Fantasy Baseball w/Brendan Roberts
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Brendan Roberts (3:00 PM)
Hello, everyone! Let's jump right to the questions.
Brendan, Does the A-Rod talk hurt all of us that have on our teams? What kind of stats will he have this year?
Brendan Roberts (3:01 PM)
Yup, let's get A-Rod out of the way right away. I don't think it has any effect whatsoever. He won't get in trouble for it, not that I know of anyway, and that's all that matters. If anything, now that he claims to be clean, he'll be quite motivated to repeat his 2007 success. But no, no changes.
Joel (Atlanta, GA)
Could Joel Hanrahan be this year's Brian Wilson?
Brendan Roberts (3:02 PM)
Shoot, a number of players could be this year's Wilson. But yeah, Hanrahan has as good a shot as any of being a decent starter on a bad team that wins only close games. Definitely a sleeper, although his market value isn't too high.
Saw Denard Span projected #397 OVR. Do you predict he's not going to get enough playing time to warrant a later round flier?
Brendan Roberts (3:04 PM)
No, we projected him to just not hit that well. That said, I disagreed with my ESPN mates about this. I like his upside, and really in all categories. I DO think he's worth a late-round flier, even though our rankings don't.
John North Attleboro Ma
Brendan, I am not sure if you got the question I submitted earlier but who would you keep. I lose the draft pick the player was last drafted. I need to pick one between Mclouth (25thrd) or Votto (21strd) ?
Brendan Roberts (3:05 PM)
I don't normally answer many of the help-my-team-only questions, but I'll get them now and then. I like McLouth.
Eric (San Diego)
I've found 3B to be a lot shallower this year. If you can't get a top tier 3B do you suggest hoping for a bounceback season from Atkins or Gordon or a break-out season from Stewart or Fields?
Brendan Roberts (3:07 PM)
You're right, Eric. The top tier is weaker with the losses of M-Cab and Braun. But that middle tier of both breakout options (such as Gordon) and ol' reliables such as Adrian Beltre is pretty thick, so I wouldn't reach for any of the top guys. I see Atkins doing about the same as last year (not overwhelming), and don't see a breakout season for Gordon. I think Stewart is a great late sleeper (I really like him), and don't think much of Fields.
Why does ESPN only focus on Rotissery Fantasy Baseball? I have found that Fantasy Point system is much more enjoyable and realistic.
Brendan Roberts (3:08 PM)
Good question, Tim. Yes, it's fun, but it's also pretty complex and tough to set up and explain. If you can do it, go for it, but simple is still very popular.
How much do you bump up the value of Michael Young since he'll have dual eligibility?
Brendan Roberts (3:09 PM)
Oh, not much because you'll still likely be starting him at SS. In fact, maybe none at all. If it were SS and OF, maybe, but doubt you'd have two shortstops (or one SS and a MI) better than a third baseman and CI.
Do you expect my season to be more like my first half or second half of last season?
Brendan Roberts (3:11 PM)
Ichiro had interesting splits. In the first half, his average was down, but his steals rate was incredible. In the second half, his average was up and steals down. Part of that was the change in managers, which is why I think the second half is more realistic. The team realized they needed his bat more than his legs, and I expect that to be the focus again this season.
Brandon Roberts (Texas, so you know I'm juicing)
What is your take on Pedro Alvarez? I know he came to camp fat...do you have any updates?
Brendan Roberts (3:13 PM)
He has lost some of that weight, but it really wasn't very much. It wasn't so much fat as it was he just wasn't in great shape. But he has re-asserted himself. I think it was just more a case of the Pirates actually taking a top guy and then expecting him to be a Greek God. When he wasn't, they complained. But I think he's still the real deal, and will move through the system quickly, resulting in a September call-up.
Mark (Kearny, NJ)
Why is everyone down on Soriano? If you prorate his 2008 stats over a full season, he's a 40/20 guy. And with him moving down in the lienup, he may approach 100 RBIs.
Brendan Roberts (3:14 PM)
This is a very good point, Mark, and it's worth noting that he missed all that time because he broke a hand on a HBP. So yeah, high expectations, although the hamstring injuries and super-slow start still have some concerned.
What's the word on Bedard? Is he dead to us? Thx.
Brendan Roberts (3:15 PM)
He's supposed to be ready for the season, and he did have surgery, so no worries about him being one of those guys pitching with a partial tear. I think he makes for a nice mid-round sleeper. Shoulder surgeries can sap some juice from pitchers even more than elbow work, but I think he'll still have the stuff to be successful.
Derek Lee or Joey Votto? Does Votto improve or regress this year?
Brendan Roberts (3:16 PM)
Votto is my true breakout pick, the one guy in the middle rounds who I think will provide early-round value. Like .300-35-100 value. Lee still should be ranked higher, but I'd bypass him and wait a round or two for Votto.
Do you have any pitchers in your top 10 picks? And if so who?
Brendan Roberts (3:17 PM)
I have Johan right about No. 10 overall. So reliable, should be on a good team, and reportedly worked very hard in the offeason.
Follow up on Pedro "The Greek God" Alvarez....I know he is the real deal with the bat but will he be able to stick at 3B? WOULD REALLY HELP ME IF HE DOES!!
Brendan Roberts (3:18 PM)
All accounts are that he will. He's not a bad fielder.
Will McLouth improve from last year? It seems like he had about 10 doubles that were hit off the top of the wall.
Brendan Roberts (3:19 PM)
Hmm, good question. Looking through his minor league numbers, and even watching his swing a little the other day, I just don't see how he hits a lot of homers. Then again, I'd say the same thing about Ryne Sandberg. But I think McLouth will be lucky to reach last year's 25, or however many he had.
Ray, Burlington, NJ
Brendan-thanks for the chat. So you have Johan in the top 10-does that mean you would take him at 10 if available?
Brendan Roberts (3:19 PM)
Yes I would. There's a slight drop in offensive talent there for him to slip in.
Mark (Kearny, NJ)
Why is Santana consistently the #1 ranked pitcher over Lincecum? This is nuts. They are the same pitcher, except Lincecum will approach 300 Ks. Santana's decline has begun, as evident by his increase in HRs allowed and slower fastball. And the teams they play for has nothing to do with it. Lincecum will get plenty of wins. Hell, he had 18 last year.
Brendan Roberts (3:21 PM)
The team does have something to do with it. You think Lincecum will consistently win as many games with the Giants as Johan with the Mets. The Mets beefed up their bullpen in part to take care of Johan's leads. And Santana has done what Lincecum did last year for multiple seasons. No doubt I'm going with him.
James (Owensboro, KY)
What kind of numbers do you think Cameron Maybin will put up this year?
Brendan Roberts (3:23 PM)
Despite his trial September, I don't think he has the plate discipline to hit above .265, and I think he'll hit more like .255. But I do think he approaches 30 steals, and hits double-figure homers. Looking for a comparison, maybe a poor man's Chris B. Young. He's an intriguing prospect, but when you put it the way I just did, that doesn't sound like a top option.
Jon (Cedar Falls, IA)
Do you like the steady Matt Cain or the up and coming Yovanni Gallardo more this season?
Brendan Roberts (3:25 PM)
I'm dismayed that Cain's numbers (rates) actually went down last year even though Lincecum was established. I think we know kind of what to expect from Cain now. A little better numbers than last season, with a few more wins, is all we can expect. Yovanni is highly regarded in fantasy, and it's legit. But I don't think he'll be nearly as good in his first full season as many expect him to be. You'll have to get him high or for a lot of money, and no, I don't think he'll be worth it.
Is Brandon Wood ever going translate into a stud?
Brendan Roberts (3:27 PM)
If he didn't strike out about third or fourth at-bat, maybe. As it is, I think he'll be one of those guys who would have to be in the right situation to play everyday, and could hit 30 homers with a lot of Ks if he does it. Like Mark Reynolds. That said, I don't see LA as the right situation for that, and I don't think that happens this season.
I know if Utley is healthy he's the top 2B in the game...but with his injury concerns how close are DP and Kinsler? Esp. in a long term keeper??
Brendan Roberts (3:29 PM)
Another good question. Utley is 30, and no longer a spring chicken. And I do worry about this hip, at the very least, cutting down his running. And without that, I think Pedroia and Kinsler are right there with him. I'd probably put him first overall if he's fully healthy, which I don't believe he will be, but Pedroia and Kinsler are very close behind him.
Do you have faith Kerry Wood will last the whole season as the tribe's closer?
Brendan Roberts (3:31 PM)
I do have faith. For some reason, I believe in Wood. That's scary to me, but I think the Tribe will give him a lot of close late leads, and he's in a better ballpark this year. You can't use the switch to the AL thing as a detriment to him because he never faced pitchers in the NL anyway. I haven't heard of injuries with him, and it sounds like Cleveland will take good care of him ... I'm a believer.
Bart (Chesterton, IN)
What do you see for Konerko in 2009?
Brendan Roberts (3:33 PM)
Oh, the great Paulie. His numbers have been on a steady decline the past two seasons, and unfortunately, I don't see a return to stardom. He just was so bad on the road last year. I'm afraid, at 33, this might be the real Konerko.
Give us a prospect (not named Wieters) that has yet to play in the Majors that will be the next "breakout" player.
Brendan Roberts (3:34 PM)
I like Dexter Fowler a lot. Still raw, but great true fantasy potential. And he's a Rockie.
Where do you stand on BJ Upton? That power he flashed in the playoffs was impressive. Do you think he's an anual 20 HR guy?
Brendan Roberts (3:36 PM)
The way I always say it is if you were to see B.J. Upton in person, you don't see a 20-homer hitter. He's bony thin, with a lanky body that looks like it won't fill out much. I see a basestealer, not a 20-homer guy. And the Rays want that from him; better at-bats with no overswinging. I see 2008 Upton, not 2007.
Jose ( Valencia,Venezuela )
Hello Brendan, can you talk to me about Matt Wieters and Tommy Hanson from the fantasy perspective ?
Brendan Roberts (3:37 PM)
Hi, Jose. I like them both. Sorry to sound like a broken record here, but Wieters is the real deal. He'll hit immediately. Can't say much more about him. I also really like Hanson, but not sure the Braves are ready to have him start yet. I see another year of development with an eye toward a second-half call-up or even 2010.
What do you see from the Cuban Missile this year? Take out his slow start to get used to MLB pitching and he was a clear 20-20 guy, is a wish for even 30-30 pushing it?
Brendan Roberts (3:39 PM)
ALexei's (Ramirez) average will go down because I think fewer pitchers will challenge him this year. But yeah, 20-20 sounds about right. I don't think he has 30-steal speed, honestly. Just seems like a long-strider who doesn't get going as quickly as most basestealers, but 25-30 homers is definitely doable.
Jon (Cedar Falls, IA)
Ubaldo Jimenez had a great groundball % and kept the ball in the park last year, do you think he can breakout this year?
Brendan Roberts (3:40 PM)
Well, he was supposed to break out last year, but he was all over the place in the first half. The trouble: Walks, 103 of them, to be exact. And that doesn't correct itself overnight. He might be able to keep his ERA respectable, but I don't see a better WHIP than maybe 1.30. He's still going to walk a bunch of guys, and that scares me as an owner.
Rebecca - St. Louis
big papi projections for this season?
Brendan Roberts (3:43 PM)
The years of him hitting .300, I think, are gone because he lost his mojo against lefties. And I don't think he has as much raw power as he used to be because of knee troubles, and Fenway Park isn't a great place for lefty homers. So I think he settles into maybe a .280-28-100 guy. That's pretty good, but probably not enough for a DH to be taken in the high rounds.
Will Tulowitzki rebound from the soph slump and will Longoria experience the soph slump? and when are they coming out with the draft kit? thanks a bunch
Brendan Roberts (3:45 PM)
Draft kit due out any day now. Just putting all the pieces together. ... I don't like Tulo so much for a rebound. Not because I don't think he'll stay healthy, but because I don't think he's a legit .290-.300 hitter. Maybe 25 homers, but those are easier to find than higher-average guys. Longoria, though, no way on your question. I think he picks up right where he left off last season -- and rakes.
What do you think Jason Bay's fantasy value is this year? He is a talented young player, do his numbers go up this year as he plays a full year for Boston?
Brendan Roberts (3:46 PM)
I don't know that he's young anymore (he's 30), but probably still in his prime. And now that his knee troubles are truly behind him, I think he has another great season, probably even a little better than where he finished last season. Unfortunately, he seems to be a big target for a lot of owners.
Harry (Cabo Wabo)
My league caters to closers more than most and everyone drafts them way to early....do you have any closer sleepers I could get late?
Brendan Roberts (3:49 PM)
Hmm, I'd probably look for guys either on bad teams or ones who don't have jobs established yet but would do well if they did. You can always switch out those guys (you drafted 'em late anyway), and you'd be watching the guy who eventually usurped your guy the closest, most likely. Here are a few: Hanrahan, Qualls, Lindstrom, Huston Street, Chris Perez.
Ryan (Dana Point, Ca):
Do you think Dontrelle Willis can get his act together or is he done for good?
Brendan Roberts (3:49 PM)
I think he's more or less done for good. Then again, I never understood how he was that good, or regarded as such, in the first place.
Jon (Cedar Falls, IA)
Conor Jackson will hit .290-.300 this year, and I belive he hit 4 or 5 HR's one month last year and then went in a drought. Can he hit 20-23 HR's this year?
Brendan Roberts (3:51 PM)
No, I don't think so. He just doesn't have that type of swing. Maybe 15-18 homers, but no more. Often when a player develops, you look at his doubles to see if there are more homers in store. Jackson's have remained pretty consistent. Plus, it's interesting to note Chase Field's homer tendencies have dropped the past two seasons, for whatever reason.
So if you see Alexei hitting 25-30 homers, why are people down on him?
Brendan Roberts (3:52 PM)
People aren't down on him that I know of. I forgot to mention something earlier that makes him even more intriguing: He'll be adding SS to 2B eligibility this season.
Do you think Franklin Morales can regain the momentum that he once enjoyed as a rookie, or is he a bust?
Brendan Roberts (3:54 PM)
Hmm, he falls into that Ubaldo mold -- great arm, but can't throw strikes. I think he can regain it, but only to some degree. As in, he might limit runs, but he'll put a lot of guys on base. And since he no longer appears dominant in the K's area, I guess I'd have to lean toward bust. He's still so young (23), but I have doubts.
BJ (Columbia, SC)
Should I be concerned when I look at a lot of mock drafts and catchers are going very very late in the rounds? Should I follow the same example and try to stock up on other positions first?
Brendan Roberts (3:56 PM)
I'm guessing many of those are leagues that start only one catcher, but yes, I think it's wiser to wait and stock your positions with proven studs. If there was a Piazza-in-his-prime there, maybe you stray, or if Martin, Mauer, etc. fall. But I think the theme at this position this year is players with mid-round value but higher-round upside, like V-Mart and Napoli. You could see starting those guys there, but don't need to spend an early pick to get 'em.
Thoughts on Holliday in Oakland and Teix in New York? Which one would you rather keep? Holliday scares me. Also, which is the best keeper pitcher...Hamels, Peavy, Webb?
Brendan Roberts (3:58 PM)
I'd have to say Teix. He's younger, is less of a wild card in NY than Holliday in Oakland, and for the record, I think he'll have a career year for the Yanks. Better keeper pitcher? Boy, very close. Just off the top of my head, I'd have to say Hamels.
What is Matt Kemp's ceiling?? I just traded Mauer and CDavis for him and I'm having buyers remorse with all the hype around Davis.
Brendan Roberts (3:59 PM)
Hmm, you might have been able to get another guy in return for that, but for what it's worth, I do think he has a legit 30-30 ceiling. He's 235 pounds, or something like that, of raw muscle.
Chris K (Boston, MA)
What can we expect from Juan Rivera now that he is set for regular playing time?
Brendan Roberts (4:01 PM)
I'm not so sure he is set for regular PT. It apepars that way for now, but I think the Angels will bring in someone else or at least platoon left field. I think if the team wanted to give him regular PT, they'd have done it long before now. His OBP just doesn't warrant everyday PT.
Brendan Roberts (4:01 PM)
That flew by, all 525 questions of it. But I have to go. Lot to do. But I'll be back next week for more. Thanks for stopping by.
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