Fantasy Sports w/AJ Mass
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AJ Mass (10:59 AM)
Good Friday morning, y'all. Is everybody ready for the Madness to continue? We're here to talk about the Tournament as well as Fantasy Baseball for the next hour. Who's ready for the opening tip?
I noticed Zimmermann is in place as the nationals fifth starter on the depth chart this week. What kind of year could he have?
AJ Mass (11:00 AM)
With Hill being cut, Zimmerman definitely enters the rotation, probably as #4. He'll probably do well the first time around the league, but the test of his staying power will be the second time around. I'd take a shot on him, late in my draft.
AJ - Needs your sage guidance to finalize my OF. Please rank Ankiel, N Cruz, D. Young, Choo, Pacman Jones or Lind and why? Many thanks!
AJ Mass (11:03 AM)
Young, Ankiel, Cruz, Choo, Jones, Lind. Of course if your power needs take precedence, feel free to juggle the top of the list. I always a little more value in speed.
Tony (Evansville, IN)
What are your thoughts on John Maine for this year?
AJ Mass (11:04 AM)
As I wrote in my 30Q's on the Mets, the problem isn't going to be the bullpen this year, it's on the starters to give the pen the lead, something none of them (other than Johan) were able to do. I'm not convinced he's set to boost his game to take advantage of Putz/K-Rod.
What are your thoughts on Edwin Jackson this year? 200+ inn and 180 K's??
AJ Mass (11:06 AM)
Really not a big fan of Edwin, and I think he lacks the ability to get all too many K's.
Hey AJ, I did not select a catcher in my draft and now have to get one off FA. Who do you like the best out of Clement, Hernandez, Shoppach, or Teagarden?
AJ Mass (11:07 AM)
Although I like Teagarden as a sleeper, I'm grabbing Shoppach and his 20 or so HRs in a heartbeat.
DK (The Fantasy War Room)
Really what makes Grady Sizemore that much better then Alfonzo Soriano, or Vlad, or Matt Holiday, or Manny, or Ichiro, or Beltran, or Carlos Lee or a few others? Seriously, aren't they really all just different ways to get to the same player rating? If I told you that ANY one of these guys wins an MVP this year would you really be all that shocked?
AJ Mass (11:10 AM)
DK, then why play the game at all? The whole point is that we're all guessing... some in a more educated way than others, but in the end none of us has any real control over the results. That said, for fantasy purposes, I like Grady more than any of the others you mention b/c of the way his stats fit into the general fantasy scoring structure. Am I laughing at you if you disagree... no. All we can do is express our opinions and see how it plays out.
Are you a Gil Meche fan?
AJ Mass (11:11 AM)
I am. I like the man I call "Ga" a lot. I wish he was in a better situation than pitching for the Royals, but even so, I try not to let win totals affect my opinion on skill set, and he and Greinke are not elite, but I will be happy to have either on my staff.
JJ in warsaw, first time caller, long time listner
Looking for a fifth starter AJ...Who from this list will have the best fantasy season: P. Maholm, A. Sonnanstine, W. Rodriques, Zimmermann, K. Escobar or A. Reyes?
AJ Mass (11:12 AM)
I'm hesitant to say Sonnanstine, only becuase he burned me last year after I was in full support of him as a sleeper. But doggone it, here I am backing Andy again. Darn it all!
Who's least risky out of Kazmir, Wainwright, Burnett, Nolasco, Joba? (this group all went in the 12th round of a recent ESPN 10 team mock I did)
AJ Mass (11:14 AM)
From an injury standpoint, I think Nolasco is probably the least risky, and my fave of the quintet. But for "least risky" in terms of performance if healthy? Burnett and Kazmir.
David (W. Bloomfield, MI)
first year in a 16 team keeper. need some late round OF sleepers. Thanks AJ
AJ Mass (11:17 AM)
As my colleague Tristan Cockroft pointed out this week in one of his articles, it's so hard to say who a sleeper is in your league, until we see who is still on the board. However, if guys like Adam Lind and Chase Headley are there late, they'd qualify.
AJ, I have been reviewing the experts mocks as of late...in a 10 team, H2H, whats your favorite/signature strategy?
AJ Mass (11:18 AM)
In H2H, I like to draft pitchers early and often. In any week, I want 12-15 save chances to ensure I win that category by sheer volume, and I want as many aces as possible. If I can win 5 pitching categories and then start my lineup with SB specialists, I may be able to win each week without worrying about having a balanced offense.
AJ, I've been asking this for days and nobody answers... please be the one! Why is Ichiro ranked so high when he helps only modestly in SB/R/AVG while being a big drain on HR/RBI? Who would you take out of Ichiro, Bay, Aramis, Phillips, or BJ Upton? (I'll already have Reyes, McLouth, Rios, and Ordonez from keepers) Thanks, AJ!
AJ Mass (11:22 AM)
I think you, as well as most fantasy players do, underestimate the impact of average. If all offensive categories are worth the same amount to you, then Ichiro's .315 over close to 700 ABs is worth far more than even a .310 over 450 ABs. Plus, SBs in my book are worth 1 and 3/4 more than HRs. That's why he's so high on many lists.
AJ Mass (11:23 AM)
Plus let me add that HR and RBI are "counting stats" -- you can't be a 'drain' on those stats, because you can't offer up negative contributions. That's not so for batting average.
Andy Sonnanstine (TB)
How did I burn you? I had a solid season in 2008.
AJ Mass (11:25 AM)
13 wins 4.38 ERA 1.3 WHIP low K/9 rate. It wasn't awful - but neither was in breakthrough. Fairly average for how hard I was pimping you.
Do you think Harang bounces back this year? Would you rather have him or Saunders? Thanks!
AJ Mass (11:26 AM)
I do think Harang won't be as bad as last season, as he may not last if he looks like he's headed for another 6-18, but I'm still going with Saunders.
I have Aramis Ramirez at 3rd, I was thinking about trading him for more value in some other spots. What are your thoughts on Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Fields. Are there any other low key 3rd baseman that should be on my radar. thanx
AJ Mass (11:29 AM)
There are a lot of 3B's in the mix, Cantu, Beltre, Reynolds, Wigginton, Chris Davis. Ramirez is my No. 2 3B right now (with A-Rod out) so make sure you get some nice value for him, but there should be decent options available at third that won't kill you.
Do you see the H2H scoring format eventualy dethroning roto as the fantasy baseball scoring format of choice? I mean, roto leagues go an entire season and are pretty anticlimatic if you ask me, while in H2H leagues you face off in weekly matchups like REAL sports, you typically play in a points based system where stats like OPB (walks), strikeouts, Slugging % (doubles and triples) are more heavily weighted. Essentially, your evaluation of talent is closer to how a GM would look at a player, minus defensive statistics, as opposed to zoning in on 5 catergories, a few of which can be skewed by luck (W's, S's RBI's etc). Would love to get your thoughts on this...
AJ Mass (11:33 AM)
It's a good question, Frank. The thing that I think prevents H2H from fully taking over is that unlike in the NFL where we know (barring injuries) your best players will play for you, in baseball, you may have a week where your best pitchers don't throw. Imagine your guy is scheduled for a start on Thursday, and he goes four innings, but the game gets rained out. He'll get you no stats for the week, for example. Plus, as long as there are owners who manipulate results by streaming, or benching players on Sundays, you're never going to get a lot of people on board with H2H.
Is G. Soto here to stay? Will he be a top 5 catcher in a few years?
AJ Mass (11:33 AM)
Yes and yes.
Do you like me or Ryan Zimmermann to fill out a UTIL spot? Thanks.
AJ Mass (11:34 AM)
In general, Zimmerman, but if you need steals, then you go with Coco.
Justin ( Queens, NY)
How far should I move up MOTTE in the rankings? I need some saves. Bell, Francisco, Lindstrom, Devine, Hanrahan, Percival, Gregg and Lyons are still there.
AJ Mass (11:36 AM)
I go for guys who have jobs before guys who don't yet. But considering a guy like Jason isringhausen can probably be drafted in the last round and get you 10 saves this year, I take whatever's left.
What do you expect from Shields and Garza this year? Will they each take the next step or drop off from last year?
AJ Mass (11:37 AM)
I believe much more in Shields than Garza. Don't see drop-offs for either, but Shields is a better candidate for growth.
Can Pelfrey become an ace? What do you see out of him this season? Thanks!
AJ Mass (11:38 AM)
The good news is he doesn't have to with Johan around. I see Pelfrey as an adequate #5 fantasy starter, and not much more.
C. Lee (Houston)
Would you pick me over Matt Holiday? Why. What about Beltran if you didn't need steals
AJ Mass (11:41 AM)
I wouldn't. Now I 'm not saying you're not capable of staying healthy and posting terrific numbers, but I'm far more confident in Holliday and I'm taking Beltran's steals as a bonus because the rest of the stats should be comparable anyways.
Do you have some idea if the Mets and Yankees new parks will play as pitchers' parks, hitters' parks, or neutral?
AJ Mass (11:43 AM)
I don't, and I don't think anyone does until they start playing. Especially the new Mets park. as someone who grew up in Flushing, I can tell you that the wind patterns change from block to block and whille Shea had this ripping breeze that usually rushed in from right field at night, that new stadium could easily see that breeze blowing out to left, or none at all. Only time will tell.
Steve (Detroit, MI)
Do you take C. Jones or Atkins (or neither)?
AJ Mass (11:45 AM)
I probably take Atkins over Jones. Obviously injury concerns are prevalent with both guys, but even though I'd rate Chipper higher if at 100 percent, I don't see that happening this year.
Choose a scenario: 1. you are in 3rd place in the saves category, padding your saves with bottom tier closers like hanrahan and sherrill) 2. you are in seventh place in saves, but use middle relievers like marmol, bruney, and arredondo to pad your whip and get a few more strikeouts.
AJ Mass (11:47 AM)
This is the reason I prefer roto to H2H. It depends. If I'm in seventh, but say only 2 saves out of 4th, I like that place. If I'm in 3rd in saves, but also 1st in every other category, I like that scenario more. It's in constant flux, and wherever you are, there are ways to tweak things to your advantage.
Any word on Mauer's back? How much time does he miss if any at all?
AJ Mass (11:49 AM)
No news is good news, right? I'm concerned the docs didn't come right out and say everything will be fine... so I think it's inevitable that some time will be missed. But until the MDs give a full report, we have to hope for the best.
Hey AJ! Talking H2H. 16team pts league w/Wins 10pts and saves 5, do you still draft the same as your earlier comments leaning towards RP's?
AJ Mass (11:51 AM)
John, your questions raises a great point. There are so many ways that leagues award points, so that when I'm asked to rate players, or suggest strategy, I'm usually taking roto-style 5X5. If I had a more "unique" scoring system, I wouldn't know how to draft unless I analyzed the stats from last year in that particular system to see what value closers had in relationship to starters, for example. In theory, I'd still go closers since they can get several in a week, where even the best pitchers may not get any, and two is hard to come by.
What about H2H with rules to prevent streaming. (limit on number of transactions) Does that make H2H more realistic?
AJ Mass (11:54 AM)
Of course it makes it far better... and I always say as long as the owners in a league like the system they're using, then what difference does it make what anyone else thinks. However, enough people get turned off by H2H "tactics" like streaming or Sunday tanking that I don't believe it will become the exclusively preferred form until those things are addressed.
AJ, I'm in a 7x7 H2H league. I like to punt on the steals category, with that said what players in the top 25 move down and which in the top 25 move up?
AJ Mass (11:55 AM)
Down: Reyes, Roberts, Ichiro, Pedroia Up: Manny,Tex, Hamilton
Aaron (Wash DC)
What's sunday tanking?
AJ Mass (11:57 AM)
Sunday tanking is when the lineup you set on Monday has a lead in ERA and WHIP and you bench all your pitchers on Sunday to guarantee you win those categories.
Trevis (Nashville, TN)
Can Byrnes be counted on for 40 steals this year?
AJ Mass (11:57 AM)
I'm not sure he can be counted on for 40 starts.
AJ Mass (11:58 AM)
Gang, that's all the time I have for today. Sorry I couldn't get to everyone, but we'll be back here next week, same bat time, same bat channel. See you all the next time on Villa Allegre!
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