Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

February 27, 3:01 PM ET
Fantasy Sports w/AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (2:55 PM)

Good afternoon gang. We're knee deep in Spring Training and have some Bracketology on our shoes. Let's get this hour long shower of questions started, shall we?

Kevin (Bloomington)

This is my 2nd year in fantasy. Last year I won by drafting for high average and ended up with 3 of the 4 top closers - but it was pure luck - I had no clue what I was doing, but I won by 17 points. So now I want to go into this draft with that as my plan. I have the last pick in my 5x5 roto. Am I setting my self up for failure by drafting 3 bats in rounds 1-3, a solid starting pitcher in the 4th, and then going batter/closer for the next 4-5 rounds. It locks up the pitching and I should get quality bats similar to last year. Thoughts?

AJ Mass
  (2:57 PM)

If you read Matthew Berry's Draft Manifesto, you'll see "never pay for saves". I could not agree more. Pitchers can always be had later. Go for the bats and you'll be OK.

John (Los Angeles)

When ranking speed guys, where do you rank Ellsbury? Does he have the potential to surpass guys like Willy Tavares and Juan Pierre this season?

AJ Mass
  (2:58 PM)

I don't think Ellsbury will enter that level of steals (the 40+ club) but to say he's not too far behind is not a stretch.

Chris worcester,ma

In the last four rounds of my draft I took votto, longoria lastings and Adam Jones which one makes the quickest impact? how many are on opening day rosters?

AJ Mass
  (3:00 PM)

Lastings makes the quickest impact. Longoria may start in TB, though it's no lock... Votto may play and Jones may make roster. But Milledge is the immediate value.

Dan (CT)

Hey AJ. I have always played H2H baseball, but my friends and I want to start a 7x7 roto league. Would you mind giving me some guidance as to what categories are typically used in this kind of league?

AJ Mass
  (3:02 PM)

7X7??? Slow down. I think that's way too many. 4 or 5 is plenty. A nice mix of power stats, and speed stats for the hitters... a nice mix of dominance and control for pitchers. That's what you're looking for, rather than adding Holds or Total Bases to a standard 4X4.

ct, sf, ca

i have the 5th pick in a 1st yr keeper league draft: 1. reyes, 2. hanley, 3. wright, 4. miggy, 5. ??? i think i'd pass on pujols or a-rod since its a keeper league...?

AJ Mass
  (3:04 PM)

A-Rod! 32 is not old. Pujols' injury concerns - OK maybe you pass... but A-Rod? He could be MVP the next three seasons. Jump on it.

C(Omaha,NE)

Braun,Utley,Santana,Hamels in a 12 team H2H 5 man (2offense 2 pitchers 1 flex). Who out of Chone,Pujols,R.Hill,Pence,Pbon should I keep and why? Would you touch Pujols in the redraft or not?

AJ Mass
  (3:06 PM)

I'd keep Pujols. He's a first round value, even with the concerns. And you are essentially protecting 5 of the Top 20 or so picks if you keep him. Keep him.

brian (nd)

Who are the last 2 or 3 guys you would consider drafting as an "ace to anchor your staff? In your opinion do you need an "ace", or are you ok going with 2nd and 3rd tier pitchers?

AJ Mass
  (3:09 PM)

I am OK with going with 2nd and 3rd tier pitchers. Having Santana is nice, but if I don't get one of the top 2 or 3 aces, I generally wait until I have 7-8 solid hitters before jumping in - especially in a mixed league.

Manny: (Philly)

The Pittsburgh Pirates outfield- Who should be drafted and when?

AJ Mass
  (3:11 PM)

I like Bay to rebound. He's definitely a 7th round or so guy. Nady is a guy you pick late to fill out your OF and Morgan/McLouth are bench guys with speed - your last two round options.

C (Omaha,NE)

Thoughts on Manny Parra? Draftable?

AJ Mass
  (3:14 PM)

Absolutely draftable. With the injury to Yovanni, his value definitely goes up a notch.

Justin ( Queens, NY)

Dilemma: what 4 do I keep from Atkins, Hafner, C.Guillen, Harang, Putz? Much obliged.

AJ Mass
  (3:16 PM)

I'd probably cut Putz loose keepng in line with my feeling on closers, but he is in top 2, so you may want to let Atkins go instead.

Nick (Greenwich,CT)

Over/Under HR's for Cano: 18?? Also...which pitcher do u like better: Jeremy Guthrie or Dustin McGowan!? Which "koolaid" are u drinking?

AJ Mass
  (3:19 PM)

18 is a good ballpark. I'll go over, but it will be close. I like McGowan better - think he's got a better shot at the K's and W's.

AJ Mass
  (3:19 PM)

18 is a good ballpark. I'll go over, but it will be close. I like McGowan better - think he's got a better shot at the K's and W's.

J.Papelbon (Not really sure...)

Really Pujols over me? Why? I can dance man...I've never seen him in a kilt!!

AJ Mass
  (3:20 PM)

Again, it's a closer vs. hitter thing. Don't be hating.

Matt (Raleigh)

How do you feel about taking Figgins before big bats like Dunn or Morneau? Is is safe to wait for speed as I would saves? Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (3:23 PM)

I like Chone. Then again, I am a speed guy. I think with the limited number of players who can get you steals, you either jump in with both feet or steer clear entirely.

C (omaha,NE)

Anyone of consenquence in the Texas rotation? What about the young arms they have on the farm, any chance they make a significant impact this year?

AJ Mass
  (3:26 PM)

Not really. Milwood meh. Maybe Jennings if you're desperate. Might take a last round stab in the dark with McCarthy. Not much there, though.

Tyler (Delaware)

Can Eric Byrnes keep it up? Will he be more valuable than Corey Hart and/or Chris B Young the next TWO years?

AJ Mass
  (3:28 PM)

Two years? No, I don't think so. For 2008, he's still a strong pick, but still a gamble. 50 steals isn't happening, though 35 might. For 2009? I think Young's numbers soar past him. And I daren't go against the boss on Hart!

Hoopachoo (NYC)

Ok, I think I could guess your 1 seeds, but who are your 2's? Do you think Stanford could be a 2?

AJ Mass
  (3:31 PM)

UCLA, Memphis, and UNC right now are ones. Duke comes in as a 2, along with either Kansas, Texas or Tennessee. I think I might give last one to Georgetown. This of course will change greatly as the final weeks play out.

Nick (Greenwich,CT)

Which lower-tier 3b do u like this year Aj!: Rolen, Feliz, or Blalock? I'm thinking Feliz

AJ Mass
  (3:32 PM)

I agree with you. He hit 21 HR in that GIants lineup. Now with that infield around him in Philly? And with that ballpark which can't keep balls inside? Yes, please.

Karl (Utah)

Has there ever been any proof that having certain draft spots gives a greater advantage? I love having the last pick to get the back-to-back spots but don't know if it has been proven beneficial.

AJ Mass
  (3:34 PM)

I've never seen a study on the subject, though that could prove interesting. I think there's a big difference though in giving advantage from a spot and being able to manipulate a roster during a season. That skill can overcome any draft spot disadvantage. Personally I'd rather pick in the middle and not have 20 picks go between selections.

jesse in southbury

you love speed..what do you do with Juan Pierre in an 8-man keeper? will he lose time to Ethier?

AJ Mass
  (3:37 PM)

He's awful in the field, but I think he plays. And even if he doesn't play every day, he still steals 40. I may not keep him, depending on who else is on my roster, but I am re-drafting him quickly.

Tarr (Orlando)

Do you think Wake Forest can make the tourney?

AJ Mass
  (3:38 PM)

They're on the outside looking in right now, but not without a shot. NC Duke and Clemson are locks. Miami, Maryland and VT are probably fighting with Wake for two more. Could come down to first ACC Tourney game.

Gray (Chicago)

Does Dusty Baker's presence scare you from taking Bruce in a one-year league?

AJ Mass
  (3:39 PM)

In a word, yes. Can't see Dusty going with both Bruce and Votto out of the gate.

Tee (Portland)

What do you think about Yunel Escobar this year as a starter? the kid had a lot of multiple hit games last year for Atlanta

AJ Mass
  (3:41 PM)

Obviously, you didn't read my Braves preview. I think Yunel is the team's top sleeper candidate. Renteria is gone in part because of Escobar's progress. He should be terrific.

Ryan (Baltimore)

For a last keeper...Uggla, Taveras, Kemp, or Kouzmanoff. Already planning on keeping 2 hitters and 2 pitchers.

AJ Mass
  (3:43 PM)

If you're a speed guy, you go Willy T. A power guy and you go Uggla.

Cory (WV)

What do you think the mets chances are this season on winning the nl east and possibly making a run for a championship?

AJ Mass
  (3:46 PM)

I think with the addition of Santana, you have to think the Mets are the favorites. Both the Phillies and even the Braves have a shot, too... and there's always the Wild Card spot. If the Mets don't finish 1st, I still like their pitching to allow them to make the Series as a WC.

John (SF)

Hi AJ. What do you see for Jered Weaver this year? Were last year's struggles attributable to biceps tendonitis?

AJ Mass
  (3:48 PM)

Weaver just one of those up and down guys, but certainly his aches and pains didn't help matters. With Escobar's issues, though, Jered will get plenty of opportunities... Maybe 13 wins and an ERA around 4?

Nick (Greenwich, CT)

Big East...How many teams this year? What r ur predictions?

AJ Mass
  (3:50 PM)

Locks: Hoyas, The Ville, Irish, Huskies and Marquette. That's 5. Probably: 'Neers and Pitt. That's 7. Very outside shot for an 8th bid - Nova, who will get undeserved sympathy for two questionable officials' calls, and a Syracuse team that is good, but a year away.

michael (ny)

do you think that Carmona from the indians will put the same numbers as he did last year? If so do you think better?

AJ Mass
  (3:53 PM)

I just took Fausto in our Expert AL-only mock. I think his second half numbers, 11-4, 2.34 ERA may not repeat, but if he merely doubles the first half numbers of last year, he goes 16-8 with a 3.94 ERA. I'll take that.

Steve (Branson Mo)

Who will start at third for the dodgers this year?

AJ Mass
  (3:54 PM)

LaRoche. Nomar is no more a starter.

Bill (Allentown, PA)

After the Big 2, who are 3, 4 and 5 for your mixed league SP's?

AJ Mass
  (3:55 PM)

CC, Beckett and Lackey with Webb and Harang close behind.

cousin bill ((mass))

Worth a shot as a 4th outfielder? Milledge, Wily Mo, or Carlos Gomez. What are you expecting from them?

AJ Mass
  (3:57 PM)

When you get to that point in the draft, you take what's there. I personally don't like Willy Mo and won't take him. Milledge will get you 10-10 but Gomez, with a full season? Could steal 40+ I'd grab him.

Edwin (New Haven, CT)

Bedard not in the top 7? Oi!

AJ Mass
  (4:00 PM)

It's not like I'm ranking Bedard 40th. When you get to the top level of guys, you start splitting hairs. Obviously, if K's count, you may rank Erik higher. But if that's not a category, I put him 8.

AJ Mass
  (4:01 PM)

Folks, that's got to be time. I appreciate your questions, and I apologize to those I couldn't get to. We'll be back soon. Have a great afternoon and remember to check out the Draft Kit!