Fantasy Sports w/Eric Karabell
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Eric Karabell (3:01 PM)
Hello all and welcome to February! Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training late next week, and not a moment too soon, eh? Love baseball! OK, let's get moving here. Send questions and I will try to answer...baseball, football, hoops today...
EK- Does Brett Wallace have a chance to be 2009's Ryan Bruan or Evan Longoria?
Eric Karabell (3:03 PM)
Here's a good one to start with. I don't think there's much question about Wallace's bat, but I don't think he can put up the numbers Braun/Longoria did in their debut. Plus, for now, with Troy Glaus injured, it appears David Freese will get first chance at third base for the Cards.
The Mayor of Parraville, PA
Hanson..does he start for Atlanta this April?
Eric Karabell (3:05 PM)
Wow, that's odd, I was just having this conversation with a buddy today. He took Atlanta's Tommy Hanson very early in an all-rookie draft. I think the Braves have built up enough rotation depth, to the point Jorge Campillo might not make it, that Hanson will be brought along slowly. Could be a midseason call, or he might stay down all year. I wouldn't think he wins a job out of the spring.
Projections on Colby Rasmus? Starter or half the season in AAA/bench?
Eric Karabell (3:07 PM)
Speaking of rookies.... I don't think there's necessarily room for Rasmus in St. Louis at this point unless he has an incredible spring, and others are hurt. I mean, Ankiel is going to play, so is Ludwick, and LaRussa seems to like (against RHP) Schumaker. Duncan is in the picture, too. I'd think the talented Rasmus is in the minors at least half the season, and when he comes up he'll hit for power and run, but not hit for average.
In yesterday's chat, Hunter admitted that you guys had Pedroia ranked as the top second baseman. For fantasy, isn't it just as likely that he puts up Jeter like states of 15/15 with a 300 Avg? How can you take him over Utley, Kinsler or Philips?
Eric Karabell (3:09 PM)
By the way, our comprehensive draft kit should be out early next week. I think Dave is right, but let's get something clear: These are staff ranks, and we've got a bunch of people on staff. I would take Utley, even with the chance he misses some or most of April, before Pedroia. The Jeter comp is exactly what I think, but not today's Jeter; look at the Yankees shortstop early in his career, he had more power, ran more, he was terrific. I would place Pedroia in the second round, but because I still have concerns about Kinsler's durability, he's my second 2B.
Is it time to cut Andrew Bogut and his continual back problems? What are we to make of Elton Brand these days? I still support the guy but my patience is running thin.
Eric Karabell (3:11 PM)
There's a rumor making the rounds that Bogut might just shut things down for the season, so yeah, I would look elsewhere for help. And I'm almost there with Brand; it's clearly painful for him to play, and he's barely getting minutes. Rest won't help, though. I'd try to trade Brand before cutting him, but don't expect 20/10 anymore.
EK - is it me or is it right to think I should drop Manny in my rankings if he gets a 2 year deal OR bump him up if he gets a 1 year deal?
Eric Karabell (3:13 PM)
I know a lot of people buy into the "contract year" theory, but I do not. For every Adrian Beltre there are players who don't play better in the telling season. Manny hits. I don't think the deal matters. Assuming his people and the Dodgers stop this annoying circus, I think Manny is a top-10 outfielder, but don't assume he hits .330 with 35 homers, either.
Eric, Will Sandoval catch this year? If yes how often? Thanks
Eric Karabell (3:15 PM)
I'd place the over/under on the Giants' Pablo Sandoval catching games at 1, and take the under. I don't expect the Giants will mess with their potential cleanup bat there. He's going to play either/both first base and third, and I think he'll hit right away. Like Carlos Delgado early in his career, Mike Sweeney, others who really hit, the Giants can't take chances with that bat.
Tricia (Hartford, CT)
Thanks for the Manny advice, he's even driving his Fantasy Owners nuts! Is Kemp a better 2 year Keeper option?
Eric Karabell (3:16 PM)
I would take Kemp. He runs and still has room for improvement. Manny is a monster, but I'd project around 35-110-.300 for him. Kemp can't do that, but he steals bases, and he's getting better.
Brian E. (NYC)
Matt Wieters. Starting from spring training or more the Longoria path to stardom? Also, is he a legit top 5 catcher once he has the job?
Eric Karabell (3:18 PM)
I seem to be higher on the Baltimore rookie than others. I don't have him top-5 at catcher yet, but I'm just waiting for a sign from the Orioles to make the move. If I thought he'd be up all year, I'd do it. I think he hits for power and average right away, a Mauer type with pop. I'm buying. But the Orioles can be patient.
Tim - Mpls
What is your take on Justin Upton this year - Break out or slightly better than last year?
Eric Karabell (3:21 PM)
I think break out and slightly better, if that's possible. He's going to hit for power, and soon. I could see 25 homers this season, but I don't think the average will come with it. And I don't think he'll run. But he's going to be a real power hitter starting this season.
Brian: Toledo OH
Who would you keep out of Francisco Liriano, King Felix and Joba Chamberlain?
Eric Karabell (3:22 PM)
Probably Liriano, with Hernandez a close second. I think Joba is a very good talent, but ultimately predict his arm - and the Yankees bullpen - won't allow him to start 30 times.
Marc: (Cleveland, OH)
How much do you get paid per year? I'm considering coming off unemployment to work for ESPN.
Eric Karabell (3:23 PM)
Paid? We all work for free, and our payment is helping, entertaining and informing the readers, listeners and viewers. Who needs more than that?
Ray, Burlington, NJ
does Milledge break out this season with a 20-25 season?
Eric Karabell (3:24 PM)
Milledge is one of my breakout outfielders for this season. It's amazing; all it seems to take is one merely OK season from a once-top prospect and everyone jumps off the bandwagon. Alex Gordon, too. These guys are legit. I think Milledge will make strides, and yeah, 20/25 is possible.
Keith (Providence, RI)
I can't find this info anywhere, so I am relying on you! Does Josh Anderson get a chance to be the Braves starting CF this year? If not, who gets the job? Blanco, Schafer, a FA? Thanks!
Eric Karabell (3:27 PM)
I think Anderson is the default guy for now, and he does have some fantasy upside as a basestealer. He's holding the spot for Jordan Schafer, a higher upside talent, but one who probably isn't ready. As for Gregor Blanco, he can get on base, but he profiles as a fourth outfielder, at best. The Braves need to do better, and I still think we might see another free agent addition for left field. For now, Anderson could steal 25 bases in 400 at-bats.
What do you think of the non-fantasy baseball guys' "Under $40 Million" teams? Is it just me, or do you see a lot of awful picks? Zach Greinke for 3.9 MIL and Ricky Nolasco for 2.4 MIL before anyone considers Liriano for 470K? Really?
Eric Karabell (3:29 PM)
I think it's terrific, and for those who don't know, check out ESPN's MLB coverage. Phillips, Neyer, Stark and Olney are doing a draft, keeping salaries in mind, and it's interesting. I wouldn't say awful picks. I rarely rip anyone else's picks, you know. I might not do the same thing, but it's not like when we draft in March I can say Nolasco is round 2 is ridiculous. What if he wins the Cy Young? Stranger things have happened. It's fun to see how non-fantasy guys think, though, and they really know their stuff, trust me.
What is your take on Alex Gordon? Is he ever going to play up to his potential? He started to come on a little bit last season.
Eric Karabell (3:30 PM)
I think it will be tough for him to really emerge into a 30-homer guy until he solves lefty pitchers even a little, but I do think he approaches 25 homers and a .280 batting average this season. He's going to get better.
Mike (Deptford, NJ)
Do you think Jhonny Peralta, as he soon approaches the magic age of 27, can hit 30+ homers and reduce his strikeouts?
Eric Karabell (3:33 PM)
Poor Jhonny didn't seem to get much love in our rankings summit, but he's got legit infield power, and it would translate just fine at third base, where he might potentially move as soon as ... now. I don't think the age matters a ton; plenty of hitters develop it earlier and later, but like the contract year thing, people pick the age 27 and everyone follows. What Peralta is doing now is who he is.
Eric, you have the first pick in a 10 team non keeper league. Who's your man??
Eric Karabell (3:35 PM)
My first three picks in pretty much any format are going to be Hanley, A-Rod and Pujols. And I feel guilty Pujols isn't first, because he probably should be if he hits .350 again, which he certainly might. He's incredible. But the other guys play a tad more scarce positions and run. And I never project anyone to hit better than .330 or so.
You keep referring to this rankings summit... how do I get there next year?! Seriously though, will the rankings and salaries be out before the draft kit?
Eric Karabell (3:36 PM)
Ha! Summit is a fancy word for 12 or so guys crammed into a conference room for two days ranking, projecting, debating and occasionally yelling about hundreds of players. It was great. As for the kit, I think next week, but I'm not privvy to all the behind-the-scenes info. Be patient, it's coming!
opinion on curtis grandenson?
Eric Karabell (3:38 PM)
I was higher on Granderson than pretty much everyone else, and I think he snuck into my top-10 outfielders. He didn't come close on the staff ranks. I don't see why he can't continue to improve, but you know what, it's a good thing that we all have different opinions. Plus, if I want Granderson in round 3 of a draft, and nobody else does, then maybe I wait another round or two. I think he's going 20/20 at least.
Hank (MLW, WI)
Hi Eric, I have this problem all the time. . . who piggy-backs all your moves in your ESPN leagues? Do you have mixed feelings giving your picks away?
Eric Karabell (3:40 PM)
Doesn't matter to me. Obviously there are some people in my leagues who know what I do, my strategy, who I like and more, and I welcome it. Everything I write and say on TV/radio is what I believe. If I don't win the league because of it, so be it, but I doubt that's the reason. Look, if I'm in a 12-team league with ESPN folks, and I'm the only one who likes Granderson, they're not going to keep him away from me. And if they do, I'll find someone else.
What kind of season do you see from Papi? Has the wrist sheath had enough time to heal that 40+ hrs is reasonable?
Eric Karabell (3:41 PM)
I don't think Ortiz is capable of a 40-homer season again, but I wouldn't laugh at those who took him in the third round. I don't think he becomes Travis Hafner, but see what Chipper did in 2008 - with the missed games and all - without the batting average that high.
Fritz (Columbus, WI)
Which 2 would you keep from Carmona, Slowey, Devine, & Brandon Morrow? Thanks Eric
Eric Karabell (3:43 PM)
I like Slowey, and the other one would probably be Morrow, though I have some doubts he can hold his command. Devine is a reliever; even if he saves 30, it's tough to keep a reliever over a potentially very good starter. As for Carmona, people should take a chance on him at some point, but don't expect his 2007 again.
Where do you see Dunn ending up and what do you project for him in 2009?
Eric Karabell (3:45 PM)
How about the Braves? I don't think the Dodgers will let Manny go. It might take another week, but they will sign him. The Nationals? I don't think they should. Play the kids. The White Sox and Abreu? Ridiculous. Couldn't happen. Nowhere to use him. Why not the Braves?
don(fort st. john bc canada)
do you think that shin-soo choo and nelson cruz will be regulars and what kind of projection do you see from them?
Eric Karabell (3:46 PM)
I think both are a bit overrated and I doubt either gets more than 500 at-bats. They can hit, but Choo isn't a big power guy, and Cruz hasn't hit proven he can hit right-handed pitching.
Beltran (new York)
Is Lidge in the 17th a better keeper than me in the 4th?
Eric Karabell (3:48 PM)
Carlos Beltran in the fourth is a steal. Lidge in the 17th is very nice as well, but he's still a closer, not a potential 5-category hitter still in his relative prime. Hitter.
Eric, there was an article in the Mag about new fantasy stats like VORP. How much do you rely on those stats and how much were they considered in your ranking meetings?
Eric Karabell (3:50 PM)
I've been looking at VORP this entire decade. It's not that new. I thought it was a good article, though. The way I approach baseball, and really football and hoops as well, is you have to understand the game. You have to watch it. Some stats are really misleading. Some opportunities are as well. VORP is certainly more useful in simulation baseball than fantasy, but we can glean certain things from it. Like anything else, two people can look at one player, his power, his speed, his VORP, two totally different ways.
Petey (Chicago, IL)
Why can't a healthy Konerko hit .285 with 30 HR and 100+ RBI? If he does he will certainly produce more than he will cost his owners? He is not that old.
Eric Karabell (3:50 PM)
He absolutely can. I think I took him late in one of the drafts I've already done. People always forget about players past 30 coming off injury.
Kendrie (Long Beach)
Keeping KEMP before MAN-RAM! Are you kidding Eric? Please take personalities out of the equation before entering these chats!
Eric Karabell (3:52 PM)
Ha! I'm holding two fantasy magazines right now, and checking out rankings on a few sites, including ours. Kemp wins in all. He's young, he runs - the steals matter a great deal - and there's no indication Manny will hit .396 again. Personalities don't matter in fantasy, trust me.
bball trade question for you: i trade deron williams, and get back devin harris and aldridge. fair trade or should i reject it?
Eric Karabell (3:53 PM)
As always, any 2-for-1 depends on that other player, the free agent you can add, or who you have to drop. I'd personally covet the best player in the deal, who clearly is Deron to me.
Lidge in the 17th or Paplebon in the 7th?
Eric Karabell (3:55 PM)
It's all about the saves. Even if Pap has a better everything than Lidge, which he won't - not K's - there's absolutely no telling who gets more saves. Lidge is easily the better keep there. A closer in the seventh? In my first 10 picks in a normal league, I might have 2 starting pitchers and 1 closer, might.
Bart (Chesterton, IN)
Who to take a chance on? Francoeur,Pronk,Byrnes,
Eric Karabell (3:56 PM)
Now that's a great question. I should write a blog about it. I'd say Francouer first, then Byrnes, though he doesn't exactly have a guaranteed spot for at-bats. Frenchy does, and could easily go back to 25-100. I have little faith in Hafner, who for a three-year span was an OPS monster. But we all know first basemen like him do not age well. If you take Ryan Howard in a keeper league, be careful.
rf (g'town, md)
Who do you see starting in the Minn OF. What do you see for Delmon Young in 09?
Eric Karabell (3:58 PM)
Delmon will start, play everyday, and probably hit for a bit more power than last season. He might not hit 20 homers, but at some point, a prospect this good will "get it." There's no way Delmon sits for guys like Span and Cuddyer. I laugh at that. Look up Span's minor league stats... you don't want him in 2009 for where you'd have to draft him.
Ive been saying all along that the Braves should offer Manny a 3 yr with a player 20 mill 4th year option worth 60 million guaranteed-incentive base it up to richest outfielder ever numbers..what u think? Ted Turner has the money, and they havent signed a FA in a longg time--
Eric Karabell (3:58 PM)
I'd pick the Braves for not only the NL East, but the NL, if they did that. Could happen. They're always in the shadows...
At the buzzer...
Vmart to return to being an all star?
Eric Karabell (3:59 PM)
I think he's the everyday first baseman, and goes 15-80-.290, which is top-5 catcher material...
Eric Karabell (4:00 PM)
OK ladies and gents, wow does time fly when you're having a blast talking baseball! Pitchers and catchers next week. Are you ready! I am... thanks for the chat session, I'll see you next week.