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March 5, 1:18 PM ET
Fantasy Sports w/AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (2:59 PM)

Good afternoon one and all. Spring training continues in earnest and the March Madness hoopla continues to pick up steam. We'll try to get to as many questions as we can, so let's get this party started... Who's on first?


AJ: i have no mind of my own. please tell me who to select with the #2 pick in a 12 team mixed 5x5 league... for some reason, i am afraid of Hanley. i can't get away from the position scarcity thing, and that has me leaning toward Holliday, that ain't gonna happen. what the heck should i do? thx

AJ Mass
  (3:02 PM)

Assuming whoever has #1 overall doesn't drop the ball, leaving you A-Rod (stranger things have happened) I'd still take one of the big three at SS. Whether you decide it's Reyes or Rollins or Ramirez (and clearly you do not think it is Hanley) I'd definitely take one of them.

Bryan (TX)

I just traded Abreu and Brandon Lyon for Markakis and Loney. Good move? What do you see out of Abreu this year? Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (3:04 PM)

Assuming you have saves elsewhere, then yes. Both Markakis and Abreu are going to be 20-20 guys, but at some point, age becomes a factor, and Abreu is far less likely to soar past those expectations. Add another 15 HR from Loney, and you're sure to come out ahead... again as long as you're not "punting saves" completely in the process.

Laff ( Chi-town)

AJ, love your work man. Who do you like more as a late round sleeper Wandy Rd or Kuroda? Will UK make the tourney without Patterson? Thanks

AJ Mass
  (3:08 PM)

I think in this case I'd rather take a chance with the unknown and Kuroda. I've seen far too much of Wandy to think he's too much more than what I've seen already. As for UK... right now I still have them in, but it's real close. They HAVE to win against SCar and may need to win a few in the SEC tourney too... very close call. Patterson's loss will be factored in, and not in a good way.

Dan (Albany, NY)

HI AJ, 10 team league, each keeps one in the round they were drafted....Keep A-rod in the first and hope I get the 10th pick (we draw draft position after we announce our keepers) or Chris B Young in the 16th? Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (3:09 PM)

If you go with the premise that A-Rod is the #1 overall player, then regardless of your draft slot, you're getting value for keeping him... He's the closest thing to a sure thing in MLB, and I'd keep him.

Dave (Stamford)

Better strategy heading into my keeper league auction: Keep Josh Hamilton ($1) & draft a top SS (like Rollins) -or- keep Jeter ($35) and draft an outfielder (Beltran/Vlad)

AJ Mass
  (3:11 PM)

$35 for Jeter seems to be waaaaaay too much. I think I'd go with Hamilton and use my money elsewhere... even possibly getting Jeter back for far less.

Joe (NY)

in a 14 team, h2h, total point, keeper league who do i target with the 4th pick? too high for johan?

AJ Mass
  (3:13 PM)

Depends. What's the scoring system like? If the top pitchers can give you 100 points per week with one start and the top hitters only get you, say 75, then yes. If not, then no. Certainly I think Johan is the first pitcher to be taken, but without knowing the points, it's hard to say.

brad (harrisburg, pa)

plain and simple: give pujols, get braun. yes or no?

AJ Mass
  (3:14 PM)

I would. Personally, I am concerned.

Adam (NYC)

Follow up to your "I love speed" column - what do you see Carlos Gomez doing this year?

AJ Mass
  (3:16 PM)

Thanks for mentioning the column... it's a radical approach, to be sure. Gomez, assuming he wins the job outright could be good for 40 steals. It's just a question of him learning how to hit righties a heck of a lot better.


Where do you rank Ortiz and Hafner with 1b eligibility?

AJ Mass
  (3:18 PM)

I like Ortiz much better than Hafner. I'd put Ortiz in the Round 2-3 range of hitters and Hafner far lower, around 5-7.


Why is Dunn rated so low?

AJ Mass
  (3:21 PM)

I think we had (collectively) Dunn as an 8th Rounder. I actually had him much higher... Round 3-4 --- which should tell you something, since I'm the advocate of speed, of which, Dunn isn't exactly the epitome of. I think it's just one of those quirky things - sort of like how you can be in a draft and look up in Round 10 and see someone like Chipper Jones sitting there unclaimed... it happens.


Would you feel comfortable with Smoltz as your ace this year?

AJ Mass
  (3:23 PM)

Comfortable? No. After all, it's a matter of time. He is over 40. But it is a young 40, with the closer workload all those seasons, and I wouldn't MIND having him. I just wouldn't feel COMFORTABLE.


What do you think about taking all hitters with your 1st nine picks?

AJ Mass
  (3:24 PM)

It certainly can work... you just have to be able to get the right pitchers once you do decide to make those selections. The LIMA plan has worked before and it will work again... you just have to be able to pick the right remaining arms once everyone else has claimed all the big guns.


If you were in a 10 team head to head league, how many projected stolen bases from your starters would you feel comfortable with?

AJ Mass
  (3:27 PM)

I am the wrong guy to ask, since I like to load up on the steals. With a balanced team, I think 90-100 is a good range to shoot for.

Sponge Cleveland

How strong is Lyons hold as the closer in Arizona. I can keep either him or Smoltz

AJ Mass
  (3:28 PM)

I think Lyon is the guy. But given the choice between the two, I'd keep Smoltz. We subscribe to the "never pay for saves" theory, and that applies to "keeping saves" by extension.

Jason (Scarsdale NY)

would you deal Kemp (21st rd this year, 18th next) for one year of Harang (16th rd)?

AJ Mass
  (3:30 PM)

I love Harang. Big big fan. Call me a Harang-utan if you will. Kemp, with all the potential, hasn't proved it to me yet. It may end up being a colossal mistake, but I go deal Matt away.

dave (ny)

More speed.....better sbs numbers...ellsbury or gomez this year?

AJ Mass
  (3:32 PM)

Ellsbury will get around 30-40 steals, assuming Francona doesn't get all cuckoo for Coco all of a sudden. Gomez, even if he just pinch runs twice a week could get 40 steals - but I'd rather have Jacob for the help in the other categories.

Brendan (DC)

AJ, read your article on speed, but I stil l feel like I have too much. OF of Soriano, Crawford, Hart, and Pierre in the UTIL with Jeter and Weeks in the IF. Do I need to trade either Pierre or Crawford from the get go?

AJ Mass
  (3:34 PM)

No, no, no! The whole point of drafting speed is to build yourself a cushion. Yes, you're going to have to trade eventually. But to do so before any game shave been played? Then why did you draft the way you did? Let a few weeks play out and see exactly where your team's weaknesses are. Then target your needs, rather than making more decisions based on projections.

j.r ((mustang ok))

would you use a third or fourth on jeter or troy t or go later for a yunel escobar?also do you like him over hardy?

AJ Mass
  (3:37 PM)

If I miss out on one of the big 3, I'm going to wait awhile before grabbing a SS. I'm already going to be behind at that position, so I might as well shore up other spots first so I'm not playing catch up the entire draft.

AJ Mass
  (3:38 PM)

Sorry... I like Hardy more than Escobar. Missed that part of the Q.

Cody Philly

AJ, staying with the speed topic, do you think the bourne theivery can play an entire season and is 50 sbs likely. Thanks

AJ Mass
  (3:39 PM)

Yes and yes.

Jerry (Phoenix, AZ)

Is Matt Diaz a starter for the Braves? His numbers last year were excellent and if he's going to play everyday this season he could be a late-round steal.

AJ Mass
  (3:41 PM)

He is projected to start, but the Braves have several young OF's in the wings and they are going to be worked in somewhere... Diaz looks most likely to be nudged out. I don't think he ends up playing every day when all is said and done.

James (NYC)

For those of you not buying AJ's speed theory- I did it last year and won my league. Built a 50 steal lead then dealt Crawford for Carlos Lee. It works!

AJ Mass
  (3:42 PM)

Larry H. Parker got me $1 million! Thanks for the endorsement.

Jeremy (Los Angeles)

ESPN really missed the boat on Shane Victorino. He should be ranked a lot higher than he is. He's capable of hitting double digit HRs and stealing 40+ bases. I would've ranked him in Vernon Wells/Jason Bay territory at least... What's not to like about the Flyin' Hawaiian?

AJ Mass
  (3:43 PM)

I agree and I do value Shane very much. Again, when you bring a whole bunch of chefs into one room, sometimes the soup has too much pepper in it. Or some sort of cooking analogy like that.

Sergio (NYC)

Why no 12 team Mock Drafts? Thanks

AJ Mass
  (3:44 PM)

More mock drafts will be coming as we get closer to Opening Day, but every combo is not possible. Standard ESPN is 10-team mixed, but we gave you 12-team AL and 13-team NL.

Justin (Queens, NY)

Hey AJ. I need to sumbit my keepers tonight. What 5 would you keep; Rios (6), Bedard (10) SD CYoung(12) Morneau(15) Mcann(18) Hart(18) GallAdo(18) Hardy(18) and Maine(25)? TY.

AJ Mass
  (3:46 PM)

Do I have to keep five? Bedard at 10, for sure. Rios at 6. Hardy, Hart and then... Morneau.

peter (balt)

adam jones numbers this year?

AJ Mass
  (3:48 PM)

No guarantees... I'd be happy with 10 HR this season. Next year will be the year for the breakout.

Reggie (Orlando)

Does the Pujols elbow concern you this year? How far does he drop?

AJ Mass
  (3:49 PM)

Yes it concerns me, but I was concerned before that news came out. I think in most leagues he goes from a surefire first-rounder to a late first -early second rounder. But I'm not going near him.

J (FL)

AJ- I feel the need . . . for fastballs! AL only 5x5 keeper league. Out of the top 10 pitchers, Bedard and Lackey will be available, everyone else is kept. Should I keep Dice-K at $34?

AJ Mass
  (3:51 PM)

That second half split scares me. I'd throw him back and try to get Bedard for $40-ish, if I could.

Mike (Albany, NY)

AJ: I'm in a keeper league. Can you give me some sleeeper MI's to help w/SB's. Thanks!!

AJ Mass
  (3:54 PM)

Sleepers... only sleepers if we keep it hush-hush, right? Guys like Theriot and Jason Bartlett and Kaz Matsui jump to mind.


wright, reyes or hanley with the 4th pick in mixed h2h league?

AJ Mass
  (3:55 PM)

I rank those three - Hanley, Wright, Reyes. So, if any or all are still there that's the plan.

bob (princeton)

no idea who take in the 4th rd of 12 team 5x5 roto with streaming sp's. I protected ortix, vlad and phillips. gwo i go with beckett, aram , maglio or russ mart?

AJ Mass
  (3:57 PM)

I'd go with Magglio --- but DEATH to leagues which allow streaming of pitchers. That's no longer playing fantasy baseball, that's playing "who's got the fastest computer". Just dumb.

Trey (VA)

Can ESPN rename their link to fantasy baseball so it takes out the words "fantasy" and "games" so I can look/draft at work? Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (3:58 PM)

That's not the first time I've heard this concern - not in my department, but I'll be sure to pass the idea along.

AJ Mass
  (3:58 PM)

Time for one more kiddies...

Tyler (boston)

i've got Santana, Beckett, Bedard, Hamels and Verlander (in a roto league), but my team has no power hitters. Should i be aggressive in trading one of my starters to pick up a hitter?

AJ Mass
  (4:00 PM)

Again, not yet. If you've got a huge edge in pitching, that's a good thing. Certainly you'll have to trade at some point, but why not reap a little benefit from the stockpile and figure out exactly what you need first. Who knows, you may have a sleeper or two in your lineup who outperform expectations.

AJ Mass
  (4:01 PM)

That's all the time I have today gang. Thanks for the Q's. We'll be back before you know it. And be sure to check out the Draft Kit, jam packed with info. Have a great day!