Fantasy Sports w/Eric Karabell
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Eric Karabell (3:01 PM)
Hello all and welcome to a beautiful February day. Pitchers and catchers report later this week. Big signing today - Sal Fasano is a Rockie! And more! OK, let's get going, talking mostly baseball today, but will check out football and hoops as well... thanks for joining us...
Nick (Indianapolis, IN)
I haven't heard anything about Elijah Dukes so far in any of the stuff I've read. I know it's early, but come on, this guy was money for me down the stretch (when he wasn't constantly hurting himself). I'm seriously thinking of making him a keeper due to his speed/power combo potential. Tell me I'm not crazy?
Eric Karabell (3:03 PM)
Crazy might be the ironic word there! Anyway, I don't think people question Dukes' talent, and he could be a 20/20 guy soon, but he's got to play more than 140 games one of these years. I don't know who your other keepers are, and I admit Dukes has a future if he can discipline himself, but he's got ability.
Rocky (Fargo, ND)
Eric, love the chats. Do you think Hamilton's second half numbers make him prime for a "sophomore slump" of sorts? Where do you draft him?
Eric Karabell (3:04 PM)
No, I think he's totally legit. He knocked in like 80 runs in the first half, which was an unreasonable pace to expect him to keep up. He really didn't have a second half slump if you check the stats. Wasn't his fault Ian Kinsler got hurt and the RBI chances dried up. Anyway, I like Hamilton in round 2.
Bernard (Princeton, NJ)
How does Abreu fit into the Angels lineup?
Eric Karabell (3:05 PM)
Ah, there's the real news of the day, Abreu joining up with Vlad Guerrero in Anaheim. Abreu has become underrated. Sure, he's not young, won't hit 30 homers again, doesn't field well, but a 20/20 season is possible. The Angels could hit him third, right in front of Vlad, and Abreu could have a very similar season to 2008. He was a top-30 player in 2008 on our Rater, and I think round 4 would be a steal.
Jake, Santa Cruz, Ca
Eric, in your latest relief efforts article, you have Papelbon as the first closer off the board, even when K-Rod and Brad Lidge had much better years. Please explain.
Eric Karabell (3:07 PM)
I wouldn't agree they had much better years. There is more to stats than just save totals and a lack of blown saves. Papelbon is pretty good. The main reason I made Pap No. 1 is because my rankings don't have to mirror 2008. The numbers are going to change. K-Rod and Lidge should be good, but I think Papelbon and Nathan will be better. We're looking ahead.
Mike (cromwell, ct)
Adam Dunn to the Nationals. What do you think?
Eric Karabell (3:09 PM)
Yeah, I just heard that news. Now all the pieces are falling into place. Wiht Abreu to the Angels, and Dunn to the Nats, the Dodgers have to get Manny, I think. Anyway, Dunn hits 40 homers every year. I think it might be tough to do it in 2009, but I don't see why he wouldn't have a similar year. And his presence can't hurt Ryan Zimmerman, among others. Good for Dunn. These guys should find jobs. And I actually saw some recent projections that had the Nats not in last place. Could happen.
Abreu's signing must mean less playing time for other Angels. Whose value decreases?
Eric Karabell (3:11 PM)
Not really. Did anyone really think Juan Rivera was going to get 500 at-bats? I didn't. Gary Matthews doesn't deserve it either. I would assume Abreu plays right field more than Vlad, but they could switch off at DH too, and maybe Abreu plays some left field. They really needed his bat. I don't think his signing costs any fantasy relevant players.
In various rankings, Pablo Sandoval is outranking Posada and Napoli at catcher. Is he really THAT good? What's the risk in taking him as your #1 C?
Eric Karabell (3:13 PM)
Well, the kid can hit. Make sure he's eligible at catcher in your league. In ESPN leagues I don't think he is. His future isn't at catcher, but probably first base. I could see 15 homers, good amount of RBIs since he's slated to hit third, and he should hit for average. The deal with Posada is he's a major injury risk, and Napoli, for all that power, might hit .240. Yeah, Sandoval could be that good.
I keep reading that the Cardinals have a crowded outfield. If Schumaker heads to second, what would be the outfield? Ludwick, Ankiel, and Rasmus? Thanks.
Eric Karabell (3:15 PM)
In a perfect world, yes, that would be the outfield. But to expect Schumaker to learn second base that quick, who knows. I am a big Colby Rasmus fan, but I don't think he starts the year in the bigs. The Cards have other outfield options, too, like Chris Duncan and Schumaker, and Skip was pretty good. He LED the NL in batting average against right-handed pitching, so he deserves a platoon shot. We'll see. And by the way, I do believe Ludwick can do it again.
luke (cary, nc)
Who would you rather keep this year Lackey or Kazmir?
Eric Karabell (3:17 PM)
Definitely Lackey. I don't need to see any statistical proof, either. I rarely trust Kazmir, though he is a major strikeout option. I think Lackey is close to top 10 among starters again.
Justin ( Queens, NY)
Does Harang bounce back this year? Would you take him over Dempster?
Eric Karabell (3:18 PM)
Yes, I absolutely would take Harang. I don't necessarily buy that Dempster will stink this year, so I'm likely to get him, almost by attrition, in a few leagues, because everyone is avoiding him. I think he can be OK. I think Harang can be better though.
Has Kinsler been crowned the king of second base now that Utley is a question mark? Would you take Kinsler over Utley or Pedroia?
Eric Karabell (3:19 PM)
Honestly, in MY rankings, I have Utley first, then Pedroia, and Kinsler third. I could see a way all three end up round two, though. I do not think Utley will miss very much time.
Bart (Chesterton, IN)
Do you buy into contract years? Lackey = Contract Year ???
Eric Karabell (3:20 PM)
No. For every guy who does step up with an out of the ordinary year, there is an example of someone who pulls an Andruw Jones. I think the evidence supports this. And someone like Lackey, it wouldn't apply. I could see a hitter trying for more homers or steals in a walk year, but a pitcher? Tough to change what they're doing.
Sam (Lake Bluff, IL)
Which player likely to be drafted in the first round is on your AVOID list?
Eric Karabell (3:22 PM)
Well, I'd draft most any player in the right spot, but I won't be using a first-rounder on Teixeira, Pedroia, Holliday, Manny or any pitcher not named Johan. I think I'd take Johan in the first round if I had to. So it's not really an avoid list, but I want proper value for what I believe.
Bart (Chesterton, IN)
Thanks EK, I'm with you, but seems that contract stuff is always thrown at you every year.
Eric Karabell (3:23 PM)
I agree. And I know some of my colleagues believe it, so I don't disparage them. It's good that our staff has a mix of strong writers with differing opinions.
Irv - Dallas
Who are your 4th and 5th ranked 2B? Is Ramirez in the top 5 and can he repeat his 2008 stats?
Eric Karabell (3:24 PM)
Alexei Ramirez is not in my top 5. And again, I know others on our staff disagree and think this guy is a future monster. He could be. I don't think he is, though. I have Brian Roberts and Brandon Phillips next, and depending on my first 5 rounds, might take Dan Uggla over Alexei as well. I find it hard to hitch my wagon to unproven, undisciplined hitters. If he becomes Alfonso Soriano, then I guess I won't enjoy it on my teams.
Hey EK, I would appreciate it if you ranked these pitchers as per your choices. I play in a pts league and hopefully will have to choose 2 between: Burnett, Haren, Beckett, Oswalt, ESantana, Halladay, CC. Thanks.
Eric Karabell (3:26 PM)
Not knowing the exact rule set, I'd say my normal pitching ranks apply. I have Halladay over Sabathia by a spot. I'd keep them. Haren is third, then Oswalt, Beckett and Santana. I won't be getting Burnett this season, obviously!
Based on early rankings, I think I can steal Zambrano, Harang, and Wang come draft day. Any other slipping names I should target?
Eric Karabell (3:27 PM)
I totally agree. Wait until you see our rankings on those three guys. Very underrated. Some other starting pitchers I'd say are underrated are Lackey, Dempster, Nolasco, Gallardo, Lilly, Ubaldo, and pretty much all Twins.
Give me a break with Mo Williams. Iguodala deserves to be on the real-life & fantasy all star team!
Eric Karabell (3:29 PM)
Ha! I wrote an article about the fantasy all-star teams, and obviously fans of Mo Williams aren't pleased. Finally, enough Eastern Conference players got injured and Mo made it! He's not having a bad year. Not at all. In fact, I can argue Iguodala has absolutely been better. I wouldn't have put either on the team for fantasy, where it's statistics-based. People who conversed that I don't like Mo Williams, don't appreciate how he helped LeBron are missing the point. In fantasy, we deal with numbers.
Justin (Queens, NY)
I am worried about Atkins value sans Holliday. Do you think his numbers suffer?
Eric Karabell (3:31 PM)
No, I am not worried about Atkins value, because he still calls Coors Field home. He's gonna hit. I would worry more about Holliday than Atkins. I don't think Atkins is great to start with, and we've seen his best, so be careful. If he gets dealt, he's Casey Blake.
Can you predict anything for Carmona or Carpenter this year?
Eric Karabell (3:32 PM)
I think both are reasonable sleeper choices. Carmona should make 30 starts, I like the Indians to win 90, so I could see a decent amount of wins. I'd just like to see him get his command back first before recommending him. As for Carpenter, it's very tough to project he makes more than 10 starts. I hope he does, but we have to be realistic. Late, late pick.
Will (The OC)
I figure you're not answering my question about Sizemore vs. Wright because I can't go wrong either way. Right?
Eric Karabell (3:34 PM)
Well, the truth is there are SO many questions here, I'm not avoiding anyone. I just look for the first good one, really. I have Wright ranked better, mainly due to his position. He's fourth for me, I think Sizemore is 7th. Can't go wrong either way. And really, I might rethink my stance because if you need 5 outfielders, you'll find the choices at the end are not promising. Third base is really no less deep.
Can Torii Hunter be better with Abreu in town?? Or at least improve on last years numbers?
Eric Karabell (3:37 PM)
I generally don't alter my impressions for players when they get a new teammate, unless it's someone who really makes pitchers change their gameplan. Bonds, Manny, Ryan Howard does, players like that. Abreu won't be pitched around, because he has moderate power. Hunter is what he is. I think his last year in Minnesota will be tough for him to get back. Great guy, though. Worked with him on a commercial last year, and would like to see him have postseason success.
You said earlier that Utley is a 2nd rounder? So would you keep Miggy or Braun over him or would the positional scarcity still factor in?
Eric Karabell (3:38 PM)
Could go either way on this. I have Utley like 10-12, but Braun and Cabrera are ranked better. Those guys could hit 40 homers. I don't see Utley ever doing that.
Butch (Rockwood, PA)
So who loses playing time in Washington with Dunn on board?
Eric Karabell (3:39 PM)
Nobody but Nick Johnson at first base, and I doubt the team was counting on him anyway. Willingham, Milledge and Dukes are the outfielders. This is really not the worst offense in the league.
Ivar (Farmington, MI)
Eric, any news on when the draft kit will be released? I've got early drafts in March and need to do my studying. Thanks.
Eric Karabell (3:40 PM)
Today, I believe. Have fun with it!
Is Andruw Jones in Texas worth a late round flier? How do you see that OF situation shaping out, as I am also interested on your thoughts on Cruz and Murphy.
Eric Karabell (3:41 PM)
I think Jones lost a great deal of weight, which should help, but will he regain bat speed? I doubt it. It's very tough to get that back. But as a late flier, when outfielders are always out there on free agency, why not? I think Cruz is going to be overrated. Let's see him hit right-handers for a full season first. And Murphy has limited upside, really, and might not get 500 at-bats.
Chris (Los Angeles)
Who opens the year as the Dodgers 5th starting pitcher?
Eric Karabell (3:42 PM)
Schmidt, Estes and Jeff Weaver. Wow, I can't wait to see how that one turns out! So exciting!
Chris (Columbus oh) [via mobile]
Compare and contrast Matt Kemp with or without Manny
Eric Karabell (3:43 PM)
I'd expect more power from Kemp if he hits third and Manny goes fourth. I actually expect that will happen. Kemp is going so early in drafts, I'm not sure what people really expect. The power is kind of there.
A-Roid has never been known for being that headstrong and considering the amount of flack he's going to be receiving by reporters and opposing teams fans i wonder if he should be dropped a few spots?
Eric Karabell (3:45 PM)
I've read that a bunch this week, and I'm just not buying it. Sorry. He's going to get his numbers, in fact, he might be more motivated than ever to run. He's third in my ranks now after Hanley and Pujols.
Now that Cashman says Joba will be the #5 starter and if we believe that, what are your expectations and where should I look to draft him?
Eric Karabell (3:45 PM)
I'n not the one on staff to ask about Joba. I don't see him staying healthy, and think rotation depth and lack of it in the bullpen will eventually force the Yankees to move him back there.
Jack (Richmond Hill)
Just noticed Soria ranked AHEAD of K-Rod on the draft kit???...just on save opps alone he should be at least top 3...where is he in your personal RP rankings?
Eric Karabell (3:46 PM)
Ah, my personal ranks... I can make the case Soria is better in fantasy, because he'll have better peripherals. Also, the rumor is JJ Putz will get double digit save chances. I think I have Soria 4 and K-Rod 5.
What basis do you have for your Joba health comment? Also, the Yankee bullpen last season was very good without Joba.
Eric Karabell (3:47 PM)
What basis? The last two seasons. I think it's obvious. I'm not saying Joba is a bust, but more than 25 starts, I don't see it.
How come everyone has Johan ranked over Lincecum? Timmy gets more Ks, lower ERA and should have similar records. I know Johan is more proven, but Lincecum has been doing this since hes come up.
Eric Karabell (3:49 PM)
Lincecum had more K's one year. To say Timmy gets more K's is a bit premature. It happened once. Also, I expect Johan to have a better ERA, WHIP and more wins, and I trust him more. All that written, I have Lincecum second. I don't dislike him.
You're right, you're not the one to ask about Joba. I can see 25 starts as his ceiling but based on an innings limit, not health.
Eric Karabell (3:52 PM)
Well, aren't those two things related? I see that as a natural postscript to a sore shoulder in May. Hey, I'm not trying to be negative. We all have opinions on players we think will get hurt. Chipper Jones isn't playing 140 games. He never does anymore. There's nothing wrong with Papelbon, but when he was a starter, there were concerns about health. If Rivera wasn't around, Joba would be a top-10 closer probably. I'm not calling him a bust, unless you make him a top-10 starting pitcher. There are, shall we say, complications, and not with his ability. But health is a skill too.
Is it just me or do you notice the level of tension in these chats has gone up as we get closer to draft day?
Eric Karabell (3:53 PM)
Not at all. Not with me at least. I just chose to liven things up a bit... there are always people who don't agree. Good. They should believe what they want, it's their teams!
Would you rank Carlos Lee among the top outfielders this season? And what do you think his numbers could've been had he not suffered that injury?
Eric Karabell (3:54 PM)
Yeah, check out our draft kit and where we ranked him. Wow! It wasn't the type of injury that should haunt him, so consider him a possible top-20 player.
You really like Abreu in rd. 4? Shouldnt we be worried that yankee stadium played to his strengths, oh, and his age. Abreu is the perfect pick if you wanna to finish 3rd imo. I want a guy with upside there. Love bbtoday btw podcast.
Eric Karabell (3:56 PM)
Nothing wrong with a 20/20 outfielder, and I think Abreu can get to that again. He hits for a decent average too. Yankee Stadium helped Jason Giambi. For Abreu, eh, I don't think it mattered much. And you're right, there's little upside, but it's about value. Abreu tends to be forgotten. Just make sure not all your picks are 35 years old!
Bart (Chesterton, IN)
These chats are great. No better way to brainstorm than to do it with die hards. 90 wins for the Indians, over under on V-Mart ABs 500???
Eric Karabell (3:56 PM)
I think Martinez is the primary first baseman, and yes, he gets 500 at-bats. He keeps his catcher eligibility for 2010, and goes around 15-90-.290. Nice numbers for a catcher, in the top 5.
will (brooklyn new york)
who is going to play SS for the astros now that tejada is going to jail?
Eric Karabell (3:57 PM)
I don't see that happening, not anytime soon. Tejada isn't getting better statistically, so make sure you don't draft him too early.
Norman, San Jose
Dynasty League, who would you take? James McDonald, Carlos Carrasco, Bowden, or Niese?
Eric Karabell (3:58 PM)
Probably Carrasco first. Best upside. McDonald might not start again this season. Niese probably won't as well. Carrasco then Bowden.
Last question! Your thoughts on Adam Jones this year???
Eric Karabell (3:58 PM)
Needs to make more strides in plate discipline, and I think he will, small ones. I could see a 15/15 season, which would make him draftable.
Eric Karabell (3:59 PM)
OK, I want to thank everyone for the spirited questions, and hope you enjoyed it. We all do this for you guys and gals, the loyal readers, listeners, you name it. Thanks and have a great day, and hey ... pitchers and catchers this week! Great time of the year!