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April 11, 12:41 PM ET
Fantasy Baseball w/AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (10:58 AM)

Good morning one and all. Time for another chat. Lots of questions already pouring in, and thank goodness, so far not a single one asking which so-called star will no longer be dancing soon. Whew! Let's get cracking!

Nando Hartford, CT

I know it's so early but can we expect a Ryan Braunesque season from Evan Longoria? Is 30 HR a possibility? The kid is definitely where he's supposed to be even at 22 years of age.

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

Expecting a Ryan Braun season from Longoria is like expecting someone to hit .390. Yes, it could happen, but it doesn't happen too often. I see Evan possibly getting 25HR, but a rookie callup getting 30+ isn't going to happen every year.

Charlie P (Long Branch, NJ)

Hey, I have a pretty deep outfield (Holliday, Soriano, Abreu, Dye, McLouth) - and start four of them when possible (one via utility). My question is which four would you start today?

AJ Mass
  (11:01 AM)

Today, I think I'd sit Soriano. But I am a big Harang fan, so that's factoring in.

Matt (Raleigh)

McLouth is on fire! What kind of numbers do you project for him this season. Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

He'll slow down a bit, but I am real high on Nate and the Pirates. In my pre-season preview, I said Pitt would finish 82-80 and I stand by it. I think Nate ends up in the ballpark of 285-30-90.

Alvin (Washington D.C.)

In a league that counts OBP instead of BA, I've got Thome, Giambi and Nick Johnson and 2 spots. If all three play, who should I sit?

AJ Mass
  (11:05 AM)

In general, I'd sit Giambi of the three, but given particular matchups, I might be inclined to sit out someone else on a daily basis.

Brick (Brooklyn)

Neshek worries?

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

In general, no. Tigers were bound to wake up sooner or later, and quite frankly, Gomez and Span misplayed several of those balls hit into the outfield.

Joel (MD)

Which 1B would you prefer going forward: Adam LaRoche, Connor Jackson, Mike Jacobs? thx

AJ Mass
  (11:07 AM)

First time in the chat, huh Joel? Welcome! I am very high on Conor and think he's a stud for years to come... now if he can just not get the flu or hit on the hand...

Paul (Toledo, OH)

I know people are generally against vetoing trades, but I was wondering what you think of this trade that was vetoed in our league. It was Victor Martinez, Hanley Ramirez, Ted Lilly for A.J. Pierzynski Rickie Weeks, edgar Renteria, Manuel Corpas, Daisuke Matsuzaka. Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:09 AM)

I don't like vetoes at all, except where you can prove outright collusion. Name value certainly jumps out at you with V-Mart and Han-Ram, but this isn't lopsided enough for me to cause a stink.

Johnny (UConn)

I Have Jason Bay, Vernon Wells and Johnny Cueto, you think it would be piossible to package two of them to get a player like Matt Holliday, and would you do it?

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

I think Cueto's last start hurts your chances, but if you strike after his next outing (assuming it's good) you might be able to convince Holliday's owner to take him and Wells. I'd try it.

mike (ny)

Will reyes come back to form? If so, how long? Bottom line, is it time to trade for him?

AJ Mass
  (11:13 AM)

Assuming you're talking Jose and not Al.... I wouldn't panic this soon in with anyone. Come July, his stat line will make you forget April. It's a long season.

John Boston

Hey AJ Pierre is killin me so far but I've been reading about the whole Torre loyalty biz. What do you project for him? Should I go for Gathright now? I'm also thinking about scooping up Owens (CWS). Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:15 AM)

Gathright will kill you just as much as Pierre if DeJesus continues to grab his at-bats. I think you have to hang tight and get your power and average elsewhere.

d (st louis)

Is it Rafael Bettencourt time (finally) in Cleveland?

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

Should it be? Yes. Will it be? I think Joe may be headed for the DL soon, so I'd grab him if he's available.

Mike (NYC)

Is it time to drop Borowski? Roto league where I have Rivera, Wagner and CJ Wilson but can start 4 closers if I want to. Should I just pick up a good MR and drop Borowski? Betancourt is gone (picked up while my wireless connection was giving me problems)

AJ Mass
  (11:19 AM)

I wouldn't necessarily drop Joe though... if you have a DL spot, and he gets placed on that list this week (speculating, only) I'd stash him there and see that Betancourt does or doesn't do the job. If not, then yes, picking up a Heath Bell or a Duaner Sanchez (assuming he comes back healthy this week) would be an OK move.

James (Houston)

Pick a closer, any closer: Hoffman, Street, Soria, Sherrill, or Gagne.

AJ Mass
  (11:20 AM)

I like Sherrill a lot. Do I think the O's continue to win at this clip? No. But I was high on George getting 30 saves before the season started. If Baltimore actually can win 75 games, that could be as high as 40.

Bob (Nebraska)

Marmol for Greinke. Who wins?

AJ Mass
  (11:21 AM)

Greinke. Hands down. He's not winning the Cy Young, mind you, but a starter who gets you QS is far more valuable in my book for all your ratio categories.

Kantad (NYC)

AJ, I'm heartbroken about my Warriors not making the NBA Playoffs. I guess I can focus on my Fantasy Baseball now. What do you think of Bill Hall and Matt Chico? Good backups or worth putting into my everyday starters?

AJ Mass
  (11:23 AM)

I guess it depends on the other guys on your roster... but I'm very high on Hall and not so much on the thinking Chico is the man...

Steve(Boston)

AJ hope all is going good. Encarcion or Crede? Also Headley worth a spot on the bench. he is 3rd base eligible. Thanks

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

I think people were quick to dismiss Crede, simply because they liked Fields better... but fact is Joe is certainly 30 HR possible again if healthy. I've seen Encarnacion leave far too many RISP already to like him better. As for Headley on your bench... it's all a question of when... just like Bruce, Maybin and Rasmus... but if you have room to wait, why not.

Sean (LA)

AJ- Last week, you chewed me out for considering a strategy where I benched a player who was scuffling at the plate. OK, point taken. So, I filled my roster as I always do and got reamed for the second week in a row by a team that was streaming players every day. This particular team drafted Halladay and 5 RP. Is it not unethical to stream players giving you the opportunity to play 45-50 players a week as opposed to the 24 players that a person drafts for their roster? Isn't that a distinct disadvantage? And this is an ESPN pay league that I'm in!

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

Again, there's a difference between ethical and legal. While I despise the use of the waiver wire to give yourself an unlimited roster, if your league rules do allow for it, you can't stop a guy from doing it. You ARE at a distinct disadvantage, and unfortunately the only way to compete may be to join in... which is why I hate full-on streaming.

Mark(Memphis)

How do you guys at ESPN miss the boat so bad on Kemp this preseason?

AJ Mass
  (11:32 AM)

I knew those tarot cards were cursed! But seriously, our rankings are from a group mind and not ALL of us experts were on Kemp's bandwagon... but Kemp's not been awful.

Ryan(madison,wi)

It is hard to miss the boat after 2 weeks. Kemp should be a stud down the stretch when the dodgers clear out the OF depth. Trade for him while you can!

AJ Mass
  (11:33 AM)

Possibly, Ryan. That's the point... it's early.

Streaming (People)

Why are you so against streaming? It may devalue the later parts of the draft, but streamers are often beat. They don't always win. And if they do win, then maybe they were a little more strategic than you! I fight fire with fire. To limit this, I put a cap on 5 moves per week. Add that to the ESPN standard settings to cut down on this.

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

Of course they don't always win... and yes, a roster move cap would severely cripple the strategy. My feeling is that people play fantasy baseball for different reasons. There is a group that plays to have fun, and to prove they can "scout" players better than others. That's my camp. There's another that wants to win no matter what. That's where streamers fall in. It's just not the game I want to play in... It's the difference between a softball beer league and league where the players all have metal cleats and wear eye black.

Ryan(madison,wi)

If you want to block streamers just go out and add/drop the starters your opponent may use. This puts the guys on waivers and eliminates the probable starters that might beat you later in the week.

AJ Mass
  (11:38 AM)

Two wrongs don't make a right in my book. If that's the kind of league you're in, so be it. But that removes the fun, and if you do that, you've lost me.

Curious George

BTW, what the heck is "streaming"?? I've been playing fantasy for years and have never heard of this. Please educate, illuminate, and otherwise shed light!

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?page=commish0331

AJ Mass
  (11:41 AM)

Here's my article on it, that rankled a lot of folks who think that I must have lost to a streamer at one point, hence my disdain for the tactic. The fact is, you CAN disagree with something simply on principle.

pete (columbus)

streaming isn't really strategic though. Most of it is sitting online at the exact moments that ESPN locks the roster and u can get guys for the next day. The reason streaming is frowned on is cause u can most of the time overwhelm any other team with Wins and Ks. U then have a shot at the other 3 pitching categories if you get lucky(and have closers). If you don't like it, have your LM set a starting or transaction limit. We recently changed to 14 and it's helped considerably.

AJ Mass
  (11:42 AM)

Absolutely. But if your season is already underway, changing to rules now isn't going to work. That's why I wrote my article early in the season, to try and educate newbies like George who might have been surprised by the tactic. I think letting the cat out of the bag rankled a few folks, hence the vitriol I faced.

Streaming (People)

I fall in both camps: I want to scout the best players AND win. I consistently win by waiting on SP and taking the Matt Cains and Zack Greinkes of the world, and having 5 or 6 of these guys without an ace. I don't like to stream, but I will if challenged. There is no rule against it, so I feel it is worthless to attack this point ad naseum in ALL of your chats & articles. I am sorry for the post, actually, because I am adding to the piling on. I think ESPN's short benches ADDS to streaming. In the league I cap moves at 5 I have deep benches (29 players per team, 12 teams) so there are not a lot of streamable pitchers out there.

AJ Mass
  (11:45 AM)

I hear you streaming, but my article is "The Commish's Court" -it exists to answer questions on ethical strategies and if my mailbox gets flooded with many questions on these topics, like streaming or roster spot tanking, (and they are), then I'll continue to address it.

Steve (MA via E. Hartford)

I usually have streamers on my bike...is that unethical?

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

No, but it is a little 9-year-old girl-ish.

Prince Fielder

If I hear another word about streaming, I am going to hit a home run!

Jim (Detroit, MI)

A.J., I'm looking for runs, SB, and avg. Got any names I should be able to get for Mark Reynolds?

AJ Mass
  (11:48 AM)

Well, how about Mark Reynolds? He's not exactly killing you in those areas, is he? Lance Berkman and Ian Kinsler come to mind.

Chuck (Des Moines, IA)

I guess this has turned into the "to stream or not to stream" chat. Streaming is for chumps who also probably think it is OK to berate 11-year olds for striking out in a little league game. Uni-brow sporting neanderthals. That being said, would you sit Mauer for Towles for the time being?

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

No, I'd stick with Mauer. Not convinced JR is ready for prime time.

Help (drowning)

Would trade Ortiz straight up for Bedard? I need pitching bad.

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

If you have the hitting and the Bedard owner goes for it, be my guest. However I think Papi turns it around, and I'm starting to get a tad nervous about Erik...

Streaming (People)

Nice one, Prince, I can use a few dingers from you!!!! Time to go berate some 11 year olds!

Michael (Boston)

So you think Borowski is injured? Would you drop Rafeal Soriano for Betancourt?

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)

He says something isn't right and there's been talk of an MRI... certainly when a pitcher himself seems concerned, you have to think something is up. I'd grab Betancourt sooner rather than later.

James, Tallahassee

You can't get Berkman or Kinsler for Reynolds. Otherwise I drafted Kinsler way too high(5th round).

AJ Mass
  (11:54 AM)

The way owners wheel and deal in many leagues, and panic early - or jump at the hot player way too soon - you can get A-Rod for a shoe in certain leagues... never hurts to try.

Jay (Bos)

Ortiz looks horrible, I've watched every Sox game he's played in and this is by far the worst I've ever seen him look. I am a little nervous. Jusy saying... Anyways, would you give up any of these young OF's (J Upton, Kemp, Hermida) for Cueto? I need help at SP. Also, how many innings do you think the Reds will allow Cueto to throw?

AJ Mass
  (11:56 AM)

Personally, I think he'll be fine now that they've dredged up his jersey from New Yankee Stadium. I'd give up Kemp for Cueto, especially if Torre is going to insist on fitting 4 guys into 3 spots, and the fact that I wouldn't want to rely on that many youngsters in my OF.

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

We're almost done, gang... a couple more...

robert, SF

no one drops and picks up an entire pitching staff!

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

Let me introduce you to a literary concept: exaggeration to prove a point.

Steve (Boston)

Napoli instead of Jojhima?

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

I think so. Kenji is not that good.

logan (Hattiesburg, Mississippi)

Dana Eveland and/or Edwin Jackson worth starting today?

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)

I'd take a chance on Eveland and ride him while he's hot... and while the Sox appear not to be.

masa kobayashi

Are they going to let me close?

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

You'll get a share of the saves while Joe-Bo is out, assuming he goes out... but I think you're second choice.

Adam (Baltimore)

What do I do with Uggla? Kaz Matsui is available still?

AJ Mass
  (12:02 PM)

I stick with Uggla. Matsui has taken a long time to rehab from his, ahem, injury and I'm not keen to jump on Kaz just yet.

AJ Mass
  (12:03 PM)

That's time, folks. Good chat. Nice debate - always welcome! TMR up at 3pm... we'll be back soon! Good luck!