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February 13, 2:45 PM ET
Fantasy Sports w/Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (11:01 AM)

Hello all and welcome to another fantasy sports chat. We're going to be heavy on the baseball I'd imagine, and that's good! Pitchers and catchers report to spring training this week. I'm watching Roger Clemens and a congressman argue right now, but let's get to stuff on the field, shall we?

Nick (Greenwich, CT)

Well EK! U were right! Livan signed, but with the Twins.. what is his fantasy value as of Today!?

Eric Karabell
  (11:03 AM)

I'm not surprised by this, but I do think it's a shame the Twins felt the need to sign someone of that age and ability, when they have a number of young pitchers seemingly ready to contribute. Someone like Boof Bonser, for example, needs to start 30 times. Kevin Slowey too. Livan is an innings eater, but at this point I don't think he can help fantasy owners very much. He could be this year's Sidney Ponson, and the Twins end up punting him out of the rotation soon for a young pitcher.

Mike (chicago il)

Eric: i was thinking about drafting both roger clemens and andy pettite, would you suggest this?

Eric Karabell
  (11:04 AM)

Ha! Well, I don't think there's anything wrong with Pettitte, actually. If anything, he should be in good shape and motivated after his interesting offseason. He wants to prove he can still pitch, and based on his 2007 stats I believe he can help fantasy owners. Pettitte isn't a top-30 pitcher, but I think he can win 15 games with an ERA around 4. I do not think Clemens will pitch again.

Eric(Fort Collins CO)

You seem higher on Bedard since the trade. Does that warrant his protection in late round 3 over Granderson?

Eric Karabell
  (11:06 AM)

I think he moves up just a bit in the rankings, but he's not a top-25 player to me yet. Only Johan and Peavy made my top 25 among pitchers. I expect Bedard to be a major strikeout guy and make at least 32 starts. Over Granderson? I'd have no issue with that.

Chris (Saratoga, NY)

Can Delgado turn it around this year and restore his status as an upper-tier 1B?

Eric Karabell
  (11:07 AM)

I wouldn't call Delgado an upper-tier 1B or all that close to it, but can he get back to 35-100, yes, I can see that. I wouldn't rely on Delgado as a starting 1B in fantasy though.

Mike: Inglewood, CA

Eric, would you give up a top prospect like Maybin ($1) for Kazmir ($17)?

Eric Karabell
  (11:09 AM)

Kazmir isn't cheap in this scenario, but I guess it depends how the rest of your pitching looks. You can't get a better price on Maybin than that, but I have doubts he'll be a big hit his rookie year. I think he needs more time in the minors. Would I make this deal? Under the right circumstances, sure.

Rick (SD)

In which round would you consider Sheff a steal? Does his health still make him a huge gamble?

Eric Karabell
  (11:12 AM)

It's impossible to name an actual round, because every draft is different, but I would call Sheffield a definite top-75 player, maybe in the top 50. Note he does not have outfield eligibility in most leagues, and there's no guarantee he runs as much, but he says the shoulder injury is fine. I'd think a 25-100-15 season is impossible.

Drew (Mpls)

Eric, I was thinking of trading my best player for Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra, Phil Humber and Kevin Mulvey but my league vetoed it. Weird right?

Eric Karabell
  (11:13 AM)

More proof that what goes on in a fantasy league is seldom like real life! But, in leagues with salaries and contracts, trades like these do happen. I just dealt a Double-A catcher named Max Ramirez for Chad Cordero in a league, and I don't think people felt I robbed the guy. Under those league rules, it made sense.

Clark (SC)

I have been offered Delmon Young for Ian Kinsler. What's your take? Thank you

Eric Karabell
  (11:15 AM)

I think Kinsler has a bit more value because he's already looking like a 20/20 player, and at a scarce position, while fantasy owners hope Delmon can get to that level. But because potential is a big part of any trade, I can see this being even. Delmon will improve.

Mike (San Diego)

Does Longoria start the season at 3rd for the rays?

Eric Karabell
  (11:17 AM)

I think if he has a good spring he will make the team and start, but I remind people of a guy named Brandon Wood a year ago, and BJ Upton before that. Longoria should be a very good player, but there's no guarantee that starts this April. Thus it's tough to make him a top-20 third baseman, especially in a non-keeper format.

J (Arkansas)

What do you expect from Carlos Zambrano this year? He looks like the best pitcher in baseball at times and a minor leaguer at other times.

Eric Karabell
  (11:19 AM)

I don't expect much different overall numbers than what we've seen in the past from him. He tends to be streaky, but he always seems to get his wins and a good strikeout total. We've been waiting for the inevitable arm problem for years, but he seems healthy. He's a top-20 pitcher to me.

Jeff (Little Rock)

Eric..... the new picture is nice! Who is a better keeper, Gallardo or Uggla?

Eric Karabell
  (11:20 AM)

Thank you. I'd say Gallardo, because he's about to emerge as a top-20 pitcher, while we've seen what Uggla can do. There's nothing wrong with a 25-homer middle infielder, but in a keeper league I want Gallardo.

Ray, Burlington, NJ

Eric-thanks for the chat. Who gets more ABs at 3b for LA-Laroche or Nomar? LF-Ethier or Pierre?

Eric Karabell
  (11:21 AM)

I would be surprised if LaRoche and Pierre aren't in the opening lineup as April begins. Nomar is a reserve corner infielder at this point, and Ethier shouldn't beat out Kemp or Pierre. Why Pierre? Well, what he does he does well. He's durable, steals bases, normally hits for a good average. I just don't think he's going to get benched.

Joe (Billings, MT)

Eric, need your thoughts on the following trade: Byrnes, Jeter, and Gallardo for Bedard and DiceK. I need speed and have excess pitching, Byrnes replaces Rowand and DJ replaces Hardy.

Eric Karabell
  (11:24 AM)

I think Byrnes and Jeter are a tad overrated in fantasy, but I have Gallardo and Dice-K rated about the same, and if you need speed then you're doing fine with this deal. And Jeter over Hardy is a significant upgrade.

Steve (NY)

Eric, who's the better keeper out of Cabrera, Wright, and Rodriguez? A-Rod will be 33 this season. He's no spring chicken!

Eric Karabell
  (11:25 AM)

I wouldn't call 33 old. In fact, I sure hope it's not old! A-Rod is the best player in fantasy, and the best keeper. There's no sign of decline, and he's going to break the home run record. No worries about him as his hair turns gray!

joe torre, LA

so you think i dont understand that stealing bases and a good average aren't actually that beneficial to an offense, when compared to other measures?

Eric Karabell
  (11:27 AM)

I didn't say that, I said I think Torre will choose Pierre as the everyday left fielder. People are making Ethier out to be a star, and he's not. He probably deserves a starting spot somewhere, but I don't think he gets it in LA. Pierre does do some good things. He's got no power and has a poor arm, but there are some positives.

Steve (NY)

My fault for not asking a better question, but I am curious who's you're #2 keeper of those three, Wright or Cabrera?

Eric Karabell
  (11:28 AM)

Wright over Cabrera. We all want power production, but when a 3B has the potential to steal 30 year after year, even if he doesn't, I choose him.

Patrick (Seattle, WA)

Eric, based on his minor league numbers, will Chris B. Young's batting average lift over time?

Eric Karabell
  (11:29 AM)

I don't think we expected Young's average to be as low as it was, so yes, I think it will go up. But this is not a .300 hitter. He's more like a Mike Cameron type, a right-handed hitter with pop and good speed. Young is actually a bit underrated in drafts. Yeah, he didn't hit for average as a rookie. So what? Is that all we judge him on?

Roger Clemens (Capitol Hill)

Who is the weird guy sitting next to me? He just keeps staring at me and he's freaking me out. Plus, he's keeping me from strangling the life out of Brian McNamee.

Eric Karabell
  (11:30 AM)

This is not a good day for baseball, or politics for that matter. It's a shame. Someone's lying. Let's talk fantasy!

Kris (Louisville, KY)

Eric, are you buying a Rickie Weeks breakout this year? is there 30-30 potential there?

Eric Karabell
  (11:33 AM)

I'd say that potential is there, but I would still take the under on both the homers and steals. Weeks hasn't proven to be at all durable, with wrist problems, but if he could play 140 games, he could certainly be a 20/20 player. He's a risk, a good one, and a borderline top-10 second baseman who could go in the top 100.

Gotti (Sann Diego, Ca

Is there any hope in the future for my A's? I see alot of propects down the road but the next couple of seasons look bleak. Give me hope !

Eric Karabell
  (11:35 AM)

I think as many times as fans say a team is truly horrible, that team surprises and wins more than you think. The A's shouldn't be contenders, but there remains good talent there. I'd worry most about the pitching, especially if Blanton and Street are moved.

Jon (NJ)

Im a homer. There Ive admitted it. Out of the Mets other 3 pitchers (Perez, Maine, Pedro) which one is the best pick for me this year. Im really torn because I know that Ollie has the potential but I feel Maine is more consistant.... and Pedro... well he's a wildcard.

Eric Karabell
  (11:37 AM)

I think Pedro is the one who will go first in drafts, but it won't be me. I've blogged about this, I just think people are looking at his stats wrong. Perez has the highest upside of the three, but he remains wild and walks people. Maine is the forgotten one. Look at his 2007 season, it was pretty good, and you can get him the latest of the three. He's the best value.

Jason (Atlanta)

Do you see Carlos Gonzalez starting the year in the majors?

Eric Karabell
  (11:38 AM)

I don't think the A's have any reason to rush the guy, so it depends what he shows in the spring. He is, however, a contender for top rookie honors if he plays enough. Gonzalez has power and speed.

Joey C. (NY)

How will Dontrelle Willis adjust to the AL, and do you think he's a good late-round selection?

Eric Karabell
  (11:41 AM)

I wouldn't call Dontrelle someone I am targeting, and the problem with drafting a pitcher who provides innings and might get lit is he hurts you more than helps. As a late-round selection, sure, take a shot. I don't think there's an adjustment period for Willis.

Dave (Tampa)

Prior worth a late round flier

Eric Karabell
  (11:42 AM)

Sure. Just about anyone is worth a late flier. I don't expect Prior to be ready to pitch for the Padres in April, but with that ballpark, Prior has a shot to be valuable. Maybe he makes 20 starts? I doubt the Padres would let him get lit. That would imply something's wrong with him. With Willis, the Tigers want innings.

Jason (Atlanta)

Eric, following up on the Gonzalez question, with his considerable talents, could he be a Hanley Ramirez type who won't blossom in the minors due to motivation issues? Not saying he'd have Hanley's upside, but Hanley never produced a ton in the minors either (at least, not like he has in the majors).

Eric Karabell
  (11:44 AM)

I won't pretend to know his motivation, but Gonzalez has talent, always hit in the minors and should be a very good rookie if he wins a job. I don't think he'd run enough to be Hanley, but the power should be there.

Joey C. (NY)

Are there any high ranked players who you are completely against drafting?

Eric Karabell
  (11:45 AM)

There is nobody I would not draft, if that makes sense. I might not agree with others on the value of a guy like Pedro or Figgins or starting pitching, but there's a right time to take every player.

Frank (Philly)

five shakiest closers entering season

Eric Karabell
  (11:47 AM)

Eric Gagne and Troy Percival lead my list. Whether it's health or performance, I have doubts about each of them. Others who I would call shaky include Kevin Gregg, Todd Jones, Joe Borowski and whomever wins the Texas and Baltimore jobs.

Kris (Montijo, Spain)

Eric, could you conceive of using Joey Votto as your top fantasy 1B, assuming he wins the full-time job? At least as good as Garko or Overbay, right?

Eric Karabell
  (11:49 AM)

I think it's a bit presumptive to say that, since Votto hasn't proven himself for more than a few weeks at the big league level. I think he will hit for power and average, but I think Garko and Overbay are good as well. Garko should put up better stats than Votto, but both have upside.

Marc (NYC)

our league uses holds, Joba in the 8th or long middle relief

Eric Karabell
  (11:50 AM)

I think Joba will pitch the eighth inning ahead of Rivera, and thrive in the role. This is important for the Yankees, and fantasy owners who expect Joba to make 20 starts are going to be disappointed. Don't be shocked if Joba remains in the bullpen all season long. Papelbon was supposed to be a starter, too, you know.

John (NY)

Projections for Jay Bruce? More Ryan Braun or Alex Gordon?

Eric Karabell
  (11:52 AM)

Probably in between, but I don't think Bruce makes the Reds out of spring training. I just don't. He could be up soon, and hit lots of homers, but I doubt he'd run much. But you don't predict rookies to fail like Gordon did. And by the way, Gordon will be fine, this year.

Gray (Chicago)

Seems like this is the year the Rays protect Baldelli by DH'ing him. Is this the season we have been waiting for?

Eric Karabell
  (11:53 AM)

There is no way I will project 140 games for Baldelli. Not a chance. I hope he stays healthy and thrives, but whether he's a DH or RF, how can anyone expect a big season? It's not like all his injuries came diving for fly balls. He just gets hurt.

Chuck (Little Rock)

would you be willing to take a chance and keep Liriano over Markakis if your keeping Howard, Beltran, Bedard, Braun, and Crawford? League lasts 2 more years

Eric Karabell
  (11:55 AM)

The league ends in two years? Oh no! I could make the case for Liriano over Markakis, yes. Plus, you've got a nice offense already.

Tom NJ

Buzzer beater. Sorianno, Pujols or Beltran with the 3rd pick in my keeper league?

Eric Karabell
  (11:55 AM)

If I had the pick I'd still go Pujols, then Soriano.

David (DC)

I'm trying to get Hanley Rameriz, is Beltran, Bedard and Maybin enougth for Hanley and Verlander (Dynasty league)

Eric Karabell
  (11:56 AM)

In a dynasty league I think that's an ample offer. Maybin could be a very good player, and in a year or two we might find Hanley playing center field.

Phil, Grand Rapids, Mi.

Hi Eric, have you heard how is Jason Schmidt's rehab doing, will he be back this year? Will Lugo rebound?

Eric Karabell
  (11:57 AM)

The Dodgers expect Schmidt to be ready to pitch by April, so I'd assume that means things are going well. I wouldn't draft him as anything but a late flier, though. But yeah, he could work out. Lugo should hit at least .250 this season. That was just a bad year, and he will play and will run.

brad (harrisburg, pa)

plain and simple: Gallardo or Lincecum for '08?

Eric Karabell
  (11:58 AM)

Gallardo. But there's nothing wrong with Lincecum.

Gotti (San Diego, Ca

What is the weakest position this season. 2b seems unusualy deep this year so what position am I keeping an eye out for?

Eric Karabell
  (11:58 AM)

Catcher is the most scarce position, yet again. I think both middle infield spots are about the same.

Eric Karabell
  (11:59 AM)

OK, thanks to everyone for the great questions and have a good day. There's another chat coming up later today. Pitchers and catchers report this week... woo hoo! Adios!