Fantasy Sports w/Eric Karabell
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Eric Karabell (3:00 PM)
Hello all and welcome to another fantasy chat session.... this is the last one before the baseball season officially begins, so I'm figuring there are plenty of questions... let's go!
Fernando Rodney is the "current" closer for the Tigers, worth dropping George Sherril for him as it's just a matter of time before Chris Ray reclaims that job?
Eric Karabell (3:01 PM)
I think Brandon Lyon is the "current" closer for the Tigers. I have confidence he can figure out a way to get 25 saves at least, even if it's not always so pretty. And in Baltimore, Sherrill starts as closer, but I do expect Chris Ray to get more saves.
Do you think Kelvin Escobar is worth owning? All reports are that he is throwing great and will be back in 3 weeks. Would you drop Arroyo (who has been lit up this spring) or A. Reyes for him?
Eric Karabell (3:03 PM)
Well, depends on the type of league. In a shallow, 10-teamer with a short bench, I don't know if Escobar can help you. He's not likely to pitch in April, and when he gets worked into the rotation - if - there might be some tough outings. The Angels are so bereft of top starters right now, with everyone hurt, but they will not rush Escobar. I'm concerned about Arroyo and his carpal tunnel syndrome affecting him. Reyes seems like the best sleeper for now.
Mark (State College, PA)
Morrow declared himself the closer but I've seen mixed news about it. Any word on the situation?
Eric Karabell (3:04 PM)
I don't assume Morrow gets any saves next week. The Mariners should be careful about how he is used, and they want to get his arm right. Miguel Batista and Mark Lowe seem the top choices for saves until Morrow is ready. I still take the under on 20 saves for Morrow this season. I just don't think he can stay healthy.
Jeff (Jonquiere, Quebec)
Hi Eric, huge fan of "relief effort" and hope we'll have another edition in the coming days. My draft is saturday and it's a very deep 16 teams keeper league and there's already 16 closers protected and looking to add a good one to complement my keeper Capps. Which one do you recommend between Heath Bell, Matt Lindstrom, Jason Motte and Mike Gonzalez?
Eric Karabell (3:06 PM)
I'm told Relief Efforts will be a weekly piece on Wednesdays, starting next week, so yes, another edition is coming soon. And I enjoy writing it. I think San Diego's Bell is a safe closer who should get at least 25 saves. He has no competition. Lindstrom's shoulder worries me, Motte has plenty of competition and a manager who could switch closers without warning or provocation and Gonzalez... nothing wrong with him. Say 25 saves.
Kevin (Philadelphia, PA)
Thank for chatting Eric! I didn't make catcher a draft day priority and ended up with Chris Snyder - do I need to make a trade, or troll the waiver wire for someone good?
Eric Karabell (3:07 PM)
I'm not sure why Snyder is ranked so low. Didn't he hit 16 home runs last season and we project 21 this season? I think he's safe for even shallow leagues.
Larry (Pogueville, MN)
Give up Wieters and Vlad for Kemp and Pablo Sandoval? (keeper league)
Eric Karabell (3:08 PM)
Tough one. I think Wieters will be, as the kids say, all that a bag of chips, but Kemp is a top-25 guy in the making, and Sandoval might keep/earn catcher eligibility. I'd probably give up Wieters in that deal. Vlad is aging quickly.
What's your feeling on picking up free agent guys on the D.L. like Kelvim and stashing them on your open D.L. list even if you have no guys on your roster that you are replacing? Is it unethical even if the site allows you do to it?
Eric Karabell (3:09 PM)
Nothing wrong with that, don't worry about ethics in that case. I do follow certain ethics in leagues, depending on who I'm playing with, but if this isn't a rule, take advantage.
TJ (Eagan, MN)
Hi Eric! Who has the better season between Qualls, Hanrahan and Motte? Thanks!
Eric Karabell (3:11 PM)
I think Qualls is a safe bet for 25 saves, and keeps the job. No concerns about him. Good numbers the past few seasons, pretty under the radar. I rank Hanrahan next. He's clearly Washington's closer, no question. He might get only 25 saves, but there's no telling how long Motte keeps the job since the Cardinals have so many choices.
What's the story on Rasmus? Will he start the season in the lineup?
Eric Karabell (3:12 PM)
I doubt the Cardinals keep Rasmus around in April to sit on the bench, and for now I don't see room for him to be a regular starter in the outfield, even with Skip Schumaker playing second base.
Kbell, I took your advice and didn't really build my staff until after most my offense was in place. Tell me what you think of a staff that consists of Halladay, Liriano, Josh Johnson, Danks, Scherzer, Kuroda, F. Cordero, Qualls and Francisco in a 12 team H2H that counts quality starts. Thanks.
Eric Karabell (3:14 PM)
Love it. Very nice staff, with a true ace, and a few others who should be very safe. I don't think Scherzer is healthy, in part because he's on the DL but also because he can't handle the workload, but the other pitchers are safe and the bullpen is fine. That's a bullpen you get when you select closers wisely and don't overpay.
What do you think of Travis Snider? he is tearing the cover off the ball for Toronto. I know they have a crowded OF (Wells, Rios, Lind), but will he find a place on most days? projections?
Eric Karabell (3:16 PM)
I picked up Snider in our 19-team office auction last night, waiting until the end when nobody had money. I think he hits 20 homers this season, and he and Lind share left field and DH. At least I hope so.
Are you a firm enough believer in Gavin Floyd that you would extend his contract in a dynasty league for an additional year from $5 to $10?
Eric Karabell (3:16 PM)
No, I can't say I would do that. Not at all.
Ricky Ross (Miami, FL)
Is Joey Devine worth dropping in a 12 team mix league with very limited closer options available? Also, what do you think about Kyle Davies this year?
Eric Karabell (3:18 PM)
I'm thinking - without facts to back this up - that Devine is headed for something bad that will cost him much time, like maybe Tommy John surgery. We all hope that's not the case, but based on his spring problems and the fact he's seeing Dr. James Andrews this week, it doesn't look good. Brad Ziegler is now draftable. I might not drop Devine yet, but it's coming. And Davies seems a popular sleeper coming off his strong September. I buy into it a bit. Still expect an ERA around 4.50. His peripherals just don't support a great ERA.
Greg (Touro Law Center)
Who's going to be closing in MIL? Villanueva, McClung, or Coffey?
Eric Karabell (3:19 PM)
I think Trevor Hoffman is the Brewers closer and gets 30-plus saves. He just isn't closing the first week, that's all. Villanueva fills in but be careful to not overrate a week of saves.
Sayid (The Island)
Eric...I'm in league where Sandoval is not catcher eligibile, but will be if he catches in 5 games. Will this happen and when?
Eric Karabell (3:20 PM)
Word is the Giants are not keeping a true backup catcher, so Sandoval could get a start or two there each week. I don't buy it. He's not a good catcher, a good fielder really, anywhere. I'd leave him at third base. But when? Could be in April.
Hey EK, 4 days left.... With the news of Porcello joining to rotation, who do you like better for this year and going forward, him or Kawakami? Thanks pal!
Eric Karabell (3:22 PM)
I like Porcello better. He has magic stuff. There will be some growing pains, and I don't the Tigers are very good, but he does have a rotation spot. So does Kawakami, but he seems pretty average to me. I expect an ERA around 4, low K's. Porcello offers much more potential.
Eric (Madison, WI)
I need to decide today on my second keeper to go along with Josh Hamilton. I'm torn between Cliff Lee, McClouth and Fransisco Liriano. I would give up my 15th rounder for 1 of them.
Eric Karabell (3:23 PM)
I would go with McLouth. How many 25/25 outfielders will be in your draft? You can get starting pitching later.
Leyland said Rodney is his first game closer and he kept rookie Ryan Perry on the 25 man roster - this doesn't sound good for Lyon. Any chance Perry eventually gets the closer gig in Motown?
Eric Karabell (3:24 PM)
Yeah, I don't read a whole lot into that. I still think Lyon will get more saves than Rodney, but I do agree Perry is a live sleeper in that bullpen. He still has command issues - check his spring numbers on the walks - but it's not like Lyon and Rodney will be dominant. I just think Leyland is trying to light a fire under Lyon.
Ryan (New York, NY)
Im stuck with Shoppach as my starting Catcher. Should I drop him for Pudge, Navarro, Baker or Snyder?
Eric Karabell (3:26 PM)
Stuck? I'd rather have Shoppach than all those guys, except maybe Snyder. Shoppach is still going to play, I think at least 100 games. And he's going to hit 20 homers. Don't be scared by what Victor Martinez is doing.
Assuming the Nats draft Strasburg, any chance we'll see him this year? And just how dominant is his stuff?
Eric Karabell (3:27 PM)
By all accounts Strasburg is pretty special, but I do not expect he pitches this season. For one, look his agent is. Boras can dictate the price, and I doubt it gets settled early enough for him to pitch. Two, how old is he? The Nats will be on their way to 90 losses, so rushing a top pick a month after he's selected seems awfully shortsighted.
I will close in Detroit. This is the year that I put it all together. What do you have to say about that mister!?
Eric Karabell (3:29 PM)
If you can avoid straining your forearm playing Guitar Hero, sure, why not. C'mon, we've been hearing about Zumaya closing for years. I'm over it. They haven't moved on, but expectations for him in that role seem low.
Hey Eric, Way-Rod or Slowey?
Eric Karabell (3:30 PM)
Definitely Slowey for the strong WHIP, but look at how nicely Rodriguez does on a start-by-start basis, especially at home and in terms of strikeouts. There's something there, just stay healthy.
Carlos Gomez (Minnesota)
I will be a 4 category stud this year. What? Yeah, homeruns, i won't many.
Eric Karabell (3:32 PM)
On Wednesday's Baseball Today Podcast - find it at the podcenter link on the ESPNradio.com page! - Buster Olney theorized that it wasn't Delmon Young in danger of losing regular playing time, but Gomez. Span can play a mean center field as well, and Span can hit. April could be a cruel month for Gomez unless he hits.
Kevin (Los Angeles)
Would you drop Chris Ray to add Fernando Rodney?
Eric Karabell (3:33 PM)
I think Rodney gets more early-April saves, but as to who has the better year, I take Ray. Easily. Rodney's had chances before. Why trust him now?
Jim (Houston, TX)
Best back-end starter: Ubaldo, Maholm, Sean Marshall or Escobar?
Eric Karabell (3:34 PM)
Definitely Ubaldo. Ask 100 fantasy players on the street how many strikeouts he had in 2008, I bet few would get close to the actual number. He's emerging.
Chris Young (Arizona)
I have finally made enough adjustments in my swing and bring my averge above 280. Next Sizemore!!
Eric Karabell (3:35 PM)
Hey, I've been about the biggest Young fan in the office here for 2 years, and got laughed at when I suggested he would eventually hit .270. If he does, watch out. Sizemore isn't winning batting titles either, you know.
Jim (Toronto, Ontario)
Could Strasburg get an appearance like Detwiler did though?
Eric Karabell (3:36 PM)
Sure, he could. He'd certainly bring fans out, so bet on a home game. But for actual fantasy value, I'm skeptical Strasburg delivers much. I took him in the last round of the Tout Wars mixed league this weekend, but more to play keepaway than anything else. I don't expect him to pitch in the bigs this season.
T.S. Eliot (London)
April is the cruelest month, Eric. That being said, who would you rather have this year, Dunn or Votto? BA on rest of squad is solid, not outstanding.
Eric Karabell (3:37 PM)
So true, the cruelty. I prefer Votto, and it's not close. Sure, Dunn should hit more homers, but I take Votto to hit 40 points higher, knock in more runs, steal the occasional base, etc. Only one of them is still getting better.
The Buddha, Boston
ERIC! My co-owner and I have been arguing about Adam Lind's value in a 12 team league. I think he has no value in a league that shallow. He thinks he is due for a breakout season. Can you talk about his prospects?
Eric Karabell (3:38 PM)
I think he is draftable in a 12-teamer, because he's going to hit 25 home runs. He has a textbook lefty power swing. And yes, he's breaking out.
Do you like Arredendro better than Rodney??
Eric Karabell (3:40 PM)
Wow, everyone wants to talk Detroit bullpen. That's not a good team, by the way. I like Arredondo to be better than Rodney in every way - except saves. Sure, Rodney could get some saves. I just think, like always, he will pitch himself out of the role.
Am I the only one interested in whos going to close in Colorado
Eric Karabell (3:40 PM)
Flip a coin. There is no indication who is in the lead between Street and Corpas. I still think it will be Street, though.
Whats the Upshot of Damon moving to 2 and Jeter to 1 in the lineup? Will Damon's steals suffer or is this a good thing?
Eric Karabell (3:42 PM)
Means. Absolutely. Nothing. Honestly, Damon was gonna steal his 25 in either spot. At least now he might score more runs because Jeter can't keep erasing him from the basepaths with a few double plays per week. That's what Jeter was doing.
Bill (Aspen, CO)
Who are your top middle relievers for K's and ratios? I'm not worried about saves.
Eric Karabell (3:43 PM)
Certainly Marmol and Arredondo are atop the list, with Putz, Villanueva, Kuo, Dotel in the conversation. More on this next week in Relief Efforts...
This year only rank Hanson, Cahill, Porcello, Anderson, Carrasco?
Eric Karabell (3:44 PM)
I'd probably go Porcello because he's the only officially in an Opening Day rotation. Then Hanson, Cahill, Anderson and Carrasco deep down.
What about Santiago Casilla in Oakland? Geren already mentioned he'd be comfortable using him.
Eric Karabell (3:45 PM)
Yeah, I was just on ESPNEWS before the chat and said Ziegler really isn't a dominant reliever at all, and that 1.06 ERA is gonna triple. I don't know if Casilla is any better, but Springer, someone could take saves if Ziegler doesn't figure out how to get lefties out.
Jay (Boston, MA)
Help! How's F. Cordero's ankle? And who is first in line for saves if he goes down? Burton? Any other potential out of nowhere closers?
Eric Karabell (3:46 PM)
Cordero is fine, he'll be closing next week. I think David Weathers is likely next over Burton, but Josh Reineke is lurking down the line...
Just traded BJ Ryan and his 80mph fastball for Aaron Harang. Do I get the 07 or 08 version of Harang?
Eric Karabell (3:47 PM)
I think you'll get closer to the 2007 version. Also note that Ryan is not throwing well, though I think rumors of his demise are greatly overblown. But yeah, I seem to be getting Harang in too many leagues, so I must like him to bounce back.
Chad (Winona, MN)
Francouer or Lind this year? Can Frankie bounce back or I do I nab the upside?
Eric Karabell (3:47 PM)
I'd take Lind. More upside, and Francoeur just isn't hitting the ball in the air enough.
"Sheffield to the Phillies": does this thought terrify you as much as it does me? Seems like just a flat-out disastrous move by the Phils... And no JP Howell love in there for middle relievers?
Eric Karabell (3:49 PM)
I don't know about disaster, because it's not like Sheffield would play much. The outfield is set. He'd pinch hit against lefties, play once a week for Werth or Victorino in the outfield. And they'd pay him less than a mil. I have no problem with Sheffield or Andruw Jones on a really cheap contract. Very low risk. And yes, if you include the Rays, add 3 more relievers to the top 10, with Howell, Balfour and Wheeler.
What are you feelings on Edwin Encarnacion? Is he good enough to be a starting 3rd baseman in a 16 team league?
Eric Karabell (3:50 PM)
Oh yeah, he's good enough. He hit 26 home runs, and could improve that this season. I have Edwin in the office auction league and Tout Wars, got him cheap each time because he seems to not be loved at all.
Scott (Bismarck, ND
What do you think about Jay Bruce and his potential this year
Eric Karabell (3:50 PM)
How about 30 and 100? That's not going to be too tough for him to attain.
Jon and Justin (NYC)
While we're on the subject of Reds, what about Chris Dickerson - is he too old to breakout?
Eric Karabell (3:51 PM)
Nobody is too old. But Dickerson will likely share time in left field with others, and could be platooned against lefties as well. There's some upside, but I doubt he hits .300 over 500 at-bats (which he won't get anyway).
you buying Helton's comeBACK?
Eric Karabell (3:52 PM)
Ha! I get it! Back! I think it's a shame, but I can't project more than 400 at-bats for Helton. He should hit .300 and take walks, but the spring power we're seeing, I don't believe it will continue in April.
Nathan (Fayetteville, AR)
Quick and easy: BJ Upton, are you buying or selling?
Eric Karabell (3:53 PM)
Buying. Not 30 home run buying, but 20.
Florida Closer Next week...next month?
Eric Karabell (3:53 PM)
Apparently Lindstrom say the possibility of losing his job to Leo Nunez and now he feels just great! I think Lindstrom closes next week and month, but it's a short leash. Nunez had better numbers.
joe ( New York)
Hey, I was wondering without regarding teams or lineup needs, who would be a better pick: Lance Berkman or Josh Hamilton?
Eric Karabell (3:54 PM)
I think Hamilton, especially since I worry about Berkman's shoulder problem lingering. I'm dropping him 10 spots in my drafts just on the potential this is a big deal.
Joe Blanton in for a big season?
Eric Karabell (3:55 PM)
Oh yeah! When you think big season, that's the guy we should think of. How about 14 wins and a 4.10 ERA? That would be a big season for Joe.
Why is no one buying Hermida after his great spring? He's always been on the radar as a "Breakout", but is it too late?
Eric Karabell (3:56 PM)
I know a lot of people who want to buy in, and then they remember they'd been burned by this guy every season. It's not too late, but I'm not changing years of underachieving based on spring numbers.
Russell Branyon (Seattle)
40 Homers here I come.....and a .220 average!
Eric Karabell (3:56 PM)
Strange but true, it could happen. But another problem with Branyan he never gets to play that much. Say 20 homers.
Aaron Hill or Felipe Lopez?
Eric Karabell (3:57 PM)
I think Hill hits more home runs, probably 12-15 or so, but Lopez has speed, probably 15-20 steals. Depends on need. I lean to Lopez.
Mike in D.C.
Brett Gardner. 40 steals. Over or under?
Eric Karabell (3:58 PM)
Under. Say 29. Let's not go overboard on Gardner. He hasn't proven he can get on base. And please don't point out his spring. Let's see April.
Eric, in ESPN projections why is it that Rick Ankiels BA is .249?? Can he really hit this bad batting infront of Pujols?
Eric Karabell (3:59 PM)
No guarantee he hits second. Could be fourth. Or fifth. But yeah, I think a low average is coming. But maybe 30 homers with optimum health.
Eric Karabell (4:00 PM)
OK, ladies and gents thanks for spending time in the chat room today, and kudos on the questions. We even got a few in not related to the Detroit bullpen. Remember, check out the Baseball Today podcast Mon-Fri, and this Sunday the season opens at the WORLD CHAMPION PHILLIES. Sorry, had to get that in.... adios.