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February 12, 2:44 PM ET
Fantasy Sports wAJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (10:57 AM)

Good morning folks... we're shuffling the chats a bit this week, and I'm up. Ready to talk MLB -- my Mets, Giants and Braves previews are already getting plenty of feedback -- and of course, my personal fave topic this time of year, Bracketology. Let's get started, shall we?

Justin (Indiana)

hey AJ you there.... who do i take first in the mlb fantasy draft this year

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

I think you have to go with A-Rod. I don't think he has the same numbers as last year, because I think his April will be "more normal". But 45 HR and 20 steals? Yes, please.

Andrew NY

Me and my Co-manager have 2nd pick and we aren't big on Pujols but we feel like we have to take him. We have also considered Holliday, Santana, and Hanley but we aren't sure what to do. Please help us!

AJ Mass
  (11:01 AM)

I'm not high on Pujols this season. And no way I take him at #2 overall. You should definitely take one of the big 3 at shortstop there and since you mentioned Hanley - then I say go with him.

Jon (Boston)

to continue the trend...I have the third pick overall. Wright or Reyes, or Hanley if he falls?

AJ Mass
  (11:03 AM)

Can't go wrong with Wright. But if Hanley is there, I would pick him at 3. I have Reyes a bit lower down. And no, we're not going to spend the whole chat doing AJ's mock draft!

Will (STL)

Who cares about first round pick questions. Those are the people who stop following their team if they are in the bottom half after May 1. Real question, who would you rather have: Snell, Bonderman or Cain? What about Vasquez vs. Smoltz?

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

If you read my Giants' preview, you'll know I am really high on Cain. The only worry is the win totals, but other than that, he'd be in my Top 10. I'd rather have Smoltz than Vazquez this season. It's close, but I see a real dropoff in V's K totals.

Michael (Portland, ME)

Am I wrong here, or shouldn't Furcal be ranked higher than Tejada?

AJ Mass
  (11:07 AM)

No I don't think you are wrong. Didn't say otherwise.

Dave (Baltimore)

Is Beltran worth a late second round pick

AJ Mass
  (11:09 AM)

Absolutely. I'd even consider him earlier than that depending on how quickly Holliday and the top shortstops go.

Louis (DC)

Who will have a better season, Rios or Granderson? Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

I am a Granderson fan and not so much of Rios. I just think the 2007 stats are closer to a ceiling for Alex and nearer a floor for Curtis.

Mike(Charlotte)

Hey AJ, large Al only league and I waited on catcher. I'm down to Navarro, Suzuki or possibly Laird. What should I do?

AJ Mass
  (11:12 AM)

I'd go Suzuki, but I also wouldn't sweat it.

Steve (Denver)

What are your thoughts on Jason Bay this year? Do you think he can bounce back and have a season similar to 2005/2006?

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

I do. If there was anything truly wrong with him, Pittsburgh would have jumped at all the offers they got. He's still a Pirate, and that leads me to believe 2007 was a fluke.

Sean (Florida)

AJ, I am taking part in several live non-auction drafts. I have been toying with the idea of setting up a structured order for drafting players- i.e. with my second pick I am going SP, 3rd pick OF and so on. Is there value in this or is that a way to keep from getting the best team? Should I always go for best player early and then fill needs later on for remaining positions?

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

You can't draft that way. You can have a gameplan - but to stick to a structure like that is foolhardy. Say you have a definite tier of players at one position (let's use SS as an example) and think there a 3 great ones, and then a dropoff. If they all go , why should you pick SS #4 before 1B#1 just because that was your plan?

HD (NY)

Hey AJ, 5x5 H2H one year keeper question: Who has the best single season of these three potential keepers: Pedro (17th rd), Billingsley (18), Clay Bucholz (21). I can only keep one of them for a single year. Who would you keep? Who has the most upside?

AJ Mass
  (11:18 AM)

For one year? I might go Pedro. Clay is intriguing because of the Schilling situation, so I'd take him in a multi-year keeper easily. But for just 2008? I'll take my chances with Pedro who has the most upside, if he's completely healthy.

doug (planet earth)

aj, it may seem like a ridiculous question but in your opinion who is this year's hanley ramirez? i got him in the fourth round or later in 3 drafts last year and was wondering who has the potential to produce 400 percent of their value, in your opinion of course...

AJ Mass
  (11:22 AM)

I don't know if there's any hitter I project that for. Of course, when we're talking value, we're talking in your draft. I could name names, but if you grab them early, then that value isn't as much anymore.

brad (harrisburg, pa)

plain and simple: how early is too early for Markakis? #35?

AJ Mass
  (11:24 AM)

Markakis is a third rounder, so in a 12-team league, 35 isn't too early in my book.

Bill (Harrisburg)

Hey AJ, where do you have Magglio Ordonez ranked this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

I have Magglio as my 26th hitter. (I don't usually combine my lists, because I generally like to draft my pitchers later on.)

Brian (Pittsburgh)

Hey AJ, enough of these guys from Harrisburg, show some love for the Western half of PA! What stats do you project for Johan Santana this season?

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

Johan will be in the neighborhood of 20-8, 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP.

Chuck (Little Rock)

IMO, the best answer to Doug's question is Liriano. Saying that, how crazy is it to keep Liriano over Markakis? I'm already keeping Howard, Beltran, Crawford, Braun, and Bedard

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

That's why I kept it to hitters. There are tons of pitchers who earn 400% value because so many can be had for $1, or drafted late in a snake. Obviously, Liriano is a lot riskier than Markakis. But if you've got those sluggers and want to take a chance, why not?

Dan (NYC)

AJ, I'm not a fan of Rios either but how can you say Granderson's '07 stats are closer to floor than ceiling when his BABIP was .391? There's a regression coming in '08.

AJ Mass
  (11:33 AM)

Please don't sabremetric me to death, Dan. I love numbers too, but when did we all decide to stop watching baseball? Take Cole Hamels, for instance. Numbers are fantastic across the board... but I've watched him in person and find him extremely flawed. I trust that a lot more than all the Shandler stuff - which has its place, but I watch Granderson, I see growth.

H.G. Pennypacker, NY

What's you thoughts on Crawford this year - worth a late 1st, early 2nd round pick in a 12 team standard league?

AJ Mass
  (11:35 AM)

My ESPN colleagues are a little higher on Carl than I am. I have him at #16 hitter. The "collective" lists him at #9. So, early second, yes. Late first? A touch early for me.

steve, chicago

You're kidding about being sabermetric-ed to death, right? Dan brought up one number, and its a pretty important one when evaluating players.

AJ Mass
  (11:38 AM)

BABIP? Batting on balls in play? Of all the stats, this one is near the top in being luck-based.

Adam (Lansing, MI)

Micheal Beasly, or OJ Mayo next year?

AJ Mass
  (11:40 AM)

Where? In the NBA or in the NCAA? I think Beasley might flee. I think Mayo should stay, but not sure he does.

steve, chicago

Thats the point. When a player (Granderson) has an abnormally high BABIP, we can contribute it to luck, and we can pretty safely predict he's due for a regression to his actual talent level.

curtis granderson, detroit

my BABIP the previous 3 years ranged from .324-.353. .391 is an outlier, and everyone knows that BABIP has a low year-to-year correlation, thus its very unlikely for me to achieve that again.

AJ Mass
  (11:44 AM)

And these guys are both right. An extremely outrageous BABIP means there's a good chance that stat might drop... even though there's no year-to-year correlation in this stat, which means he's just as likely to get .320 as .350 as .390 --- but he is just as likely to get 25 HR and 25 steals regardless of what this meaningless average is.

jesse james (batsto, nj)

gun to your hed: who do you keep , ellsbury or ian kennedy?

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

Ellsbury... but first I'd have to check his BABIP.

tc (toronto)

Keep K Escobar at $2?

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

Karabell certainly would say no. But since there's always a chance you don't use your whole budget anyway, why not - the pros outweigh the cons for $2.

Diego ((Chicago))

Should I keep Brady or should I keep Peterson, if I could only keep one of them?

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

I'd go with Peterson, especially if I had to pick now, not knowing what receivers will be sticking in NE.

Ed (NY)

You are one of those people that always have to be right, aren't you?

AJ Mass
  (11:56 AM)

Not at all, Ed. I am frequently wrong. But when people are married to their math as "the truth" when it's really only a guideline, I cringe. Nobody KNOWS the future and to call my opinion wrong based on one stat, which was originally designed for pitchers, no less, is silly to me.

Mike (NYC)

Bracketology question: with the Horns taking out their 3rd top 10 team last night, do you think they have the inside track on the 2 seed in the Houston region?

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

Horns are looking good. They'll need to make the Big 12 Final to get the 2 though.

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

Time for one more.

Trey (VA)

If Murland beats Duke, does that vault them into a 5 or 6 seed range?

AJ Mass
  (12:00 PM)

If the Terps beat Duke, that gets them into the tourney - and yes, likely as a 5-seed simply as default for being third best ACC team. After them and Clemson, there's nobody else jumping up to grab a fifth berth yet.

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

That's all of it. Thanks for your questions, and we'll be back tomorrow for another chat at 3 pm.