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February 27, 12:18 PM ET
Fantasy Sports w/AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (10:59 AM)

Good morning gang. Still in mourning for Norman Gentle, but then again, isn't everybody? Let's get this chat started shall we? Spring games have sprung and the NCAA bubble is getting really soapy, too. Any questions?

Nate, WA

Hey AJ, what's your thoughts on the Manny situation?

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

I wrote about this in the fantasy blog on Thursday. He'll sign soon, it's just a matter of time and he'll be OK as long as he gets around two weeks of live swings. No worries here.

Dave (State: Confused)

AJ - I know that you mentioned that Delgado was your worst selection, but you have to have some hope that in the lineup with Reyes, Wright, Beltran (3 of your top 10), that Delgado would produce some RBI's. However, in a previous chat, you slid Johan down the list because of a lack of run support. I imagine that if Delgado was a few rounds later even, that you have to figure that they are going to score runs. Seems like you are contradicting your Johan ranking. Do you really believe a lack of run support will hold Johan down in wins?

AJ Mass
  (11:03 AM)

As a team, I'm not high on the Mets offense. Murphy, Church, Castillo? Not much there. We're talking at best production from 4 spots, and with the lineup swap of Reyes, it's all concentrated. I hope Delgado will be able to have another good year, but I'm not really all that confident. Even though the core is good, there's absolutely nothing to count on around it, and even the best hitters will get out 7/10 times.

matt (ct)

I've kept Cano for three years straight and worn my Cano t-shirt to back to back drafts and am now 2 time defending champ. Will I be a complete moron for keeping him over Jason Bay this year? (12 team, 8 keepers per, 2 per IF pos, 5 OFs, No Bench)

AJ Mass
  (11:04 AM)

You're a fan. I get that. You have to put personal feelings aside though, and realize you're far more likely to get Cano back than Bay, and Bay's output should be far higher than Mr. Robinson.

Manny Ramirez (LA)

You're wrong, I dont care about baseball anymore. I want to sit in a field and pick dandelions.

AJ Mass
  (11:05 AM)

Oh, Manny! That's just you being you.

Carlos Beltran (New York)

AJ, Where should I expect to be drafted in a 10 team keeper league? Do you foresee 30-120-25 .320 this season in my new ballpark?

AJ Mass
  (11:07 AM)

I think you're a very early 2nd rounder at worst. The numbers are hard to call since the ballpark is new and being a Flushing boy myself, I know the wind patterns in that neck of the woods can vary greatly from block to block. I'll need to see how the ball travels at night in the new digs before I can truly judge numbers, but Beltran's talent isn't going anywhere.

Cristian (NYC)

Hey AJ! There's no such thing as too much of a good thing in baseball right? in one of my teams, I have Papelbon, Rivera, Broxton, Wood and Cordero. How can I use this to my advantage???

AJ Mass
  (11:08 AM)

Build up a lead in saves, then unload to address weaknesses in other areas via trade. Unless you're in a weekly H2H, then you can enjoy the probable category win all season.

Bill McNeil (Mass.)

I'm looking over the mock draft and notice no Mike Pelfrey while you guys are drafing the likes of Randy Wolf, Manny Parra and Armando Galarraga. Did anyone notice Pelreys 2nd half and the fact that he's on a team that should win 90+ games? I don't get it.

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

Pelfrey is a question mark, as are some of the other pitcher's drafted. In my own personal rankings I had Mike in the Top 50 SP, barely, but there - meaning I think he probably should be drafted in a 10 team league (assuming 5 SP per team) -- however, I didn't need to go that deep on my list to get my quota and I'm sure that was the same with other mockers.

Jess (New Mexico)

Hi AJ I am a first time basball fantasy player. I have done Football for 4 years and have done a nascar league. Is there a good starting point for me as a newbie? A league where im not competing with the Fantasy Baseball pros.

AJ Mass
  (11:13 AM)

Read the ESPN draft kit and all of the advice on starting a new league - then start small with a group of your friends and get your feet wet. That's always the best way to get started, rather than playing with strangers who might end up being some of those "win at all costs types" who could sour you on the whole experience.

Sean (Hoboken)

How do you think Coco Crisp will do? Also thoughts on Javier Vasquez ?

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

I ended up grabbing Crisp in our ESPN mock draft late when I lost Willy Taveras one pick before. I think he has a chance to do well in KC, but he needs to focus more on getting on base and not falling in love with the longball which I think is what is holding him back. As for Javy, I think he'll do well in his new uniform, and I have him ranked as a #3 fantasy starter for your team.

Sam (New Jersey)

I'm thinking of getting Tex in the first round. Good Move?

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

I've got him as a 2nd rounder, but I have no problem with you taking him sooner. He's the best AL 1st baseman in my opinion.

Michael (College Station, TX)

Favorite shortstop without a last name starting with ?R? (not the top 3)?

AJ Mass
  (11:18 AM)

I'm a big fan of Stephen Drew, and I think he's the real deal.

AJ Mass
  (11:19 AM)

A lot of requests for a complete list of my personal rankings - they're not posted anywhere, but I am always throwing them out here in chats and in my columns.

Vernon Wells (Toronto)

I know that I am extremely brittle and all, but if you look at my stats in 08, I was poised for a great year. Where do you think I should be drafted in a 12 team league considering my health?

AJ Mass
  (11:22 AM)

In a 12 team league? I think because of the health concerns, I'd take you only after I had 3 other OFs. Talentwise, there's no doubt you're higher, but I'm not sure I buy into your comments about your health.

Steve (Miami)

Why is Mark Buehrle rated so low? He gives you 200 IP, a sub 4.00 ERA and 15 wins. Isn't is a steal to get him in the last few rounds of a draft?

AJ Mass
  (11:25 AM)

Absolutely. I have him in my Top 25 SP. But that's the thing about Mock Drafts. If ten people all have 3 guys in their top 20 that are perhaps sleepers or not as high on the other folks lists, then when the draft is all said and done, sometimes players who everyone thinks are #25 don't even get picked.

Josh (Grand Rapids)

You have Tex as the best AL 1st baseman over Miggy? What gives?

AJ Mass
  (11:27 AM)

I'm totally in Cabrera's camp. I wrote his projection profile and said there's a very real possibility that he could win MVP this season. I just think with the lineup around Tex, his production ends up a bit better.

Rich (NC)

AJ - does a elite SP such as CC or Santana have more value then top tier postion players, I'm new to Fantasy Baseball and cant see why they would?

AJ Mass
  (11:28 AM)

The reason SP don't have as much value as hitters is that Saves is a category, so SP will automatically not be able to help you in every pitching category, whereas the elite 30-30 hitters will.

Jose (Houston)

Will J.R. Towles finish the season as the Astros starting catcher?

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

No.

Andrew (DC)

Who has a better to chance to repeat last season's success... Dempster, Duchscherer or Volquez? I had all three on my team last year and they really helped me out, so I'm wondering if you think they'll be able to contribute to a title run again?

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

I say Dempster. I like Volquez as well, but I'm already concerned about Dusty Baker's overuse of his staff.

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

I say Dempster. I like Volquez as well, but I'm already concerned about Dusty Baker's overuse of his staff.

brock (via mobile) [via mobile]

how will a rod's value drop due to the steroid scandal?

AJ Mass
  (11:32 AM)

I am not dropping it at all unless he gets hurt or some crazy new revelation comes out (like that he is still using) -- the attention will only lessen over time, especially if the other 103 names come out.

Mike (Tampa, FL)

Melvin Mora is my ultimate dilemma this year. Are you expecting more 07 numbers or more 2nd half of last year?

AJ Mass
  (11:33 AM)

I think his peripheral stats show that he can maintain or even better his last season's output. I'd still not take him before Round 9 or so.

Stan, CA

Why did you take Halladay over Berkman in the mock draft? Berkman could have helped you in every category.

AJ Mass
  (11:35 AM)

It's a fair question. I was going by my overall rankings, which had Halladay as my top pitcher, and slightly ahead of Berkman (also in my Top 10). In addition, because I'm drafting with other owners who know how high I am on Halladay, I probably would not have gotten him the next round.

Craig (PA)

AJ, What do you think of Aubrey Huff this year. I have him at $5 in a $260 cap auction keeper league. I do not currently have a 3B or 1B. Would you keep him or keep Rich Harden at $8??

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

I'm very high on Huff - check out where I selected him in the Mock Draft to see. Although I think Harden might be a bargain at $8, Huff is more so, and I'm still cautious of Rich's injury history.

Dan (New Hampshire)

My AL-only team has some happy feet! Lil' Jacoby Ellsbury, Go-Go Gomez and rook Elvis A. I'm wondering if I should put one on the trading block, or enjoy all the larceny this year? OR do I need more happy feet?

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

I'm always of the camp that if you drafted the best players you could at the time, you let things play out for at least a month. This way, even if you are top-heavy in one category, you'll have gotten the advantage of having drafted that way and can target someone's weakness, getting more in the process.

Sean (Hoboken)

Who would you rather have at Catcher: Posado or Shoppach ?

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

I'd rather have Kelly - he'll play enough to produce really good power numbers from the catcher spot.

Brian (NYC)

Better Keeper Value: Joba for 1 Year or Price for 2 years?

AJ Mass
  (11:40 AM)

I'd rather have Price. Especially since word is "Joba Rules" are going to be in place again this year.

Bryan, MA

Hey AJ, I have the 10th pick in a 10-team draft. If Johan is available would you take him or do you go hitter/hitter in that situation?

AJ Mass
  (11:43 AM)

This is why you need to go into a draft with a list of your personal Top 100, at a minimum. For the first several rounds, I don't usually worry about position, I simply take the best player from my list. Once we get a little deeper in the draft, I'll dip deeper on my list if I feel I need help at a certain position, but at the beginning... it's best player, regardless of position. Though, I should point out that in my list-making, I do put in a slight devaluation for pitchers.

Mike (chicago)

I need to keep 2: arod $36, sizemore $32, kemp $17

AJ Mass
  (11:44 AM)

There are far worse ways to start your team than with Grady and ARod.

jacob (va beach)

markasis or kemp?

AJ Mass
  (11:45 AM)

These two are very close, and often debated, but I'm pro-Nick here. I'm just not convinced that Kemp can do tons better than he's shown and I think Markakis still has a surge in him.

Sean (Hoboken)

Thoughts on Matt LaPorta ? He was a bigtime prospect involved in the Sabathia deal - could he have an impact at some point ?

AJ Mass
  (11:47 AM)

At some point, but he starts the season in Triple-A. If Choo ends up being a fraud, we may see Matt in May, but I'm expecting more of a post-All Star Break call.

Dusty Baker (Cincinnati)

What, you didn't think having Volquez throw 110+ pitches in 4 of his 5 meaningless September starts a good thing?

AJ Mass
  (11:48 AM)

Sure Dusty... and having him and Cueto throw 3 IP each in Spring Game #1 was a good thing too.

Steve (Miami)

Do you rate guys higher if they are eligible for multiple positions like a Mark Derosa of Ronnie Belliard?

AJ Mass
  (11:49 AM)

Not on my original lists, but during the draft, those guys are highlighted and I do raise them a bit as the draft goes on over similar players without that flexibility.

jacob (va beach)

hows rios gonna do this year. with a 6th rd pick? or later

AJ Mass
  (11:51 AM)

I think Rios has a slight regression in 2009, but even having said that, I'm fine with taking him as early as the second round if the draft breaks that way.

Oliver (Burlington<, VT)

With the recent trade of J.Crede, do you see Josh Fields getting regular at bats? What do you expect from this promising young third baseman?

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)

Crede wasn't traded, he was a free agent, and now will play every day in Minny. I think Josh can hit 20 or so HRs this year, but watch out for Dayan Viciedo in the spring. If he has a decent camp,there may just be a platoon in the future at 3B.

Alex Rios (Toronto)

You would really take me in the second round? Really, even with the regression I'm going have any my anemic power numbers?

AJ Mass
  (11:54 AM)

But SB count just as much as HR's in a roto league, which is what I base my lists on. If it's a points league and HRs are more valuable, then I'd sing a different song, but 30+ steals is more valuable than 30+ HRs to me.

Brian (NYC)

AJ...where did you get this "Word" on the Joba rules? Girardi recently came out and said the plan was for Joba do get 30 starts this year.

AJ Mass
  (11:56 AM)

Daily News was talking about rumors that there's a 150-IP limit going on Joba. Just a rumor, but Girardi didn't deny there'll be a limit, just didn't confirm the accuracy of the number.

Stan, CA

Why is Berkman being ranked so high? In the last three years his homers have gone from 45,34,29. His steals increased last year, but the guy is 33 years old now and plays at a very deep position.

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

True on all counts, but the key is that batting average. A player who hits .320 for 600+ at-bats is vastly more valuable than a player who hits .300 for 400 at-bats, for example. A high batting average over a larger body of ABs is always under-rated by people who are assessing fantasy value, IMO.

Ethan (SF)

BUZZER BEATER!! Has the star faded for Zimmerman? Can he carry over his strong finish and post top 5 numbers at 3b?

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)

Sorry, Ethan. I love this Ryan about as much as I love Ryan Seacrest... and that's not a lot.

AJ Mass
  (12:00 PM)

Time to go gang... thanks for the questions! We'll be back next week for more chattage! Have a great weekend... and we'll see you the next time on Villa Allegre!