Fantasy Sports w/AJ Mass
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AJ Mass (10:58 AM)
Good morning all and Happy Valentine's Day Eve. We've got a little time to chat about fantasy baseball - especially with the ESPN Draft Kit now open for business. We're happy to discuss any of the articles I've written so far, or anything else MLB. Let's get started, shall we? THIS is A-MER-ican Idol!
Justin (Natick, MA)
You've got Jacoby Ellsbury listed as one of your overrated players for 2009 in "The Curious Case of Russell Martin," yet you give him the distinction of #22 on your Pierre Rankings. Do you really think someone is going to spend a late 2nd round pick on Jacoby? How can he be overrated if you're getting potentially 2nd round value out of a 5th or 6th round pick, as ESPN's top 500 projects him to be (#62)?
AJ Mass (11:01 AM)
Comparing apples to oranges here, Justin, though I appreciate you taking the time to read the articles. The Pierre's are a reflection of last year's fantasy value. The "Russell Martin" article refers to Ellsbury being overrated in regards to other outfielders b/c his steals skew his worth in that regard and cause him to be rated even higher than he should. Neither is a 2009 projection - but rather a reflection of relative value last season.
Eric (Topeka, KS)
I took your advice and drafted Pedroia 7th recently and was laughed at by the entire league - do you think I made a mistake? He is must be better than Braun and Hamilton.
AJ Mass (11:04 AM)
Well, obviously I don't think you made a mistake. And that's the point of playing fantasy - nobody KNOWS what will happen. If you selected Cliff Lee as your first pitcher last year, you'd have been laughed at as well. How did that work out? You can choose to follow the "party line" and not get laughed at, or take an educated risk and face snickers. Neither is guaranteed to work or not.
Wally (Atlanta, GA)
Do the recent events cause you to drop AROD further down from #18? This must make him almost undraftable in a shallow league right?
AJ Mass (11:05 AM)
Not at all. He's not going to face any disciplinary action - it would be lunacy for Selig to even try. And, if we assume he's been off the roids for years, then my forecast remains as it was.
Hey AJ, how do you see Arizona's lineup shaping up with the crowded situation of Conor Jackson, Chad Tracy, Mark Reynolds, and Eric Byrnes? Thanks
AJ Mass (11:08 AM)
I think Jackson needs to hit consistently to avoid time being eaten into from Tracy, and there's the option of the OF for him as well. Reynolds should be close to everyday at 3B and Byrnes? I 'm not sure he makes it back all the way to warrant more than 100 GP.
Hey Massive, is Johan Santana consistently overrated at this point?
AJ Mass (11:09 AM)
Not at all. Santana is a #1 fantasy starter. Now, we may quibble over Johan vs. Lincecum or vs CC or a handful of others, but at that point we are splitting hairs.
Holliday or Markakis
Keeper Question: Who do you keep out of these two?
AJ Mass (11:10 AM)
I would keep Holliday. I am not as a-scared as some are with the move to Oaktown.
JB (Dunmore Pa)
Not knowing how many of the remaining 103 are still actively playing, what is the short term effect of their draft status. Revocable?
AJ Mass (11:12 AM)
I'm not sure what exactly you're asking here. If you mean should there be a caveat in your rules that you get some sort of "compensation" if you end up losing a player to drug-based discipline, I say no to that. Feel free to clarify what you mean.
Scott ( Danbury, CT)
Gun to your head, name your top five can't miss fantasy "stud" Starting Pitchers based not only upon performance but upon injury history.
AJ Mass (11:13 AM)
I don't believe there is such a thing as "can't miss" but endurance and past performance is already a part of my evals, so my Top 5 are: Roy Halladay CC Sabathia Cliff Lee Dan Haren Tim Lincecum
Would taking Travis Hafner in one of the first few rounds be smart?
AJ Mass (11:15 AM)
I'm not going to. I'm not drafting him at all. He's likely going to be DH-only, leaving your roster inflexible and too much of an repeat injury risk with not enough upside if he stays healthy.
JB (Dunmore Pa)
If the 103 names are released...no suspension does it taint their value and positioning in the draft
AJ Mass (11:17 AM)
No, JB. Unless it's a guy whose reaction to the news being released is so over-the-top outrage that I question his mental stability, I'm not interested in the names at all.
Rebecca (St Louis)
Who would you put your Streak on the line with tonight? Nova or WV?
AJ Mass (11:17 AM)
Nova, though as a Cuse fan I'm rooting for WVa since that will make our victory over them look better.
Johan Santana (NYC)
Ummm, I'm not in that top 5?
AJ Mass (11:19 AM)
No, Johan...though you are No. 8. Like I said we're splitting hairs, and part of it is not quite knowing how the new park will play.
Spalding (Nantucket, Ma.)
With Halladay so well regarded, do you keep him over Rios, Ellsbury or Cruz? 8 team 5x5.
AJ Mass (11:21 AM)
I would, however, with one caveat - you probably should know the owners in your keeper league well enough to know how THEY value players. If I'm in aleague where I know I'm the only one who values Player X as much as I do, I might throw him back and keep a player who I think wouldn't last on the FA list if I threw him back.
Is Aaron Hill a top 10 2B?
AJ Mass (11:22 AM)
Not right now he isn't.
What're your thoughts on Brandon Phillips this season? Will he approach 30/20? .280ish?
AJ Mass (11:23 AM)
I don't think Phillips is due for a much better season than last year. Maybe I am in the minority on this one, but I'm not high on him. I mean, he's still Top-3 NL, but I'm not bullish.
a .320 average is nice but no way does 15 hrs/75 rbis/17 steals warrant a 7th overall pick?!? you're crazy
AJ Mass (11:26 AM)
(Referring to Pedroia) I think most fantasy players severely underestimate BA as a category. Especially when we're talking a player who isn't hitting .320 for 450-500 ABs, but for 650 ABs. That extra 150 ABs at that level is far huger an impact than you might think.
Kris (Blue Knob, PA)
Ok A-Rod will play, but we all know how he deals with pressure. Does'nt this hurt his draft stock, since he may play all season like it"s october?
AJ Mass (11:28 AM)
I don't believe A-Rod doesn't try hard all season long. And he plays in NYC... there's pressure all year round. Sorry. I've been low on A-Rod long before the news broke, but I don't think he's any different a player today than before the news. I just won't get as much grief for my stance now.
Will Fausto Carmona ever duplicate his 2007 season?
AJ Mass (11:30 AM)
It's not outside the realm of possibility. His hip seems better and that should take care of the control problems. I think you have to draft him expecting a bounce-back, but perhaps not quite to Cy Young consideration.
If Pedroia's .320 avg makes him the #7 pick, where do you have Ichiro and his likely .330 avg going?
AJ Mass (11:31 AM)
A valid question. By comparison, Ichiro is around #25 because he's not going to help you a lick in HR or RBIs. That's 2 of 5 categories, and FAR less contribution than Pedroia's 15-20 HR, 70-80 RBIs.
Ricky Nolasco (Spring Training)
Am I an ace?
AJ Mass (11:33 AM)
I think you can be. At least I'm banking on it. Now, I'm taking you as my #1, because I think most people I am drafting against aren't nearly as high on you as I am, so I can wait a bit. But in a vacuum? I just might make you my #2.
AJ Mass (11:33 AM)
(That's #2 pitcher - not a second round pick)
AJ-Any chance we can see the spreadsheets you used for the PSR article? I would love to apply to 2009 Projections on a position by position basis. Thanks!
AJ Mass (11:36 AM)
Too much math involved to be interesting enough to publish I fear. But if you read the article and the Pierre article, there's enough explanation in there to approximate it. Gotta have some trade secrets!
AJ, when is ESPN going to step up and provide comprehensive projections for those of us in points leagues? I find it hard to believe that points leagues don't make up at least 20-25% of the market. Worldwide Leader?
AJ Mass (11:38 AM)
The problem with points leagues is that I've seen so many different variants that even producing one list would probably not be useful for nearly all the league's unique scoring systems. The thing is our lists and our projections and ranks should give you a guideline of who we perceive to be the best at each position. But to start cranking out HBP predictions, say, just because your league may award 1 point for each one isn't going to be anything more than a complete stab in the dark.
Dan (Red Sox Nation)
Really am liking the mock auction draft rooms!!! They're good, except they don't recreate the home town inflation that Sox and Yankee players have in my league. Here's a thought: any chance you could suggest that they program a bump in the prices of 'home town' players in the different auction rooms (for ex. the Boston mock auction room has a built-in inflation for Red Sox players). THAT would be a killer feature! Any chance you could suggest that to the techno nerds there at ESPN, to help out us fantasy nerds? Thanks for chatting!
AJ Mass (11:41 AM)
I'm not tech savvy enough to even begin to know how easy/hard such a feature would be... but you raise an excellent point for all who take part in auction leagues and even straight drafts. As I write in my 12 Personalities Article - you need to know who the "homers" are in your league, b/c you can nominate players to eat up their bank accounts early and give you late advantage in auctions, or pass on a player knowing he'll be available later on b/c the "two Yankee fans" who pick after you simply aren't going to select a Red Sox player.
While Iagree with you to a certain extent, the problem with Roto rankings vs. points is stolen base totals are way out of whack. No chance Chone Figgins is a Top 10 3B in a points league, unless SBs are overvalued.
AJ Mass (11:43 AM)
True, Gray. Take a look at my Pierre article. It describes this phenomenon exactly - and the "Raw Pierre Numbers" actually probably would be a good base for a Points-based Ranking System.
How is ranking a guy most people rank #1 as #8 "splitting hairs"?
AJ Mass (11:46 AM)
Because the gap between #1 and #10 is incredibly small relatively speaking, and presumably, you're only getting one of the guys in that bunch anyway. It's a relative view.
Justin Duchscherer (Oak)
Why am I nowhere in the rankings?
AJ Mass (11:47 AM)
10-team leagues, 5 SP per - I think you're just outside that bunch. Close - but on the outside. Low K/9 and high BB/9 don't help.
AJ, I have a quip right now in my league. Once ESPN uploaded the website for the 2009 season, I picked up Wieters from the list of new prospects added to the player database. However, some people are saying it wouldn?t be fair for me to keep him. What are your thoughts?
AJ Mass (11:49 AM)
There should be a start date for transactions. That should be clearly posted and adhered to. If you're having a draft, and subverted that system, you need to throw him back.
Scott (St. Paul)
Forever Keeper Q: Could you possibly throw Jay Bruce back into the draft? Lets say you are keeping Utley, BJ Upton, Ellsbury, Kemp, would your final keeper be Aramis or Bruce?
AJ Mass (11:51 AM)
Aramis. I play to win this year. Keepers leagues are great, but I don't hold on to what I hope will be the next big thing when I have a player whose value I might not get back in the draft for this season.
Would you Keep Kemp over a homeless Manny? Thank you AJ.
AJ Mass (11:52 AM)
I can't believe Manny won't find a job SOMEWHERE soon. Manny's a better player, so I will keep him.
Andy Sonnanstine (TB)
AL sleeper? I was actually unlucky last season with my BABIP and LOB%.
AJ Mass (11:53 AM)
I was actually very high on you last year, and wrote about you in many a sleeper column. I see you as a #3 fantasy starter.
Please rank: Manny, Markakis, Quentin. Thanks.
AJ Mass (11:54 AM)
You already have in your question.
Matt (NY, NY)
3-year keeper league. Pick 3: Ryan Howard, B.J. Upton, Victor Martinez, Carlos Quentin
AJ Mass (11:55 AM)
Send V-Mart packing. I'm not sure he's in the league in 3 years.
Fred Blue (Boston, MA)
To what tier does Matt Garza belong? Oswalt/Zambrano/Beckett? of the next tier down?
AJ Mass (11:56 AM)
Garza is a definite dropoff from Oswalt/Beckett. However I refuse to put Z in that same lofty territory.
Manny over Kemp?! Aramis over Bruce?! Veteran bias AJ. I'm surprised at you. You've got to take some chances, both kids offer little downside with a huge upside!
AJ Mass (11:58 AM)
Of course you have to take chances. But I'm not taking David Price over Brandon Webb. There's a difference between "veteran bias" and selecting a guy whose done it for several seasons over a guy whose done well for a month.
Where do you see the Royals aces greinke and Meche in terms of value.
AJ Mass (12:00 PM)
They are both #3 starter worthy - the only concern being the win totals, but if you read my UPV article, you'll know I don't like to value pitchers on a stat they can't truly control.
will farve retire
AJ Mass (12:01 PM)
News flash - he already did - twice. Your question should be will he "unretire" - and that is NO, unless Aaron Rodgers suffers a season-ending injury and he gets to play hero. But I am retiring, at least for today. Thanks for the Q's. It's been fun. Check out the Draft Kit, and we'll see you the next time on Villa Allegre!