Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

January 9, 10:36 AM ET
Fantasy Sports w/AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

Good morning, gang. We're here to talk fantasy again with you. The baseball hot stove is all full of burning logs and the NFL playoffs are in full swing, plus we've got NCAA hoops going on and a brand new Real World on MTV. What's your pleasure?

Justin, Bristol, CT

Mr. Mass: I am trying to settle a debate and your input is appreciated. In a 6X6 roto keeper league (you keep 5, no time limit), which pair would you rather have moving forward: Ryan Howard & Jake Peavy or Mark Teixeira and Roy Halladay? Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:03 AM)

Justin, one of the things about keeper leagues, is that while I may take a gamble on an unproven rookie late in my draft, for the most part, I'm trying to win for THIS season, first and foremost. To that end, I want the best players possible in my lineup for 2009, and I think that's Tex and Roy.

Ethan Foyt ( Monmouth ME )

Who is the beter keeper? Delmon Young at 5 dollers or Granderson at 17 dollers?

AJ Mass
  (11:04 AM)

Both are bargains at that price, and certainly Young could get you far more return on the cost, but I'm keeping a top 50 player like Curtis over a borderline top-150 player like Delmon.

Meow

Kitty

Kantad (Hastings on Hudson, NY)

Good morning AJ! So do you think Giambi and Holiday will have good numbers next year with all that foul territory in Oaktown? Also, "Be My Yoko Ono" is a pretty good song.

AJ Mass
  (11:07 AM)

Holliday should still get 20+ homeruns, even in his new spacious digs. I'm still ranking him just outside my top-10 hitters. Giambi and his gold thong, on the other hand is on the decline, and barely top-100. And I prefer "Life in a Nutshell" myself.

Shaun(NYC)

Hey AJ. Do you think we see the 1st or 2nd half Jacoby Ellsbury this year? Would you rank him similarly to Kemp, BJ Upton and Crawford based on his SB potential?

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

Kemp is the one I'd rate highest of the bunch. Ellsbury and Upton are far more comparable, and borderline top-50 players because of the speed. In standard leagues, SBs will automatically overinflate a player's value, so even if Jacoby's BA is in the 265-range, he'll be worth something. I'm a little wary of Carl this year.

Cow (Pastures)

MOO!

Matt (East Hartford via Albany)

'You can follow me where ever I go.' What's the 2B situation looking like for next year? Top 8?

AJ Mass
  (11:13 AM)

Early thoughts... Dustin Pedroia Chase Utley Brian Roberts Ian Kinsler Dan Uggla Jose Lopez Brandon Phillips Mark DeRosa

Joseph (Ft Worth)

AJ - Football keeper question for a PPR league. Should I hang on to LdT or try to trade him based upon name value for a top WR and someone's 1st round pick?

AJ Mass
  (11:15 AM)

If you can get that kind of value for him, I'd sell. But waiting might help you get better value, since the "damaged goods" stink that circles him now will have dissipated.

Byron Bradley (Montgomery, AL)

Why is is that Utah is taking a game that really didn't mean much against Alabama as a platform for a number 1 ranking?

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

For the same reason that if they had lost, folks would have used it as a platform to say they didn't deserve a BCS berth at all. Whenever you let opinion select a champion, then you're going to get debate from those who don't win.

Josh (Greenville, SC)

Kinsler ranked fourth? I would think he'd be a little higher. Do you expect a decline?

AJ Mass
  (11:19 AM)

The hernia concerns me a bit, and I don't think the Rangers lineup as a whole has as good a year, which could cut into runs scored and RBIs. Still, it's a solid 4th, and the drop to Uggla is a big one.

joe (LA)

Just curious Alabama didn't care if they won! Why show up! Should I keep Willie Parker?

AJ Mass
  (11:21 AM)

They have to show, or the scholarships go bye-bye. But it's silly to have the top teams off for a whole month before these crucial games. Playoffs now! Parker and Moore and Mendenhall may well become another three-headed monster next year, and if Parker isn't going to get the goal-line carries, he's not a first rounder.

Patrick (NYC)

AJ, re: the 2b list you just gave, Jose Lopez was a real surprise there...what makes you think he will outperform a solid power option like Mark DeRosa?

AJ Mass
  (11:23 AM)

Lopez is still growing as a player, and I think he's ready to take the next step. At close to ten years his senior, I think DeRosa is what he is.

Steve Pumilia (Northvale, NJ)

How is USC left in the #3 after smoking Penn State in the Rose Bowl and how does Ohio State earn a game with Texas after USC proved that they were not on the same level as the top 5 teams?

AJ Mass
  (11:25 AM)

It's funny to me that the reason the BCS was originally created was to take the human element out of the mix, and to try and come up with a mathematical formula to determine the top teams. And every year since, as the "powers that be" didn't like the answers they got, they've tweaked the formula more and more to the point now where the whole system hinges on the voters again, who can manipulate the final polls to get the matchup they want. Hypocrisy at its finest.

Mark (Wisconsin)

Who's the better keeper in 09? Holliday or Teixeira? Also, have you heard any reports about the Mets new park? Hitter's park or pitcher's?

AJ Mass
  (11:28 AM)

I think they are neck and neck. I have them 11 and 12 in my first rankings amongst hitters, but I haven't adjusted for the Yankees signing Tex. That may push him slightly ahead, but it's close. Haven't heard much about CitiField, but assuming the configuration is the same, that wind should continue to blow in from right field off the bay at night, making it a pitcher's paradise.

Jake (VA Beach)

Per Citi Field and David Wright: Appears to be a hitter's park, but that could have been due to it not being complete. So...jury is still out, but definitely not a pitcher's

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

We'll have to see how it plays out... after all, everyone thought San Diego was going to be a hitter's park, and that's far from the reality.

Joe (Mass)

Whose the Keeper? Beckett or Wang

AJ Mass
  (11:31 AM)

Beckett. I go nowhere near Chien.

Chris (Orlando)

AJ, keeper in Football, ppr league. Forte in the 5th or Rivers in the 10th

AJ Mass
  (11:32 AM)

I'd keep Forte. Running backs are always far more valuable, especially those not in a time share who are featured prominently in the passing game.

Ethan ( monmouth me )

Does a player like Beltran get a bump from the new park. Even if it still a pitchers park it can't be any more of a pitchers park then the last one.

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

It's a fair point. However, it's hard to think I'd evaluate Beltran higher than he already is - which is No. 2 outfielder. Also, just from an amenities standpoint, Shea was an absolute dump - and at night, the Mets needed huge space heaters in the clubhouse to keep from freezing. The new digs HAVE to improve morale, and happy players perform better.

Shaun(NYC)

Who would your top 12 be for the upcoming baseball draft?.....picks 10 thru 12 seem to be a substantial dropoff.

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

Possible first-rounders: Jose Reyes Albert Pujols Grady Sizemore Hanley Ramirez David Wright Dustin Pedroia Lance Berkman Carlos Beltran Manny Ramirez Chase Utley and pitchers Roy Halladay CC Sabathia Cliff Lee

Bob (Cleveland)

Does LaPorta have any fantasy value this year? Will he get a strating spot in Cleveland

AJ Mass
  (11:38 AM)

I think he starts the year in Triple-A, and possibly makes an appearance in Late May or June.

Luz (Seattle)

How many innings does Morrow pitch this year? Do they keep his count low, or do you think they are going to put him back in the pen?

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

I think he's more valuable to the M's in the pen, but that's not my call. This is one we'll have to wait until the spring to figure out.

Steve (Atlanta)

Do you see a bounce back year for Franceour? I don't need a stud, but is 25 and 100 with a 260 out of the question?

AJ Mass
  (11:41 AM)

I think it well might be. I'd be very cautious with Frenchy. In a ten-team straight draft, I might not look his way until Round 20.

Mike (NJ)

What do you expect out of Miguel Cabrera? First half dud or second half stud?

AJ Mass
  (11:42 AM)

I think the skill set is still there for Miggy. New league, new ballpark... there was bound to be a bit of an adjustment period. Top 25 hitter to be sure.

Cole Hamels

THAT'S why the Mets kept choking... it all makes sense now. Thanks, AJ! Where do you project me next year? Any concern going forward on all the POST-season innings I racked up?

AJ Mass
  (11:45 AM)

LOL! I've got you as my No.10 starter right now. I'm not concerned about the post-season innings at all. If he gets through April without incident, he should be fine.

Dave (Tampa)

How about Alex Rios? Good average, real good speed, but where is the power? Will he be able to give me 25 homers?

AJ Mass
  (11:47 AM)

Too many ground balls - but of course with his speed that helps him get on base and increase the steals. 20 home runs? Possible, but more likely is 15-40.

AJ Mass
  (11:47 AM)

(HR/SB)

Jay(DC)

You're thinking about picking Cliff Lee in the first round? That's adorable.

AJ Mass
  (11:49 AM)

On the contrary, personally I never take a pitcher in the first round. It's not how I build a team, but based on projections, Lee certainly *should* provide you with that kind of value.

Rick, (Land of Confusion)

Exciting playoff weekend, still time for those of us in playoff pools? I need to go with either Vincent Jackson (killed me last week) Derrick Mason, or Justin Gage, I like all three, Jackson the least, though he seems the best, what do you think?

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

Mason's been a warrior all season, and I'm leaning towards him of the three.

AJ Mass
  (11:51 AM)

Getting to nitty-gritty time gang... let's get those last q's in!

Malik (Tucson, AZ)

Aramis or Russell bigger in '09?

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

Aramis.

Terry Francona (Fort Lauderdale)

Beckett, Lester or Dice-K? Who Do you take first and what are they each ranked?

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

Amongst SP only: 17-21-35.

Greg (Boston)

James Shields, Corey Hart, or Chris Davis as my final keeper?

AJ Mass
  (11:54 AM)

Corey Hart over Shields are safer bets. Although if Davis puts it all together, you're looking at 40+ HR. Still, I'll go with a safe 20-20.

Nate McLouth

Which is more of a realistic baseline for me in 2009? Pre- or Post-All-Star break?

AJ Mass
  (11:56 AM)

Post is far more realistic, though to be fair, you've never had the AB opportunities of last season before, so perhaps you just hit an endurance wall. I'm willing to give you benefit of doubt.

John (KC)

I know you've said you try to win THIS year in every league, but in one of my keeper leagues I have Scherzer (sp), Price, Billingsly, Dice-K and Liriano. I feel like I can drop Dice, but don't I have to keep the other SPs?? Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

Pitching is such a roll of the Dice-K anyway, so certainly with that amount of young talent on your roster, I'd keep them all and then use the draft to stock your complete lineup before supplementing your staff.

Sean (New Haven CT)

Nelson Cruz projections and AL only dollar value if he hits cleanup in Texas?

AJ Mass
  (12:00 PM)

Cruz's potential is huge as he has better skills in limited work than even a Manny Ramirez. Certainly a sleeper candidate if he gets the job out of the spring. And could well be a 30+ HR guy with speed.

AJ Mass
  (12:00 PM)

Thanks a lot gang. That's all our time for today. We'll be back next week, same bat time, same bat channel. See you the next time on Villa Allegre! Namaste!