Fantasy Baseball w/Christopher Harris
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Christopher Harris (10:57 AM)
Good morning, everyone. Welcome to a power hour of fantasy baseball -- let's get right to your questions.....
Big Ben (Boca Raton)
Continue to sit Nolasco?
Christopher Harris (10:59 AM)
Hi, Ben. What's that they say about trying to time the market? Doesn't work. Whether or not you should bench stud pitchers comes down to your personality type: are you more peeved by sitting there waiting for Nolasco to be good and having him in your lineup, or will you be more upset that you didn't start him the day he finally turned things around? Nolasco was brutal against the Brewers last week, but he has a nice matchup against Arizona at home tonight. Me, if I drafted him, I'm probably starting him. But you'd be forgiven if you wanted to wait.
Will Lind lose at bats this week during interleage play?
Christopher Harris (11:01 AM)
Hi, Heath. My understanding is that Cito Gaston was trying to get Lind some looks in the outfield, so he'd be ready to play some in NL parks. That said, it's unlikely he'd get as many ABs as a usual week anyway. If you're in a shallow mixed, it might be time to look for a replacement this week.
I'm in a 18 team league and always looking at new young guys...who should i have on my bench Mat Gamel or Gerardo Parra?
Christopher Harris (11:04 AM)
Hi, Joel. Gamel might be the better long-term prospect, but for right now, I might prefer Parra on your bench, for this-year upside. Gamel is logjammed...he'll probably DH when the Brewers go to AL parks, and he'll see time elsewhere, but he's just not a good enough defensive player to warrant much time at 3B, in my opinion. Parra, meanwhile, gets to be the left-handed complement to guys like Chris Young and/or Eric Byrnes, and as such (I think) has a potential for a bigger role right now. But clearly, this *is* speculation....
Justin ( Queens, NY)
Matt Harrison and Brett Cecil; do like these young arms or have they just gotten lucky? Both have tough mathups this week....start either? THX!
Christopher Harris (11:05 AM)
Hi, Justin. In a mixed league, I'm not interested in either of these guys. Harrison has the pedigree, and he's been solid his past couple times out, but there's a lot working against him...Texas heat in the summer not being the least of them. As for Cecil -- I'm not buying it. If I could sell him in an AL-only league, I'd do it. I know the Jays are going to "ride the hot hands" in their rotation for now, but potential replacements loom, and he was getting eaten alive at Triple-A before his callup. I prefer Harrison, but again, in a mixed, I'm not owning either.
Buy low on Lester and sell high on A.Jones if I have Bay, McLouth, Abreau, and Fukadome as my other OF? Or stay put?
Christopher Harris (11:08 AM)
Hi, Dave. Adam Jones presents an interesting case. He's a "five-tool" guy. He's off to a fast start. Sports Illustrated featured him in their mag. I think it's too much, too soon. I'm not saying he plummets to Earth, but I don't think he stays one of the 10 most valuable OFs in fantasy. I'm not saying he'll stink, but I am saying it's solid fantasy strategy to trade him, if you can get something good for him. As for Lester -- I was pretty down on him comapred to most this spring. The innings leap scared me. I don't think he's *this* bad, and he'll probably put together a really nice stretch at some point this summer, but ultimately, I think he disappoints this year. I wouldn't buy low.
Hey, Chris. Nice to have you back. I look forward to all the football work. What are your thoughts on Baker? I never expected that I would be sitting him in a two-start week this season. Do you have enough confidence in him to plug him in over Wandy, Weaver, or Garza with one start?
Christopher Harris (11:11 AM)
Hi, PJ. Thanks. Yeah, football kicked my tush. You can actually check out most of my handiwork online this week, by looking at our fantasy football projections, which I did, and also all of our player previews, which I wrote. And (shamless plug here) the Fantasy Football magazine will be out in mid-June, and I wrote all the player previews in that, too. As for Scott Baker -- I know, it's a bummer. This week he gets the White Sox and Brewers, and just when we thought he'd turned the corner with that nice shutout performance against the Mariners, he gets lit against the Tigers. I still believe, but I think I'd bench him this week in favor of Garza.
MJ (Grand Island, NE)
Thanks for answering our questions, Chris! Zobrist is looking pretty solid this year, and while people argue on his power, his minor stats seem to show he is very legit for BA/OBP. Would you take a shot at him in a 10-team mixed in a league that counts OBP/SLG as scoring categories?
Christopher Harris (11:14 AM)
Hi, MJ. I have to admit, I haven't done the analysis for Zobrist specific to your OPS-inclusive scoring -- but for him, the real worry would seem to be long-term playing time. I guess with Burrell going on the DL, there's probably another week or two's worth of ABs for him somewhere in that lineup, especially while he's stroking it, but in a 10-teamer, I have to believe you can find a better option with more ABs over a longer period of time. If not, though, I don't hate riding him for the next couple weeks and then seeing what happens.
Back to Nolasco...do you think he turns things around this year?
Christopher Harris (11:15 AM)
Hi, Mike. I do. I believe, though it seems pretty clear that he's not going to have the kind of automatic dominance we grew to expect from him in the second half last year. But I believe. And honestly, if I drafted him, I'd probably use him as soon as today.
Jeff (San Diego)
What do you think of Chris Coghlan? Will Florida give him the chance to earn time or will they have a quick hook back to the minors?
Christopher Harris (11:17 AM)
Hi, Jeff. Coghlan isn't playing every inning every day (he got a single AB yesterday), but it looks like the Marlins are keeping their word on trying to get him in the mix five or so times a week. To me, that makes it seem like they don't think he has anything else to prove at Triple-A, where he was raking. This isn't some flash-in-the-pan guy...he's a legit prospect in an organization full of them. I'm not saying race out and get him in a 10-team mixed, but in a deeper league? He's worth a serious look.
REYES HAS KNEE TENDINITIS?
Alarm bells are ringing. my monday (and my summer) are ruined!!
Christopher Harris (11:19 AM)
I know, I know -- he's hoping to come back today. Conspiracy theorists thought maybe this was a benching, but it does seems as though the calf/tendon issue is real. One can only hope it doesn't mean he won't run, because those 11 SBs have been very nice thus far.
With Burrell on the DL, any chance we see Matt Joyce up?
Christopher Harris (11:20 AM)
Hi, Tim. Well, there's a chance. But because Burrell seems likely to be back in about a week, I would guess not, just because Zobrist is hitting well, and can play all over the diamond and let some other guys DH a bit. (Presuming the Rays decide to stick to a single DH on their lineup card each day.) But Burrell's problem could certain get worse later, and that might signal Joyce's arrival.
Dave (Roanoke, Va)
Your staff stayed optimistic about Chris Young OF even after the first 3 weeks of the season, have ya'll officially given up on him making a turnaround?
Christopher Harris (11:22 AM)
Hi, Dave. I have Young ranked 137 among all players right now, which reflects about where I've always had him. Whenever his name has come up in our rankings meetings, I'm perhaps always the *most* negative about him, and have been for a couple years, just because I don't see how the contact problems will magically disappear. We mentioned that Parra is up, and while I think Eric Byrnes is the guy who suffers most from Parra's ascension, Young may wind up sitting against more righties, too. I haven't given up on Young, but I was never very high on him to start....
Soto or Kelly Shoppach for the week? Lineups lock at 1! Also, thoughts on Lackey tonight against the M's?
Christopher Harris (11:24 AM)
Hi, Johnny. It's probably gotta be Soto, despite his terrible start, simply because at least he'll get you ABs. As for Lackey -- he'd better not hit anyone, eh? I'd start him, no question. He's a must-start every time out going forward.
What do you make of Jeff Larish? In a deep, deep, deep 20 team league, do you like him more than Fields in Chicago? Guillen seems to be losing patience with his strikeouts.
Christopher Harris (11:26 AM)
Hi, Doug. I own Larish in the AL-only version of LABR (expert's league), and those three homers in three games last week were awesome -- he has legit power. But I just don't believe the Tigers are going to give him the playing time he needs. I'm *not* a Fields fan at *all*, for exactly the reasons you hint at -- too many contact troubles. Still, I think I probably stick with Fields for the moment.
Name game: Kubel or Chris B. Young?
Christopher Harris (11:28 AM)
Hi, Bill. I don't like Young. Did I mention I don't like Young? And yet, I'd *still* probably take him over Kubel, whom I do like. That's messed up, right? The thing is, at least Young brings that 15-to-20 steal potential. Even though I hate his bat, I have to admit: that probably makes him a better fantasy player.
I have Haren & Nolasco..they are pitching against each other today. Who do I start? Haren is 0-2 vs FLA, Nolasco is 4-0. BUT Haren has pitched better lately!
Christopher Harris (11:28 AM)
Hi, Brian. If I have to choose one, I'd rather not get clever -- Haren has to be in there every time out. I can't guarantee anything...if I could, I'd be in Vegas right now. But I wouldn't bench Haren, ever.
Any thoughts on Furcal? He was dropped (10 team league) and I'd love to have him around as Hardy insurance but its H2H and I play with no bench offensive players. My worst SPs are Kazmir and Dempster - Drop one of them, Hardy, or leave him on the wire? Thanks!
Christopher Harris (11:30 AM)
Hi, Xavier. I think you have to pick up Furcal. It just *has* to get better for him. (I think.) And when it does, he'll run. (I think.) Without knowing what else you have for pitching, it's tough for me to say that you should drop either of those useful guys. But if you're asking me as of this moment whether I'd take Furcal or Hardy for the rest of the year? I have Furcal in the 60s, and Hardy in the 150s in my rankings.
Randy Wolf (Missing from your 60 feet column)
What gives, Harris?
Christopher Harris (11:33 AM)
Uh-oh, I've made Wolfy angry. All I can say is: we've seen this act before. Awesome start. Followed by injury ruining everything. Hey, now even the *uniform* is right, because he did this a couple years ago as a Dodger. I know Wolf's recent history, and I've been fooled too many times. I'm not saying he's worthless, because clearly, a 2.77 ERA in 8 starts is really good. But the 60 Feet rankings are meant to be *from this point forward*, and I'm still skeptical. That said, I haven't done my 60'6" ranks yet for today, and I may get Wolf in there at the bottom of the list, considering how he looked against the Phils last week.
what are your thoughts on Volstad? I've been starting him over Cain and Chamberlain since the start of the season.
Christopher Harris (11:34 AM)
Hi, Eric. Well, my thoughts are: you sure did show an awful lot of faith in him if you were starting him over those two guys to start the year. Volstad has been terrific, no question, and I had him 51st among SPs in last week's column. But I would still rather have those two other guys. Hey, here's hoping you didn't miss out on Cain's gem against the Mets yesterday....
What do you think about a swap of Ricky Nolasco and Dice-K? Who's best from this point forward? Also, Alexei Ramirez was released in my 10 team league. Worth a pickup with Brandon Phillips on my team already?
Christopher Harris (11:36 AM)
Hi, Dan. Easy answer is: check my 60 Feet 6 Inches rankings tomorrow. (I haven't done 'em yet.) But I feel pretty sure that I'm still going to have Nolasco higher. I'm down on Dice-K -- have been since February. He did it with smoke and mirrors last year, and he was due for a big fall in '09. Nolasco hasn't been very good, either, but hey, Dice-K hasn't gotten healthy yet. (He's s'posed to pitch for the Sox this week, though.) As for Ramirez -- I'm never high on him. I think he was vastly overrated this spring...I was the lone dissenting opinion on him in January in our rankings meeting. I like Phillips way more.
Clay Kershaw (AKA Koufax Jr.)
Chris, what do you think of Lil' Stevie Drew going forward? Gotta be better than lame-O-Cab, right?
Christopher Harris (11:36 AM)
Yeah -- way better. I'd much rather have Drew.
Drop Pineiro and pick up Bonderman in a 16 team mixed league? I really need SP help!
Christopher Harris (11:38 AM)
Hi, Mike. Yuck. Don't like either guy. But of course, that's one of the cool things about being in deeper leagues, right? Gotta make the best of a bad situation. I really, really don't like Pineiro, and Bonderman is throwing hard in the minors. He has a rehab start in Triple-A next time out, and then could be in the bigs. I guess I'm sticking with Pineiro until I know Bonderman's in the bigs, but at that point, I might be tempted to make the switch. But Bonderman could get rocked, too....
Shane (Edison, NJ)
Hey Chris, big fan of the column. I grabbed Hochevar in a deep keeper league... but it looks like he is going back to AAA. My SP is pretty weak, so can you tell me if/who you really like on my FA list: Duke, Wolf, Palmer, De La Rosa, Bush, Uehara, Rich Hill (thinking he is a great, high upside grab?)
Christopher Harris (11:40 AM)
Hi, Shane. My understanding on Hochevar is that the Royals are going to give him at least one more chance to start in the majors. So if he's good, he'll stick. As for potential replacements, I prefer Bush then Uehara from that list. Duke has been amazing, though, and if you want to ride a hot hand, it'd be his. I'm just not at all sold that it'll last. Same with Wolf, as I mentioned earlier. As for Rich Hill, there's no question there's a lot of upside there, and in a deeper league, he's worth owning. But I'm not ready to say he's cured all that ailed him, especially not in the AL East. I think he'll have some tough times over the next month or two....
Chris, You are the pitching guru, can I get your thoughs on Jorge De La Rosa? Thanks
Christopher Harris (11:44 AM)
Hi, Jeff. I loved Rage Against The Machine. (What's that? That's *Zak* de la Rosa? Crap.) 22 Ks in 2 starts certainly requires notice, doesn't it? JDLR did get better last year for the Rockies, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't notice his improved control, which was always the thing that kept him from succeeding with the Royals. I don't see him as a K/IP guy going forward, but he's got my attention. I have a feeling he'll be on my 60'6" list tomorrow, as a guy who might be worth speculating on.
Greinke owner (CA)
This dollar bill is burning a hole in my pocket! Get a stud bat for him(sizemore) or go after 2 B+ SP's (Gallardo/Vasquez) or ride thr Greinke train out of town?
Christopher Harris (11:46 AM)
It's a very good question, and I got asked it on the radio this morning. The "fantasy strategist" in me says it's smart to sell high -- however good Greinke's going to wind up being, he's not going to be *this* good all year (I don't think, for instance, his ERA will stay under 1). By the same token, it's not like we couldn't have seen this coming. Unlike Cliff Lee, Greinke has crazy-good stuff, and opposing hitters have hated facing him for years. I think he could legitimately win 20. Me, I'm not a Sizemore guy, so he wouldn't be my choice. Don't like the BA. I might be tempted to ride it out with Greinke, but if I had multiple holes to fill, I could see trying to get a couple very good guys for him. That's a hedge, I know. It really depends on your specific circumstances, though.
So Medlen is a stopgap and Hanson is the answer still, right? Think Bard can work his way to the setup role, say by all-star break?
Christopher Harris (11:47 AM)
Hi, Sean. Yeah, I don't think Medlen is of Hanson-level goodness. He might be worth a look for tomorrow's game if you need a spot starter, but Hanson is going to be up soon after he's not eligible to become a Super-2 guy, IMO. I would rather have him, still. As for Bard -- he's not going to have much fantasy relevance except in deeper AL-only leagues, because saves aren't there for him. But he's a great story......
iyh (northfield, mn)
Re: your Cecil comment earlier... I'm not saying that your analysis is wrong, but why is it that you privilege two poor minor league outings over two excellent major league starts? A more considered assessment, in my view, would draw on his entire body of work, which, in addition to this year's numbers, includes 3 seasons of stellar pitching in the minors (2.96 era, 185.1 ip, 194 so, 1.17 whip).
Christopher Harris (11:51 AM)
Hi, IYH. A very fair question, and I appreciate you not asking it in a snarky way designed to make me cry. I guess I look at Cecil's "body of work" and see a guy who never did anything impressive in 10 Triple-A outings spread over two years (everything else you mention there came at Double-A or lower), and then I look at the .266 BAABIP so far in the majors this year, and I say -- hm, I have a suspicion this guy may have been lucky to this point. I worry that he was a college closer who doesn't have three major-league-level pitches, and that as AL East games wear on, he'll get lit. That's my logic, anyway, but you may very well be right, and the games will bear that out. And it now appears clear that Toronto *will* give Cecil more starts, so we really will get a chance to see....
how many different questions do you get asked during this hour?
Richmond looking good this week against CWS and ATL?
Christopher Harris (11:53 AM)
Yours was the 1,255th. Sorry -- I'm going as fast as I can, I swear. As for Richmond -- he's pretty borderline for me. The matchups are OK, but I just don't believe that strongly in the pitcher. I guess if you've been riding him and feel lucky, take the shot, but I can see the bandwagon shrinking from here.
Any news on the Rickie Weeks injury? I have him in a weekly league and picked up Alberto Callaspo for this week. If the Weeks injury is long term, how do you see Callaspo as a fill in for the year?
Christopher Harris (11:54 AM)
Hi, Eric. The Weeks thing really is kind of a new story, and I don't know anything definitive, but it sounds like his wrist is really bothering him, and he's going to "see a specialist." Uh-oh. If he winds up being hurt, it sounds like Craig Counsell would get the 2B job in MIL, which is quite a downgrade. Yeah, Callaspo is OK, though in a mixed league, I'd like to do better. Callaspo does seem a bit more like AL-only fodder to me.
Jimmy Rollins has been showing some signs of life. With a 7 game hit streak, with a HR and 3 steals, is he once again a safe play?
Christopher Harris (11:55 AM)
Definitely, Johnny. Get Rollins in there.
Kevin, Milford NH
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE I would love your thoughts on this before lunch.... What are your thoughts on Russell Branyan? I need some more power in my line up, Seattle seems to be coming on as a team, and they don't seem to be afraid to start Branyan against lefties. His BA is currently over .300...can he keep his average up? Can you project his stats for the rest of the season?
Christopher Harris (11:56 AM)
Hi, Kevin. I think Branyan is a sell-high, except I doubt there'd be many buyers, simply because you'd have to ignore the guy's career to be excited about him. He won't hit .300. Expect him to finish around .260, which would mean he hits roughly .240 the rest of the way. Pure power play, but he'll hurt your average, IMO.
Is Chris Tillman going to get called up anytime soon? He's bored in AAA.
Christopher Harris (11:57 AM)
Hi, Ed. I don't think the O's feel a lot of urgency to call up Tillman, unlike, say, Price or Hanson. They know they're rebuilding. I don't think he comes up in June, but that's not a particularly educated opinion (i.e., I don't know anyone in the O's organization.) I think he'll get a cup of coffee this year, and then get his chance in '10. But if he comes up, and I'm wrong, then I'd grab him.
Is Hawkins a legit closer?
Christopher Harris (11:58 AM)
Hi, Chris. Short answer: no. And Valverde will be back in June. Plus Hawkins has a sore hip and is DTD. He's worth grabbing in the short term if you need a few saves in the next couple weeks, but that's all.
Jason (Ellicott City, MD)
Talk about why Rios deserves to play on my fantasy team.
Christopher Harris (11:59 AM)
Hi, Jason. Because they play 6 months, not 1.5. (I don't mean to be snarky -- I just want to try and get to a few more before we have to stop.)
Pick Me (Seattle)
What do you think of Tallet this week with 2 starts (@BOS and @ATL)?
Christopher Harris (12:00 PM)
I think stay away. I don't trust him.
Will we see Buchholz soon?
Christopher Harris (12:00 PM)
Hi, Dave. Very tough to say. I'd love it if we did, because I think he'd be great. But I think Smoltz probably gets next crack. Dice-K is back, too.
John Boy (Cincinnati)
Soria going to be back this week?
Christopher Harris (12:01 PM)
I think he's eligible maybe, um, Friday? He says he'll be ready, the Royals sound a little less sure. I think in a weekly transactions league, if I have other options, I might not use him.
Christopher Harris (12:02 PM)
Kevin (Rye, NY)
Is Beckett a must start still?
Christopher Harris (12:03 PM)
He is, Kevin. He'll turn it around. It's an odd-numbered year, after all! All right, everyone. Sorry for not getting to all of your questions -- we got over 1,500 in an hour. I promise to try and do better the next time, and I continue to be honored and thankful that you all give so much attention. I know what a great job I have, and without you, I wouldn't get to do it. So truly, thank you. And I'll have 60 Feet 6 Inches out for you tomorrow with some fresh starting pitching ranks. See you then.
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