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February 18, 11:24 AM ET
Fantasy Sports w/Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (3:00 PM)

Hello all and welcome to another Wednesday afternoon chat session! Pitchers and catchers have reported, we're happy to report, so let's get going with the baseball talk on this fine day.

Adam (Chicago)

Is Pablo Sandoval worth a draft pick? Also is his value much higher when considering he might be a good keeper for a year or two down the line?

Eric Karabell
  (3:03 PM)

That's funny, I selected him in the last round of a mock draft just minutes ago, wondering if I expect more out of him than others. I mean, the last round? The Giants intend to play him every day and bat him cleanup, so we're told. That doesn't mean he'll top 20 homers or hit .300, but I think he might, and certainly he can't help but knock in runs. Plus, multi-eligibility is nice. Yes, he's worth a late pick.

Mike (Tampa, FL)

Welcome to another baseball season, EK! I'm switching from a 5x5 to a 4x4 league this year (No r's or k's) How should I change my drafting strategy?

Eric Karabell
  (3:05 PM)

Well, without runs I can't say I would alter much. I rarely draft for runs anyway. But losing K's, that's a big deal. I'd move Chien Ming Wang up about 10 rounds in that event! I mean, I often sort projections wise for K's, and take my starting pitchers that way. Maybe I overrate a bit guys like Cain and Myers, for example, and Javy Vazquez. So I'd say the control pitchers, like Hiroki Kuroda, have much more value than normal in that type of 4x4.

Mike (Tampa)

Any Utley injury/fantasy updates?

Eric Karabell
  (3:06 PM)

I just took him No. 11 in our mock draft, so apparently I believe. Honestly, I do. All indications are good from Clearwater, and I think we're gonna look back in six months and say, "really, we were all scared Utley would miss months?" I think he's a top-15 player on draft day.

Jason (Bryan, Ohio)

The Rookie to make a difference this year that we might not know about?

Eric Karabell
  (3:07 PM)

Well, there are plenty of them, but I can assure you few fantasy owners know a lot about David Freese, the fella who will play third base for the Cardinals for at least April while Troy Glaus heals. Look at Freese's minor league stats, he's got power. And I'm watching Jose Ceda in Florida this spring, a closer sleeper.

Adam (Iowa)

Eric, will Aaron Miles put up better fantasy numbers than Mark Derosa? Im still upset the Cubs let Derosa go!

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

Not only will Miles not come close to DeRosa's numbers, I really think the bulked up Mike Fontenot is gonna win the 2B job and put up nice numbers. He didn't go in our mock draft, but I think he hits for average, maybe 10 homers, there's something there. Of course, DeRosa hits 20 homers playing 3B for the Tribe. I understand why the Cubs did it, though.

John (KC)

For this year and for the next 3 years--Jason Bay or Carlos Lee??? Thanks.

Eric Karabell
  (3:09 PM)

I think Lee is the choice for this season, but honestly, in a keeper I'd probably wait a bit and go Bay.

Adam (Chicago)

Who's more valuable this year, and then down the line? Edinson Volquez, David Price or Francisco Liriano?

Eric Karabell
  (3:11 PM)

I'm a big believer that Price is going to be a star in this league, and soon, but I would still invest in Liriano first. I nearly made him a top-10 starting pitcher today, holding off and going all offense except Johan in the first 10 rounds! Anyway, I'd rank them Liriano, Volquez and then Price for 2009, and then just switch Volquez and Price for the next three years. I like Price, but Liriano has already given us a glimpse.

Jonathan (Bloomington, IN)

Yo EK - appreciate your work. If my Cards really believe that Skip is meant 2B, where would you place him in the overall 2B ranks by years end? Also, any word on Carp? Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:14 PM)

I don't think it's a given Schumaker can win the second base job. Even if he does, he doesn't bring a ton to the fantasy table in terms of power or speed. He hits right-handed pitching for batting average, so I doubt he'd get 500 at-bats. Joe Thurston and Brendan Ryan can't hit, but they can field. Schumaker wouldn't make my top 15 second baseman, but then I'd consider it. You'd be drafting him as an outfielder. And Carpenter, I think is a decent risk in the final round, but I still take the under on 15 starts. It's asking for a lot.

Wes (Burlington)

Eric who do you feel is going to have a better fantasy year between Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

I will say this about Dempster: I don't believe 2008 was that much of a fluke. We can't compare Dempster's previous seasons starting with 2008, in my opinion. I think he can do something similar to this. I'd take him a tad over Lilly.

Adam (Chicago)

Eric - you mentioned earlier you didn't take any pitchers in the first 10 rounds...If the top 5 pitchers are gone, do you think you should stock up on batters? How much do you value pitchers especially since they seem to bring in the most points?

Eric Karabell
  (3:21 PM)

I had the last pick in a 10-team league, and took Johan Santana and Utley back to back. After that, I took nine hitters, and I feel I still have good enough pitching, with Javy Vazquez, Harang, Cain, Carlos Zambrano and 3 legit closers. That's just how I like to draft, if I feel starting pitching is being underrated, and I have a nice anchor. If I hadn't taken Johan, I might have taken a pair of top-15 pitchers in the first 6 or 7 rounds though. You kinda adjust on the fly. And no, I think hitters bring the most value, because they are more dependable.

Joey (Chicago)

Hoops question!!...I recently traded Millsap for Foye..good deal?

Eric Karabell
  (3:23 PM)

That's a very wise move, because it appears Carlos Boozer will return any day for the Jazz, muting Millsap's potential a bit, and Foye has to pick up the slack for the Wolves with Jefferson done. Very smart.

frodo (charlotte)

In your bullpen rankings, can you more clearly define the differences between next in line, looming and stealth?

Eric Karabell
  (3:25 PM)

Sure. And everyone can check this 30-team chart out on our baseball page. I think next in line means if the closer misses time or loses the job, that's the next guy to get saves. I think looming means "don't forget this guy is still around, he's in the picture" and then stealth is a guy kinda off the radar in most cases, someone you shouldn't forget in those deep leagues. Look at the Marlins, for example. I don't think Lindstrom the safest guy out there. I think Leo Nunez is next, with Kensing probably the seventh inning guy, and ultimately it wouldn't surprise me one bit when Jose Ceda - the guy dealt straight up for Kevin Gregg - gets the job.

Bob (KC)

When do you think Colby Rasmus will be up with the big club and what's his impact this season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:27 PM)

I don't think he begins the season with the Cardinals, more like a midseason callup when he really hits Triple-A pitching and there's an outfield injury in St. Louis. Ankiel and Ludwick will play, and the Cards can use Schumaker, Duncan, they have options so they can wait for Rasmus. But he is the future center fielder.

Mike (Cincy)

Drink the Wieters Koolaid? 25-100-.300 possible?

Eric Karabell
  (3:28 PM)

I think he'll be very good for about half this season, when he's recalled, and I take the under on all those numbers. Fantasy owners tend to get a bit carried away with players who haven't played in the majors yet. I could see 15-60 and .290, I suppose. He could put up numbers in four months that it takes most catchers a full season to accrue.

Shawn Me.

Eric,you have the 15th pick in the draft,Matt Holliday and Josh Hamilton are still on the board.Who do you pick?

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

Ha. Well, I probably don't take an outfielder at all, but I think I've been convinced by many that a post-Coors Holliday will still put up nice enough numbers to not drop him too far. I like Hamilton, too. The main difference here I see is Holliday's steals. For now, I think I still go Hamilton, but Holliday is in my top-20 as well.

Will (St. Louis)

With Ian Stewart eligible at 2B in my league and Sandoval at C, are these two solid options for the positions?

Eric Karabell
  (3:30 PM)

Yes, that is terrific. Sandoval as a catcher would be close to a top-5 option, I think. And Stewart might not have a job to start the year, because the Rox claim Helton and Atkins are set at the corners, with Barmes at 2B, and Seth Smith has the leg up in left field. But Stewart can and will hit, and someone will get hurt or dealt.

Andrew (Philadelphia)

Will Adam Dunn be eligible at 1B soon?

Eric Karabell
  (3:31 PM)

About two weeks into the season. I don't think it ups his value much, because I consider first base the deepest position after starting pitcher, but still, it comes in handy. And I think he hits another 40 homers.

Gary (Fresno)

Jayson Werth vs. Ryan Ludwick: compare/contrast!!!

Eric Karabell
  (3:32 PM)

I think Ludwick is a legit power hitter who gets in the 30-100 neighborhood again. I don't think that was a fluke. He always could hit. I think Werth can go 20-20, but I don't feel confident in either 20. Good player, no doubt, but I take Ludwick for the real power.

Krusty the Klown (Springfield)

Hey Kids!! Kloser Kuestion...who you like better late on upside? M. Gonzalez, Qualls or Matt Capps? Thanks!!

Eric Karabell
  (3:34 PM)

True story, about 10 minutes ago I traded for Qualls in a keeper sim league. I think based on upside I take Qualls. Capps is probably safer to keep the job, since the Pirates have nothing else, but Qualls has the Arizona job right now, and look at his 2008 stats, they are very good. With Gonzalez, he's relatively safe, but I take him third in this crew.

For the love of God

please tell me when ESPN ADP will be released... I've asked this numerous times in every Fantasy Chat for the past 2 weeks and can't get a response

Eric Karabell
  (3:35 PM)

I can give you a response: I don't know. But maybe one of our engineers will see this... Honestly, it should be rather soon. We're aware people look for it.

Justin muscatine, IA [via mobile]

Who do you like better in keeper ppr league? Pierre Thomas or Mcfadden

Eric Karabell
  (3:37 PM)

Football! I love it! I have to say McFadden, don't I? I mean, there's crazy upside with him, and at some point in 2009 one would think he'll get a chance. Thomas is legit; the release of Deuce McAllister proves it's his job for carries, and Reggie Bush will catch passes from the backfield. I do believe in Thomas, but he doesn't have the same upside as McFadden.

JD (Detroit)

With each passing day, is Manny's value going down? Can you forsee his potential for a protest/injury increasing and hurting our teams?

Eric Karabell
  (3:39 PM)

No, I don't see that. I think as time goes on it becomes more critical Boras and the Dodgers get something done, which they will. I took Manny today at pick 31. No, I don't really have concerns about him.

In Your Humble Opinion:

"fill in the blanks" is currently the most overvalued player being taken in the first two rounds of FBB drafts.

Eric Karabell
  (3:41 PM)

Pedroia, Ryan Howard, Prince, Markakis jump to mind. All nice players, but not safely in the top-20 to me. I devalue first base quite a bit, and I believe in Pedroia, but he'd better hit .330 to be a top-15 player. And Markakis is fine, but Jason Bay is ranked 15 spots later by us...

Mike (King of Prussia)

Hey, Eric. What are your thoughts on Ichiro this season? His splits in the 1st and 2nd halfs last season are interesting in terms of his BA and SB total. Will he continue to run and is he still a legit 2nd or 3rd rd pick?

Eric Karabell
  (3:42 PM)

I don't think his splits matter very much. He's capable of 40 steals when he wants, and he should be a safe .320 hitter. I think I could count maybe 5 guys I know will hit .300.. .he's one of them. Late second round, sure. I probably wouldn't, because I want power, but I see it.

JOhn (Chestnut Hill)

Who have you been targeting for your backup catcher?

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

I'd say among the names I see who are not going in most 10-team leagues I'd look at Shoppach, Iannetta, Ramon Hernandez, Navarro and unless Pudge goes to Florida, John Baker. And Ronny Paulino as a dollar guy.

Mike (Cincy)

Do you see a Papi rebound to 35-120? He seems motivated to silence his critics and talk of a decline.

Eric Karabell
  (3:45 PM)

I think that's asking for a lot, no matter how motivated he is. If his body is motivated to remain healthy for 140 games, I could see 30-110 if I squint. He's not a kid, so be careful. If he slips, I'd take a shot.

Dan (Roselle, IL)

What do you realistically expect from players like Denard Span and Max Scherzer?

Eric Karabell
  (3:47 PM)

I think both are getting taken too high in drafts. I'm not sure Span is even draftable. He doesn't have power, his peripherals didn't add up, and there's no way Delmon Young sits. I don't see Span hitting .300. As for Max, it sure looks like his arm is hurting, doesn't it? I think the Garland signing absolutely was related to Scherzer's health. I'd take the under on 20 starts for Max.

Bart (Chesterton, IN)

If you can grab Sheffield in the last round, do you? Can I get 20? 70?

Eric Karabell
  (3:48 PM)

Yeah, I suppose that is possible. Just don't expect health, steals or a decent batting average. I do think fantasy owners would much rather take a youngster who might not even win a job over a proven veteran who will play.

Brad, MN

You only count 5 guys who you know will hit .500? WOW

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

That's .300, not .500. And yes, I don't think it's particularly easy to hit .300 every season. Few do it. Pujols, Ichiro, Pedroia, Chipper... who else is a lock? Jeter? Is Holliday anymore? Mauer and Manny?

Konfused Keeper, NYC

Who do you NOT keep (i can keep 4 of 6, give up 6th round pick for 1st, etc...): Hamilton, Ellsbury, Soto, Alexei Ramirez, Bruce, Joba

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

I don't keep Joba. But I'm sure you can find many who don't agree.

Haas (Champaign)

Do you think that Alexei Ramirez is going too high in drafts and couldn't I get just as good of value in a later round with someone like Howie Kendrick?

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

Yes, I do. But Alexei will have SS and 2B elig... and Howie does get hurt a lot and has little power or speed upside. Not a great fan of either.

Joe (NY)

Does Abreu's value go up with him going to the Angels? Seems like a weak lineup, but he might get more chances to run, right?

Eric Karabell
  (3:52 PM)

I don't see why his numbers would change very much. He'll hit in front of a declining Vlad, probably go 20-20 again, hit close to .300.

Mike (T.O)

Dye or Hart?

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

Probably Hart, because he's a 20-20 guy, and if Dye declines at all the 25 homers and no steals wouldn't match up.

Konfused Keeper, NYC

is Bruce the other one i should drop? Thanks for answering, eric!

Eric Karabell
  (3:54 PM)

Oh yeah, sorry about that!

Mike (Albany, NY)

Can keep one. Verlander, Scherzer or Brandon Morrow?

Eric Karabell
  (3:54 PM)

Verlander...

Jon, CA

What's your over under on Chris Davis hitting 30 HR's this season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:54 PM)

Have to say under, but wouldn't be shocked if he did it.

Dianne (detroit)

No love for Alexei Ramirez? Besides the Holy SS Trinity, who would you select before him?

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

You've got the three NL East shortstops, then I would go Furcal, Jeter and probably Drew. I'd consider Tulo. I dunno, I'm just not the biggest Alexei fan. Doesn't mean he won't emerge.

Matt (Fairhaven, Mass)

Your thoughts on Gallardo? 15 wins? 165+ IP/165K's?

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

Projecting wins is dangerous, because it's out of his control and the Brewers bullpen isn't great - yes, even with Hoffman - but I'd say 30 starts, and 165 K's, yes.

Alan (New York City)

Hey, Eric...Chris Davis or Joey Votto?

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

Davis went 8 spots before I took Votto today, but if both were on the board for me... I'd still take Votto.

Fred (Orlando)

Eric, would you rather have Price or Markakis in a keeper league??

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

Markakis.

Chris (New York)

Please rank these pitchers...Billingsley, Gallardo, Cain, and Greinke?

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

Zack, Yovani, Chad and Matt.

Andrew (Bowling Green)

Justin Duchscherer. A good late round pick?

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

Sure, for his 20 or so starts.

Peter (Pittsburgh)

Would you trade McCann for a 7th Pick?

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

I'd take McCann in the first 7 rounds... he went 53 today.

Eric Karabell
  (4:00 PM)

OK, I think our time is up. Thank's for the questions today, and everyone should check out our terrific draft kit. It's all in there. Have a great day.