman or Blalock?
Christopher Harris (11:44 AM)
Hi, Tom. Well, on some level, it's *all* speculation because let's face it, we'll never get the *real* story about these guys' rehabs. But knowing what I know and remembering how many times Blalock was supposedly all set to come back and play, I'm going to take Zimmerman in that comparison. I have hopes for Blalock, because I own him in a few leagues and have held onto him on the DL. But I'd be lying if I said I was convinced he was ready to rake.
Stuart (Brooklyn, NY)
Why isn't Gavin Floyd in your top 60? Don't you like him in the second half?
Christopher Harris (11:46 AM)
Hi, Stuart. I like him all right, but not in the top 60. With Floyd, I feel like a lot of his good performance has been a bit lucky. He has a .226 BAABIP, which screams "correction coming!" He's not a high-K guy and he allows homers. I don't hate him, but I like Danks more.
Are you taking any, and when do they start?
Christopher Harris (11:47 AM)
I have to be honest: I'm not sure. I was told I'd start doing them this week, but then I checked on the chat schedule, and it looks to me like it just says "baseball." Why don't we say next week. I'll *definitely* start doing football for good starting next week, and we'll mix together horsehide and pigskin. (Ew, and I'm a vegetarian.)
Continuing with your rankings, I was a bit surprised to see Wainright ranked so low. Are you concerned that his pulley injury is going to limit his pitch selection and take away his breaking pitches? I could pick up Lowe or a similiarly ranked pitcher in his place. But, just like Harang, I hate to give up on him when I hear his injury recovery is going well. What was the deciding factor in his substantial drop in the rankings? Usually, you tend to be rather conservative in your decisions to make a player significantly jump either up or down. When I see one like Wainright's, I have to wonder what the rationale was. Could you elaborate a bit on his ranking? Thanks.
Christopher Harris (11:50 AM)
Hi, Dave. Yeah, Wainwright is an interesting case. You're right: it sounds like things are going well with him. The chronology of my ranking of him got a little interrupted by the two weeks where we were asked to do our AL- and NL-only rankings...so around the time when the Cards were saying they "had no timetable" for Wainwright, I wasn't ranking guys for mixed leagues. This week, I'm back to mixed rankings, and while he's reportedly feeling good, Wainwright still is on track to only return to the team (from what I've read) in mid-August. If that timetable gets sped up, I'll definitely be prepared to hike him back up my list. So anyway, that's probably why the drop looks so precipitous, and that's my logic for keeping him pretty low at the moment. But I love him as a pitcher, and if he's healthy sooner, I'll bump him back up.
Yo Jim (Brooklyn, USA)
Wow, not much love for Jair Jurrjens, huh? What basis other than blind faith do you have for placing him 17 spots behind Unit and 11 behind Pedro?
Christopher Harris (11:53 AM)
Hi, Yo Jim...heh, yeah, with Pedro is almost *would* have to be blind faith, wouldn't it? Those rankings came out *before* Martinez left with a sore shoulder, and when I had it to do again this weekend (for our top-340 exercise), believe me, he was lower. As for Jurrjens, I like him, don't love him. He's not a K/IP guy, and as such he has outing where gets knocked around a bit. He's also a 22-year-old with 30 2/3 IP in the majors before this season, and will eclipse his career-high in IP for a season at any level later this month. As I say: like him, don't love him, and that's my logic.
pj athens, oh
Oswalt - same as Harang this season? Think they shut him down eventually? Glad I drafted Harang, Oswalt, Burnett, Snell and Myers and thought I had a great staff....
Christopher Harris (11:54 AM)
Hi, PJ. I have more hope for Oswalt, simply because he was pitching relatively well (I said *relatively*) when his hip started bugging him. I don't hear anything about him getting shut down for the year, yet, so I think that's premature. But yeah, still disappointing. I was pretty high on Harang and Snell out of the group you mention, so I have to take partial responsibility. Sorry. (I was relatively down on Oswalt, though.)
Mike: (Janesville WI)
OK, have I missed something? Are the rankings already posted?
Christopher Harris (11:55 AM)
Hi, Mike. No, I don't think so. We submitted them to our editors last night, so I believe they're being worked up into HTML form. Should be up either today or tomorrow, I'd imagine.
How did EVERYONE miss the boat so bad on Josh Hamilton this spring? I know i did. Through all of his troubles the guy has always hit and always been the most talented player on the field.
Christopher Harris (11:56 AM)
Hi, Luke. I don't think everyone missed the boat. I mean, no, we didn't think he'd be an MVP candidate, and I continue not to rank him in my top 20 overall simply because of his injury history. But this spring, I wrote: "His incredible comeback year was marred by injury and illness, but those mask a really good season. He doesn't have a great eye, and will strike out, but he makes enough contact, with enough power, to overcome. His expected BA numbers were solid all year. Everyone kept saying last year that the second and third time around the league, pitchers would catch up to him. Didn't happen. They're saying the same thing now about the AL. I dunno. That's a pretty great ballpark for a power hitter, and he should hit fifth or sixth in that lineup."
Too many DL players, and one has to go. Tulo or Harang??? Thanks.
Christopher Harris (11:58 AM)
Hi, Matt. Obviously tough to be definitive since I'm not sure what else you have on the rest of your team. But in a vacuum, I'd say Tulo is the one who goes. Not that he's bad, not that he's done, but when they're at their respective heights, Harang is the more valuable commodity.
Rank the OF: Markakis, Granderson, Hart, Abreu, Rios
Christopher Harris (12:00 PM)
Hi, Richie. I have them in this order: Markakis, Abreu, Rios, Granderson, Hart. But all five guys are in my personal top 50 overall.
Marc (Douglaston, NY)
Tell Luke from Philly that not EVERYONE missed the boat on Josh Hamilton. I was a part of the contingent that was commited him to making him a part of all my teams back in the spring... on another subject, what are your thoughts about Scott Baker going forward?
Christopher Harris (12:01 PM)
Hi, Marc. Duly noted. As for Baker, I'll say this: I saw him pitch at Fenway recently, and I was struck by how *big* he is. I always saw him as a Kevin Tapani type...little guy, little stuff. Well, he doesn't throw lightning bolts, but he's kind of a horse. Like all the Twins guys, he throws strikes and can get lit up by homers when his stuff isn't on. I like him, don't love him. If Kevin Slowey is healthy, I actually like him best of the Twins group right now (though Liriano really deserves to be rated above all of 'em).
Christopher Harris (12:02 PM)
All right...I gotta get going, so one more...
Last one - fun one - give us your HR Derby champ and runner up
Christopher Harris (12:04 PM)
Hi, Joe. I'll say Lance Berkman wins with Justin Morneau in second place. Seems like it'd have to be guys who'll be up there hitting lefty with that short porch in right in Yankee Stadium. Thanks to everyone for coming, and sorry not to have the time to go a little over today. I'm also sorry that I'm not able to get to more questions...we got over 1,200 this week. Promise to do better the next time. Talk to you soon!
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