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May 23, 1:50 PM ET
Fantasy Baseball w/AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (10:57 AM)

Good morning all. Back to work after a long weekend... never easy, but we'll make the most of the next hour or so. Hop aboard the Hot Tamale Train and let's talk fantasy!

Lee (Stl)

Since you'll be doing your June rankings soon, where do you think Bruce will fall in? What OF would you consider similar value?

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

Let's get Bruce out of the way, shall we? I think he's definitely a huge upgrade from Freel/Patterson, but there's bound to be a lot of K's especially early on. I'm going to be watching the debut closely, but my gut tells me to put him in the 150 overall hitter range for right now.

Tim(Atlanta,GA)

Boof Bonser or Rich Hill more productive for the balance of the year?

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

I'm not a Hill fan, and think he's got a real problem with mechanics, and I'm hoping it's a physical problem... because if it's mental, it will take light years longer to correct. Boof's not all that either, but at least he gets you a QS every now and again.

Gill (Chicago)

Is David Murphy's hot start just a mirage? What type of numbers do you see him finishing up with?

AJ Mass
  (11:04 AM)

He's a nice ballplayer, but K/BB ratio indicates that he's probably going to get a lot colder before he gets any hotter. Maybe 20 HR and a 270 average.

SprungOnSports (Long Island)

How long will Brandon Webb's valley be, because he had a pretty long peak?

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

I wouldn't be concerned too much about Webb. My rule of thumb is that every great starter still has three bad outings in him... and Brandon will right the ship by his next start.

Frank (Woodbury)

Hey AJ, 10 team miexted, what should I do with Konerko? I have some deapth at the corners, does he have any value or should I go pick up Bruce?

AJ Mass
  (11:08 AM)

Absolutely. Look, although I'm not going to expect 30 HR from Bruce this season, I'd much rather take a shot on him with a bench spot than an under-performing vet. I'm just not going to rush him into a starting role .

Justin (Queens, NY)

I've finally given up and benched Hafner (in favor of Pierre!!!). I've been offered Phil Hughes for Pronk (16 team/mixed/keeper league). Pull the trigger or hold and wait? THX.

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

In a keeper league, that might be a good deal. You can hope Hughes gives you future stats and easily grab a Jack Hannahan type to fill the not-so-huge void left by Pronk's departure. In a non-keeper league though, you can do tons better.

Dave (CT)

Enough with the Bruce talk haha...what about CHASE HEADLEY...4 for 5 the other night and hes putting up impressive stats as well. Where would you rank him rest of the season?????

AJ Mass
  (11:12 AM)

I'd rank him the same neighborhood as Bruce, maybe even a tad higher... if I thought he was coming up anytime soon. But if we're looking at July or August, I can't exactly expect he'll help as much as Bruce, who has now arrived.

Brian (Annapolis)

What quality of 2b should I target in a trade for Frenchy in an 18 team keeper? Is Kendrick worth the risk with position scarcity?

AJ Mass
  (11:15 AM)

He may well be...We're looking at Kaz Matsui territory in equivalent value, and that's a nieghborhood that makes me scream "Non, merci!"

Chad (Fort Wayne, IN)

Hey AJ, I'm fortunate enough to have Lance Berkman on my team and i have depth at the outfield position and Mark Teixeira at first base. I'd like to trade Berkman for a elite second baseman because i have Weeks. Who has similar value as Berkman at second base?

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

Nobody really... since Berkman is playing lights out. You'd need at least Uggla/Utley in return or else there's no way you can in good conscience get rid of Lance.

Steve (Ohio)

Dusty Baker is driving me nuts. Should I look to trade Harang and/or Volquez while I can?

AJ Mass
  (11:19 AM)

Using his whole rotation in one game was a very bizarre choice, wasn't it? I think Volquez' value can only go down... not that I think he's not capable of being very good... but one bas start and the doubters will rear their ugly heads. I'd keep them both myself, but if you do have concerns, now is the time.

Bill (SD)

Most reports seem to indicate that Headley is going to be called up in the next week or two.

AJ Mass
  (11:21 AM)

That's an assumption based on the Padres record, and the "arbitration clock" passing. I wouldn't be surprised if he is, but I never underestimate the shortsightedness of management. He should have been called up instead of Gerut last opportunity.

Sam (Newberry, MI)

AJ, you are the best. What are your thoughts on Jose Contreras? 10 strikeouts on Sunday. But his GB% is well above his career norm. Not sure what to make of his hot start to the season.

AJ Mass
  (11:24 AM)

It's a bit of a poser, isn't it? In general, he lets the hitters put the ball into play... not a lot of K, not a lot of BB. That seems to indicate a regression is imminent, but then he goes and has a solid K outing. If he can keep his velocity up, he could well be a top-20 SP the rest of the way. I'm not sold yet, but he's starting to twist my arm.

Michael (Tucson, AZ)

AJ, my man, what do you think of all the Holliday trade rumors? I'm currently sitting in first place in the league where I own Holliday - would you try to move him now because you think his value will ultimately decrease or hold onto him and enjoy the production?

AJ Mass
  (11:27 AM)

Can't trade a guy on the DL... I think you just got yourself an extra month once he returns to action. Obviously his power numbers/average have been helped by Coors, but I think he's too good a hitter to lose all that much value if he does get shipped out.

Ozzie(chicago)

PLEASE ANSWER THIS! Do you think Swisher will turn things around this year? The guy have 35 homers just 2 years ago!

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

Look at that entire lineup... it's a struggle in general... if not for CQ, there's no way this team would be in first, and yet... there they are. The power may improve as the weather gets warmer, but 35 is a thing of the past.

David (LA, CA)

AJ, is Fielder going to turn it around? Please rank Fielder, Hamilton, Ankiel, Alex Gordon, and Votto for the rest of the year. Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:33 AM)

Working on June rankings now, but I think Fielder is definitely going to be better than Ankiel and Gordon. Hamilton can't possibly stay as hot as he has, but will still be Top-30. Probably would rank Prince just behind Votto.

David (Frisco, Texas)

We are this far in and nobody has asked about Kershaw? What do you think about him? Would you care to venture some final numbers for this season? Are we looking at another Scherzer type situation or will he stay in the rotation? Torre is kind of an unpredictable manager. Before Jones went down, he was really frustrating me with Kemp. I understand that Kershaw will only see about 120 innings this year. What is your opinion of him? Would you drop a middle tier pitcher (like Lilly) for him?

AJ Mass
  (11:36 AM)

Actually, I've received lots of Q's about Kershaw, and they all pretty much read "I missed out on him, now what?" which is hard to answer, since I have no way of knowing who is available in your league. I like Max better than Clayton, but I think Clayton is more likely to stay in the rotation in LA. Perhaps we may see a Kuo jump in on Kershaw's day from time to time to keep IP down, but I think he's better served in the starting mix. I generally don't like first time starters in a one-year league. But I might ride him, and spot start him on nights when he is facing opponents for the first time, and rest him on the second go-around.

Brad (columbus)

Which pitcher would you rather have BFB Colon or Doug Davis?

AJ Mass
  (11:38 AM)

I was really happy with Davis' return... and picked him up in a few expert leagues. But I'm a sucker for a feel-good story like that. I just think the way his team responded to his return shows that he's in a positive environment and could thrive. Colon, well, he's still BF in my book... regardless of the uniform.

mark (los angeles)

hey AJ, the word here this weekend regarding Kershaw is that he is gonna make 2 more starts while they need a 5th starter and then barring an injury to another Sp, he will then return to AAA.

AJ Mass
  (11:40 AM)

...and then they'll call him back in a week's time when they need a fifth starter again. That's just roster management more than anything else, and getting him on the mound and not rusty in the interim. That news doesn't change my view.

Big Joe (Hamilton,NJ)

What are your thoughts on Adam LaRoche? I've been holding him on my bench all season and could really use the roster spot but know he is a notorious 2nd half hitter. Worth holding onto or dump him?

AJ Mass
  (11:43 AM)

I don't know... that whole lineup has been contributing and he's done next to nothing. Might he step it up? Yes. But I don't think I'm going to stick around to find out. If he can't do it with protection, what's he going to do when that protection starts to slip away?

Jay (LA)

Did you say you'd rank Votto over Prince...sounds like you're dumping him...what are your thoughts on final #s for Fielder?

AJ Mass
  (11:47 AM)

It's always amusing to me that you're asked to rank players, and everyone assumes that you're being fatalistic on whoever you put on the bottom. It's like: who do you like? Webb, Sheets or Halladay? And when I say Halladay is third, Toronto fans scream that I think he stinks. It's just relative. Votto has outperformed Prince so far, and I think he continues to do so... that does not mean Fielder isn't reaching 30 HR... just that Votto's coming with him for the ride.

George, Philly

I asked one of those "missed on Kershaw, now what questions". I was just curious on your thoughts about a couple players you'd keep your eye on that might get called up sometime this year. I'm eyeing Price down in Tampa. Thanks

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

Let's let Price make a few appearances before we dub him the next Scott Kazmir, OK? Especially with Tampa's rotation being OK, I would certainly hope they do not rush him along at all. And again... I'm not running out and grabbing young pitchers in a one-and-done league. In general, it's too risky.

Bman, (Hawaii to D.C.)

Have you guys even looked at LaRoche stats the past week? He's been tearing the cover off the ball?

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)

Raising one's average from .190 to .230 is impressive, but I'd like to see him do that on the road and not against the Brewers and Cubs before I'm sold, thank you.

Mark (Pennington, NJ)

Hey A.J., Are you concerned about Chris R. Young's confidence on the mound when he returns?

AJ Mass
  (11:56 AM)

Yes, there's always that concern. You never know how a pitcher will react, but unless I see or hear reports of flinching, I'm not really all that worried. Where there's smoke there is fire, but let's smell the smoke first before we call for an evacuation.

Brad (Toledo)

AJ, would you start Bedard tomorrow against Boston? My "ace" has me a little worried.

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

No doubt. Because he is your "ace" it is real hard to bench him, but I think I'd rather sit him and miss out on a QS than start him and get hammered. Long term, he'll likely be fine, but my team ERA and WHIP might not be with another clunker.

Steve (Kansas)

Use #1 waiver for Kershaw or wait for McCutchen? I have tons of pitching already .

AJ Mass
  (12:00 PM)

Where's McCutcheon going to go? The whole OF trio is putting up All-Star caliber numbers. You could be waiting a while for little 2008 payoff. Might be better to work out a deal for that Kershaw priority.

Bill (Boston)

AJ, you da man! Which combo would you rather have, Carlos Guillen and Jeter. Or Votto and Guillen? An would you drop Matt Kemp for Votto?

AJ Mass
  (12:02 PM)

So, Votto vs. Jeter? I go Votto. As long as you don't go anywhere near that awful Prince Fielder. I'd cut him immediately from all fantasy rosters.

AJ Mass
  (12:03 PM)

Just a few more guys... then we have to go...

dan(Minn)

Should I bench Justin Upton for the week after his recent slide? Will Delmon Young ever hit a home run this year? Thanks

AJ Mass
  (12:04 PM)

Odds say Delmon will, but it won't be much more than that. If you've already gotten through the slide, why not stick with Justin? Don't know who your bench is, but it seems that you draft these guys to play them.

Steve (Forked River, NJ)

How much does the move to the bullpen hurt scherzer? Do you think he makes it to the closer spot before the end of the season?

AJ Mass
  (12:06 PM)

I don't think it hurts Scherzer... he's learning on the job, as it were. Does it hurt his overall fantasy value? Probably, though if he snares you a few vulture wins in the process, then he might be just as valuable as an average fifth starter. I do not think Lyon loses the closer job.

AJ Mass
  (12:07 PM)

Thanks gang, that's all we have time for today! Appreciate the Q's as always. Check out Playing With Numbers for some Vulture Talk and the demise of the Complete Game. TMR is up at 3pm!