Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

March 4, 11:12 AM ET
Fantasy Sports w/Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (3:01 PM)

Hello all and welcome to another fantasy chat session, my first of March. Lots going on, with spring training, the WBC, offseason football, you name it. Let's go...

Adam (Long Beach)

My friend keeps saying that Matt Kemp is the re-incarnation of Dave Winfield -- I just don't see him hitting 30HRS.

Eric Karabell
  (3:02 PM)

Well, I don't know if Kemp has the same power, but he is young and can develop that power. We project him for 22 homers, which I think is cautious. There's little doubt he can steal 30 bases if he wants. We've got Kemp ranked very well, a bit better than I would, but I can't argue about his upside.

Mark NYC

At what point do you cave in and draft a top catcher? In a twelve team league if a McCann is sitting out there, do you take him? I usually ignore them but have seen them falling in mocks

Eric Karabell
  (3:04 PM)

I took McCann in a recent mock draft in I think the fifth round, and I didn't feel bad about that one bit. You know you're getting good numbers. I had planned to avoid the top 10 catchers in that 10-team league and take Matt Wieters... finally in round 21 I did. I don't avoid catchers, but I don't overdraft them either. I think it depends on the catcher. I never end up with Mauer, for example.

Julio (Hartford)

Thinking of drafting Andruw Jones as a deep sleeper -- thoughts?

Eric Karabell
  (3:05 PM)

That's pretty deep! I think Jones will make the Rangers and could contribute, but what's the best case scenario? Maybe 20 homers and a .240 batting average. Not sure you want that on your team. Do I think Jones can help Texas, and certain fantasy teams, yes.

Steiny (NYC)

Hey Eric, today is my birthday so I am sorry I could not make it to the chat today. Hope all is well, -Steiny

Eric Karabell
  (3:05 PM)

You just did. Happy Birthday Steiny...

Rinaldi (Louisville)

Hi Eric. Who is going to break out this year: Delmon Young, Lastings Milledge or Adam Jones? Thanks

Eric Karabell
  (3:06 PM)

Well, I don't think any of them are going to see a substantial improvement in their numbers, to be honest. I'm past expecting Delmon to hit for power. Milledge is kind of already at his ceiling, a 20/20 type. I need to see more of Jones. I think Milledge is the best bet here for 2009.

Matt, CT

EK - Love the chats...What are your thoughts on Manny, now that we know he is going back to LA...I have Manny, A-Ram, Martin, Soriano, Howard and Danks in a 12 team H2H and can only keep 4...who are odd ment out...BTW, I also have Longoria saved (doesnt count against the 4)? Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

Doesn't matter. Manny was always heading back to L.A., so I don't think today's news is breaking, just that we don't need to discuss it anymore. Fantasy owners were drafted Manny in the top 25, better than where we ranked him, which tells me nobody was worried Manny would be unemployed. Manny goes .320-32-110. I'd bump up No. 2 Orlando Hudson now, that's for sure. Look what Ethier did when he batted second in front of Manny a year ago. And I take the under on Juan Pierre swiping 20 bases. As for your team, I keep Howard, Soriano, Manny and Aramis.

Robert (Dayton, OH)

EK, do you see Lance Berkman stealing as many bases this year? Would you keep him over Josh Hamilton in an OBP league?

Eric Karabell
  (3:10 PM)

Tough call. I'd still go with Hamilton. It's not like Hamilton had a bad OBP, and he's still getting better, in my opinion. Even in his supposed "bad" second half, it wasn't that bad at all. Plus, who's to say Hamilton doesn't steal more bases than Berkman? I could see each ending up with 10 or so. There's no reason to expect Berkman to do that again. He might, but I'd assume it drops.

Tommy Hanson

When will the seniority end? Tell these people that i am aleady better than half this rotation. Should people take me in the mid rounds in a keeper league?

Eric Karabell
  (3:11 PM)

Hanson is a Braves pitching prospect who could probably challenge to be rookie of the year, but don't blame Tom Glavine or Jorge Campillo for him being held back. The Braves are smart with pitchers, and Hanson, while probably ready for the bigs, could always use time to percolate and work on things. I'd say Hanson comes up in July.

luke( Cary NC)

With our trade deadline at 5pm, would you take Holliday for 2 years or Upton for 4?

Eric Karabell
  (3:12 PM)

Justin or BJ? Either way I'd probably go with the best option for now, and it's Holliday. I rarely look more than 2 years in advance in any keeper league, no matter how deep.

Marc, Charlotte

Are you related to the Zach Karabell that's always on CNBC?

Eric Karabell
  (3:13 PM)

No, he is not related to the Eric Karabell who is often on ESPNEWS.

Wilmes (CT)

Rank the following Yankees in '09 -- Swisher, Nady, Damon or Matsui?

Eric Karabell
  (3:14 PM)

Damon ... then big drop to Nady... and I don't think it's worth drafting Swish or Matsui in a standard mixed league. I'm trying to move Matsui in a long-time keeper league in which his salary is low. I don't see health nor power in Hideki's future.

Greg(Cincinnati, OH)

Eric, Who lands the MI jobs in Toronto? Will Scutaro get enough ABs to be a keeper for $1 in deep AL only league?

Eric Karabell
  (3:16 PM)

Yeah, I think Scutaro probably starts at short, and big-time sleeper Aaron Hill is at second. Everyone seems to have forgotten that Hill has 15-homer power, at least, and he's healthy. Not sure Scutaro is worth much, even if it's for only a buck though. He will play enough, but it's not like he has power or speed, and a .260 average really doesn't help.

Double Trouble (CT)

Are either of these A's worth owning? -- NOMAH or O-CAB?

Eric Karabell
  (3:17 PM)

Cabrera is in standard mixed leagues. Case can be made he's a top-10 shortstop. I'd call him 12 or 13 probably. Say 9 homers and 19 steals, .280 average, very durable. Solid player. Nomar will probably platoon at first and third, get maybe 300 at-bats. In AL-only leagues, I'd spend $2 or $3.

Tim (Houston)

Does Pence take a leap forward this year and would your rather have him or Conor Jackson?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

Not a huge fan of either taking big steps up, but Pence runs and has more power than Jackson, so he's my pick. Jackson might not hit 20 homers, ever. Good hitter, can hit .300, and drive in runs depending on where he hits, but not a big power guy and he's not showing any signs of being one. Pence can be 25-80-15.

Rob (Frankfort, IL)

What the heck is going on with David Price???

Eric Karabell
  (3:20 PM)

He's going to be very good, but I don't assume he makes the rotation out of March. The Rays have options, and Price is still very young. I'd say he still makes around 20 starts for Tampa this season, and they should be very good ones, like a 3.10 ERA, good K rate. Rookies always get overvalued. Wieters starts the year in the minors, too, to keep his arbitration clock on the slow track.

Bill, Minneapolis

Hi Eric. Who are your top "holds" candidates this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:21 PM)

Love it! I'd say off the top of my head Scot Shields and JJ Putz, because they are on teams that tend to produce a lot of save chances, good teams with good closers. Wouldn't shock me one bit if Marmol is there, too. I wouldn't be surprised if Kevin Gregg wins the Cubs job. Sleeper pick is Juan Cruz in KC.

Chris (Long Island)

For this year only, which outfielder has more value...Chris Young or Justin Upton??

Eric Karabell
  (3:22 PM)

I'd reluctantly say it's CB Young, because I expect he will go 25/25. I really do. He could hit .250 in the process, but the power and speed are legit. I expect J Upton to hit 25 homers, but not run. In time, Upton should be a very nice player, but Young is already there.

Vincent (Atlanta, Ga)

Wieters over Chris Davis in a keeper league even though the catcher starts the year in the minors?

Eric Karabell
  (3:23 PM)

Yeah, I would. I realize most people love Davis, and hey, I think he hits 30 homers. But Wieters is going to be special. I predicted on TV he'd be in the minors until mid-May, and still win the rookie of the year and finish the No. 6 catcher.

Mike (Indy)

What are your thoughts on Santana's "injury". Is it being over hyped like Pujols's elbow injury last year? Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:25 PM)

Big difference between a pitcher with a sore elbow and a hitter. I don't think this is overhyped, but I don't expect it's a major problem. It gets overhyped because of the degree of player. Mike Pelfrey's elbow might hurt, but nobody would discuss that. The elbow concerns do drop Santana out of my top pitching spot to third, though. I think there's something there, enough that there could be a few missed starts this year.

Mark (TN)

In a H2H keeper league, would you keep Soria or Dunn as your last keeper? I know you should never keep closers, but this league counts batting average and I already have some clunkers: Howard, Burrel.

Eric Karabell
  (3:26 PM)

Well, in a h2h league I'd just punt batting average. I don't keep closers. Dunn's 40 homers are more important, and it looks like you're giving up on average anyway!. In roto I wouldn't build this way, but in h2h, the goal is to win a week, not every category.

Katzy (Raleigh, NC)

Any chance you like Ibanez over Bruce in a non-keeper 5x5 draft?

Eric Karabell
  (3:27 PM)

Not really. I think Bruce hits 30 homers, knocks in like 90, runs a bit. I like Ibanez to do what he does, but remember, if Ryan Howard knocks in 145 runs every year, it will be tough for Ibanez to top 100. I'd give him a .290 average, but 24 homers, 90 RBIs.

Fernando (Pembroke Pines)

EK who would you draft out of say Ichiro, Markakis or Holliday?

Eric Karabell
  (3:28 PM)

Probably Holliday. I needed convincing on this, and I got it this offseason. He'll be fine in Oakland, run enough, hit .300 again and be good enough to be a second round pick. Ichiro and Markakis are also candidates for top-25, but I'd go Holliday first.

Kenny (East Tennessee)

Karabell, long-time Roto player, first-time for head-to-head. I'm in a competitive 12-team mixed league. Anything I should do differently in H2H vs. Roto?

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

I manage those teams differently. I'm more likely to punt saves or steals. I just need to win each week, whether it's 10-0 or 6-4. Don't mess around with starting pitching, get healthier players, because unlike roto and season limits you can't stash players.

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

And one more thing: I pay attention to hot and cold starters more. If you take Ryan Howard in h2h, be wary....

Tim (Smoke Rise, TN)

I'm gonna keep Big Z even though everyone at ESPN hates him.

Eric Karabell
  (3:30 PM)

I keep getting Carlos Zambrano in the mock drafts, so make that statement "everyone but Eric" hates him!

joe (iowa)

Is there room for a basketball question here? No clue what to do with Iverson...any advice?

Eric Karabell
  (3:31 PM)

Drop him. Seriously, it's been announced he'll miss at least two weeks with a sore back, and even when he returns, will he be at 100 percent? Will he shoot well, average more than 18 points? Depends on the league, but in h2h, if you need to make the playoffs, I'd use the roster spot elsewhere.

Gray (Chicago)

Who loses the most ABs in the Minnesota OF?

Eric Karabell
  (3:32 PM)

I think Delmon and Gomez are everyday players, and Kubel is mostly the DH. I'd guess Span loses some at-bats, and Cuddyer faces lefties at DH. You don't want him.

Imus (NY)

Sandoval has gotten a lot of publicity as a sleeper -- what round you gamble on the young Giant?

Eric Karabell
  (3:33 PM)

Depends on the league. I took Sandoval in a recent mock in the final round. Nobody thought he was worthy in a 10-team league as a first baseman I guess. I don't see a ton of home runs, but he's going to play, he'll be eligible at first and third, and I could see a run at 100 RBIs since he's hitting third. I'd gamble on him.

Shane (Edison, NJ)

Hey Eric, Chone Figgins qualifies at 2B for me... where do you rank him amongst the rest at the position? What do you expect this year... Half step down from B-Rob?

Eric Karabell
  (3:33 PM)

Yeah, he's not a ton different than Brian Roberts if he can play second base. Could run more, but the batting average worries me a bit. I'd say in the 5-6 range at second base.

Dan (NY)

Any chance we see the Ian Snell this year that we expected to see in '08? Also thoughts on Homer Bailey this year, he looked good in his 1st spring start. I know it's early but...

Eric Karabell
  (3:36 PM)

It sure is early. Homer looked good, and we have to remember how young he is. Maybe nerves came into play in 2008. I think he starts the year in the minors, makes around 20 starts for Cincy, maybe an ERA in the low 4s if all goes well. I think Snell is worth the risk, but I don't assume he ever strikes out 170 hitters again.

Phil (Atlanta, GA)

Follow up on the Sandoval - how does it change your ranking of him if he has Catcher eligibility?

Eric Karabell
  (3:36 PM)

Becomes a top-10 catcher with ease, probably top-5 or 6. Seriously, I'd make him a mid-rounds pick that way.

Dave (NYC)

Sherrill is a FA in my league...drop Street or Lyon for him?

Eric Karabell
  (3:37 PM)

No, because I think Street and Lyon are closers who can get 30 saves and keep their jobs. I'd expect Chris Ray to get saves for Baltimore by May.

Mendoza (puerto rico)

Am I only the one who thinks that Coco Crisp might steal more bases than Ellsbury?

Eric Karabell
  (3:37 PM)

Probably. I don't think Coco has 50-steal ability. Ellsbury clearly does.

Bart (Chesterton, IN)

Hermida and Frenchy are both 25. Have you given-up on them? Draft kit has them at 290+. I still believe, am I a fool?

Eric Karabell
  (3:38 PM)

I'll take my chances on Francoeur bouncing back and being like the guy we saw in 2006. I haven't given up on Hermida, but I expect little.

Weiss (KS)

More likely that J-Roll hits 30 HRs or steals 45 bases?

Eric Karabell
  (3:38 PM)

Definitely the speed. I'll say around 20-22 homers at most. I just don't think he's ever gotten enough lift on the ball, except for 2007. But he'll always run.

greg (atlanta)

ishikawa? are you diggin' him eric? much appreciated!

Eric Karabell
  (3:40 PM)

Honestly? I think Ishikawa can hit a bit, probably not enough for about 26 teams at first base, but he can hit some. But I don't expect Sandoval to field well enough at third base, and he has to play every day. Giants could always use Frandsen or Uribe or some utility guy to play defense at third. So I take the under on Ishikawa getting more than 350 at-bats.

Ryan (Indiana)

I've read where keeping Pitchers in a keeper league is a bad idea. Thoughts???

Eric Karabell
  (3:41 PM)

Well, I'd rather keep hitters. They're more consistent, healthier, you know what they're going to do, and it's easier to build a team with offense and take chances with pitchers in the draft. But I'd keep an ace-type pitcher.

Meredith (Hamilton)

Need a mid to late round 2B that gives me some bang for my buck -- Kendrick, Aviles or Lopez -- who are you grabbing?

Eric Karabell
  (3:43 PM)

Probably Kendrick there, though I doubt he stays healthy enough for 500 at-bats. When he plays, he'll hit for average. Lopez, I assume Jose Lopez, could go 20-90. I take the under on both. And Aviles isn't a .325 hitter. Drop 50 points on the batting average, but 12 homers is usable.

roscoe -the hood [via mobile]

what should we expect from jeter this year

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

Used to be one of my favorite fantasy options, but he's declining, and I don't see how he avoids it going forward. He can hit .300 still, and score 100 runs, but I take the under on 15 homers and 15 steals, and he's still being drafted as if he can reach those totals.

John (NYC)

Is Pierre worthless now in a standard with the signing of Manny?

Eric Karabell
  (3:45 PM)

Yeah, and he really wasn't worth much before. I think there are plenty of steals on the free agent market early in a season. I mean, nobody will draft Jerry Owens, but he's going to run... I say Pierre won't even steal 20 bases now.

Benji (Portland)

What's up EK?!?! What is your projection for Andre Ethier this season? Any chance he regains the 2nd spot in the lineup?

Eric Karabell
  (3:46 PM)

I doubt it. Furcal and Hudson seem set in the first two spots, and they will score plenty of runs. Ethier might hit fifth though, right after Manny and Kemp. I'd say 20-90-.300 is what Ethier can do.

Louis (STL)

What do you project for Alexei Ramirez? I worry about him regressing because he cannot take a walk to save his life.

Eric Karabell
  (3:47 PM)

He's another fella I was down on back in November, but have since been convinced he's totally legit and getting better. You have to assume at least 20-80 for power, and probably 15-20 steals. I don't worry about his batting average. Add in the face he'll have double eligibility and yeah, I'm on board.

Derek (boston)

Hey Eric, Following on what you just said about keeping Batters over pitchers....Would you keep If you could only keep one of the following, would you keep either Jason Bay or Corey Hart over Brandon Webb and Cole Hamels?

Eric Karabell
  (3:48 PM)

No, I don't consider those bats top-20 bats, and both Webb and Hamels are top 10 pitchers. I rank Webb fourth. I'd keep him.

joe (iowa)

Sorry for the follow-up Iverson question: I was offered Tony Parker and Al Thornton for A.I. and Marion-- at the beginning of the year you'd say no way, but what about now?

Eric Karabell
  (3:48 PM)

Yeah way, and do it fast. Not like Marion has looked like the ol' Marion anyway.

Chris Dean (Toronto)

Adam Lind -- a possible breakout candidate or should I go for the more hyped Snider?

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

I'd go Lind, personally. I think he has a better shot at 25 homers and a palatable batting average. Rookies always get overhyped. Look at Lind as a great example! How many years did it take him to be relied upon?


Do you like the ROX Spilborg? Over Cuddyear?

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

Not excited about either one. Go with Seth Smith though. if you have to take Spillborghs or Cuddyer, I'd say the Rockie.

Chris (Boston, MA)

Is Cameron Maybin a good late round steal option in your opinion?

Eric Karabell
  (3:52 PM)

Better than a late-round steal. I think he's legit, though I seem to be alone on that island among the ESPN fantasy crew. Yeah, he will strike out. A lot. But I think there's 15-homer pop and 25-steal potential. He's just exciting to watch, too, and unlike Chris Young, I think he'll hit .270 or so.

Mike (Niles, IL)

Eric, who are some of the players you draft a round or two earlier than you might be able to get them in order to ensure they're on your team?

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

Seems like the latest mock draft we did. Honestly, all of my picks seemed to be before their average live draft spot! Granderson, Votto, both Uptons, Wieters, Javier Vazquez and Cain jump to mind.

Shawn (oak)

What are the chances that Votto goes 35-105 and hits over .300. What do you think of Granderson and Crawford with comeback seasons?

Eric Karabell
  (3:54 PM)

Yes, yes and ... maybe. Not so high on Crawford ever being worth what people pay for him. He should steal 40, but be careful of the power and average. Granderson I really like for this year, like for a 25/25 season. And Votto is legit. I'd say 30-100-10.

Alex (Miami)

Who do you like best, Jose Lopez, Ian Stewart, Jhonny Perralta, or JJ Hardy?

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

Hardy and Peralta, easily. People don't seem to like them, but the power is legit for both. They don't have to get any better to be worth being your MI option.

Charlie (Syracuse, NY)

Just read on a different chat that another Cardinal 3b got hurt. Who's next in line until Glaus recovers?

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

David Freese has been hurt, but the Cards don't seem worried. He'll win the job and if you check his minor league stats, the power is legit and he could keep it. Joe Mather is also getting at-bats at third, but Freese is better.

joe (iowa)

Generally speaking, what are your thoughts on taking an ace pitcher in the first round? (Head to Head) Usually I'm in favor of it, but only when there's one stand-out guy, like Santana and Peavy in their post-Cy Young years. This year, I'm not so sure there's one guy on a pedestal like that.

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

I think Lincecum is that guy, frankly, especially with Johan possibly being hurt.

Alice (Texas)

In a H2H keeper league, would you rather keep Price or Votto?

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

Votto. Can't take the chance Price makes only 20 starts. Plus, Votto is pretty safe at this point.

stewy (boston)

Will the Yankees be as good as everyone thinks? Or are the still baseballs best third place team?

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

I think the Rays and Red Sox will win 95 games.. and the Yankees 92.

Mark, NY

Higher upside: Span or Sandoval? More potential if healthy: Chris Carpenter or Josh Johnson

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

I'd say Sandoval has a better chance of emerging more. Span is already there. And I like Carpenter late, but do not expect 20 wins. Johnson is legit. I could see him winning 17.

jacob (va beach)

why does mclouth always go at 60 not many people take him high

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

Check his first-half second-half splits. Doesn't tell a happy tale.


Manny -- Its not a matter of Can he but Will he put up the same numbers in LA?

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

Not hitting .396, but as we opened the chat with this, .320, 32-110. Pretty good, eh?

Eric Karabell
  (4:00 PM)

OK, our time is up. Wow, that was a lot of questions. Thanks so much for hanging in there and hope you enjoyed it. There's another chat coming tomorrow... have a great day and hey, check out the WBC this week. It's good baseball...