Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

August 7, 8:34 AM ET
Fantasy Baseball w/AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (10:56 AM)

Good morning gang. Time for another hour of fantasy baseball chat. Let's get this show on the road, shall we?

George (MA)

I just lost Longoria to the DL. Who's the better replacement? I own Encarnacion, but Mora, Wigginton and Reynolds are available in FA.

AJ Mass
  (10:58 AM)

I like Reynolds the best of the quartet, Mora next and EE third. Ty on the other hand, doesn't do it for me.

Ben (Houston)

Hi AJ, pitching question for you. Between Galarraga, Slowey and Kershaw who would you go with for the next few weeks? Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (10:59 AM)

I like all the Twins pitchers now that Livan is gone... but I'd go with Galaragga.

scott (NY)

Love your work, can you recommend the best El Caballo replacement? Lind, Butler, Hermida or G.Anderson. Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

Hermida is the best of that grouping. I do like Lind, but he's too erratic.

AJ you da man

How can I argue within my league to change RBI's to OPS next season? Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

I'm not sure I'm with you there. You're changing a cumulative stat with a ratio. I'd replace BA with OBP and perhaps RBI with Runs Produced, but I'm not with you on that one, sorry.

Darius (Minneapolis)

How do you see the St. Louis closer situation playing out? Any chance Perez holds the job when Wainwright comes back?

AJ Mass
  (11:03 AM)

I think Perez is out of the mix. Izzy had a better shot at the job, but why not try Wainwright? It's not like anyone has grabbed that job and said it's mine.

Kevin (York,PA)

Rank these 1B as keepers please. Loney, Votto, C. Davis.

AJ Mass
  (11:05 AM)

I like Votto long-term of the trio, although Davis is certainly capable of major numbers over a full 162. Loney is a nice player, but doesn't really excite me.

Big Joe (Hamilton, NJ)

Would you start Blackburn against the PATHETIC Yankees tonight? I'm thinking YES.

AJ Mass
  (11:07 AM)

They did hit him pretty good the last time around, but "any given game" right?

Drew (Cleveland)

Which side do you like better: Ludwick and Cantu or Derrek Lee and Ichiro?

AJ Mass
  (11:08 AM)

I like the Ludwick/Cantu side for this season. Ryan has been ridiculously good - top 15 player IMO, and Cantu/Lee is a wash.

Zetty (NYC)

Power for Speed? I need to unload speed for power in a roto league. I have Willy Tavarez and BJ Upton. What are a few names of some power type hitters I can get for either?

AJ Mass
  (11:10 AM)

Can or should? Taveras' SB should be worth an Adrian Gonzalez to an owner who can jump 4-5 spots int he standings with his steals. Now, will he give you that, and will your league be smart enough not to cry foul and veto such a fair deal? Only you know for sure.

Chillin' like Bob Dylan

You think Clay Buchholz is worth a look? Maybe he's due for a hot streak.

AJ Mass
  (11:12 AM)

He's certainly not going to get much worse. Of 585 pitchers, I have his current fantasy value at 466th. That's not someone I am considering for anything, hot streak looming or no.

Mitch (Lansing, MI)

Perez is out of the mix??? He got a save last night!!

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

And Heilman got a few saves this week for the Mets. It doesn't mean I think either is the long-term answer.

Stickie (Clev.)

Do you believe in Byrd as more than a spot starter for the stretch run?

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

Byrd is one of those guys who does really well or really poorly. There's rarely a middle ground for him. I think if you have him on your roster and try to spot start him, you're rolling the dice. I'd make a decision either way. Stick with what you've got and cut him, or go ahead an put him in and hope for good outings. Trying to guess what he'll do on a given day- impossible.

Craig (PA)

As an Ortiz owner, what should worry me more, his wrist problems or the lack of Manny in the line-up?

AJ Mass
  (11:18 AM)

Wrist problems. One bad swing could end his season. Last time I checked, his RBI totals were a bit more dependent on the guys in front of him than the guy behind him.

Fred Lewis (The Sucka Free)

Am I a top 30 OF for the rest of the season?

AJ Mass
  (11:19 AM)

I don't have my ratings broken down by position at the moment, but I have Fred's Fantasy Value at 85th hitter overall. Probably in that 30 OF ballpark.

Ryon (Wisconsin)

How do you see Salomon Torres as a closer among the elite closers? Also, do you think he makes a better closer than Eric Gagne?

AJ Mass
  (11:21 AM)

From a fantasy standpoint, Torres is Top 5. Saves make up 25 percent of the value of a closer, and the Brewers are winning. Plus, with a solid offense, he also gets a few vulture wins as well. ERA and WHIP are decent, too. Eric who?

Tyler (Boston)

Need a injury replacement! Pls rank Headley, Tracy, Iwamura for the rest of the season?

AJ Mass
  (11:22 AM)

Close call here. I lean towards Aki. But its not like any of the three make me do cartwheels.

Bob (DC)

AJ. I really enjoy the chats and you're the perfect person for my question. Sorry for the repeat submittals, but I'd really like your opinion on this one. Someone in my keeper league suggested we change the format from one that allows you to keep any 5 of your players, no strings attached, to one that forces the top 2 players from each team back into the draft and assigns keepers based on last year's draft position minus 2. e.g. McClouth would count as a 20th rounder if drafted in the 22nd. Have you ever heard of a league changing its keeper format?

AJ Mass
  (11:24 AM)

Yes, leagues change keeper formats all the time, but never during a season. In other words, you've been making trades (or not making them) based on a set of keeper rules. If you want to change them, they need to go into effect AT the next season's draft, so everyone can go through that draft with full disclosure. Protection rules from the previous draft positions should remain the same until then.

Joe (Philly)

AJ, when you are making keeper decisions how do you factor player position eligibility? I am trying to break down my keepers (12) for next year and I find myself leaning towards marginal infielders and upside pitching over above average outfielders. Opinion?

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

I don't like making keeper calls before March. Too much player movement can change my opinion, and make a marginal IF suddenly a starter, or vice versa. But in general, I don't look at position... I look at value. Period.

Neil (Atlanta)

With Evan Longoria being sidelined, Do you see any FA sleeper 3B that could be scooped for the final couple of months?

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

I've already praised Cantu. Odds are 3B FA pickings are slim though. Casey Blake, perhaps? Aubrey Huff in a not-so-deep league?

Jack (Chicago)

WHo would you rather have in a huge dynasty league: Jair or Fausto? Thanks

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

Jair. He's only scratching the surface of his potential and surrounded by teachers like Glavine and Smoltz.

Juan (Atlanta, GA)

Good morning A.J.; what RPs should I target for vulture wins with decent ratios (no K's needed) as to avoid surpassing my GS limit? Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

You're looking for pitchers on teams with good records and 6 inning starters. Immediately Mets come to mind, Smith and Schoenwies. Howell on the Rays. Heath Bell. Guys like that.

Henry (Atlanta)

Plenty of 3B replacement questions, yet you don't suggest lesser owned Melvin Mora. Oversight or not worthy of consideration?

AJ Mass
  (11:35 AM)

Neither. I can't know what FA are available in YOUR league. Mora is so valuable in fantasy, he SHOULD be gone.

Bob Ma

Is Crawford a drop in 10 team head to head leagues ?

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

I think Crawford is a drop, assuming you don't have a DL-spot to stash him. I realize he MIGHT be back in time for a H2H playoffs, but so far removed from PT, I'd imagine he won't be at top form if he does.

Scott (Fort Wayne)

AJ ... Help me out with a deep NL-only question. I need a bat for a couple of weeks. Rank these guys: Tatis, Gerut, Mather, Izturis, Blum. ... told you it was deep.

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

Gerut 1, Tatis 2... Mather would be my last choice of the 5.

Matt (CT)

What is your strategy for keepers? Always go hitter over pitcher? I'm definitely keeping Kemp and Kinsler. But I have to choose one of: Morneau, Peavy, Crawford or Hart and I'm really lost.

AJ Mass
  (11:40 AM)

Not always, but outside of the best of the best pitchers, I'm not going to keep them over the best of the best hitters. Peavy certainly is on my short list, but I would keep Hart.

Chris (NJ)

STRATEGY QUESTION: In a shallow, no-bench league is OK to drop "better" players like Brandon Phillips and Russell Martin for "lesser" players like Ryan Doumit and Placido Polanco who look to be better over the next 50 days? Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:42 AM)

There's absolutely no reason you can't start whatever players you want. The only thing to consider before doing this is whether the possible boost in stats if you are right is greater than the boost your opponents will get by picking up Martin or Phillips and subbing them in for the scrub THEY currently have.

George, Philly

Who is on your short list for keeper pitchers?

AJ Mass
  (11:45 AM)

Webb, Peavy, Johan, Liriano, and maybe Haren and CC. There may be another one or two I'd think about, but that's pretty much it.

Bob (IL)

You would recommend against keeping promising youngsters like Price and Kershaw then if you have more established hitters?

AJ Mass
  (11:47 AM)

Yes, if I have Price or Kershaw I'm going to keep them, but I put those guys in a different category... unproven prospects all get lumped together... it doesn't matter what position. Maybin, Rasmus, Price... all the same group to me.


You wouldn't keep hamels?

AJ Mass
  (11:48 AM)

Not over a stud hitter given his home park and his inconsistency. I might draft him next year, but if I have a limited keeper count, I'm not using it on arms.

Steve (DC)

Does Yusmeiro Petit have any value in 12 team mixed the rest of the way? I'm desparate for W's.

AJ Mass
  (11:51 AM)

He's not going to hurt you. That's the problem with pitching in fantasy - BTW the subject of my Playing With Numbers column today (plug,plug) - relief pitchers who don't get saves are practically worthless even though Petit is a really good pitcher in real-life.

Chris (San Jose)

You wouldn't keep Lincecum? The only category where he is even slightly weak is wins and you can't chase wins, right?

AJ Mass
  (11:54 AM)

If the league included K's then I'd think about it... but in a 4X4, where wins are 1/3 of a starters worth, then no. Lincecum is great, but in most leagues it's better to keep a hitter who contribute in 4 cats, rather than SP who only gives you 2.

Billy in Philly

Hey Readers - Can we stop bringing up every pitcher we can think of keeping and challenging AJ now? He was just giving a few examples off the top of his head, not giving an exhaustive review and ranking of every possibility...

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

LOL. True that, Billy.

Joe (Boston)

I see the q's on keeper pitchers. My only gripe is you think Liriano will be better than guys like Hamels, Felix, Lincecum?

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

Yes I do. My opinion.

Chris (DC)

Billy's right. We should be on AJ for saying "True that" rather than "True dat".

Jim (Dallas)

Braun back soon?

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)

I've been hearing 2-4 days. Looks like you can start him next week for weekly leagues.

Josh (DC)

The idea of a league without pitching strikeouts boggles my mind. Sure, fantasy baseball doesn't completely sync up with real world value, but my gosh, strikeouts are one of the few things a pitcher can completely control and call his own - how can you play in a league with only Wins, Saves, ERA, and WHIP, most of those context dependent rather than skill??

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

Josh, I agree with you that Wins are antiquated as a category, but that's what the founders did, and many still do use those 4 cats only. Even in a 5X5, with saves and wins, pitchers are going to be devalued greatly. I'd actually like K/9 over K's to get a little boost to the Middle Reliever.

Anthony (Boston)

!! Buzzer Beater !! Good Morning AJ, Is Jed Lowrie worth owning? Or stay somewhat safe with either Wigginton or Headley?

AJ Mass
  (12:02 PM)

I'd stick with Wigg.. but hey, if you need a hometown guy to make the game more interesting to you, be my guest.

AJ Mass
  (12:03 PM)

Gotta run, gang. As always, I appreciate the questions... another chat on the way at 3PM... We'll see you the next time on Villa Allegre!